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Can the universal appeal of Ancient Greek drama render the current Syrian tragedy intelligible? Antigone of Syria – an eight-week theatrical workshop for Syrian refugee women from the Beirut camps of Sabra, Shatila and Bourj el-Barajneh – shows that it can.

On December 10th, 11th and 12th, their interpretation of Sophocles’ tragedy was performed at the Al Madina Theatre in Beirut. It unfolded stories of loss and despair which go beyond what seems bearable for the human soul – but even more so, it was homage to the courage, non conformism and revolt of these women. It was homage to their unabated hope for a better future.

Get an impression of these evenings’ atmosphere by reading our press review.

Latest Publication

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!

Statehood & Participation

Lebanon Parlementary Elections 2009
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When it comes to electing a President, March 14 and March 8, remain divided over a consensual candidate but both proponents and opponents are comparatively fine with reaping the benefits of renewing their parliamentary mandate. What might sound as if it was a headline from a satire magazine, for the Lebanese is a frustrating reality.

The Decaying Buildings of Beirut - Lebanon
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There’s not a city in the world without its own contradictions, dynamism and a spirit which certain visitors can feel, and which it emits for some of its residents to reach out and grasp. But Beirut is a special and unique case. The Lebanese capital, growing ever more densely populated thanks to internal migration and the great Syrian exodus has become the locus for a staggering intensification of these contradictions, dynamics and differences.

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Environmental Justice

The ecological Shop of Organic Products
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Some seek to establish tradable prices for ecosystem services, claiming that markets can achieve what politics has not. However, such an approach collapses nature’s complex functions into a set of commodities stripped from their social, cultural, and ecological context and can pose a threat to the poor and indigenous communities who depend on the land for their livelihood.

Cattle Calls

Factory-style livestock production is a critical driver of agricultural industrialization. Its remorseless expansion is contributing to climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and human-rights violations – all to satisfy Western societies’ unhealthy appetite for cheap meat. 

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Conflict & International Politics

Photo taken during the rehearsals of the play Antigone of Syria
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Antigone of Syria is the latest project of the internationally acclaimed Syrian playwright Mohammad Al Attar. Can the universal appeal of Ancient Greek drama render the current Syrian tragedy intelligible? The Aperta Productions-team – director Omar Abusaada, actors’ trainers Hala Omran and Dina Mousawi – took the challenge: by offering an eight-week theatrical workshop, he gives a voice to Syrian refugee women from the Beirut camps of Sabra, Shatila and Bourj el-Barajneh.

Beirut in July
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Lebanon has opened its doors to more than 20 times as many refugees as the whole European Union. How do refugees take decisions to move to an uncertain future? What difficulties do they face?

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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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The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties of United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change is taking place from 1 to 12 December 2014 in Lima, Peru. Delegates from the Heinrich Boell Stiftung Offices worldwide and their partners are represented in the CoP 20. The Heinrich Boell Stiftung, MENA Beirut office has supported journalists from the region to travel and report on the conference from Lima.

The following web-dossier includes articles on the Lima Climate Change Conference from delegates and journalists in English, French and Arabic

Not In Session - The Lebanese Parliament

A ‘talkshop’ – this is what German Emperor Wilhelm II. used to call the parliament. Together, as the youth of Lebanon, you can prove him wrong: discover the dynamics of political decision-making and express your opinions and ideas on current political issues. Take part in the More Than A Talkshop project - a two-day simulation game of the Lebanese Parliament.

Events

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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

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!

Within its Environmental Justice program, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, Middle East Office launched the “To Fight For” project aiming at raising awareness through an interactive website on causes of environmental degradation in the Arab World by pinpointing some randomly selected places, species and livelihoods from the region that are at risk of disappearing. In addition, this project seeks to promote environmentally sustainable practices, laws and plans that can safeguard and help us fight for these endangered species, places and livelihoods.