Gone Baby, Gone..


Picture of Old Beirut

So the new BAD kid on the block is the old house.

Forget about the construction site next to it and which most probably unsettled the base. Forget about the fishy new owner of the building who was not maintaining it; the old building is the only culprit accused of killing its unfortunate inhabitants, and soon enough, all the remaining traditional houses and building still surviving in Beirut will be incriminated.

The dust on the collapsed building in Ashrafieh had literally not settled yet when I spotted them pointing fingers and sneering right there on my TV set’s screen.  “The building is too old and dilapidated”, “it was not fit for residence”, “they had built two extra floors on top of it which weakened the base”; anonymous ‘engineers’ who for some reason held a deep grudge against those beautiful old sandstone structures boasting red brick roofs. They hate their spaciousness, their artistic architecture, the breezy gardens in front, the genuine living space they form. They hate the beauty that they are.

Photo taken by Mahmoud Safadi, posted on the Save Beirut Heritage Facebook page.

Mark my words, this year will witness a total crackdown on the old buildings still standing in Beirut, and the argument is ready: didn’t you see what happened to the Ashrafieh building?


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