Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Introducing Young Talents: Yasmine jeitanY


Painting Portraits : A Series of Interviews

Her name is Yasmine jeitanY. She was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and currently lives in Beirut, Lebanon where she graduated in Fine Arts from the Lebanese University before completing her Masters in Fine Arts at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts (ALBA).

This artist describes her passion as "an extreme appreciation for all new media art such as printmaking, installation, art video, motion graphics and photography" and whose "everyday work is based on graphic art". 

It is when she left for London to attend the Chelsea College of Art and the Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in the Fall of 2006 that she got the opportunity to explore animation, textile painting, etching and motion graphics for television. 

This versatile artist has enjoyed wide exposure all around Lebanon with exhibitions at the Rachid Karami International Fair, Ehden's Symposium of Paintings and Sculpture, Ehdeniyat's Collective Exposition, the UNESCO, the Cultural French Center's Collective Modern 256 Exhibition and more recently at the Salon d'Automne XXX held by the Sursock Museum.

The Artist

The word has been defined and redefined so many times. It was and remains abused. Used in vain some of the times. Used for vanity most of the times. What does the word means to you?

The Artist is a person who has the ability to join between two different ideas or more into an exceptional concept and turn it to a different perspective and that of course in a highly professional process, where he is leading by inspiration. That’s how all-new ideas are developed.

Installation: A Graph between London and Beirut" (2010) 
Salon D'Automne XXX, Sursock Museum
Photo Credit: Yasmine Jeitany

How do you see yourself within your own definition of an "Artist"?

Through my years of cultivation I had the ability to think independently and creatively and that is what induces my wide imagination. That is how I define myself after years of practicing and pursuing in that field.

You are Lebanese. That identity does not come without its own load of history. How did Lebanon shape you as an artist and as a human being? 

Living in a country like Lebanon, helped me to adopt the surreal concept because I wanted to join between the beautiful and the useful (le beau et l’utile). This was to improve more than a figurative technique, but a moral of the current life in Lebanon. Since my childhood, Lebanon has gone through the most weird and shocking events. So the subjects of my works were like a mark of what is happening socially, politically and environmentally.

Le malheur palestinien (2005)
Image Credit: Yasmine Jeitany

What is the best part of being an artist? 

Having an independent thinking and a free spirit, identify my personality, and being an Artist helped me to induce more this independence and the ability to face my environment. So nothing was able to hinder my confidence and self-esteem.

The Artist

Labels can be often confining and sometimes misleading. A person's work evolves as that person grows. And you are probably far from where you started. But for the sake of argument, how do you define your work within the known frames of "styles"? 

Style is a word that I hate the most because in my opinion if the Artist is labeled within a definite style, he will fall down in repetition and that is what will kill his progress, hinder his creativity, and his work will become repetitive and meaningless.

So tell us a little about your work. What inspires you? How do you translate this inspiration into visuals, colors, and shapes? 

My photos are the point of departure of most of my artwork. Taking photos is one of my favorite hobbies and the photos are related to how much I care about life and how much I like to keep prints of my past too. My Photos are instances of my space not to be forgotten, they are winks of the past time either of good or bad moments. Because in my opinion, our past, whether important or not, happy or miserable, is what we are today. Today always holds in its treasure a memory of a spiritual and material past. And photos are visual and material memories that could not eliminate our most delicate and spiritual moments.

Devil Sun (2004)
Image Credit: Yasmine Jeitany

As I said before, I have adopted surrealism by joining more than one idea or image to create the work. I started to be figurative after my first academic years. And after a while, the work changed by destruction of the figurative with the abstraction. We can see the destruction of the photo by the color and the line, which have a creative value of the space and atmosphere. It’s a destruction of the real figure to build or create a utopian abstract world. The line and the color are produced by the pure feelings of survival, of resurrection after the destruction.

The line gives me the ability to describe my interior life and my feelings in a rhythmical and symbolic aspect, and especially the rising vertical line that has the expression of determination and willpower. The willpower to hope a better and respectful world for all the Lebanese of all kinds, because we are different with just one identity.

