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AUB should lead by example.

This petition had 3,905 supporters


AUB should lead by example.

 

AUB has always been a leader in the preservation and development of Lebanon’s cultural heritage. Whether in Ras Beirut, where it interacts directly with its neighbourhood, or in more remote areas of Lebanon, AUB has spent the last 150 years raising awareness of the value of our urban history.

 

Recently AUB purchased the Chbaklo Family house on George Post 1 Street in Ain El Mreisseh. The house, a classical central hall type still retains its original coloured floor tiles, triple arcade and high wooden ceilings. While humble, the house is a perfect example of a typical Beiruti dwelling of the 1920s and is still in relatively good condition. The house is easy to repair, with many original elements still intact and sturdy. Standing against the rapid gentrification occurring around AUB’s campus, the house is one of the last remaining witnesses to Beirut’s bygone time.

 

Many old houses in Ras Beirut are threatened by demolition. Oftentimes owners are financially incapable of restoring them, and developers are eager to clear them out to make room for money-generating, soulless buildings. However, even in their neglected state, the importance of these houses as testaments to Beirut’s urban history remains apparent, and if restored, the houses can quickly regain their original charm, becoming centers of pride for users and passers-by alike.

 

Despite the cultural value of the Chbaklo Family house we have learnt that unfortunately, AUB has recently acquired a Demolition Permit to “dismantle” it. Considering AUB’s position as a cultural preserver in the region and the vast resources the university has to responsibly restore the house to its former state, we consider this demolition permit not just a threat to the house in question, but to all of Beirut’s heritage houses. The Chbaklo House is AUB’s opportunity to reaffirm its commitment to the preservation of Lebanese culture and history. We believe that AUB should lead by example in a rapidly changing Beirut, fulfilling its established role as a change maker and acknowledging the collective responsibility we all have towards our city, Beirut.



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