Heart of Beirut: Reclaiming the Bourj

Heart of Beirut: Reclaiming the Bourj

Samir Khalaf / Sep 19, 2019

Heart of Beirut Reclaiming the Bourj The Bourj in central Beirut is one of the world s oldest and most vibrant public squares Named after the mediaeval lookout tower that once soared above the city s imposing ramparts the square has als

  • Title: Heart of Beirut: Reclaiming the Bourj
  • Author: Samir Khalaf
  • ISBN: 9780863565427
  • Page: 373
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Bourj in central Beirut is one of the world s oldest and most vibrant public squares Named after the mediaeval lookout tower that once soared above the city s imposing ramparts, the square has also been known as Place des Canons after a Russian artillery build up in 1773 and Martyrs Square after the Ottoman execution of nationalists in 1916 As an open museum ofThe Bourj in central Beirut is one of the world s oldest and most vibrant public squares Named after the mediaeval lookout tower that once soared above the city s imposing ramparts, the square has also been known as Place des Canons after a Russian artillery build up in 1773 and Martyrs Square after the Ottoman execution of nationalists in 1916 As an open museum of civilizations, it resonates with influences from ancient Phoenician to colonial, post colonial and, as of late, postmodern elements Over the centuries it has come to embody pluralism and tolerance.During the Lebanese civil war 1975 90 , this ebullient entertainment district, transport hub and melting pot of cultures was ruptured by the notorious Green Line, which split the city into belligerent warring factions Fractious infighting and punishing Israeli air raids compounded the damage, turning the Bourj into a no man s land.In the wake of former Prime Minister Rafik al Hariri s assassination 14 February 2005 , the Bourj witnessed extraordinary scenes of popular, multi faith and cross generational protest Once again, Samir Khalaf argues, the heart of Beirut was poised to re invent itself as an open space in which diverse groups can celebrate their differences without indifference to the other By revisiting earlier episodes in the Bourj s numerous transformations of its collective identity, Khalaf explores prospects for neutralizing the disheartening symptoms of reawakened religiosity and commodified consumerism.Samir Khalaf is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Behavioral Research at the American University of Beirut He has held academic appointments at Princeton, Harvard, MIT, and New York University His other books include Lebanon s Predicament, Civil and Uncivil Violence and Cultural Resistance Global and Local Encounters in the Middle East Saqi Books.

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      373 Samir Khalaf
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      Published :2018-09-16T13:07:42+00:00

    About "Samir Khalaf"

      • Samir Khalaf

        Samir Khalaf is a Lebanese sociologist He was born in Beirut on October 14, 1933 He has written extensively on the Arab world and on Lebanon in particular The majority of themes in his work include sexuality in the Arab world, the Lebanese Civil War, Urbanization, and the role of the Protestant missionaries in the Levant He is currently a professor of sociology at the American University of Beirut, and has also been a director of the Centre for Behavioural Research there since 1994.Khalaf received his bachelor s degree in Economics from the American University of Beirut in 1955, and later his MA in Sociology in 1957 Further, he obtained an MA in Economics and Sociology in 1959, and PhD in Sociology in 1964 from Princeton University.


    222 Comments

    1. Beirut is a playground. That's the conclusion I got from the book.I liked this book even though the writer's political leanings are shouting through a loudspeaker.Some chapters were interesting and others were dragging.What was more exciting for me was the fact that the author has such rich vocabulary that I need to sit down and read this book again and study how he has used some of the words that I rarely use.


    2. Khalaf traces the history of Beirut's main public square (often called Martyr's Square) and its various sometimes paradoxical signfications--symbol of a vibrant public sphere, symbol of division (as home to the "green zone" during the war), symbol of the vast potential for "collective mobilisation." Really good, often optimistic, read.



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