Lebanon is What You Make It

After attending LoveTalks at minus1 this weekend, I thought I’d create a list of things going on that are aiming to better Lebanon rather than focus on the unfortunate events that are contaminating our souls on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Hearing a brief talk by our pioneer couple of civil marriage, Nidal & Khouloud Darwich, I too want to create other “cornerstones of change” that will bring about a non-sectarian non-violent Lebanon. They’re not grand movements but they’re baby steps. I also included a few events that are just for fun – that’s important too.

1.) Pecha Kucha Volume 19 at minus1- FEB 26TH

I’ve never actually been to any of the Pecha Kucha events but this particular one has a good line-up of speakers who are behind some great initiatives including I Am Not A Tourist & Visualizing Palestine. It’s also being held at minus1 which is located down the street between Blom Bank and Hawa Chicken in Ashrafieh (3al SNA as they say). There’s no sign but it’s down a ramp covered in graffiti.

2.) March against the Fouad Boutros Highway – MAR 1ST at 3PM & 2ND at 11AM

Plans for this highway date back to the 60s. It seems that our urban planning skills haven’t improved – the highway has virtually no benefits whatsoever. The construction of it will cause chaos, 30 heritage buildings and green spaces will be destroyed, the road itself will cause more traffic, AND it’s going to cost $75 million.

Based on the Beirut Report, the “Boutros Road was supposed to break ground last summer but was delayed following an outcry in the media and from citizen heritage groups. Can public pressure work again? There’s no reason to believe it cannot.” Read the whole post here. Let’s do this, people.

3.) The KAFA Women’s March – MAR 8TH

A lot of violence towards women has been in the news lately. After reported deaths and the recent parliamentary signed-but-didn’t-sign confusion over the domestic abuse law (a vote has yet to take place it seems), we’re going to the streets to try to create change. The march starts at Mathaf (the National Museum) at 2pm. Please join.

4.) Wanton Bishops and the Postcards at Concrete 1994 – MAR 6th

The Wanton Bishops are back with a new single. Drop in for a glass of wine as The Postcards let you unwind with their indie feel-good vibes. Then rock out with Nader & Eddy. Two totally different LEBANESE bands that’ll make you proud of our music scene.

5.) The Bustan Festival – NOW TILL MAR 23RD

Plenty of classical music concerts and two nights with the State Ballet of Georgia. There’s a cellist playing on Mother’s Day evening too if you’re looking for a nice present for mommy. Check out the full program here.

6.) Al Saeh Book Drive

A great treasure was burned down in Tripoli some weeks back. Let’s work to rebuild it instead of dwelling on the tragedy. There’s a drive to collect books to fill up the shelves again. A lot of different locations are starting their own collection – minus1 has their own so if you decide to go to Pecha Kucha, bring some books with you.

7.) foodblessed Sunday Bake Sales

foodblessed is an NGO that tries to counter poverty by making use of food that is usually wasted. As stated on their Facebook page, “foodblessed is a local hunger relief initiative run by a group of volunteers with a passion and will to fight hunger in Lebanon. Our mission combines environmental and social responsibility. We work with strategic partners –including food and non-food companies- through recovering surplus food from events, organizing food drives, and fundraiser events to collect food (which includes surplus perishable food and non-perishable food items) and distribute it to local non-profit partners in need. While we help other non-profits, our efforts divert food wastes for reuse and better serve underprivileged communities.” They’re now having bake sales at the Beirut Waterfront at the Beirut by Bike cycling area.

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