Behind Beirut's Sport City

Najwa cleans the houses of the rich in Beirut. She lives with her son in the limbo spreading between the Stadium (Cite Sportive) and the Sabra Palestinian camp. Sociologists often refer to the Palestinian camps in Lebanon as a “space of exclusion”: the laws governing life in the camps are different from those governing life in the rest of Lebanon. Najwa’s neighborhood is an exclusion from the exclusion: no laws apply there. Rami Zurayk writes from Beirut. 

The time zones of Lebanon

This is what I have to say about the latest series of political speeches in Lebanon: Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah speaks as if there is no future, but March 14 government coalition leaders Walid Jumblat, Saad Hariri and Fouad Siniora speak as if there is no past. For Nasrallah, the past performance and actions of the Loyalists is the only reference point. Rami Zurayk writes from Beirut. 

Uncertainty in Beirut

Beirut is exploding all around me. After Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah made his speech this evening, during which he accused the governing coalition of declaring war on the resistance, opposition and March 14 supporters started fighting each other and making their armed presence felt all over West Beirut, including my neighborhood of Hamra. EI editor Maureen Clare Murphy writes from Beirut. 

Living with the certainty of war

For a while now, we’ve been talking about it. For a while now, I’ve been talking about it. Yes, there will be another war. I have said so during radio interviews, during dinner conversations, during phone calls with my family in the US. Yes, there will be another war of Israeli aggression on Lebanon. It is just a question of time, this summer or next summer, this year or next year, but, yes, there will be another war. Rania Masri writes from Beirut. 

Open letter to PM Siniora

Dear Mr. Siniora: I write to you as a Lebanese citizen with pressing concerns. Today, on the 27th of October 2007, I, along with a group of ten American University of Beirut students, made the journey north to Nahr al-Bared refugee camp. We went there with the purpose of carrying out a clean-up campaign for the homes of returning refugees. What we found in the homes made our heads spin. Tamara Keblaoui writes to her Prime Minister about what she saw at Nahr al-Bared refugee camp. 

Dreaming of Nahr al-Bared

Last week a group of international activists, people from Shatila refugee camp, and a group of people from the Nahr al-Bared displaced committee held a meeting to discuss how to break the media blackout about the siege on Nahr al-Bared refugee camp. One of the men at the meeting asked us, “How do we get the story of our situation into the media on a daily basis so that people will go to sleep at night dreaming of people from Nahr al-Bared?” 

A confined space

It’s difficult for me to live in Lebanon and not be conscious of space and time. The space around me when I’m in an enclosed space like a refugee camp or facing the openness of the Mediterranean Sea along the Corniche or examining the changed landscape of Beirut peppered among the high-rise skyscrapers and bullet-pocked buildings from the Civil War. Those scars on the buildings in Beirut are as ever present whether one is in the city or in a refugee camp, some places more ravaged than others. 

Letter from a Palestinian Camp

In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed white American clergymen who were opposed to his civil resistance campaign that fought against racist, segregationist policies and practices in the US. Writing from his jail cell he responded particularly to people who would have preferred that African Americans be patient and wait for those rights to come to them rather than to resist: “For years now I have heard the word ‘Wait!’ It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This ‘Wait’ has almost always meant ‘Never.’ We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that ‘justice too long delayed is justice denied.’” Dr. Marcy Newman reflects upon the relevance of King’s words to the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. 

Three Flat Tires

The Nahr al-Bared Relief Campaign loaded up a truck from its center in Shatila refugee camp in Beirut yesterday to take a shipment of baby formula, medicine, and food aid to Nahr al-Bared refugees in Baddawi refugee camp near Tripoli. There were three of us: our driver from Shatila, a Lebanese, and me, an American. The extra people in the car were there, in part, to ensure that our driver would not be picked up by the army and detained at a checkpoint for driving while Palestinian (think driving while Black in an American context), which is increasingly becoming a problem. Dr. Marcy Newman writes from Lebanon.