Beirut Destroys the City’s Last Public Beach

eLad

eLad

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Ramlet El Bayda beach on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. Photo: Firas BouZeineddine / Facebook

The people of Beirut were shocked this Saturday, Nov. 12, when images of the city's last public beach, Ramlet El Bayda, began circulating on social media, showing the site being destroyed by heavy construction equipment.

The first footage wasfilmedby Lebanese activist Joumana Talhouk, who uploaded the video to Facebook:


The controversy over the ownership of Ramlet El Bayda first made news headlinesback in 2012,and has since been at the center of a tug-of-war between activists, on the one hand, and real estate developers and officials, on the other.

InJune 2016, government officials denied any speculation about the closure of the beach for real-estate-development purposes, after some of the installations were destroyed by excavators.

Ziad Chebib, the governor of Beirut, hadsaid:

The Ramlet El Bayda public beach will not be closed and any form of restricting citizens from accessing the shores, be it for constructional purposes or by erecting fences to close off the area is strictly prohibited.

In this case, activists have the law on their side. Indeed,“Article 2 of Order 144,” the lawregulating coastalproperties in Lebanon since 1925, stipulates that the seashore until the farthest area reached by the waves during winter as well as sand and rocky shores are considered public property.

But despite this law,decree changes and loopholeshave allowed more and more development to happen on the Lebanese coast.

This is not the first case of coastal development in Lebanon happening at the expense of public property. Just recently, activists heldprotestsagainst the government’s plans to transformKfarabida’s rocky beachin the Batroun district in Northern Lebanon to yet another Yacht Club.

The legality of this project has also been the subject of much controversy, as many rules are being bent by using ministerial decrees to get the project approved. Six months earlier, the issue of theAdlounbeach in South Lebanon was raised by local media outlets. It was reported that the natural coast was being destroyed in order to be replaced by a port worth26.6 million USDand erasing, in the process, a Phoenician port site of high cultural and archeological value. The excavations began with no proper environmental impact assessment prompting a conflict between the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministries of Environment and Culture.


Ramlet El Bayda: The Latest Casualty of State Corruption
It is in this context that we should see the case of Ramlet El Bayda.

The real estate company assigned to develop its project is calledAchour Development.Founded in 1991,Achour Developmentwill be developing its “Eden Rock Resort” on the Ramlet El Bayda beach. The company have developed projects all over Beirut ranging from residential to industrial complexes. TheEden Rock Resort’s status is currently “Under Construction” and is composed of 110 and 53 cabins all of which are located by the beach, as described by the company’s website.

This is a photo of the beach in 2011:


Source:Le Coeur A Droite

And this is what it will look like:


Screenshot fromAchoura Developmentwebsite

Needless to say, many are unhappy with these latest developments.

Aprotest was plannedfor Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. On the event page, the description reads:

Because the coastline is a public good, we will run tomorrow to demand the end of the construction works on Ramlet El Baida. We will stand along the coast (Manara to Raoucheh) and walk towards the scene of the crime after the runners have passed [there is the yearly Beirut Marathon happening]. If we don't run to save Beirut's last beach, we will have no Beirut in which to run.

Meanwhile, many Lebanese have taken to social media to express their outrage.

Two Lebanese activists, Firas Bouzeineddine and Whard Sleiman, were at the site on Sunday morning, while the media's attention was focused on the Beirut Marathon.

 
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  • The Jade

    The Jade

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    Who cares ? El mouhemm el 7akibeh al siyediyyeh.
    Who cares?
    Aoun is president.....
    Btw, didn't he just take a picture with the cedars in the backdrop claiming that it's because of his love for the Environment?

    WWPA do?
     
    HannaTheCrusader

    HannaTheCrusader

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    Who cares?
    Aoun is president.....
    Btw, didn't he just take a picture with the cedars in the backdrop claiming that it's because of his love for the Environment?

    WWPA do?

    its a muslim take bro, stop losing sleep over it , no one can do much about it

    shou khassna bi lebnan

    they rule the nation, apply the law s they deem fit , control the ministries and even God forbid any regulatory body disagrees, they ignore them

    juts look at sour new sea resort, where berri send the bulldozers despite many ministries and regulatory bodies refusing to sogn on the project
     
    eLad

    eLad

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    Who cares?
    Aoun is president.....
    Btw, didn't he just take a picture with the cedars in the backdrop claiming that it's because of his love for the Environment?

