Beirut has become the coastal city without a shore.

In the few decades after the end of the Civil War, the Lebanese coast saw many changes, many of which were made to accommodate huge resorts and projects that were popping up. But despite this privatization and carving of the coast, a part of the Ramlet el Baida beach remained a public space and a go-to spot for Lebanese people from all walks of life.

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Earlier this week, the Southern portion of this “public beach” was closed off and sold to a private investor (for $90 million allegedly) and the bulldozing has begun. An official order has granted investors the right to build on this strip of public beach, an act deemed deeply unconstitutional and illegal by many.

The first step these investors made was to tear down the steps leading down to the public beach, preventing people from any further access.

What is dangerous about this is that it is a first step towards something much larger. By turning a small strip of public property into private, it’s clear that there are plans underway for a mega-resort of sorts.

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And let’s call it like it is: it’s not like this public space was well-preserved or up-kept by the government in any way. In fact, it was often civil society and NGO’s that held beach clean ups in order to turn it into a semi-hospitable area for people and their families.

Sadly, we recently saw this happen to The Dalieh area, and dozens of areas before it

In Lebanon, it has become clear that the sea is reserved for those who can pay; there is no place for the Beirut’s working class.

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Lou Serawan on Jun 24, 2016 via mobile web