The Unknown (2006)
Image Credit: Yasmine Jeitany

The Color is the matter of a sparkling obscurity, an obscurity where light filters tenderly in between to fill the emptiness of the paintings; where the black that is not really a color, plays an important part in the paintings. Black doesn’t just gives colors the opportunity to shine through but also depth and value. And the reason I work with contrast is to propose a sublime and luminous set up of beings and things around me.

What artists have influenced you and why? 

The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and because beyond the suspense in all his films he had a message to say.

When things get tough and you seem to be stuck somewhere outside of inspiration, how do you cope? How do you keep yourself motivated? 

I have no problem in taking someone else ideas and point of view. Everything around me, whether are simple people or common things, always hold me with a moral or new idea.

Love Road (2010)
Image Credit: Yasmine Jeitany

The Person

As a well-rounded person, art is not the only interest to you of course. What else is important to you? What are your concerns as a citizen of the world, not only as an artist? 

Knowing that War is still in our everyday life after all the progress of science and human being is my nightmare. And what I really hope is a better future for Lebanon, because my dreams are part of this future.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

I have an immense installation project in mind that I hope could be done by ten years from now. The purpose of the installation is about human and war but it still requires large sponsoring before it can be completed. 

In One Word...

If you were a 


The vertical line

Texture or fabric? 

Song or music composition? 
Avec le temps (Leo Ferre)

House Of The Flying Daggers

Book or literary piece?
Sand And Foam by Khalil Gibran

Famous character (real or fictional)? 
Steve Jobs

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Nawaya Network


A couple of weeks ago, I received an invite to attend the pre-launch of a new Lebanese NGO: The Nawaya Network, an organization that aims at "empowering underprivileged youth by connecting them to educational, material, and financial resources to help them develop their talents, skills, and interests".

Unfortunately, it happened to be on March 8 which is when I was due to participate in a launch of another kind and indeed, I found myself at the Clemenceau Medical Center Maternity that very morning, giving birth to gorgeous baby Jad. 

Needless to say I was a little disappointed I missed the event but I am so glad to hear the pre-launch was very successful and helped raise about 9,000 US Dollars in one night thanks to the generosity of the 200 people who attended that special evening at the American University of Beirut. To date, The Nawaya Network has raised almost 12,000 US Dollars in just three weeks!

The volunteers are still working hard at fundraising so if you or anyone else you know is interested in supporting this cause, do share the following link where donations can be made online. The Nawaya Network is also recruiting volunteers and mentors before introducing their online platform and officially launching the NGO towards the end of the year so do not hesitate to spread the word.

Ideas, suggestions, contacts, or resources to support The Nawaya Network are also welcome as the organization is looking to connect with art, music, dance, and athletic institutes, as well as partner up with local NGOs. 

The organization also produced a documentary, Meet Me Halfway, which "follows the lives of four underprivileged youth in Lebanon while they struggle to pursue their passions and develop their strengths despite very limited resources".

If you have the time (and your connection allows for it), you can enjoy the documentary in its entirety on YouTube:

Screenings will be held around Lebanon and in London in a couple of weeks so if you would like to stay updated, sign up to The Nawaya Network Newsletter or follow the organization on Twitter and Facebook for more details.


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Introducing young talents: Sara, Raw & Real


It seems these days, social media are buzzing with the most interesting discoveries and a few weeks ago Facebook introduced me to Raw by Sara.

Lebanese designers have been thriving on the fashion scene and more young talents are venturing in this industry on their own, armed only with a gift for creation and an entrepreneurial drive that would turn even the toughest businessmen red with envy. 

They come from all walks of life, with or without a background or an education in fashion and they are slowly but surely injecting new blood in an art that has the potential of carrying values, dreams and hopes of a younger generation of artists eager to express themselves any way they can and through any medium they can get their hands on.

That is exactly what emanates from Raw by Sara, a unique label created by designer Sara Nassar, a straightforward and genuine Lebanese artist who directed her talent towards converting her very own visual concepts into innovative wearable statements. 

So who is Sara? 

I am a 19 year old Lebanese young woman with a little brother and two amazing parents. I was previously an IC student and I am currently studying Studio Arts at AUB. I am also blessed to be surrounded by a lovely circle of friends of various ages that guide me and strengthen me. 