    WWPA do?
    khod ba2a, what's PMA's love for environment got to do with this? and what's the environment got to do with this project? in fact making the beach a private one is better for the environment, less garbage thrown in the water and less waste left on the beach.

    the issue here is not the environment it's denying the people of Beirut access to the only public beach in the city
     
    The Jade

    The Jade

    Legendary Member
    I love people's logic sometimes

    Let's look into your comments one by one

    khod ba2a, what's PMA's love for environment got to do with this? and what's the environment got to do with this project?
    How isn't destroying a natural beach related to the environment?
    Aoun said that he has a love for the environment, will he stop this project?
    in fact making the beach a private one is better for the environment, less garbage thrown in the water and less waste left on the beach.
    mmm, and hiring a few guys to clean the beach or a few policemen to fine People who throw garbage is NOT a solution?
    Also, this was a public beach, open to everyone.
    Now it will be only accessible to the elite.


    the issue here is not the environment it's denying the people of Beirut access to the only public beach in the city
    The issue both
    The issue is also that this Project is illegal
     
    Indie

    Indie

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    Ramlet al-Bayda’s Demolition Disrupted By Protests



    The destruction of Ramlet al-Bayda, Beirut’s last public beach, is already underway. While Ralmet al-Bayda is one of then many cases of Lebanon’s neoliberal economic policy putting profit over people, there has been an extraordinary level of urgency when it comes to this beach (and understandably so).

    Fearing that Beirut will be the first and only Mediterranean city without a public beach, several activists have been busy trying to deter the construction process of yet another high-end and expensive luxury resort. Eden Bay Resorts, by Achour Development, consists of 110 chalets and 53 cabins, designed for the upper 1% of Lebanon’s population.

    On Monday, November 14, activists headed to Ramlet al-Bayda to disrupt the demolition process. Activist Whard (picture above) was punched in the face, sustaining facial injuries, by a man in plain clothing. The Red Cross never showed up, and the police did not take any action, according to the live video feed. In a quick conversation with Whard, he urged that people turn their outrage into peaceful action, because this is an issue that impacts everyone.

    Whard was treated at the American University of Beirut Medical Center last night. Like many other brave activists who have sustained assaults from the Lebanese establishment, has promised to keep taking action. At the end of our chat, he urged everyone to attend tonight’s protest at Ramlet al-Bayda at 7 PM.

    Ramlet al-Bayda's Demolition Disrupted By Protests | Beirut Syndrome

     
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    Indie

    Indie

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    Ramlet El Bayda: From No Bikinis to No Entrance Allowed?


    The Activist Dilemma

    Don’t get me wrong, this new infarction is just as illegal as the 1200+ other that dot the Lebanese coast. However, pretending Ramlet el Bayda was a heaven-sent, inclusive and accessible beach is far from being true. Lebanon has many faiths and they are always at odds. This means that elevated testosterone levels from religious conservative always ruin things, at the expense of the rest of us who aren’t as militant about our faith (or lack thereof)

    I’m not sure someone could wear a bikini and enjoy a pint of beer there this summer without being harassed or asked to leave or “be more respectful”. Public beaches might be a place that merges all socioeconomic backgrounds and communities in a country, but one that does not tolerate others, isn’t exactly the thing I’d want to defend, even if the alternative is just as shitty.

    The reason I never go down to Ramlet El Bayda and prefer going somewhere more secluded and tolerant, like Sour in the South or Batroun in the North, is that no one is gonna come and tell my friend she can’t wear a bikini here, or ask us to stop drinking Almaza with electronic music blasting from a waterproof portable speaker.

    A grotesque “luxury” “exclusive” and “privileged” hotel and residential tower is definitely not the answer, and the way they’ve bended and broken the law is impressive in how rude it is, so soon after the municipal elections all the crooked politicians colluded in to try to stop the momentum of progress Beirut Madinati ignited. However, the current alternative is also one I cannot get behind and one I cannot support wholeheartedly.

