Before the Lebanese Revolution labeled Tripoli as the “Bride of the Revolution,” Lebanon’s second-largest city had long been misrepresented by local media casting a dim light over the northern capital.
Media and gossip shrouded the city in stereotypes and misunderstandings that instilled fear and prejudice into the hearts of people from other parts of the country and kept them from visiting the ancient capital of the north.
To tell true stories right from the source and break the stigma that surrounds Tripoli, the city’s first-ever podcast was just launched with the aid of the British Council.
Kabse, which stands for switch, is aiming to do exactly that as it has successfully started to switch people’s erroneous perceptions of Tripoli, its culture, and its people.
“‘Kabse is the product of the TripoLives initiative that aims to bring Tripoli back to the center of the national conversation and break the negative stigma and the stereotypes that have been built around Tripoli, and amplify positive actions that are happening in the city,” said Ralph Baydoun, the producer and director of Kabse and strategic communications manager with the British Council.
Speaking to The961 about selecting the show’s writer/host, 28-year-old Jana Dhaybi, Baydoun said she was the best candidate for the job, meeting all requirements for a “young, smart, Tripolitan journalist” who has worked in professional journalism with Al-Modon and Al-Jazeera.
“We thought [she] was one of the few young voices in Tripoli that could represent the city on the echo chamber. The only people we see from Tripoli on the echo chamber are Abu El Abed, Rabih El-Zein, and people amplified by regular mainstream media,” Baydoun said.
“We want to give the opportunity to people who are the smartest in Lebanon, people who are educated, done initiatives… people that we don’t usually see on TV from Tripoli because the only people Lebanese media highlight are people with really bad reputations and people who do not represent the city,” he told us.
“Tripoli is not an outside entity. Tripoli is really the second biggest city in Lebanon, so it should be in every conversation, it should participate and have an opinion in every conversation,” Baydoun added.
He also said that the aim of the podcast is to highlight the people who truly represent the city, like Dhaybi and their first two guests, Obeida Takriti and Marwa Moulki.
Leading the podcast, Dhaybi is a Lebanese researcher and highly experienced journalist from Tripoli. She has been a journalist for Al-Modon since 2016 and also began working at Al-Jazeera Net in the wake of the Beirut Explosion. In addition, she is also the AFP reporter in Tripoli.
Through her work, she has been able to shine the light on stories from her city. In 2018, she won the “Media Excellence” award from the United Nations Population Fund for her coverage of gender-based violence issues.
With the “Kabse” podcast, Dhaybi is taking her experience to a whole new medium where she will highlight social and cultural topics from Tripoli with Tripolitan guests to bring about a new understanding and perception of the city.
Not only is it Dhaybi’s first time doing podcasts, but it is the first-ever podcast to stream out from Tripoli. “We have high aspirations with this podcast,” Dhaybi told The961.
“In the wake of the deterioration we are living in, every city is in need of hearing a new conversation that is devoid of violence and hatred,” she said.
Only two episodes in, “Kabse” has been gaining momentum very quickly. It is currently available on many podcast hosting platforms such as Lebanon’s Anghami, YouTube, Deezer, Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and more.