By Samir Kassir

Widely praised because the definitive heritage of Beirut, this is often the tale of a urban that has stood on the crossroads of Mediterranean civilization for greater than 4 thousand years. The final significant paintings accomplished through Samir Kassir earlier than his tragic loss of life in 2005, Beirut is a travel de strength that takes the reader from the traditional to the fashionable international, providing a blinding landscape of the city's Seleucid, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and French incarnations. Kassir vividly describes Beirut's unbelievable progress within the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on its emergence after the second one global struggle as a sophisticated capital till its close to destruction through the devastating Lebanese civil warfare of 1975-1990. Generously illustrated and eloquently written, Beirut illuminates modern problems with modernity and democracy whereas even as memorably recreating the ambience of 1 of the world's so much picturesque, dynamic, and resilient cities.

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107. 108. 109. one hundred ten. Scenes of the destruction downtown, 1990. 518–519 The Barakat development. 519 Aerial view of the town and the northern sea coast, ca. 1995. 521 The newly restored Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George. 525 the hot seafront district. 527 The façade of the restored Parliament development. 528 a relaxed accumulating on position de l’Étoile. 529 A rebuilt highway off position de l’Étoile. 538 Le Grand Théâtre. 543 xiii This web page deliberately left clean Foreword to the English-L anguage variation Robert Fisk the tale of Beirut is in lots of methods as tragic and as fantastic as Samir Kassir’s lifestyles. well-liked, exalted, free-spirited, devoted to the mind and to social development, old Beirut with its Roman legislation institution used to be as recognized as Ottoman Beirut with its boulevards and flourishing academies and newspapers, and as well known because the artwork deco Mandate capital of France’s hopeless Grand-Liban. but it used to be destroyed by means of earthquakes, surrounded by means of armies, its humans massacred from the Crusades to the 1975–90 civil conflict, in 5 Israeli invasions and in thirty-four years of Syrian army hegemony. Samir Kassir flew like a moth throughout the final bankruptcy of Lebanon’s background, feted, well-liked, jealously despised, a beacon of freedom in a spot with no oxygen, his genius virtually unavoidably ate up by means of his country’s violence. At forty-five, he used to be a journalist’s dream: author, thinker, educational, highbrow, reporter. convinced, he used to be additionally what we'd name a highway reporter, scuffling with off threatening calls from the key police whereas condemning the Syrian intelligence equipment. And it led to the Alfa Romeo, registration quantity 165670, so carelessly parked contrary his domestic in Beirut at the morning of two June 2005. Now i used to be the reporter, submitting to the London autonomous as though my colleague have been simply one other assassination target—which, in a single feel, he was—the most recent Beirut sufferer, and there i used to be interviewing the eyewitnesses like all crime reporter. “ ‘He constantly left domestic at 10:30 a. m. and that i observed him jogging around the street,’ a feminine neighbour advised me. ‘He opened the door of his vehicle, sat inside of and began the engine. Then the auto blew up. ’ shut inspection . . . confirmed essentially that the blast got here from underneath the driver’s seat. It tore open the roof, blasted out the driver’s door, smashed the steerage column and hurled Kassir onto the passenger seat. The igxv xvi Foreword nition it seems that detonated the bomb. ” It used to be a surprise that not anyone in Beirut expected—except, in fact, the assassins. After the Saint Valentine’s Day homicide of former top minister Rafiq Hariri, all of us proposal Lebanon’s assassins—with a UN overseas tribunal on their tail—were of their rabbit holes, terrified of arrest. yet no, they have been nonetheless on operational accountability, nonetheless in killing mode. The moth had flown too with reference to the candle. looking back, i feel that Samir Kassir misunderstood his destiny killers. He had basically pointed out them ahead of he died. For him, they have been the Syrian militaryintelligence apparatus—apparently defeated after the outcry that Hariri’s killing—and the Baªthist strength, which overwhelmed any critical freedoms in Lebanon with assistance from its Lebanese collaborators (who in Kassir’s brain incorporated the Syrian-supported President Émile Lahoud).

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