Photo Credit: Sara Nassar

What inspired you to get into fashion? 

I have always had an acute sense of style and had the chance to visit a lot of countries in my life hence, shop a lot and be a fashion connoisseur. I have also the chance to be a very close friend of Zina Mufarrij (founder of Zina Comics) that saw my drawings and encouraged me to take them a step further. I didn’t want to keep them laid on a web page, so I thought to myself: What is the best way for me to touch people, to try to touch them deeply with empowering ideas and unique designs? So I came up with a clothing line that would carry part of my texts and my drawings for both men and women in different and innovative trendy cuts that would touch both teenagers and older people. 

Photo Credit: Sara Nassar

What are you biggest strengths as a designer? 

My biggest strengths as a designer is my honesty, my boldness, and my ability to dare doing something new, innovative that may or may not be welcomed by others. 

Your weaknesses? 

My weaknesses can be qualified as my strengths but taken to the extreme.  

Who is your favorite fashion designer and why? 

I am very fond of the work of Alexander McQueen. I love the emotional power and raw energy of his provocative designs and shows. 

If you had not been a designer, what would you have turned into? 

If I hadn’t been a designer today, I would have been in a different sphere of the domain of Art. I like to think that I will take my art eventually one day to a new level of design involving more than a clothing line.

Photo Credit: Raw by Sara

Your label is called Raw by Sara. Where does the name come from?

Since I started my project with the hope that my clothing would be conveyers of truth, I thought to myself that nothing is as sharp, bold and untouched as the word Raw. It’s the strong and undisguised, exactly the image I want to share with people. In addition to that, Raw is War once spelled in reverse. Why is it important for me to carry the word “war” although implicitly in my label’s identity? Not only because of the political wars between countries that are going on continuously around us but more to point at what I like to call our inner wars, our own inner battles. We’ve all faced and are all constantly facing turmoil and inner struggles in order to conform to the world we’re living in or even to just build our own identity and to, in a way promote the growth of “The Self”. In one word, I believe that some of us are in war with themselves and with others in order to be raw, in order to be themselves. 

What does it mean to be a designer in Lebanon? How does it affect your thinking and creative process? 

To be honest, being a designer doesn’t mean much in Lebanon since anyone can practically become a designer whether they have new, innovative products or are simply copying a fellow designer. It doesn’t affect me much, my ideas, my clothing designs originate essentially from my deepest insides and no one can reach that spot in me. 

How do you select colors, shapes, themes and fabrics when designing a collection? 

As you may have noticed, the fabric I used in this collection is very simple, it’s a regular T-shirt fabric that comes in black and white that is very soft and comfortable to wear. I opted for this fabric because I wanted the T-shirt to be mainly about the cut and the message I chose to lay on it. I chose to limit myself to black and white to express duality that is for me the essence of everything. I may later expand my collections to more colorful pieces. 

Photo Credit: Raw by Sara

What is the creative process you go through? Do you get inspired by life around you? Music? Movies? Exhibitions? Or books you have read? 

“What’s under my feet, what I eat, whom I meet - all that influences my art.” Chiharu Shiota 

This quote describes perfectly the creative process I go through. Everything that reaches my senses can be used in a drawing, in a painting. All can be turned to art and eventually into clothing. 

How long does it take to come up with a new vision and ultimately a new collection? 

It usually doesn’t require a lot of time. Once I have a pack of drawings, a theme I am craving to convey, and a trendy and unique cut I want to share, I like to think that the structure of the collection is done which is the most challenging part. 

Photo Credit: Raw by Sara

Tell us a little about Raw by Sara. What is the label's identity and particularities? 

Raw by Sara is not a clothing line. 
It’s a maze of ideas that I chose to start mending into T-shirt fabric! 
It’s pieces of my own drawings, paintings that I am sharing with you. 
It’s a combination of what is wild, raw, and daring. 
It’s the unsaid, the words that are too heavy for the tongue to bare, too sharp for the lips to deliver. 
It’s a conveyer of Truth. 
It’s stripping your mind away. 
It’s for the misfits, the rebels. 
It’s for those who are born to be a revolutionary. 
It’s for those who can’t stand the rules. 
It’s for you, for me, and definitely not for them. 
It’s only because it’s so raw and real. 

