Exhibition of photos chronicling social unrest in Lebanon opens in Washington DC

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A woman dances on October 18, 2019, day two of the uprisings in Jounieh.
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Lebanese motorists drive by a fire in Beirut on the first day of protests against the government’s newly established WhatsApp tax, which ignited the Lebanese popular uprising against years of economic and political mismanagement.
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Aida sits in her living room next to a photo of her husband Kamal Geadah. On August 19, 1985, Kamal was riding back home from work with his nephew when they were stopped at a checkpoint. Both of them were taken away and never seen again.
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On the 90th day of the uprising, a protester jumps over burning tires used to block the road in Beirut’s Saifi district.
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Updated 09 July 2020

Exhibition of photos chronicling social unrest in Lebanon opens in Washington DC

  • MEI’s ‘Lebanon Then and Now’ showcases upheaval from 2006 onwards

BEIRUT: The Washington-based Middle East Institute (MEI) will launch its online exhibition “Lebanon Then and Now — Photography from 2006 to 2020” this weekend.

The show, which runs until September 25, focuses on the lingering effects of Lebanon’s civil war, highlighted by the uprisings that began in the fall and continue today as Lebanon faces its worse post-war crisis amid economic and political chaos.

Rita Nammour, chairperson of the Beirut Museum of Art, USA and president of the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon (APEAL), both of which collaborated with the Paris-based Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) in partnership with MEI to co-produce the show, said that “Lebanon Then and Now” couldn’t be more timely.

“We are living in a nightmare,” she said. “Lebanon’s currency has been devalued to alarming levels and poverty is soaring. Hopes and dreams expressed in the early days of Lebanon’s protests appear shattered, but people are holding on.”

Nammour hopes the exhibition can “remind the world of Lebanon’s aspirations for a better future.”

The immersive virtual exhibition offers a tour of images captured by 17 photographers and a filmmaker that show the dizzying social, political, and economic upheavals that have rocked Lebanon for the past 16 years.

Lyne Sneige, director of the MEI Arts and Culture Center described the content of the show. “Some of Lebanon’s finest young photographers chronicle the tensions and the unresolved issues that led to the current crisis in response to the country’s political and financial collapse,” she said.

Lebanon-based curator Chantale Fahmi selected the images from two recent exhibitions: The IMA’s “Lebanon: Between Reality and Fiction,” which opened in Paris in September 2019 and APEAL’s “Revolt,” held in the heart of Beirut, which showcased large-scale reproductions mounted outside the dilapidated Egg — which Fahmi described as “the hollow ruin of a wartime cinema that became a hub for intellectuals, academics, activists and students seeking to make sense of a set of circumstances gripping the country by the throat.”

Fahmi sought to weave themes from the Paris and Beirut shows into a tapestry of suppressed and unaddressed injustices and war legacies. “The collection illuminates the power of photography, both artistic and journalistic, as a conveyor of reality and emotion,” she explained.

Fahmi added that Lebanon’s photography sector has been “developing in exciting way” over the past decade, with photographers working with foreign news agencies and taking advantage of Lebanon’s vibrant arts scene to nurture their talent.

Kate Seelye, vice president for arts and culture programs at MEI, said: “The recasting of the two exhibitions will deepen the understanding of how the past informs and shapes the present. Additionally, this show speaks to the importance of international collaborations, as galleries like ours seek to replace physical audiences with global eyeballs for now.”

 


Saudis warn UN of oil spot in shipping lane near decaying Yemen tanker

Updated 2 min 45 sec ago

Saudis warn UN of oil spot in shipping lane near decaying Yemen tanker

  • The UN has been waiting for formal authorization from Yemen’s Houthi movement to send a mission to the tanker
  • The UN has warned that the Safer could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia warned the UN Security Council on Wednesday that an “oil spot” had been seen in a shipping transit area 31 miles (50 km) west of a decaying tanker that is threatening to spill 1.1 million barrels of crude oil off the coast of Yemen.
The Safer tanker has been stranded off Yemen’s Red Sea oil terminal of Ras Issa for more than five years. The United Nations has warned that the Safer could spill four times as much oil as the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster off Alaska.
In a letter to the 15-member body, reviewed by Reuters, Saudi Arabia’s UN Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi wrote that experts had observed that “a pipeline attached to the vessel is suspected to have been separated from the stabilizers holding it to the bottom and is now floating on the surface of the sea.”
The United Nations has been waiting for formal authorization from Yemen’s Houthi movement to send a mission to the Safer tanker to conduct a technical assessment and whatever initial repairs might be feasible.
The Security Council and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have both called on the Houthis to grant access.
Al-Mouallimi wrote that the tanker “has reached a critical state of degradation, and that the situation is a serious threat to all Red Sea countries, particularly Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” adding “this dangerous situation must not be left unaddressed.”
Yemen has been mired in conflict since the Iran-allied Houthi group ousted the government from the capital Sanaa in 2014. A Saudi-led military coalition in 2015 intervened in a bid to restore the government.