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A candlelight walk in Gemmayzeh on Saturday to save Beirut heritage
By 
liveachrafieh.com
-  
2010-09-22

“Save Beirut Heritage” held a press conference on Monday September 20 at the famous Café Gemmayze (that might have to close down by the end of the year). The goal is to make the civil society and the autorities realise that the destruction of Beirut’s old architecture is a serious issue. The association calls for a demonstration on Saturday September 25. All the participants should grab a candle and walk symbolically around Gemmayzeh.

Monday, September 20th. It is noon. A press conference is to begin in the Café des miroirs in Gemmayzeh. Two groups that are present on Facebook “Stop destroying your Heritage” and “Save Beirut Heritage” are here to announce a demonstration that will take place in the real life to save Beirut. The event has already been announced on the social networks. In the audience, there are a few journalists from the local press; others are from the international press.

With this march, activists want to raise the awaireness on this issue. The destruction of the Lebanese architectural heritage is irreversible and it’s a serious matter, they explain. They call for the reclassification of the buildings that have to be protected and the creation of a real legislation to deal with this issue.

The organizers of the conference draw a parallel between the situations of traditional Lebanese houses that are pretty much doomed and the Lebanese cedars that have largely been wiped out during the war. Both are strong symbols of the Lebanese identity but both are neglected.

Lady Cochrane who presides APSAD (Association for the Protection of Sites and Ancient residences) expresses in her speech how much she regrets the beauty of Beirut “ it used to be one of the most admirable cities on the Mediterranean Sea”. She incenses the way “stone was mastered” and “ the real art work Lebanese masons achieved during the 18th century”. She accuses the municipality of corruption “there is no municipality here. One can just pass an envelope to x r y to get a construction permit”. She also implies that estate developers launder money “there are about 300 000 empty flats in Beirut. Someone has to stop this wild speculation, it disfigures the city!”.

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