Where are the clothes manufactured? 

The clothes are manufactured in Lebanon. 

Photo Credit: Raw by Sara

What does the future hold for Raw by Sara? 

A lot or nothing. I am currently loving every moment of it. The longer it’ll last, the better. 

Where are our points of sale? 

Can customers outside of Lebanon purchase your designs? I am currently establishing an online store. Customers all over the world will be able to purchase my designs. 

Photo Credit: Sara Nassar

A few words, just for fun... 
Glory, majesty, unity. 

If you were a color, which would you be? 

If you were a fabric? 
Plain white cotton. 

If you were a movie? 

Photo Credit: Sara Nassar

If you were a song? 

If you were a fruit or a flower? 
Avocado and a rose. 

If you were a famous character (real or fictional), which would you be? 
Maestria (Bravura in English) the feminist character of the Asterix comic books serie that rocks the legendary Gaul village upside down.


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Humans, Curiosity & the Magic of CGI


. This Blog Post Is Sponsored By ABL DIGITAL .

A few weeks ago, I was approached by ABL Digital to discover their latest release: a CGI simulator that allows viewers to unveil the behind-the-scene computer animations behind TV commercials. Naturally, I was intrigued as most post-production companies would rather keep the "magic" hidden and the "tricks" top secret. So when they offered me the opportunity to share with you their simulator, I could not resist! This is the commercial they had originally created for STC's QITAF:

Without further ado, I leave you with ABL's latest discovery. Note that you can watch a video of how the simulator works but also operate the simulator yourself by checking their web application. Enjoy!


Humans and Curiosity reveal a World of Pure CGI 

Have you ever wondered how TV commercials are done?

ABL is about to launch an interactive video that unveils the secrets and techniques of the making. 

Humans and curiosity: They go way back. 

Come on, let’s admit it, we always want to know

How? What? Who? And when? 

Well, we can shed some light and help uncover some of life's mysteries.

How would you like to know how "Qitaf diamonds", one of our latest TVCs, came to life?

Promise! We won't be wasting your time with the usual making of, a Director saying "Action", or people running around trying to look busy on set.

Come along with us to the world of pure CGI, where we uncover the detail behind what your eye is seeing...

Lazy? Choose our "auto pilot mode":

For those more curious and compelled, experience the "full interactivity mode" via our web app where you can move the cursor and choose which part of the frame you want to unveil and know exactly "how it was made"!

    Enjoy the ride into our virtual fascinating 3D world!


About the Contributor/Author: ABL DIGITAL is a post-production facility based in Athens, Greece and with offices in Beirut, Lebanon. It's the meeting place for filmmakers and producers, from TV commercials, feature films, short films, documentaries, TV series and music video. It offers superior, professional service and follow up, experienced team and creative artists. ABL Digital Beirut created the TV commercial featured in this post, as well as the Computer Generated Imagery simulator, a breakthrough in the Middle East. 

For more information on the author, company and/or content of this blog post, kindly contact the contributor directly (see Bookmarks section above).

Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the contributors in the herein article are those of the authors and/or sponsor company, and do not necessarily represent and/or reflect the views of this blog, those who link to this website and/or the blog owner/author. 

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Friday, March 2, 2012

Updates: First Phoenician Port in Beirut

English ✮ Français

First Phoenician port in Beirut - Premier port phénicien de Beyrouth du Ve s. av. JC 
Link 1 
Link 2 

It appears this unique historic treasure will be destroyed after all and despite all the efforts archeologists and other activists have deployed to attempt to protect this invaluable piece of our heritage. 
The update is in French, below. 

Liban: Le port phénicien de Beyrouth égrène ses dernières heures après 2500 ans d’existence 
Jeudi, Mars 1, 2012

Le sort des Libanais, ou de leurs ancêtres phéniciens, au fil des siècles, a toujours été compromis à un assortiment d’imprécations variées. Il suffit de remonter au temps du prophète Moïse avec la malédiction de Canaan (1) et de relire un peu l’Histoire du pays des cèdres dans plusieurs ouvrages historiques de qualité si possible –  à défaut d’un simple manuel d’histoire destiné aux écoliers dont la rédaction s’éternise en phase de gestation – pour comprendre ce triste fatum. 

