Adonis Diaries

Demolishing Iconic public Stairs: Mar Mikhael stairs in Ashrafiyeh (Lebanon)

Posted on: November 12, 2013

Demolishing Iconic public Stairs: Mar Mikhael stairs in Ashrafiyeh (Lebanon)

Would you protest for the removal of a historic set of stairs in your neighborhood? People in Beirut are suffocating for lack of green spaces, and yet, local residents are willing to fight for stairs.

I watched on the evening news the protest of the neighborhood to that iconic stairs (about 66 stairs) and they all promised to die in front of the bulldozing machine… Many people have taken these stairs as their reference and place of daily work…

Ashrafieh is hilly. Sassine square is up on a hill and Mar Mikhael’s toes dip in the sea (before reclaiming the sea that is).

Anyone who walks around Ashrafieh/Gemmayzeh/Tabaris/Mar Mikhael knows how essential these stairs are, and the time they save. They’re also cultural and historical icons where dozens of festivals, exhibitions and performances take place.

 posted this Nov. 9, 2013

Residents Protest Demolition of Mar Mikhael Stairs

Here’s why the decision by the Municipality of Beirut (dominated by Al Mustakbal movement of the Hariri clan) to demolish the Massaad stairs, known as the Mar Mikhael stairs, is unreasonable.

  1. It means too much to so many people. This is a historic piece of land that many if not most of us have memories on. Personally, I’ve walked up and down (believe it or not) those stairs dozens of times when I lived in the area growing up. I’ve also been to many an art performance and exhibition on those now colorful steps.
  2. It is the only outlet for many houses on it.
  3. It’s too narrow. Just look at it, how can a road (which will have cars parked on the side) be of any use?
  4. Traffic. There’s a vast network of crisscrossing roads already, and adding this one won’t have much value, if any. It’ll just add to traffic on Armenia Street and make the resident’s lives uncomfortable.

I hope the ultra-corrupt Beirut Municipality will reconsider, and that the residents’ pleas are heard. I’d also like to tell the residents we are with them, and will support them in any non-violent action they take to try and stop this unfair and unnecessary plan.

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