Saturday an interesting event spread all over Beirut.
12 NGO’s gathered people for a “picnic festival” all around the city, around “man-made” green spaces. The idea was to bring awareness to the municipalities of Beirut to the insignificant amount of public green space and to demand the re-opening of Horsh Beirut, a park in the middle of Beirut, destroyed during the 20 years of war, rehabilitated since then but kept closed for the public due to several reasons. The story behind this controversial dilemma is a bit unclear; fear of people invading the park with their knick-knacks (chairs, arguileh, garbage) and leaving it dirty and messy. Lack of respect for plants, flowers and grass. Ignorance of how to behave in a public park, and so on…
The park has become a place where only few have access, a special permit can be acquired at the head-quarters of the municipality, mind you only for people above 35 years!
Personally I do not understand how a park can be kept closed for the public, letting only the privileged few enter upon a permit. I do care about green spaces kept clean, but that should not be the issue, but only a matter of logistics, rules and regulations and employing the right people to monitor, manage, supervise and guide the public into respecting the space.
Rome was not built in one day.
Lebanese people all around the world have learned to abide by the rules, stand in line at stores, don’t smoke in restaurants and don’t litter out of their car window. So why shouldn’t they be able to behave the same way in their own city? With some help and guidance and law, this should be possible too. Forbidding people to enter a public green space is only going to delay the process and not educating them!
For more info regarding the event, watch this little feature from LBC.
I hope to be able to enter that Horsh sooner than later, with my kids, and be able to tell them that we DO have green spaces in Beirut too…