    When was the last time any of you went there?
    When was the last time you went to Ramlet El Bayda to swim? I think the answer of most of you will be I can’t remember, and for good reason. Exclusivity is no longer an acceptable thing, whether it’s excluding people with less money than you, or excluding those that do not share your fanatic zeal for your religion. A corrupt crony capitalist is just as bad as an intolerant religious conservative. Public beaches should feel welcoming to everyone, but as a Lebanese citizen and taxpayer, I never felt welcome there. I definitely won’t feel welcome in that ugly new resort being planned there either.

    Ramlet El Bayda: From No Bikinis to No Entrance Allowed?
     
    Indie

    Indie

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    Who is doing this? Hariri goons?

    Achour Development, formerly known as “The Office of Engineer Mohamad Wissam Ali Achour” was founded in 1991 in Beirut, Lebanon. The company soon established a solid reputation in property development, construction, and real estate consulting. Soon afterwards, our real estate company took projects across the city and began expanding and diversifying its portfolio by affirming its reliability, potential, and success.

    By 1999, Achour Development was managing USD 100 million worth of annual projects; the company completed over 200 real estate and infrastructure projects to date and managed to position itself as one of Lebanon’s largest integrated property developers.

    Achour Development brings together a large team of skilled professionals from different disciplines united by one vision. The company’s skill pool consisting of architects, engineers, and business associates, has over 20 years of experience in real estate with focus on building, developing and managing residential, commercial and industrial projects. The team’s ongoing aim is the timely execution of property development projects at the highest standards, consistent with Achour Development’s mission and values.

    The company’s success is also fueled by its dedicated research team which continually monitors and studies the real estate market, identifying prime location and keeping up-to-date with the latest technology and relevant knowledge in order to support the company’s growth and advancement. Achour Development’s visionary and CEO, Wissam Ali Achour, continues to steer the firm toward achieving greater levels, guided by the inspiring vision of ‘building today for a brighter tomorrow.’

    Achour Development Lebanon | Real Estate Beirut

     
    Indie

    Indie

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    On October 16th, 2014, Achour development launched in an inauguration ceremony Beirut’s new landmark, the Eden Rock Resort.

    The event was hosted at Lancaster Plaza Beirut under the patronage of his Excellency Minister of Tourism Michel Pharaon with Chairman Wissam Ali Achour.

    The Eden Rock Resort. | Executive Bulletin
     
    Indie

    Indie

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    Clueless old men. Out of touch with today's reality.
     
    Aoune32!

    Aoune32!

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    Clueless old men. Out of touch with today's reality.
    When you have a rich bastard like Pharaon and he owning half of Achrafiyeh who cares about the normal average citizen? These parasites are getting rich and the people of this country fight over who gets what in the government. They have changed everything in our country. It is pathetic! People are asleep in Lebanon. We need another civil war or just blow the country to bits and start from scratch.
     
    Indie

    Indie

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    When you have a rich bastard like Pharaon and he owning half of Achrafiyeh who cares about the normal average citizen? These parasites are getting rich and the people of this country fight over who gets what in the government. They have changed everything in our country. It is pathetic! People are asleep in Lebanon. We need another civil war or just blow the country to bits and start from scratch.
    When I see their smirks, I don't know if to hate them or pity them for maintaining such ignorance despite their fortunes.

    But I can't hate, so I just end up disgusted.
     
    Aoune32!

    Aoune32!

    Well-Known Member
    When I see their smirks, I don't know if to hate them or pity them for maintaining such ignorance despite their fortunes.

    But I can't hate, so I just end up disgusted.
    We shouldn't hate them. We should hate our people for letting this happen while their busy picking up the crumbs from the floor these people are getting rich and making a fortune from OUR beaches, parks, etc.
     
    Indie

    Indie

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    We shouldn't hate them. We should hate our people for letting this happen while their busy picking up the crumbs from the floor these people are getting rich and making a fortune from OUR beaches, parks, etc.
    The thing is...this is so widespread that you start to feel powerless. How many protests are you going to attend? There are so many disgusting projects like this one going on at the same time. Especially that protesting doesn't achieve anything, in the end. And if you become too rowdy they beat you up and put you in jail.

    The majority of the people can't stop working and taking care of their kids, or risk getting hurt to keep going to protests. If these were isolated cases, maybe people could do something about it...but this is a virus spreading all over the country and cannibalizing it.
     
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