Save the egg, sabouné, cinema, city center or whatever it is!

[City+Center.jpg]

A news broke yesterday that the “EGG” has been intentionally damaged and on its way to be destroyed. The scheme shows that (well, it’s obvious) it will be destroyed to make space for a new building to erect. Today, the news is all over the internet. Everyone is writing about it, tweeting about, and starting a petition to save it.

This is one of the last pieces of heritage in Lebanon. Beirut is restored, reshaped and changed that in some areas it is unrecognizable. It is true that Beirut was brought down and rebuilt 7 times due to earthquakes, but it wasn’t brought down on purpose killing all the previous eras that inhabited this area. Beirut was built on top of another undiscovered Beirut. Nowadays, old Beiruts (notice the “S” for plural) are being destroyed whether previously existing or recently discovered (e.g. the closed area in gemmayzé where it is said that there is ancient homes and architecture) to build new buildings that are turning Beirut into a Lebanese overcrowded ugly version of New York.

Well, all of this suits the Lebanese citizen; well, not all of them. Beirut now looks like those who can afford to live in it, it is designed this way. Beirut wasn’t born this way, it transformed to become this artificial piece of architecture. All these plastic/cement surgeries have bloated Beirut’s lips, enlarged her cheeks and bazooka-sized her breasts that are now facing the sky with red blinking nipples piercing making it look like the party girls who rock her nights in her fancy expensive night clubs.

Dad has always told me stories about his days in Beirut. They used to come to Beirut with 1 Lira. It was enough to cover the transportation, a movie at the “egg”, Shawerma sandwich and a drink and they would still have change. Mom used to tell me she used to accompany her mom when she was little to the market that was below the “egg”. She used to hold her mom’s dress in order not to lose her way in all that jam. Those memories are irreplaceable. But they are subject to demolition.

Although I’m not that used to going to Beirut, but this subject is getting the worst of me. Only recently have I started visiting Beirut regularly and basically to hang out with friends I’ve met over Twitter. This issue is really upsetting me due to the complete ignorance and neglect our beloved country has.

I have collected a few resources that talk about the “egg” from the Internet.

a design by Bernard Khoury

The “egg” dates back to 1965 as a design by the architect Joseph Phillipe Karam as Beirut City Center. It consisted of 2 towers and the egg/soap shaped cinema. At its time, it was considered the largest shopping mall in the Middle East. The will to demolish it is not a new thing. The egg survived those years, but it seems now everyone gathered and decided to boil the egg (literal translation of a Ziad Rahbani saying: اجتمعنا وقرّرنا نسلق بيضة #ZiadRahbani #SaveTheEgg as tweeted by @KtirKliche) It can be real this time. The egg might get broken and there is no turning back from that. It survived the Civil War for God’s sake! How can they coldheartedly just bring it down?

A scenario crossed my mind while I was trying to comment on a similar post:
“let’s erect a new building.
Where?
Oh, there is a useless space in downtown, let’s bring it down and build an extremely expensive building for offices and homes, and sell it for rocket high prices for being built in place of a full-of-memories place
Yeah, sounds like a great idea!
We’ll buy the place where the statue is placed too, and the ancient ruins. These are useless, especially that no more protests are held there!
Wow man, you are a genius! You have amazing sense for helping your country develop”

Save the egg, sign the petition: on Causes or on Change

A previous petition has been issue in 2006 that got around 300 votes [Link]

And at the last few years, the building has been used as an art exhibition space.

Similar articles:
on BeirutSpring http://beirutspring.com/blog/2011/07/27/%E2%9D%8A-what-should-we-do-about-the-egg/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+beirutspring%2Ffb_feed+%28Beirut+Spring%29

On Plus961 http://www.plus961.com/2011/07/27/beirut-city-center-to-be-demolished-in-the-few-coming-days/

On Now Lebanon http://www.nowlebanon.com/NewsArchiveDetails.aspx?ID=5679

On Zawya http://blogs.zawya.com/alexandra/091023075457/

On Archnet http://archnet.org/library/sites/one-site.jsp?site_id=9581

On Flavie http://www.aadip9.net/flavie/2009/11/the-beirut-city-centre-buildin.html

On Yalibnan http://yalibnan.com/site/archives/2006/11/not_another_mar.php

On iloubnan http://iloubnan.info/artsandculture/interview/id/38063

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3 thoughts on “Save the egg, sabouné, cinema, city center or whatever it is!

  1. Well all this news has been denied as per the Daily star. But i think that there are no rumors that comes from nothing, it was a try to check for the reactions, and there were no massive reaction against this issue. So i expect in the few coming month to have a real news regarding the demolition of the EGG !

    • well i hope not.
      i thought i’d be demolished yesterday. Capturing Zeid Hamdan has proven positive for distracting people away from the egg. maybe they will try it with another person for its success, and while everyone is busy freeing the person, no one will have time for the egg!

      its sad how people can happily destroy memories and heritage
      allah yestor!

  2. the thing that sucks is that investors don’t seem interested in restoring it, keeping it’s exterior shape while totally revamping its interior to whatever they want (theater, mall, whatever..)
    unlike the ugly Burj Al Murr and the horrendous Holiday Inn this structure is neither huge nor high yet it holds some positive historical
    value,
    so yeah save the egg but please, oh please, demolish Burj Al Murr and the Holiday Inn

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