To be Free


Let it be known far and wide, let the pots and pans clanging sound resonate high and low, that on the 17th of October 2019, Lebanon set itself free.

Free from the clutches of sectarianism,

Free from the hypocrisy of the rich feeding off the poor man’s bread,

Free from a tyrant political class that bled this country dry.

Let it be known that the Lebanese from far South to the far North chanted together in the name of brotherly freedom, in love and unison, “nihna el sha3b el khatt el ahmar” (we the people, are where the red line is drawn). These words captured in time will echo forever. Tripoli, Beqaa, Beirut, Saida, Sour, Nabatieh, Jal el dib, Aqaar, Khalde, Baalbek, Zahle,… all reached out to one another as one nation with one nationality under the Lebanese flag, demanding change, demanding basic human rights to live in a country of their own making, a country they yearn for, a country free of pollution, a country that has electricity and clean running water, a country with public transport, a country that takes care of its sick and of its elderly, a country that can educate its lowest denominator, and most pertinently a country that is free to think for itself.

What makes a nation’s pillars high and its foundations strong?

What makes it mighty to defy? The will of its people, the youths of Lebanon have chanted back in magnificent loudspeaker squeaky sounds.

It is for us to know now that the things that haven’t been done before, those are the things to try. The things that haven’t been done before are the tasks worthwhile today; and we shall lead the way. No more beaten down souls that quail shall roam the streets at the jeers of a doubting crew. We shall dare, whether we win or fail to strike out for a goal that’s new, to claim this little nation for our own and build it back brick by brick to what it was once known.

Today on the 22nd of November 2019, we shall stand united in every part of this country with pots and pans, candles and hope under the Lebanese flag claiming our independence for the first time.

Red for the blood shed in the name of Freedom, for which we fought united. White for the peace we wish to share, all men created equal, and the cedar for the roots we will build here, right here where we stand!

Live bravely, you unconquerable Lebanese souls.

 3ishtom wa 3asha Loubnan (may you live, and may Lebanon live)

In memory of Hussein and Alaa (both killed during the revolution)

Cover Painting by Tom Young

Some pictures below are taken from the internet






Every night at eight sharp, as the sky turns black and the cold breeze sweeps through Beirut’s exhausted balconies, the sound of the drumming of the revolution with defiant determination echoes in the alleys of the city. Bang, bang, bang goes the beating of pots and pans. Amidst the chaos of this cacophony, I stand on my balcony and let that rush of emotion take hold of me and I shed a tear… a tear or joy, a tear of fear, a tear of excitement, a tear of apprehension, but mostly a tear of hope. And hope can not wither away with time. So here is to hope, every day, every night, every hour, every minute, every second. Hope for life, for change, for dignity, for resilience in the face of evil, hope for a better future.

Long live Lebanon 🇱🇧


Beroe… a Nymph, a City

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Extract from the Dionysiaca by NONNUS OF PANOPOLIS (a Greek poet who flourished in Egypt in the 5th century A.D.)

“[The city of Beruit is founded at the dawn of creation:] Here dwelt a people age mates with the dawn, whom Phusis (Nature) by her own breeding, in some unwedded way, begat without bridal, without wedding, fatherless, motherless, unborn: when the atoms were mingled in fourfold combination, and the seedless ooze shaped a clever offspring by comingling water with fiery heat and air [i.e. the four elements–Air, Earth, Fire and Water], and quickened the teeming mud with the breath of life. To these Phusis (Nature) gave perfect shape . . . And these dwelt in the city of Beroe, that primordial seat which Kronos (Cronus) himself built . . .

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The Game of Far Away Land

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The chattering of women flows in the room as the soothing sounds of shells being thrown on a piece of velvet fabric drowns the noises. Children play as women gather around a small piece of hand-embroidered cloth. Barjis although a dying game, yet somehow it has managed to survive so far.

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The Soap Museum

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In the biblical old city souk of Sidon, inhabited since about 5,000 years, stands the old souk from the Mamluk era. Beyond the saffron colored walls of the city souk and its labyrinth aisles, a bit secluded from the hustle and bustle of daily life at the souk, stands a discreet yet elegant white building with green shutters. Guided by the unmistakable scent of sweet soap wafting out well into the alleys, one is led towards the beautiful building of the soap museum situated on El Shakrieh Street. The scent of olive soap embraces the air and perfumes it with the fragrant smell of olives and bay leaves, purifying the air from the harsh sea salt wind that blows from the sea only a few kilometers away.

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Of Passion and Dance 

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Just below the highway, not far from where human atrocities took place a while ago, underneath speeding cars, a black semi circular structure with glitzy lights, a tank, has found a temporary home. The city of Beirut has many souls that are kept alive by its dreamers and enthusiasts and this space represents one of them. It’s the soul of this city that moves to a rhythm only it understands, a rhythm that breaks free from the here and now and transfers it to a place of arts and beauty.
Inside that tank structure is perhaps the most magical place created by man and perhaps the most simplistic; a black wood floor. This black wood floor though is more than just a place, it’s a doorway to life, arts, and culture, and what elevates us as human beings. Borders are crossed, wars are ended, and people come together without fear of prejudice. It is a shrine of passion and dreams. It’s a place of quiet sentiment and uplifting of the soul. It’s where the spotlights highlight and shadow the beauty of the dancer’s movement performing on stage. 
Omar Rajeh is the founder of BIPOD (Beirut international platform of dance), one of the most important platforms for contemporary dance in the Arab World. Through Maqamat he also initiated many projects that similarly prompted the company to play a major role in the establishment and development of a contemporary dance scene in Beirut and the region. He is also the co-founder of Masahat Dance Network, a regional dance network in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, & Palestine, founder of Leymoun – Arab Dance Platform and of Takween – intensive training project for Lebanese and Arab young dancers in partnership with Sasha Waltz and Guests.
On its 13th edition, bipod announced the birth of Citerne, a space for creativity, art, and experimentation. Citerne Beirut, French for tank/reservoir/basin, is a new creative preforming art space, directed by Mia Habis, that presents local and international contemporary dance performances, music concerts, theatre productions, and related forms of arts. It’s a mobile steel structure that can be reconfigured and placed anywhere. Its final destination though is wishfully envisaging being anchored somewhere in this city, creating a new space for self-expression and highlighting the importance of culture in it.
In this cold steel structure a space is created for progression and strongly rooted, belief in openness, ingenuity, and originality. Twenty two dance performances from all over the world, and more than a hundred artists, approach, dream, change, and live art and cultures to its best. The name ingeniously refers to the structure as being a cultural hub, a reservoir for creativity, something that still makes Beirut quiet special compared to any of its counterparts.
As the darkness settles, the flickering of light and the ease of music takes over the stage and engulfs the whole space. The mind, body, and heart join to create harmony. No words needed, just dance, movements, and agility. Those who appreciate arts and culture will understand the significance of new ideas and concepts, of dance and how the body moves, the meaning of being liberated from earthly gravity, and the power of free expression.
To my Beirut and the raw energy of her dreamers, Omar Rajeh & Mia Habis
Because it’s their duty to challenge and create such a space and our duty to support… To Bipod!