Samir Kassir .pdf
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Articles by Samir Kassir
Beirut is the Spring of
by Samir Kassir
Annahar: March 4, 2005
There is a banner on the Salim Slam Street
that reads: "Beirut is too big to be
contained." The slogan is undoubtedly
beautiful, provided that we ignore the
concerns of its author. These concerns
become clearer as you read slogans on other
banners in the same street. The slogans
revive [Arab] national utterances that even
[Syrian Information Minister] Mahdi
Dakhlallah, former editor-in-chief of the
Baath newspaper and the current custodian
of what's left of the publicity of the two
Baaths, finds hard to buy. Even if the slogan
is signed by one of the fossilized dinosaurs of
what was once known as "the Beirut Street,"
something like Abou El-Abed with the least
of innocence and a lot of hidden intelligence
[agencies] effort behind it, still, the one who
signed it was right even if unintentionally.
Indeed, Beirut looks today too big to be
contained by anything, least so by the
banners of old times. These slogans are
much more complicated than to be restricted
in the typical "Beirut Street", which is still
being glorified by old jargon whose date has
expired, if it ever had an expiration date.
Beirut has come back today as a big symbol
in the Arab world. It suddenly grew without
anyone predicting it. Nothing can contain it
and nothing can dwarf it anymore. It can
address, once again, its sisters in Arabism:
Look, I got rid of fear and stood up again, I
defied silence and its guards, I dared
oppression and here I tell you that your
renaissance is possible again, oh ye Arabs!
A time to Rethink
Annahar: April 1,
Beirut is the
Spring of Arabs
Annahar: March 4,
No nearer to
Searching for the
The Return of the
Annahar: May 6,
When Hariri is in
Annahar: Feb. 4,
Website by Tarek Atrissi Design. For more
thanks and acknowledgments.
Not a long time ago, Beirut - the city of
luxury and spoils - embraced the Arab cause
like this cause had never been embraced
before in any other Arab capital. Palestinians
can testify to that. It thus became the
screaming agony of Arabism, before it
decorated its chest with the medal of
resistance when it became the first Arab city
to expel the Israeli occupier by force.
But what Beirut is doing in the last few days
might be even more important that its
resistance. It is inventing the Arab tomorrow.
Beirut today is the face of promising
Arabism. And it has become like this because
it could never be limited to the typical
"Beirut Street." Perhaps the most precious
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