My latest article for Middle East Eye touches on the recent movement against the privatization of Ramlet al-Baida, Beirut's last public beach. What makes this particular case different than some other similar campaigns is how 'politicized' this is. It's definitely a breath of fresh air from the tame rhetoric we saw with the campaign to reopen Horsh Beirut, for example.
I spoke to student Whard Sleiman, who was punched in the face (covered in Beirut Syndrome) by a man in plain clothing at a protest, and Abir Saksouk, an urbanist and architect who has been investigating and studying different issues related to urban planning and public space for a long time. My only regret is that I wasn't able to get a direct statement from the developers' lawyer- but at least I tried!
For Lebanon’s wide array of social, economic and political issues, one thing tends to unite the people: a collective sense of humiliation and shame.
Whether it is the fact that Lebanon still can’t provide electricity and water to its homes - let alone pick up and manage its own garbage - or provide adequate public spaces for its people.
The fact that the establishment often responds to these problems with a nonchalant shrug truly feels like a sucker punch to the face - in one case, according to one account, literally.
On 14 November, a dozen activists were making their way to the Ramlet al-Baida building site to halt the construction process when Whard Sleiman, a university student who was among the activists, said he was punched in the face by a man in plain clothing.
Read the full article here.