Author Archives: Zak Brophy

Lebanon’s forgotten child laborers

In an alleyway corner in an impoverished Beirut district, a small group of youngsters gather. Nearby, barefoot infants play in wastewater falling from a drain, and a maze of loose electricity cables haphazardly zigzag overhead. While thousands of their peers across the country are sitting in classrooms, these children-cum-adolescents are typical of many from their

Paradiso reconstructed

British artist Tom Young and his wife were taking a stroll through Gemmayze’s back streets when he caught a whiff of the sweet scent of jasmine. As he stopped to smell the flowers, he was struck by an “absolutely beautiful” villa that stood before him. Jaded by the traditional white cube galleries in which he

Falling out of love

Lebanon’s bankers and the government are a close-knit family, and like any family they have a love-hate relationship. In this particular homestead, the kindred glue that binds them together is the colossal national debt. Of late, however, this has started to come unstuck. Banque du Liban (BDL), Lebanon’s central bank, has made efforts that may

The hard sell

Lebanon’s industrialists have a cordial, even respectful, relationship with the nation’s bankers, but they could never be considered bosom buddies. Not only have trade, tourism and real estate had an easier task in courting the favor of the financiers, but the very fabric of the country is intertwined in a way that hobbles those entrepreneurs

Sucked in

Despite the government’s official policy, Lebanon has never been truly dissociated from the Syria conflict. However, until late the involvement of Lebanon’s divergent factions across the border has been covert, opaque and from afar. In this past month, that has changed — bringing the conflict ever closer to home. The deteriorating security situation is perhaps

Fueling Lebanon’s oil delusions

Those attending the official launch of Lebanon’s first licensing round for offshore oil and gas exploration on Tuesday may have been forgiven for thinking they had walked into a Gebran Bassil fan club convention. The session opened with an unintentionally comical animated video of the minister’s fantasy for a future Lebanon. During “A father’s journey…

Gebran Bassil: Lebanon’s divisive power player

To his admirers he is intelligent, principled and steadfast. To his adversaries he is uncompromising, avaricious and self-indulgent. All may be partly true of Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil but, as he battles to maintain his position in any coming government, he certainly can’t be accused of being idle. Rarely a day passes