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Walls of yestercities

Sights such as these in an old painting of mine are disappearing at an alarming rate from the streets of Beirut. Quaint historical structures are often replaced by new ones devoid of character and charm. On my last trip home, I was heartbroken at the sight of a huge hole where a beautiful old building once stood. That building captured my eyes every time I passed by it. I always worried it would not be there on my next visit. A government sign standing next to it read "Quartier au caractère traditionnel (neighborhood with traditional character)," a slogan reserved to protected areas. It gave me some assurance that my beloved building was gonna be ok. Sadly, my deep intuition was right and my assurance ill-founded. The proud mighty sign had no pride or might. It probably had the same fate and is buried with the rubbles of its protectee, if not in the deep big hole. Or, I would not be surprised if it now adorns another "protected" neighborhood with traditional character, one still oblivious of its imminent destiny. I can't take my beloved old city with me into the future, but I will continue to celebrate its heart and soul in any way I can.

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