The Political Ecologies of 2019
Georges explains that his experience of the protest was heavily affected by where he is from - not only where he lives in Jounieh but his hometown of Rmeileh near the Bisri valley – and the complex geographies and political ecologies that formed his personal context for October 2019. He recounts how, in the lead-up to October 2019, he went with others to protest the construction of a dam in Marj Bisri and the closure of Beirut’s pine woods (Horsh Al-Sanawbar). Georges draws a mosaic map that connects the ecological dimension to the protest.
At the top is written Marj Bisri in Arabic. A dam was proposed to be built in this area but was met with opposition by local residents and environmental activists. In September 2020, the World Bank notified the Lebanese Government that it was withdrawing the funds for the dam.
Written in Arabic is Horsh Beirut that refers to the largest public park in Beirut and pine forest. This public space has long been closed to the public and has been a site of constant urban activism to ensure that it is opened up for public use. To date Horsh Beirut remains a place where the struggle for the public to access this public park is ongoing.
Written in Arabic is Nahr Al-Kelb that translates as Dog River. This river is also the location of an important highway tunnel that was blocked during the protests and stopped traffic to and from Beirut.