Barely 24 hours after a widely covered protest by neighborhood residents, a Beirut city council member has announced that the Masaad Stairs will “not be touched.”
Council member Hagop Terzian says the order to protect the stairs came from Beirut’s governor Nassif Kaloush.
According to Terzian:
“…the Governor gave the order to all parties concerned not to touch the stairs… and promised that no such action will be taken…”
Terizan made the announcement today on his Facebook page, accompanied by a picture of residents meeting with Governor Kaloush:
Earlier, Terzian reacted to an LBC news report about the protest noting that the Beirut city council had taken “no such decision… to remove or do anything to harm the heritage of our city…”
That last line will be hard for many activists to stomach, having witnessed one Beirut heritage site destroyed or dismantled after another in the last two years, from the Roman hippodrome to the ruins at District S to the Amin Maalouf home and many others.
Let’s hope the municipality is serious this time. Perhaps it was the intense media coverage from LBC, Al Akhbar, The Daily Star and countless blogs and tweets that helped get things moving faster than ever this time.
Yet questions linger. Both of the residents pictured with governor in the top photo had organized the protest after witnessing surveyors studying the removal of telephone poles along the steps in preparation for bulldozing them. So who were these workers/surveyors and how did they get so far along the process of surveying with no permit or “no such decision” from the municipality?