The Destruction of Achrafieh’s Jesuite Garden

While walking around Rome with a friend yesterday, he said the following: “you know, it’s a beautiful city but I wish it had more trees like Paris.”
I replied: “We’re ones to talk. The only trees I’ve seen in Beirut are in the Jesuite Garden next to my apartment in Achrafieh.”

I guess I jinxed it.

A highway tearing Achrafieh in two, removing countless parking spaces and destroying greenery that is otherwise rare in Beirut was not an enough project for Beirut’s municipality.
They now want to destroy the Jesuite Garden in question, which I wrote about before, in order to build … *drumroll* … a parking space (link).

The municipality is trying to sugar-coat the deal by saying they will replant trees above the parking, which will be underground. But how is that acceptable when the park has been around for decades and has ruins in it that date back to ancient times as well?

Is there a parking problem in Achrafieh? Sure. Is the solution for that problem killing off one of the few rare green spaces in Beirut? Hell no. I have absolutely no idea who’s the urban planning expert working at that so-called municipality but how inept is he at his job?
But what can we expect, really, when experts from Ile-De-France try to convince the municipality that its practices are unacceptable and still they go through them?

It’ll be one sad day when this park where I broke my arm and where my grandpa used to take me to play becomes a mass of concrete rubbish. But isn’t that what Beirut really is?

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