Trending on Twitter is the name of a young man named Abbas Hayek, who was hospitalized after being brutally assaulted by members of a Lebanese political group over something his brother wrote on social media.
According to local media, a number of Amal Movement members attacked Hayek in the southern town of Adloun after his brother Ali simply posted a picture of himself with the caption, “When you remember that Adloun port was built with your money.”
The port in Adloun is otherwise known as the “Nabih Berri Fishermen’s Port” which was quite controversial during its construction.
In a statement later issued on social media, members of Berri’s Amal Movement in Adloun persisted to threaten anyone who insults “any symbol of [their] blessed movement,” warning that haters/objectors were forbidden to enter the Nabih Berri port in Adloun or “else it will be a graveyard for [them].”
Hayek has since received immense support from Lebanese activists, who condemned the fascist and extreme acts of oppression practiced by Amal Movement members and all political parties in Lebanon.
Tension Over The Port
It’s worth understanding more about the port and why such a simple comment would create such a brutal response.
In 2016, Al-Akhbar reported that the Nabih Berri Port project was worth around $26.6 million and even though it was opposed by many, it was seen through anyway.
According to an entry in the Environmental Justice Atlas called “Destruction of Adloun Port, Lebanon” written in 2017 by Catherine Moughalian (Asfari Institute, AUB), “the historic Adloun coast [was] believed to be the location of an ancient Phoenician port town and a valuable heritage.”
The site had prehistoric caves, Phoenician ruins, and an ecological significance serving as a nesting ground for sea turtles.
“The majority of the public, especially the locals of Adloun, is scared to speak up against the project since it has the backing of Berri, and the region is dominated by his Amal party,” wrote Moughalian. Even the Ministry of Culture tried to stop the construction work but failed.”
The Ministry of Public Works, which was headed back then by former minister Ghazi Zeaiter (known for his political ties to Berri), allowed the project to carry on after “giving itself the de facto right to destroy the rocky coast.”
Moughalian adds that more corruption was reported by Al-Akhbar, which revealed that the Khoury Contracting Company (KCC) got the $5 million excavation contract through an irregular and unfair bid, and without consulting with the local community.
At the time of its construction, activists argued that it was turning into another marina to accommodate luxury yachts and that it wouldn’t serve the local community and only lead to environmental damage to the village.
Meanwhile, Zeaiter said the port would create jobs and help the local fishing community. It is up for question whether or not the port achieved that goal or if it was just another big waste of public funds.