City of Now

13 commentsArchitecture,Beirut

Left to right: Beirut’s present, future, and past.

A sto­ry should have a begin­ning, a mid­dle, and an end… but not nec­es­sar­i­ly in that order.

– Jean-Luc Godard

Beirut is a city of dif­fer­ence: 9 lay­ers of his­to­ry lie buried under 67 square kilo­me­ters on which tiny pock­ets of art-nou­veau archi­tec­ture squeeze into a mod­ern urban land­scape co-inhab­it­ed by 18 dif­fer­ent reli­gious sects in tac­it peace. Built upon a shift­ing seis­mic plate, it remains volatile, caught in a fleet­ing moment, pushed for­ward by the momen­tous force of past events towards an ever-elu­sive future that some­how remains beyond its reach.

Today’s plan­ners and shapers sur­vey my home city Beirut as arche­ol­o­gists do its his­tor­i­cal sites, col­lect­ing arti­facts in a bas­ket, brush­ing the sand off some, dis­card­ing oth­ers, recon­struct­ing ambigu­ous forms out of incom­plete frage­ments, some­times sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly but more often through pure spec­u­la­tion. This is a fic­ti­tious city char­ac­ter­ized not by what it is, but by what it was and what it could be.

Caught in a state of sus­pend­ed ado­les­cence, Beirut col­laps­es its many yes­ter­days, todays, and tomor­rows into a sin­gle Now.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

mohamad May 20, 2010 at 6:30 am

the photo talks... its amazing

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mohamad May 20, 2010 at 9:30 am

the photo talks... its amazing

Reply

Meedo May 20, 2010 at 9:03 am

Beirut... sigh.

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Meedo May 20, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Beirut... sigh.

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mariam May 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Beautiful words!

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Meedo May 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Thanks for stopping by! :)

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mariam May 26, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Beautiful words!

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Meedo May 26, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Thanks for stopping by! :)

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Lamis May 27, 2010 at 10:25 am

Beirut forever.

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Meedo May 27, 2010 at 10:26 am

And ever. :)

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Lamis May 27, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Beirut forever.

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Meedo May 27, 2010 at 1:26 pm

And ever. :)

Reply

John Laham April 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I pressed "Like" just after seeing the photo... you had me at that. :-)

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