Beirut Madinati candidacy is not solely for the Beirut municipality elections. Beirut Madinati is a movement. While imagination flowed through every vein of every dreamer, of every person who is seeking change on Sunday the 8th of May, there was a mass awakening of a generation that felt that the oligarchs were drowning their voices out. Oligarchs who have been sworn enemies for years and yet created alliances against a group with no political power whatsoever, because they feared not only their power but ours too.
The Beirut Madinati Municipal Program is a plan to improve living conditions in Beirut. It was developed by experts with decades of experience in research, consultancy, and advocacy work in urban affairs, and who have found that for many years their advocacy for people-centered urban development has fallen on deaf ears in Lebanon’s centers of power. Realizing the futility of continuing to try to convince the Beirut Municipal Council to adopt the livability of the city as a core concern, this group has launched a campaign to elect qualified individuals whose primary objective is to make Beirut more livable: more affordable, more walkable, more green, more accessible, and, simply, more pleasant.
The Program recognizes Beirut as a cultural and economic center in the region, the heart of a metropolitan area, the capital city of Lebanon, and its main gateway to the outside world. It envisions Beirut as a vibrant, dynamic, and efficient city that:
- values social inclusivity, accessibility, and diversity, and is forward-looking in its commitments to long-term sustainable development,
- embraces its waterfront,
- celebrates its rich heritage as an economic and cultural capital,
- boasts an integrated network of green, socially inclusive public spaces,
- offers a variety of housing options to respond to the multiple needs of its dwellers,
- works with surrounding towns to respond to the imperatives of urban mobility and adequate shelter,
- recognizes the need to live in harmony with its environment,
- capitalizes on and benefits from entrepreneurship and innovation to sustain economic growth and job creation,
- and upgrades its public services and amenities to improve the livelihoods and wellbeing of its citizens.
As our hearts gallop altogether, past the chaotic streets of imaginations, this movement, this waltz by the young made its way to a pace that knows no sojourn. We are young in this agronomy. Our blue tainted fingers reminded us of our increasing responsibilities as our inner light realized the throng of our shadows, away from the dark.
So let us unpin our juvenile wings from the clasp of what startles us back to our flawed origins. Let us not neglect this. Let us, hand in hand, straightforwardly, break from our nascent states and unfurl in a craze of the so many things that capture our potentials. Outside my home, there is a small voice that is making itself heard. It reached to me, and woke me up from my deep sleep. It made me want to take part in an election that I never thought would mean anything to me.
I looked outside my window last night as the sounds of the fireworks were tearing the silence of Beirut’s night and saw the mellow moon enter with its lithe figure through the hollow spaces of doors, to lairs where the youth are sleeping, unmindful of what dreams log onto the papers of their souls and thought to myself: dare I dream of change?
Beirut has always been for dreamers, real is its form. There is no lie in its rawness, in our rawness. The voice inside us is tender with message, purging their poisons into detox and preparing with new energies, our flesh for our consigned ventures.
The voluminous pages of Lebanon’s history are still white and new, words besmirched still yearn to be written. There is no getting realer than the realization of our clarion call: To Act… To Act… To Act… To keep up the fight… To stand tall and fight on because at the end of the day the passage of time is our enemy and savior.
To my Beirut, we are watching over you.