Dans la série des infortunes, la capitale semble subir actuellement la malédiction de Vénus. Ce suave prénom évoquerait pour la plupart la charmante déesse romaine de l’amour, dérivant de notre Ashtart locale. Cependant, détrompez-vous ! Vénus est le sobriquet que s’est attribuée une agence immobilière obstinée à saccager les vestiges d’une installation portuaire phénicienne constituée de deux cales sèches et de leurs rampes d’accès, remontant au Ve siècle av. J.-C.
L’absurdité et le drame de la situation actuelle ne peut qu’orienter les esprits, même les plus rationnels, à admettre tant bien que mal l’hypothèse de la fatalité. Comment peut-on expliquer le fait que plus de quatorze spécialistes locaux et internationaux dans le domaine de l’archéologie attestent la découverte d’infrastructures navales phéniciennes uniques en leur genre sur le terrain 1398 de Minet El-Hosn, et que ces vestiges finiraient par être détruits pour l’érection abjecte de trois tours résidentielles insignifiantes, en dépit des rapports scientifiques et de trois propositions peu coûteuses suggérées par le ministre de la Culture précédent, M. Salim Wardi, et qui ajouteraient une plus-value au projet : désaxer une des tours, la déplacer, ou incorporer les vestiges au sous-sol et au rez-de-chaussée de cette tour ? Sans oublier le fait que le ministère de la Culture en cours semble être aux abonnés absents dans cette affaire, du moins face à l’opinion publique.
Ce silence de marbre de la part des autorités actuelles, présage vraisemblablement une issue funèbre à ce port. Le scénario saugrenu proposé par VRE avec le débarquement du nouveau ministre M. Gaby Layoun en juin 2011 risquerait fort de se produire dans les prochains jours. À savoir, la proposition de « conservation » du site en procédant à son démantèlement en blocs de 5 et 8 tonnes pour faciliter leur transfert vers les espaces verts du projet (2). Comment « conserver » ce qui est taillé dans le roc ? Comment déplacer ces cales de 30m de long et 4m de large ? Leur solution « scientifique » proposée est de sectionner et scier ces cales-sèches en tranches parallèles, qui seraient elles-mêmes sciées en 3 morceaux, ce qui représenterait un pur sabotage qui occasionnerait des coûts exorbitants, alors que la solution est simple : désaxer une tour et conserver ce port in-situ. Ce que Vénus semble réfuter catégoriquement, ce qui est d’autant plus aberrant.
Depuis la conception du projet Vénus et la découverte de ces cales de radoubes antiques, il a été convenu de préserver sur place ce port unique au Levant, qui avait été classé par le ministre M. Salim Wardy en avril 2011. Mais sur le terrain, les démolitions quasi quotidiennes des bâtiments et sites classés prouvent que les autorités libanaises sont passées maîtres en matière de déclassement de sites historiques, et ce ne sont pas les preuves qui manquent (3). Pourquoi remettre en cause une décision déjà prise de classement du port phénicien ? Les avis des archéologues internationaux tel Marguerite Yon, Jean-Yves Empereur, Kaliopi Baika, David Blackman, et Anna-Maria Busilla, ainsi que des spécialistes locaux tels Martine Francis Allouche, Hicham Sayegh, Anis Chaaya, Jeanine Abdelmassih, Eric Gotwalles, Laure Salloum, Leila Badre et Nadine Panayot Haroune compteraient pour des prunes ?
Dans un article fraîchement publié sur le quotidien électronique elnashra, l’ancien ministre de la culture estime que le nombre conséquent des professionnels pour la sauvegarde du port in-situ ferait largement pencher la balance de leur côté, face à la voix de Hans Curvers, l’archéologue qui travaille pour le compte de VRE. Wardy souligne que la préservation de ces cales de port ne revêt aucun aspect politique, et s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une cause nationale qui devrait unir les Libanais au lieu de les séparer.
