FPM Official Wants To Revive The Bisri Dam Project For Racist Reasons

Mohamad Azakir/Save the Bisri Valley/Facebook page

It has been almost six months since the termination of the Bisri Dam project. Yet, Former Minister and Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) official Ghassan Atallah tried to convince the public once again of the must of the Bisri Dam to take place.

The FPM official did not just cite the “possibility” of providing essential drinking water to the Beirut area. His main reason was his own concern about the Syrian refugees having settled their tents in the area, as he said.

According to his fervent debate on Thursday evening’s MTV episode of Sar El Waket, the refugees seem to have taken over the dam.

Former minister Ghassan Atallah actually stressed the necessity for a dam in the area in order to avoid Syrian refugees filling up the valley.

“Do you know now what the village of Bisri holds? Syrian refugees,” the FPM official said. He goes on to fuss about the tents of Syrian refugees in these lands and that, after two months, they will turn them into constructed houses.

“What is best? To fill it with water or with Syrian refugees?” he questioned in a challenging tone.

Activists have been protesting for years against the controversial Bisri Dam project that threatens the valley and the environment, as studies have shown, including the high risk of triggering an earthquake.

The reaction to the FPM politician’s statements was soon to come. Amani Beainy, an activist with the “Save the Bisri Valley” campaign, called in.

“Let’s be clear here instead of going on air to talk nonsense as if the public isn’t aware of the corruption in the government,” Beainy said on air.

“The nation stood together to stop the Bisri Dam project, they stopped another crime from happening,” she added, pointing towards the many protests that were held to stop the imminent disaster.

“Instead of focusing on the desperate Syrian refugees who have shown more national unity to the country, focus on how the government could have stopped a disastrous explosion from happening in Beirut that made us lose our men and women,” the environmentalist and activist told the official off.

For two years, activists and environmentalists demonstrated against the World Bank-funded project, which would have caused immense harm to the Bisri valley. The area is densely forested and hosts farmlands as well as a number of ruins and heritage sites.

The World Bank finally suspended its funding of the Bisri Dam on June 26th of 2020, citing concerns about the project’s implementation. 

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FPM Official Wants To Revive The Bisri Dam Project For Racist Reasons

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