The Rise of Beirut: Break on through to the other side

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Sure it’s been tough, tougher than it’s ever been.

I remember roaming the streets of Hamra, or Gemayze probably around some seven years ago living off half the salary I earn today, thinking that it can only get better…but, and this may be the pessimist in me, it didn’t (save for the increase in salary which has proven pointless in an ever inflating economy).

The small town starry eyed girl can now see all that Beirut has to offer; the little to no hope presented through its news bulletin on a daily basis, and the sheer desperation of its youth exemplified by an increase in immigration.

Needless to say, things got harder, and now I can only attribute the glee of those years to the rose colored glasses I had on during that time.

But regardless of the mounting challenges romping and stomping each and every one of us, all the while sucking what’s left of the lives we merely boast as portrayals of happiness; we rise.

I’m speaking of the intelligent fragment of Lebanese society of course, so if you’re over here by mistake or mere coincidence in search of the latest fashion trends, political Neanderthalism or celebrity gossip turn back with no regrets. However, if you’re like me, scavenging through social media outlets in hopes of making a connection to whomever out there is in search of a glimpse of hope in these licentious, talentless, politically oversaturated times, then you’ve come to the right place.

Crossing Beirut’s once war torn, weary streets from east to west and west to east one can easily be fooled with the newly constructed, monumental structures depicting in my opinion what is grade-A self-denial. Tall, shiny, cold – lacking any sort of connection to what I like to think of is our inherent sense of creativity, authenticity, and not to mention simplicity.

In contrast, it seems there is an innate need within my generation to connect with a past, long lost before our parents eyes…destroyed, shredded, withered. A glimpse from an old black and white or even colored movie depicting pre-war Lebanon, even photos of the era…anything that can help us form an identity as close to our truest self as possible, away from what the money driven media has to offer. Away from the Haifa, Nancy, Elyssa Syndrome et al. Away from it all.

And so the  youths have taken charge, fishing out an Odysseus like nostalgia like no other and bringing it to the forefront via music, paintings and an ever so nihilistic sense of existence.

This neo-hippie or what I like to call the “rebellious bunch” have taken the capital by storm. Spray painting support walls, singing around street corners, forming intricate relations based on a mutual yet unspoken understanding away from society’s preconceived notions of “la2 ya emme”, “3ayb”, “skette ente bent” and “khalik rekez ya sabbeh”…and guess what? There’s something for everybody!

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