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The Beirut Banyan

Author: Ronnie Chatah

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Conversations and commentary. From Beirut and beyond.
12 Episodes
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We’re joined by Ziad Majed for Episode 9 of The Beirut Banyan, and we discuss the legacy of Samir Kassir.Ziad was a close friend and political ally of Samir, and he shares with us the journey that took them to the forefront of Lebanese politics, and ultimately led to Samir Kassir’s assassination on 2 June 2005.Currently living in Paris and lecturing at the American University of Paris, Ziad pursues a career that blends academia with journalism and politics, true to Samir Kassir’s legacy.Full versions of the audio clips of Samir Kassir at the 30 and 60 minute marks can be found on the following links:https://youtu.be/i8dspOuAC2chttps://youtu.be/9rjE13P-ZCQFollow us on Instagram: thebeirutbanyanTwitter: beirut_banyanFacebook: The Beirut BanyanWebsite: www.beirutbanyan.comMusic by Marc Codsi​. Graphics by Sara Tarhini​.
We're joined by Nadim Houry for Episode 8 of The Beirut Banyan, and we discuss all aspects of human rights following the end of the civil war.Nadim was the director of Human Rights Watch / Lebanon for over a decade before moving to Paris to run Arab Reform Initiative. He reflects on accomplishments made, the challenges surrounding his work and the setbacks felt following the 2005 protests that culminated in the Syrian army's withdrawal from Lebanon.Follow us on Instagram: thebeirutbanyanTwitter: beirut_banyanFacebook: The Beirut BanyanWebsite: www.beirutbanyan.comMusic by Marc Codsi. Graphics by Sara Tarhini.
The breakdown of infrastructure, lack of domestic accountability and the desperate need for state sovereignty and regional neutrality.
Minister of Interior Raya El Hassan joins us for Episode 7 of The Beirut Banyan, and we cover a wide range of issues under her portfolio.From traffic safety to a women's inability to independently pass her nationality; from the applicability of civil marriage law to the capabilities of internal investigations. The challenges and constrains of Lebanese state sovereignty are discussed at length.Raya El Hassan was the first female Lebanese Minister of Finance (a post she held from 2009 - 2011). She is the first female Lebanese and Arab Minister of Interior.Follow us on Instagram: thebeirutbanyanTwitter: beirut_banyanFacebook: The Beirut BanyanWebsite: www.beirutbanyan.comMusic by Marc Codsi​. Graphics by Sara Tarhini.
We're joined by Abdallah Salam for Episode 6, and we get into all the technicalities surrounding the civil marriage debate in Lebanon.Abdallah is an international lawyer based in New York, and recently held his civil marriage ceremony in Beirut. Him and his wife, Marie-Joe Nassif, are currently pushing for their marriage registration at the Ministry of Interior. Our conversation includes previous civil marriage registration attempts, and the few successful registrations that occurred over the past decade.Abdallah and Marie-Joe's ceremony received heavy local and international press coverage, and raised the issue once again of civil marriage domestic law's application in Lebanon. Click on the links below for reports:https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2019/Jul-05/486817-civil-marriage-stalled-at-interior-ministry-newlyweds.ashxhttps://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/lebanon-civil-marriage-debate-resurfaces.htmlhttps://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1177526/civil-marriage-in-lebanon-two-newlyweds-try-to-restart-the-stalled-process.htmlhttp://www.lefigaro.fr/international/ces-libanais-qui-se-rebellent-contre-le-mariage-religieux-20190722https://www.lemonde.fr/international/article/2019/07/23/au-liban-un-couple-relance-le-debat-sur-le-mariage-civil_5492311_3210.htmlhttps://www.tv5mondeplus.com/toutes-les-videos/information/64-le-monde-en-francais-1re-partie-edition-du-27-07-19-part-1And their full ceremony is posted here:https://youtu.be/pU9WUJswQwwFollow us on Instagram: thebeirutbanyanTwitter: beirut_banyanFacebook: The Beirut BanyanWebsite: www.beirutbanyan.comMusic by Marc Codsi​. Graphics by Sara Tarhini​.
We're joined by Nadim Shehadi, executive director of Lebanese American University's New York campus.Nadim offers a historic perspective on sectarianism and secularism, and comes to conclusions rather unique among academics focusing on the region. His case for the sectarian power-sharing order Lebanon inherited is a must-listen-to, as well as his adamant opposition to civil marriage.Nadim is a Chatham House Associate Fellow and previously served as the director of Tufts University / Fletcher School's Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies.Follow us on Instagram: thebeirutbanyanTwitter: beirut_banyanFacebook: The Beirut BanyanWebsite: www.beirutbanyan.comMusic by Marc Codsi. Graphics by Sarah Tarhini.
We're in Beirut for Episode 4 of The Beirut Banyan, and we're joined by Lebanon's Ambassador to the United Nations, Amal Mudallali.Amal's career bridges journalism and politics with research, analysis and diplomacy. Prior to her current post at the UN, Amal worked at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a leading Washington, DC based think-tank with her research focusing on Lebanon and wider Middle East issues. She also served as a foreign policy and American affairs advisor to the late Rafik Hariri and current Prime Minister Saad Hariri.Amal was a journalist at An-Nahar newspaper in the 1990s, and got her start as a war-time correspondent in Beirut in the buildup and aftermath of the Israeli invasion of 1982.Music by Marc Codsi. Graphic design by Sarah Tarhini.Website: www.beirutbanyan.com
We're in Ras Beirut for the third episode of The Beirut Banyan, and we're joined by Mona El Hallak.Mona is best known for helping save and restore the 'Barakat Building' on the city's former Green Line. Today the building serves as a museum of Beirut's civil war and is better known by its current name, Beit Beirut.Mona is more than an architect and an urban planner. She is an activist and a heritage enthusiast, and she's one of the city's foremost storytellers when it comes to the civil war. Mona is adamant that Beirut cannot heal properly without devoting communal space for reflection on the city's most violent years, and she works on initiatives ranging from photography exhibits to neighborhood community outreach to achieve that goal.The first break begins at 28:38, where the conversation shifts from general urban planning history to Mona's intervention in helping save the 'Barakat Building'. The second break begins at 50:44, where Mona's career reaches local politics.Beit Beirut's website is: http://www.beitbeirut.orgMake sure to check it out, and if you see Mona there you'll experience how she shares the building's story.Music by Marc Codsi. Graphics by Sarah Tarhini.
We're joined by Elias Maalouf, founder of Train/Train NGO.We get into the origins of the rail network of Lebanon and how Lebanese excelled at rail in the late 19th century. The discussion covers Ottoman politics, French Mandate pursuits, and post-independence reluctance to retain rail throughout the country. The conversation also covers Beirut's old tram network and its dismantlement in the early 1960s, and how protests by rail employees helped preserve rail until the onset of the civil war.There is a brief intermission at 30:00, where the conversation takes a turn from general history to Elias' personal story. If a break is needed mid-way, that's a good spot to pause and return later.Check out 5:57 - 6:47 of the following link for footage from 1921 of the old tram network in Beirut:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EHxGt2oiSAClick on the following link for an interview with my doppleganger, Eddy Choueiri, about a book that he and Elias worked on together titled 'Liban Sur Rail':https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvn1AwU0mMMAnd join Train/Train's Facebook page to see events they're coordinating by clicking here:https://www.facebook.com/traintrainlebanon/
In defense of Mashrou' Leila and artistic expression.
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