This weekend, the people of Lebanon decided to reclaim what is already theirs: the Lebanese coastal public property. They did so as they organized a huge breakfast-picnic at Zaitunay Bay on Sunday, 11 November!
“Beirut’s finest leisure destination” as described in its official website, Zaitunay Bay is a touristic coastal property located at Beirut Marina. Zaitunay includes various restaurants, cafes, and retail shops. As pretty as it may seem, this not-so-public property is not as friendly with middle- and lower-class people as it is with the “leisured” elite.
Social media activist Zoulfikar Harakeh recalled an incident he had with the nice rules of Zaitunay Bay: “There was this one night I wanted to go to Zaitunay Bay and I had a cup of espresso in my hand that I paid 2,000 LPB for. As I was entering Zaitunay, a security guard stopped me and asked me to drink my espresso outside and then enter. I tried everything, but he still refused to let me in. I had to finish drinking my espresso, and then I was allowed to enter.”
Zaitunay owners have long decided to close its door on anything that might affect the “prestige” of the superficial “Beirut” they tried to build. And the people are done with it.
On Tuesday, Nov 5, protestors forced their way into their rightful coastal public property where they chanted, sang, and set up tents so they can finally feel at home in their own homeland. They wanted to do a screening of the empowering pro-revolutions movie “V for Vendetta” but were prevented.
Revolutionaries have been living there for almost a week, and have invited over the rest of Lebanon for a Sunday breakfast by the sea!
Adeeb and Ziad brought out their matte for a nice little picnic with some hundred people that they get to happily share the beauty of Lebanon’s public properties with. The aroma of keshek, foul, and hummus filled the air, as everyone set up their blankets and sang along the warm voice of Fayrouz.
A heavenly morning every Lebanese has dreamt of ever since corrupted people decided to take Beirut away from the people.
As the sobhiye turned into a full day of “leisure”, some people felt too hot they decided to jump in the water for a swim, near the big white yachts.
I think what’s devastating is that for years now, we have been living in Beirut yet never felt like we belong in it. We were convinced that central Beirut should not be dirtied by thrift shops and people that sell books and other goods on the streets.
These people can take the suburbs, where no politician really cares about them anyway. As long as they are not in the sight of foreigners, they are good.
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