Tuesday, June 3, 2008

One photo, all the Lebanese problems

Now with downtown open again, the sight of the Lebanese parliament at Place d'Etoile against the backdrop of the Al-Amin mosque explains the problems with Lebanon: with religious buildings being taller, bigger and certainly considered more important than the Parliamentary building, it's no wonder peace will always be the next step.

Photo 1: Al-Amin mosque in Downtown Beirut with on the left (somewhat out of sight) the Parliamentary building

And please, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Sunnis, it's just that this huge mosque makes the buildings of the Lebanese state so insignificant. If the Lady of Lebanon church was not at Harissa but in Downtown, it would have made a similar picture.


Tfeh! said...

I couldn't agree more !

madhatter said...

I completely agree.

The mosque dwarfs the smaller, more down to earth, Saint Georges Church next door. In so doing it sends a message of religious competition and goes against the co-existence that post-war downtown is trying to represent.

I'm not against the mosque nor its architecture; I am against its size.

Dani said...

Dear Riemer,

This blog is getting better every day, it's a joy to read your refreshing opinions. Are you a journalist and if so, do you publish elsewhere?

Thanks for your insights and may you blog for a long time to come!

ian said...

Mind you, when I was in Beirut, I was very struck by some ginormous Ottoman-era government building up on a hill in the centre of the city. I can't remember what it was called, but it dwarfed any mosque I saw.

ryan said...

that would be the serail, or the Government headquarters :P

Riemer Brouwer said...


Thanks for the compliment! I am not a journalist, but work as a computer security expert in Lebanon and the Middle East.

"Real" journalists are not always good bloggers. Perhaps you can compare it to chefs who don't like to cook at home, why bring work with you, right?

And if a real journalist blogs, it's often a little bit of free-styling. They're saving the good parts for their newspapers where they get paid for it. Makes perfect sense, obviously, although i truly have no idea why not more journalists negotiate the publishing rights of the articles they write.

How difficult would it be to agree that you can publish articles, say, two days after it has been published in the newspaper?

Anyway, it's my impression the readers would be better off reading the blogs of non-journalists (like me:-) since they are free from these commercial considerations.

Besides, we all know that amateur bloggers are journalists-wanna-bes so at the end the difference hardly matters:-)

Travellerwannabe said...

I just got back from Beirut. The feeling I got when I saw the mosque next to the church was a feeling of togetherness of the two religions. I took a bunch of pics of the two together due to this. One thing I didn't like was the following, and that is a problem. My friends and I walked into the St. Georges church, which is beautiful and extremely tasteful by the way. However, we couldn't get into the mosque. I'm female and as far as I understand, mosques, especially in tourist areas usually have covers ready for female tourists. The guy at the door said that they have them but couldn't get them at the moment. My cousin (male) was allowed in but not before he was given attitude. We were basically not welcome there. I was barely allowed near the entrance to take pics. I was told by locals later that it's basically an ellitist mosque and unless you belong to a certain clan you're not that welcome there. I don't know how true that is or if we just happened to be unlucky that day. Being that this mosque is in a touristy area, it should be welcoming of guests. Just wanted to share :)