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Transforming a neighborhood

Photos: PID Levant
A few weeks ago, Beirut was in the international headlines due to a shooting incident. But what many people don't know is on the same day there was a positive transformation happening in another part of the city. 

Purple house, Geitawi


Randomly stumbled upon this house other day in Geitawi: 

Small acts of resistance


In the picture above, four cars are driving the wrong way on a one way street--as you can see by the cars parked on the right. As often happens in Beirut, they are trying to bully the only law-abiding driver coming the right way, to back up and let them through.
But this guy stood his ground. He refused to budge one inch backward and instead forced all the violators to go in reverse, including the lead offender-- a tinted window SUV with yellow diplomatic plates. 

"Public spaces need vigilant champions"

When designing public spaces, New York's chief city planner Amanda Burden says there's a key set of questions for designers to ask themselves: "Would you come here? Where would you sit, what would you do here?"

She adds: "You don't tap into your design expertise, you tap into your humanity."

Journalists and bloggers defy press crackdown


This column was first published in the April issue of Bold Magazine

A Thirst For Silence

By Habib Battah 

Municipality without a website or public budget

Yes that's right, Beirut a city with over a million residents and among the most influential in the region, has no official website. And it has been offline for over three years, according to this amusing post which noted the phenomenon back in February 2011. This is not an April Fool's Joke. Check it yourself.

Media, activists shut out of municipality talks once again

AUB engineering students have arranged a rare question and answer session with the mayor of Beirut over the most controversial civil works project in recent memory, but the media and activists have been barred from attending. 

Journalistic dilemmas: cakes, priests and the presidency


In journalism school, there are debates about what a reporter can ethically accept from a source. Gifts and even lunch are usually strictly forbidden, but there are arguments about whether coffee or biscuits can be justified.
But what if your host bakes you a cake? 

Shootings today in Lebanon and the US

By now, much of the world knows there has been a gun battle in Lebanon. The shooting, which killed one person, took place in a poor neighborhood near the sports stadium where clashes have happened many times before. The story made the front page of BBC news. See right column:
It was not clear what the fight was exactly about--but because the rival gangs have different views on the Assad regime-- the story was immediately framed as part of the war in Syria.