I heard some time ago of a tourism business initiative that charges an extremely high rate in exchange for a tour of Beirut's hottest and most happening spots. The tourist, whether from a Gulf country, a Lebanese expatriate, or some other foreigner, would be taken by a group of social butterflies to pay homage to the iconic skybar club, to witness first-hand the legendary Lebanese beach parties, and to pretty much party hard in the party capital of the Middle East. Whether this is true or not I will research and report promptly.
The reason I bring this up is actually the reason why this blog exists. Behind Beirut in Between is both an idea and a sensation. I will start with the sensation... complete disgust with the idea that the Meccas of modern-day tourism in Beirut are beach bars and obnoxious clubs. Don't get me wrong, I am not here to deny that frivolous luxury and entertainment are not pillars of Beirut's historical identity and foreign appeal. What I am here to do is to construct a different image...
The idea that gave birth to Beirut in Between is that all things in life, once examined under the shade of grey are understood in dimensions that cannot be revealed in clear cut black and whites. In between the lines, you find interesting truths that are not being said. Between the Pigeon Rock and the Jeita Grotto lies a myriad of narratives that are lost in in-betweenness. The predominant touristic portrayal of Beirut rests on history, image and representation; meanwhile here we will fill the gap with soul, psyche, and self.
In Beirut, we live, love, and party on the outskirts of life. Our faces are as plastic as our wealth is sham. Thanks to Solidere and the architects of post-war reconstruction policy, our city has come back to life, while we remain in search of a soul broken by war but never fixed in peace.This initiative is part of a small, in fact minuscule-scale movement that started among a group of friends who wish to portray Beirut's subtle shade of grey, as they see it. Referring back to my previous post, the idea is that if cities are like bodies, this body must also have a soul.