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In 2011, Syrian people demonstrated for dignity and freedom. Nowadays religious extremism spreads all over country. How do these opposites go together? A conference organized by Sharq and Zico house in Beirut tried to figure out how deeply rooted religious extremism is in the Syrian society. In what way was Syrian society susceptible to the religious extremism that it is facing today? Did people in Syria become more conservative over the years? Or do other priorities such as security distort the image on what actually might be the future of Syria?

Fouad M. Fouad, Syrian poet, medical doctor and AUB professor, Dr. Bente Scheller, Director of Heinrich Böll Foundation (Middle East) and Christoph Reuter, journalist at Der Spiegel  and ISIS expert, discuss the issue with Reem Maghribi.

Latest Publication

Architectural standards recreate gender, racial and class hierarchies, just as local cultural productions reinforce specific notions of women-as-space.

Statehood & Participation

Please join the artists behind TIMEBOX on a walking tour of the 10 TIMEBOXes around Beirut. 

June 6, 2015
Starting at Saifi Village Ferrari showroom
TIMEBOX is running through October 1st, 2015

TIMEBOX Beirut is an installation by Razan AlSalah and Lotfi AlSalah, produced in cooperation with Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Middle East

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The Lebanese Penal Code invokes “nature” in order to justify the persecution of homosexuality. Indeed, nature seems to have an undeniable authority. In Beirut, civil society actors now questioned this paradigm and launched an international and pluri-disciplinary inquiry on the multiple facets of the concept of nature.

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Environmental Justice

Landfill compactor
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Not as visible as two weeks ago but still there: the garbage crisis. Some garbage has been removed, but what to do in the long run seems still a mystery.

Ferrybridge at Dawn
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Let us imagine for a moment that we could change the world according to our wishes. Dramatic economic inequality gives way to social and political inclusion. Universal human rights become a reality. We end deforestation and the destruction of arable land. Fish stocks recover. Two billion people look forward to a life without poverty, hunger, and violence.

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Conflict & International Politics

Free Syrian Army
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Though the anger towards the Southern Front is still not alarming yet- as people are criticizing their strategy not the SF itself- this could be the beginning of a significant shift in its community support, which could be used by its rivals.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70)_150310-N-TP834-172
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Some of the most devastaing attacks of the airforce killed scores of civilians last week: incendiary weapons were used in Daraya, and bombing Douma's market place killed over 80 and inured more than 100 people. What about the "safe zone" Turkey and the US have been announcing?

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Culture & Dialogue

Sagesse Street in Achrafieh, Beirut
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Peaceful La Sagesse Street is about to experience an uproar the like of which it has never known before as the Beirut city authorities renewed the La Sagesse-Al Turk highway project. What is this project aiming to and why it provoked outrage and mobilized the forces of civil society?

 

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What does it mean that the Union Building — one of city’s most prominent, if not the most prominent, modernist landmarks — is currently under threat of demolition? What does it mean that this vulgar investment culture also threatens the nearby Arida building? Anyone who has heard of the architectural pioneers responsible for these two buildings, will understand all too well how disastrous things have become.

 

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Coming soon: Rafat Alzakout's film "HOME", done in cooperation with Heinrich Boell Foundation Middle East.

Watch the trailer!

In the midst of the Syrian turmoil, the joint passion for arts and theater leads Rafat, the director of this film exiled in Beirut, to a trip to North Syria with a group of young hopeful friends around the ballet dancer Ahmed, army deserter Mohammed and Taj. Despite the difficult circumstances and the conservative society in their hometown Manbij, the young men use the new fragile freedom to realize their dream and create a creative space they call “Home”.

At “Home”, they exchange their hopes, reveries and fears, and a bond of friendship develops between the group and Rafat who himself searches for his home country. But in the light of the random shelling by Syrian aircraft and the impending rise of ISIS, they find their dreams shattered and their hopes for a different country giving eventually place to disillusionment.

New Office

Heinrich Boell Stiftung - Middle East office moved to a new location, to contact us, please call:
+961-(0)1-216073
+961-(0)1-216037
 

“The Speaker of the House and the Bureau of the Parliament remind you, the parliamentarians, that the floor is now open for amendments”, - sounds of rustling paper resonate in the auditorium of Haigazian University. On this Sunday morning, the air is humming with concentrated whisper as well dressed youth deliberates on modifications for law proposals. 32 young parliamentarians from Tyr, Saida, Tripoli, Mount Lebanon and Beirut convened in Beirut on March 22nd to simulate a plenary session of the Lebanese National Assembly. For two months, the students aged between 15 and 18 years, dedicated their Saturdays to prepare themselves and their draft laws for this day’s plenary session.

Who tolerates whom? Who is "we" and who are "the others"? How private or public can/must love be lived? A Cinematic Intervention by director Angelina Maccarone and writer Carolin Emcke on equal rights for LGBTI.

Guidelines For Contributors

Heinrich Boll Foundation Middle East Office welcomes articles to be published on its website www.lb.boell.org. We consider unsolicited original submissions on arts, culture, politics, social and environmental affairs in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq or addressing issues related to the Arab World. Articles should be rigorous written in language accessible to the educated general reader interested in the region. Queries should be directed to info@lb.boell.org

There needs to be a clear concept for the article, pointing out the question the article tries to answer. Articles need to be in line with hbs values and publication ethics. more

IMPORTANT NOTICE!

Heinrich Boll Middle East and North Africa Office, Beirut does not offer scholarships. Please send your applications to the HBS foundation website

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Perspectives - Political Analysis and Commentary from the Middle East is a publication series of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s offices in Beirut and Ramallah that seeks to provide a platform for presenting analysis and viewpoints of experts from the region.

Perspectives issue 7 Cover - illustration by Mazen Kerbaj

Rumour has it ... the new Perspectives is out!

They are only 'hot air' but anyone who has been affected by rumours is familiar with their unhallowed dynamics, and the serious consequences they can entail. Rumours fulfil social functions. They serve as a medium through which unfulfilled hopes or unspecific fears can be voiced. They bond and drive a wedge between people and population groups at the same time. They can destroy reputations, credibility and even lives. Read here twelve experts from the MENA region discussing the topic!