The Environment minister’s Facebook status above was posted this afternoon and comes in the wake of weeks of activism, protesting the privatization of Dalieh, the city’s last undeveloped shore. Some have dismissed the activism, arguing that the property developers are too powerful and politically-connected to be stopped. But the Minister’s strong opposition to the fence may create more attention, complicating matters for the developers and lending traction to growing grassroots efforts.

Earlier today, citizens had unfurled protest banners during a major rock climbing event organized by the municipality of Beirut, which has remained silent on the fencing of Dalieh:

Activists say the fencing is both a public hazard and an illegal attempt at barring access to the coastline:

Today’s highly publicized climbing event saw local man Michael Haddad scale the rocks, despite being paralyzed in some 75 percent of his body. 
Michael made it to the top with the Lebanese military standing by for support. And as officials gave speeches largely ignoring the fate of this natural habitat, average citizens made their voices heard too, demanding public access and preservation. 
Today both Michael and the Dalieh activists defied the odds and the cynics. They proved that a lot is still possible even in Lebanon, whether the obstacles are physical disability or entrenched political power and business interests.  
Thanks to Justin for pointing out the minister’s status. 
  1. Yeah it still works for me, not sure if it was “public” before but now it is set to “friends and friends of friends” so I can still see it. Considering the silence of other officials, I think we’ll take his spelling and use of all caps in stride!

  2. On the subject of blocking the coastline, what are the 2 cranes being used for in Antelias? There are 2 yellow cranes that are about 5-stories high, and lots of construction activity on the Antelias seashore, visible form the highway. That used to be the only stretch of the beach without construction, and now it seems it’s gone….

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