Documentary: "Bonjour Beyrouth"

with Georges Salibi - 2016-03-22

"When I look back on my childhood, I think of that short time in Beirut. I know that seeing the city collapse around me forced me to grasp something many people miss: the fragility of peace."

- Greg Kinnear -

A documentary tackling a significant cultural issue in the heart of Beirut city. Shedding light on old and traditional houses, and features testimonials and interviews with key political and social figures of the capital.

Through this seventy-three minute documentary film, TV and media personality Georges Salibi intended to warn about the gradual disappearance of the old heritage houses in Beirut through selling them for materialistic deliberations. It included stories of some old residences like Sursock Palace and Sehnawi Palace in Ashrafieh, the Yellow House in Sodeco -which will be changed to a museum- and Dahech House in Zkak El-Blatt area.

"The disappearance of Beirut old houses has changed the city's face and identity on the urban and heritage levels, especially in the absence of laws that protect the old houses." Georges claimed in an interview.

Twenty years ago, when the Ministry of Culture was first established in Lebanon, Minister Michel Eddé -at that time- cooperated with APSAD Association (THE ASSOCIATION FOR PROTECTING NATURAL SITES AND OLD BUILDINGS) to protect the heritage sites by classifying the old houses. They first numbered up to 1800 houses, categorized to be preserved, but that was simply a principle yet not a law.  Salibi pointed out that nowadays and after 20 years only, 280 houses were left after others were sold or destroyed in order to build commerce/trade towers and modern buildings in their place.

“Bonjour Beyrouth” features famous actor Abdallah Homsi (known as Asaad) and others taking the audience back to the old glamorous days of Beirut. It is necessary to stress the need to cling to and preserve the Lebanese heritage since it reflects our origin and grounded roots.


Georges Salibi
Faculty of Information & Communication