Beirut’s Old Manara

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There was a time in Beirut when, what seemed like a mammoth structure, black and white stripes ascending up to the skies, played a major role in this city. Built on a little hill facing the Mediterranean Sea, the tallest one in the land, it stood still, proud, and useful. Now it stands there suffocating for air minisculed by the huge buildings around it. It stands there although still perceptible, yet useless in all its might.

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Coming Home

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In my dreams, I see my homeland;

Far too long I’ve been away.

Land of wondrous charm and beauty,

Far from her, my skies are gray.

Land, which gave me love and nurture,

Here, in which my life began,

How I long for Lebanon,

Many splendored native land.

This, the land of my forefathers,

This, the soil from which I grew,

This, in my heart ever precious,

The only home I ever knew.

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When Music Enchants

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“I feel that music on the screen can seek out and intensify the inner thoughts of the characters. It can invest a scene with terror, grandeur, gaiety, or misery. It can propel narrative swiftly forward, or slow it down. It often lifts mere dialogue into the realm of poetry. Finally, it is the communicating link between the screen and the audience, reaching out and enveloping all into one single experience.”

Film composer Bernard Herrmann.

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The Holy Month of Ramadan

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A certain calmness starts to take over our Beirut’s mornings today as the first day of Ramadan is upon us. Today many Lebanese start fasting, praying more earnestly, watching what they say, thinking twice before speaking, being kinder to their families and friends, contemplating on life, respecting, laughing, and loving. The month of Ramadan begins with the sighting of the new moon, which varies from country to country.

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Beirut’s Beacon of Faded Glamour

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Change occurs very rapidly in the city of Beirut. It has changed often and quickly and is still changing now. The Sporting Club, located in Al-Manara, lies there guarding the sea, in the shadows of the ferris wheel or the Luna park and facing the sakhret el Rawche (the pigeon’s rock). It stands there in stark contrast to the anarchic growth of high-rise buildings surrounding it. Untouched by modern esthetics, it remains one of those great city institutions. This beloved venue that evokes strong feelings of nostalgia among the city’s residents is the last man standing in terms of guarding Beirut’s old glamour days, maintaining its sense of identity.

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The Way We Express Ourselves

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Today is a special post as I celebrate reaching half way through my blog. If someone had told me 8 months ago that I would start a blog and would have the discipline to sit down everyday for a couple of hours to research and write, I would have laughed and said ‘yeah right.” This blog has taught me so much and I have to admit, awakened something in me that I thought was long gone. Back when I was at AUB, I took a course in creative writing, my professor had told me to keep writing since I seem to love it so much, but in all honesty I never had the confidence, thinking that no one would want to read me. It’s really incredible how things happen in ones life and change you in ways you never thought possible.

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The Voice of Beirut

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Beirut windows slowly awaken

Houses piled up one on top of the other,

Whatever she does complements her

Together we live,

Each one on his own window

And life is ahead of us with its flowers and thorns

Beirut windows slowly awaken

Read in her coffee cups and tell me what do you foresee for her

She has seen a lot

Sweet days and sour ones

She doesn’t get enough of legends and life is still at its beginning

Beirut windows awaken slowly

Our stories hanging on clothesline, forgotten,

Colorful canvases on grey rooftops

Beirut windows slowly awaken

She stands in the early morning light

And puts kohol in her eyes

Someone will definitely drop by to visit her

And the sea with its ebbs and tides

Never tires and never stops

And no matter how old she gets

Only he is affectionate towards her

(lyrics translated from her song Shababik Beirut _ Beirut’s Windows)

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The Patron Saint of Beirut

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As you stand next to the Saint George Hotel, facing the Saint George Bay, looking far onto the Mediterranean Sea, a legend centuries ago of bravery, love, and chivalry took place. Its story travelled with the Crusaders and was retold with the courtly appurtenances belonging to the genre of Romance. This Story is of a Roman soldier named George.

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