Tracing Beirut's Faultlines

Collection with 12 media items created by Benas Gerdziunas

Lebanon 02 Mar 2018 15:42

Almost three decades have passed since the end of Lebanon’s civil war. Beirut, however, remains locked in a post-conflict state, submerged in an urban psychosis. Fuelled by expandable refugee labour from neighbouring Syria, and funded by mass private wealth and fleeing public sector, Beirut is again harbouring the same social conditions preluding previous conflicts. Newfound wealth has divided the emerging elites from impoverished peripheries, and entrenched the power of the once warlords, now made into suited parliamentarians.

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Title photo for the collection
Beirut Urban Faultlines (1)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
21 Nov 2017

Under pressure from the private sector, mass urban development in the post-war years have almost eliminated public spaces from the urban fabric. Only one public beach remains in Beirut, with a raw sewage pipe running beneath it.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (2)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Oct 2017

Children in Lebanon are not taught the contentious history of the 15 year long Lebanese civil war. Mass apathy transformed armed belligerents into suited parliamentarians, with obvious shortcomings left untouched in the non-existent national reconciliation.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (3)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
26 Oct 2017

Many argue Lebanon has never left the post-conflict stage, perhaps, even intentionally. Elements of urban securitization maintain the conflict symbolism throughout the city, however, not without genuine security fears in the region.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (4)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Oct 2017

The post-conflict construction boom, fuelled by corruption and private sector explosion, has led to a psychotic dash for the sky.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (5)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Oct 2017

People, like the last remaining fishermen, were hit the hardest - their livelihoods destroyed by pollution, overconsumption and encroaching mass wealth.

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Syrian supporters in Beirut's Hezboll...
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
05 Oct 2017

Syrians watch football in area controlled by Hezbollah, near Beirut’s Armenian quarter. Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy entrenched in southern Lebanon, has fought successfully alongside the Assad regime in Syria, despite Lebanon’s official policy of neutrality. The spillover from the war resulted in an ongoing ISIS militancy in north-eastern region and a multi-million Syrian influx.. The subsequent economic difficulties have left many Lebanese pointing fingers at the Syrians, not unlike the Palestinian question preluding the civil war in 1975.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (7)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
29 Oct 2017

The mass influx of Syrians has also led to nation wide construction boom, fuelled by unregistered and expandable labour. Combined with a chronic lack of heritage protection and no enforceable planning laws, much of the construction has ripped apart Beirut’s historic fabric. In the Corniche seafront, a rare exception to the rampant build up is found in the crippled, and idle concrete barriers awaiting the now-defunct construction.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (8)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
26 Oct 2017

The largely unregulated medicines market in Lebanon, flooded with international pharmaceuticals, has led to overmedication and a suberge by many into antidepressant overuse to tackle the chronic, and mostly unaddressed, PTSD among the war witnesses.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (9)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
01 Oct 2017

Almost an antidote to the urban psychosis, a private-equity fuelled reach for the sky resulted in deregulated skyscrapers dotting the skyline. Whoever affords it, moves higher, only to be blocked in by the subsequent tower project.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (10)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
16 Oct 2017

And those who could not go higher, were confined to a claustrophobic urban existence.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (11)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
30 Oct 2017

More historic heritage was subsequently destroyed in the post-war construction boom, than in the conflict itself - torn down, dumped into the sea, or simply left to stand idly by the motorway.

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Beirut Urban Faultlines (12)
beirut
By Benas Gerdziunas
12 Jan 2018

Religion, seen simplistically by many as the underlying cause of the civil war, retains an empowering and omnipresent status among the 18 sects in Lebanon. The statue of Virgin Mary in Dowra, Beirut, sees gifts and occasional prayer from the passing Beirutis, heading into the smoke-clogged, rush-hour streets ahead.