Tag Archives | civil war

Hollywood Made a Bad Movie About Beirut – So What?!

Everyone and their mother seems to be upset about Jon Hamm’s new movie, titled “Beirut”, because of its bad portrayal of our Beirut city and all the stereotypes that appeared in the trailer.

The movie is written by Tony Gilroy (author first four films of the Bourne series) and tells the story of Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm a former U.S. diplomat who is called back into service to save a colleague from a terrorist group that was responsible for the death of his own family 10 years earlier.

As the trailer shows, the movie is gonna give quite a gloomy picture of Beirut, and with everything bad going around us in the region right now,western people will unconsciously associate us with terrorism after watching it. But then again, you can’t just blame this movie for the bad publicity we have abroad… We have been ruining our country for over 40 years now and have made enough headlines so far for the whole world to judge us without the need to watch any movie about Lebanon!

And what are you expecting from Hollywood in the first place? A promotional tourism movie about Lebanon? In a world where everyone has a different point of view, why can’t we take their side for a second? We treat them as invaders but they simply regard themselves as our white saviors… Ever knew about the 1985 TWA Flight 847 that was hijacked by Lebanese people and rerouted to Beirut with 85 American passengers on-board? How about the 1983 barracks bombings in Beirut? Regardless what your political views might be, these are acts of terrorism to them and the average American had every reason to think of us as terrorists back then…

Even worse, back to our side, how do you label 15 years of civil war? We butchered each other, mass killings were nothing unusual over that period, and minors did join militias back then. Go read or watch some Lebanese war documentary to learn all about it… Do you only feel butthurt because an American is mentioning it now?

Instead of whining about the movie, just let it be and move on, if it’s really bad then it will eventually be a box office flop. If anything, you can probably brighten the country’s image by simply replacing the warlords that have been ruling the country since the civil war era and are the ones responsible for Beirut’s bad publicity everywhere!

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Casino Du Liban Documentary by George Ghanem

We’re definitely lucky to have somebody like George Ghanem producing documentaries about the recent history of Lebanon for our generation. He has so far produced and contributed in several good documentaries about Lebanon and remarkable Lebanese politicians such as Koullouna Lil Watan, Zaman Rafic Al Hariri, Lady of the Palace and others.

His most recent work deals with Casino Du Liban and it aired last weekend on MTV in two episodes. Just like Ghanem’s previous documentaries this one was also quite enjoyable as it introduced us to how the casino was established and quickly became a point of attraction until the Lebanese civil war intensified which eventually led to closing it down in 1989 and then reopening it later in 1996. The documentary also of cited the challenges that faced every appointed general manager due to political interference.

I highly recommend you check it out if you missed it on TV. The two episodes are available on MTV Lebanon website in HD.

Part 1
Part 2

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Remembering the Lebanese Civil War Day by Day

Today marks the 41st anniversary of the Lebanese civil war which lasted 15 years from 1975 to 1990 resulting in 150,000 people killed and thousands of disappeared.

On this occasion I thought it would be good to share with you an interesting group on Facebook called “La guerre du Liban au jour le jour” where Georges Boustany and Kheireddine El-Ahdab share on a daily basis old videos, images, and news articles from war time to recollect both major and tiny events that happened during those 15 years.

I highly recommend you join the group not only to learn more about the Lebanese civil war but also because Georges and Kheireddine sometimes shares rare videos that were not shown in the released war documentaries so far. I once saw a video showing the neighborhood we used to live in during the 1980s, so you never know what’s in it for you!

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Massive graffiti in Hamra street

A Chilean artist called “INTI” who’s a member of “White Wall” drew this awesomely massive graffiti on a building in Hamra street!

WHITE WALL, organized at Beirut Art Center in association with Fondation Saradar and a team of three curators, is an exhibition in which one of the main objectives is to give new impetus to the Lebanese graffiti scene. Fourteen international artists, from Europe, North America, South America, together with artists from Egypt and Tunisia, with diverse visions an

d street art practices, have been invited to share their passion and expertise. Beirut Art Center will host an exhibition, while the show will also spread over the streets of Beirut, creating a dynamic interaction between the exhibition’s venue and the city.Nineteen Lebanon-based artists- the figureheads of the Lebanese street art and graffiti scene- will participate in the various WHITE WALL activities and outdoor interventions throughout Beirut.

Since the Civil War, public space in Lebanon had been occupied by inscriptions and stencils related to war and sectarian politics. Western-style graffiti appeared infrequently as of the mid-1990s. It was not until 2005 that a new scene emerged, taking on the task to create a uniquely Lebanese style of this art
form. This scene is now burgeoning and the streets of Beirut have witnessed the birth of new artists mixing caustic stencils, western influences and Arabic graffiti. These interventions contrasted with public expectations, since they promoted unity over division and maintained a humorous and often critical look at Lebanese society.

One of the key issues raised by this event is to understand how it is possible to bring an inherently outdoor and accessible art to an indoor space like Beirut Art Center, without betraying the idiosyncrasy of this art. While the first graffiti exhibition was already held in 1976 in New York City, this remains a challenge until today. The title, WHITE WALL, confronts the white walls of the galleries with
the streets of the city, a challenging prospect for a street artist.

For more about While Wall, you can check their website here.
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Tannoura Maxi – Heels of War

Tannoura Maxi is a new Lebanese movie that debuted in theaters yesterday, and tells the story of a priest about to be ordained but falls in love of a high-heeled girl.

Regardless how good this movie might be, it is yet another Lebanese movie with a story taking place during the war, and I guess people are fed up with this repetitive pattern in Lebanese movies. I mean we’ve enjoyed the first few ones like West Beirut, but the topic has been used and abused! Wouldn’t you prefer to watch Lebanese movies of other genre?

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Flash mob commemorating the Lebanese civil war

An NGO called CitiAct conducted this flash mob at Hamra street on the commemoration day of the Lebanese civil war yesterday.

A couple of drivers pretended they’re fighting in the middle of the road when people around them suddenly started dropping dead, which pretty much resembles to the situation during the days of the civil war when innocent people were dying for the warlords who are now ruling the country.

Tenzekir w ma ten3ad… nshalla!

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Beirut city center to be demolished in the few coming days?

I just saw this post on Facebook about the possibility of demolishing Beirut City Center (also known as “the egg”) over the next few coming days.

“The egg” was designed by Philippe Karam in 1965 and served as a cinema for a short time before the eruption of civil war in Beirut. For some reason it survived the demolition works during Beirut’s central district reconstruction in the 90’s and remained standing until some artists started using it in the last few years to exhibit their work inside it. And now, rumors has it that it will demolished very soon.

I’m not sure I’ll be sad to see it going, though if it were to me I would have renovated it instead, but I’m certain it will feel awkward to pass by the martyr’s square and not see the egg laying there at the end of the street.

Thank you @SeenKaf

Update:

Solidere denied any plans to demolish the egg anytime soon. They even claimed they’re against the demolition and that the dome will be integrated in the new design.

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