En ce qui concerne l’aboutissement de la mission du comité précité, il n’y a toujours pas de rapport final ou de décision ultime. Cependant, des rumeurs circulent récemment sur la formation d’une équipe qui auraient la « lourde » tâche de « restaurer » ou « conserver » incessamment ce port. Profiteraient-ils des intempéries comme tout bon ravageur du patrimoine libanais pour procéder à la destruction ? Est-ce là le résultat des travaux des messieurs Albert Naccache, Samir Chami et Hassân Sarkis, archéologues et architecte désignés par le ministre Layoun pour se prononcer sur les rapports des professionnels cités ci-dessus ? J’en reste sceptique …
Il s’avère à ce moment-là utile de dresser un petit lexique à l’usage des chicaneurs de ce monument phénicien, en leur rappelant le réel sens des verbes « restaurer » et « conserver », ou tout simplement en les invitant à relire la Charte de Venise qu’ils semblent dédaigner royalement. Et la rengaine du déplacement des temples d’Abou Simbel en Egypte à laquelle s’agrippent les défenseurs du projet de Vénus (4) ne peut être valable dans notre cas : en Egypte, c’est l’UNESCO qui s’est chargée du déplacement du temple effectué pour des raisons majeures pour l’intérêt national (5), et non pour la construction d’un projet immobilier dont le profit est à court terme et concerne un nombre très limité de personnes.
Il ne suffit pas de se déclarer de bonne intention et de feindre son attachement à la sauvegarde du site et finir par dénicher des dénouements scabreux illustrant le bon vieil adage bien de chez nous « Désirant lui mettre du khôl, il finit par l’aveugler ». En faveur de la sauvegarde de ce port phénicien unique en son genre ? Réclamez alors une expertise internationale pour le déplacement que vous préconisez de ce site qui est digne d’être classé au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO ! Mais cette démarche n’est certes pas recommandée : premièrement, déranger l’UNESCO pour des lubies d’un projet du secteur privé sans aucun intérêt à l’échelle nationale est ridicule, et deuxièmement, les partisans de Vénus et leurs acolytes craignent sans doute que les solutions de dislocations qu’ils prônent tomberaient à l’eau parce que rien ne justifieraient le démantèlement du projet, et les empêcheraient de la sorte noyer le poisson, conformément aux usages…
Tout compte fait, les entrepreneurs de VRE, en comparant le cas du port de Minet el-Hosn à celui d’Abou Simbel, tombent dans leur propre piège ; réfutant depuis le début l’importance des vestiges dans leur propriété, ils en arrivent à convenir de la sorte que ces cales antiques ont une valeur historique et archéologique. Alors, selon leur propre raisonnement, ces restes antiques ne sont plus des débris ou des carrières insignifiantes, mais une installation navale unique digne d’être préservée à la manière d’Abou Simbel. Pourquoi donc ne pas les garder sur place et opter pour les solutions proposées par le ministre Wardy ? Pourquoi s’acharnent-ils à porter atteinte au patrimoine libanais, et à quel prix ?…
Encore une fois, le patrimoine libanais continue à encaisser des massacres, qui finiraient à la longue par l’annihiler.  Aujourd’hui, rares sont les voix qui décrient ces atrocités. À ceux qui désirent en savoir plus sur la nature de ce port phénicien, vous êtes invités à vous référer à deux articles publiés par Mme Francis-Allouche (6), la seule archéologue qui a brisé le lourd silence vis-à-vis de ces vestiges phéniciens, et qui a mis ses propositions à la disposition du ministère pour tenter de préserver ce port. Le public n’est cependant pas suffisamment et correctement informé sur ces dossiers archéologiques, sur les réactions des ministères, et sur les décisions officielles et officieuses, alors qu’il doit être le premier concerné par ces issues.
