Map of Another Time

The bullets stopped flying years ago, but the facade of this building has yet to forget. It hasn't moved on.

It preserved a kind of tragic map of another time, another conflict, another crisis.

I really hate a lot of the new and newer buildings in Beirut. They lack texture and rhythm and a long list of other qualities, absent virtues. But they also lack history. They lack pain. They testify against no one, blame nothing, make no cry for justice. They are free from oppressive memories and legacies and inheritances. And that quality is (I suppose) virtue enough.


  1. I am soooooo impressed about all the beautiful architecture / details , and so sad about the painful history that shows....

  2. The Architectural is great, The tragic on the wall is sad, They story made me unspoken.
    In the same picture tell story how much they have been lost.
    Mary Ann, This is a great shot !

  3. This has such a story to tell. You do a wonderful job of showing what it unique about your city.

  4. This is beautiful, a strong statement from the past.

    Yesterday in northern France I saw a ruined church which looked just like this, but the scars were from nearly 100 years ago, it had been destroyed in WWI, and left as a memorial to the madness. "When will they ever learn?"

    And I can't agree with you more about the insipid architecture, positively hideous for the most part, in what is being built recently around Lebanon. Like good taste had decided to take a vacation somewhere else, a long vacation. The problem is, good taste left no forwarding address.

    Thanks for this lovely photo though Mary Ann, I really like what you are doing here. Am going to pass the address along to my sister in law who is living in Beirut, I think she would like it too. She is very busy though, and rarely has time to visit blogs...

  5. I too prefer the old buildings with the scars that remind us and hopefully teach us. "Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it..."

  6. Yes, there are lessons that must not be forgotten. But the pain, the sense of having been wronged, the hate--these are the wrong things to remember, and they dictate destiny too.

    It's the only upside I could think of for newer architecture here. It is free and I think it helps people move on.

  7. Really nice photo with a story. But I think you're right, can't forget, but have to move on too.
    By the way, I think we have photographing windows in common :)

  8. Nice philosophy you write.
    Is this damage from the civil war or from 2006?

    My city also lets several big buildings and one city gate remain with bullet- and shell-holes as a reminder of two wars.

    May your new buildings never know such pockmarks.

  9. I'm pretty sure it's civil war damage (not that I was here for it, but whatever). This building is located very close to the green line, the traditional dividing line between east and west Beirut that had more than it's share of fighting (and bullets) during the war.

  10. How long should the bullet marks stay on, do you think? Was France wrong to rebuild and clean up after WW2? I love old buildings and their sense of history but the bullet marks bring nothing but sorrow, I believe the wall should be redone.

  11. I'm really enjoying this blog .. thanks for giving Beirut the chance it's always deserved. I also love the trauma found in Beirut specifically and in Lebanon as a whole- it tells a story. And while sometimes the new isn't as traumatic ... I think it tells another story. It's the contradictions, the old and the new ... they are what makes Lebanon and Beirut. Without the new, we haven't moved on and without the old we are forgetting who we are.