This Lebanese valley, beautifully placed between el Shouf and Jezzine, is known for the richness in its nature, history, and blessings. Right now, this gem that should be protected by the government is threatened by complete destruction... from the government.
Since the beginning of the revolution, this site has been the destination of many Lebanese, including civic movements, to protest the construction of a dam, which will cause massive destruction, as demonstrated by scientific studies. MP Paula Yacoubian also tried from her side, but the attempts are far from over.
Now, the problem with the project of the dam isn't just that it will cost Lebanon one million square meters of natural areas, agricultural lands, and more than 50 ancient sites. It also comes with great dangers of triggering an earthquake predicted to be more devastating than the 7.1 magnitude one that hit in 1837.
Besides, the dam that the government plans to build in the valley is absolutely useless and avoidable, and the exorbitant cost is not justified at all. The government can come up with another solution for water problems that are less of a cost, and that aren't harmful to the environment and human life.
The objections of the Lebanese people and civil society were to no avail so far, so the people decided to start a petition addressed to the World Bank to withdraw its financial support for the Bisri Dam.
It also calls on the Lebanese government to cancel the project and adopt sustainable solutions for water management instead. Noting that the government borrowed 600 million dollars from theWorld Bank, with interests, at the expense of the Lebanese citizen to launch this dooming project.
These are the highlights of the many valid arguments of the people who have started the petition: For a start, the obvious dangers on the environment, the climate, and the citizen's health; adding that these trees in the Bisri Valley are home to many immigrant birds every year.
Hold on, it gets worse: Scientists have warned of future earthquakes and landslides that the construction of the dam will cause. Many historical locations like ancient temples and monasteries in the area will be sacrificed. These are the dangers on the environment; the dangers on the people are just as bad.
The Bisri valley is the only agricultural plain in Mount Lebanon. Destroying these spaces will doom the region and the locals to poverty. Not only that, but the dam will make a barrier between the citizens of el-Shouf and Jezzine.
All these consequences are for absolutely nothing. Nothing good will result from this project; only a major disaster, an increase in public debt that is already huge, and losing even more trees after the wildfires in Lebanon.
Specialists have confirmed that this dam won't succeed in collecting water, which will all end up leaking into the ground and won't provide clean water. On the contrary, its water will be polluted and not suitable for home use.
So, is building the dam dangerous? Yes, absolutely. Is destroying the Lebanese natural gift that is the Bisri valley a crime? Yes, it is literary illegal. Is it worth anything at all? Absolutely not. So why the insistence of the government to build it? Who benefits from such a deal?
I guess we know the answer by now. With all previous attempts failing to stop the government to bring a massive area of Lebanon into a massive disaster, the Lebanese people want to make the voice of our Bisri Valley heard above and beyond the government; by those who can really stop it by withdrawing their financing of the project.
Their petition World Bank: Save the Bisri Valley has been signed so far by 51,593 mindful people and is aiming at 75,000 signatures. If you believe in this national cause to protect our patrimony, you can help by signing it here. Together, in unity, we can save the Bisri Valley. It is up to us the people now.