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A version of this story was published in Monocle Magazine, August 2018 By Habib Battah Just across the skyscraper-lined Bay of Beirut, in the lush foothills of Mount Lebanon, a little-understood civilization lived in caves for thousands of years. Skeletons found at the site known as Ksar Akil date back more...
‘We Made Every Living Thing from Water’  (وجعلنا من الماء كل شيء حي) will have its premiere at 6pm today (22 November) at Metropolis Cinema, Sofil as part of the Beirut Art Film Festival. The screening (free attendance) will be following by a Q&A with the directors and Human Rights Watch’s MENA Deputy Director Lama Fakih, moderated by Habib...
If you live in Lebanon, you would probably fall out of your chair if I told you government ministers were being awarded for public services. With no constant supply of water or electricity, no sewage treatment, poor roads and zero police presence to maintain public safety on highways, most Lebanese know very well that the state is not an...
At a time when so many historic sites are being demolished in Lebanon, it's refreshing to see that some in the country are also interested in preserving the past, and seeing a value in that. Just last week I reported on the removal of an ancient Roman city wall in favor of a real estate project in Bachoura, Beirut– one...
A rare and well-preserved ancient Roman wall that once surrounded Beirut has been dismantled. Photography of the site is not allowed, but from the street, a truck-mounted construction crane can be seen hoisting stones out of the major archaeological site in Bachoura, just off the Fouad Chehab highway that circles around downtown Beirut. We can see a pile of stones...
"We will find where you live,"  a watchman yelled at me after taking a picture of ruins on his construction site. He had followed me across the street to issue the threat, claiming to have memorized the license plate number on my car. "Wait and see what they will do to you when they come to your house." This vast...
Even if independent candidates don't win big on election day, they are already having an impact on Lebanese political culture. They have introduced new styles of campaigning that come as a sharp contrast to how politics is commonly practiced in Lebanon. While establishment politicians deploy their usual tactics: blanketing the streets with their faces: Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on...
There is a fantasy among many in Lebanon- liberals in particular– that a silent majority of Lebanese do not support the country's political establishment. That most Lebanese would prefer a life free from the political parties of today, which had largely been former militias established by warlords during the civil war. And if this is true, it is the...
When I exited the plane in Beirut last night, I noticed an Ethiopia Airlines plane parked next to ours and thought little of it. But as we walked through the skywalk and then into a long corridor, this sight confronted all arriving passengers: Hundreds of young Ethiopian women waiting to be picked up by their "sponsors." This is the face of...
Archaeological excavations have been mushrooming across downtown Beirut over recent months, providing a glimpse at how the city looked and functioned in ancient times. Site 1: The most visible and perhaps most interesting of these is a bustling site located near the Saifi neighborhood: The site is quite dense and appears to resemble a once vibrant neighborhood, market or industrial city: Some 900...