Il existe une volonté d’abêtir le peuple et de le diviser pour mieux faire régner un régime vampirique empreint de corruption. Il est clair que le Liban croule sous le poids de problèmes d’ordre économique, social, politique, et que ses citoyens vivotent dans des conditions dérisoires les incitant à partir pour se frayer une voie dans d’autres contrées. Mais le réel fléau, la base de tous les malheurs écopés par ce Liban meurtri, est la perte de son identité culturelle qui a automatiquement scindé le peuple en communautés confessionnelles. Le rétablissement d’un climat sain au Liban ne passerait pas par une laïcité forcée imposée à des générations qui ont été nourries de fanatismes et d’étroitesses d’esprits, mais par la récupération d’un terrain d’entente sur un passé prestigieux qui a unit nos ancêtres, dans l’ancienne Phénicie, le Pays de Canaan ; mais surtout, en nantissant les jeunes générations d’une éducation civique correcte et d’un penchant pour la Culture sous toutes ses formes qui n’aurait pour conséquence que d’élever un peuple qui pense et analyse, et qui s’enracine dans sa terre et dans son amour pour sa patrie.
Il ne nous reste plus qu’à lancer un cri, de profundis, à qui voudrait bien entendre, et à marquer haut et fort notre refus de voir notre legs culturel bafoué, notre passé défiguré, nos espoirs en un avenir meilleur étouffé. Cette unique installation portuaire phénicienne découverte sur place, un des rares reliquats nous rattachant à notre passé commun de Libanais, ne doit absolument pas être estropié, sous prétexte d’un faux souci de conservation.
Les hommes ne sont point éternels, tout finit par passer. Les républiques bananières, les décisions à la noix de coco, et les charognards de la Culture passeront aussi, et l’Histoire n’a jamais retenu leurs noms. Notre situation au fin fond des abîmes ne perdurera point : l’occupation ottomane ou l’hégémonie syrienne à titre d’exemple ont fini par se résorber, et cet état de décadence finira par disparaitre un jour. Ce cri est loin d’être une voix qui prêche dans le désert, parce que le pays des cèdres, des oliviers, des dattiers, du chêne et du cyprès, est tout sauf un désert, en dépit du sable et des palmeraies uniformes récemment exportés qu’on nous inflige.
Vous qui lisiez ces phrases, êtes les seuls garants de notre passé et de notre patrimoine, parce que ceux qui sont censés l’être, depuis la fin de la guerre civile, n’ont fait que le fouler aux pieds de leurs intérêts personnels étriqués. Réveillons nos consciences et unissons nos voix, et dites non à ces géants de bétons et d’acier qui ravagent notre capitale et détruisent la mosaïque culturelle qu’est Beyrouth.
Réveillons-nous avant qu’il ne soit vraiment trop tard, agissons efficacement et concrètement au lieu de se contenter de réagir sur les réseaux sociaux et sur la toile. Il y va de notre droit d’être informé convenablement pour être à même d’agir en conséquence, en se mobilisant sur le terrain et non plus sur le virtuel, pour parer à l’urgence face à la destruction de nos trésors nationaux.
Notre patrimoine qui se doit d’être une ligne rouge est allègrement franchie par la remise en cause des décisions ministérielles précédentes, des traités internationaux ainsi que des expertises locales et internationales. Pourquoi ne pas suivre les solutions simples et peu coûteuses soumises antérieurement et dont le but premier est de protéger ce legs de la civilisation phénicienne, tout en considérant les intérêts des promoteurs ? Le port phénicien de Minet el-Hosn est une richesse nationale : est-ce sensé de le perdre pour enrichir des privés et priver de la sorte la nation entière et les générations futures de cet héritage antique?…
Par Marie-Josée Rizkallah
(1)   Cf. Pentateuque, Deutéronome 20:16-18. Livre probablement rédigé au temps du roi Josias, au VIIe siècle av. J.‑C., selon les exégètes historico-critiques.
(2)   Cf. mon premier article à ce sujet, § 7.
(3)   Save Beirut Heritage et Stop destroying your heritage(de l’APLH), deux groupes sur Facebook transformés en une espèce de rubrique nécrologique pour les bâtiments et sites historiques au Liban.
(4)   Cf. les commentaires sur la réponse des promoteurs de Vénus Real Estate à notre premier article.
(5)   La construction du barrage d’Assouan qui a suscité le déplacement du temple d’Abou Simbel vers la fin des années 60 avait pour but de générer de l’électricité et d’accroître la surface de terres arables en Egypte.

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