The struggle to re-open Horsh Beirut


Plans to build a stadium in a park in the city of Beirut have sparked protests from local activists. Horsh Beirut is one of the largest green spaces in the city, and could potentially serve as a recreational area for thousands of citizens. However, the park has been closed to the public for over twenty years. The construction of a stadium would further diminish hope of re-opening the park as a public space.

A group of local activists, united in ‘Nahnoo’ (‘we’) is fighting for the reopening of Horsh Beirut. They claim that public green spaces are vital to a community, since these are locations where people meet and interact. In a divided society such as the Lebanese one, public spaces can play an important role in community building. Horsh Beirut is located between a Sunni, a Shia and a Christian neighbourhood, which makes it a place where people from these different communities could meet.

The activists at Nahnoo have worked to get Horsh Beirut re-opened for years, doing tours of the park, staging improvised picnics in the city and organising debates on the subject. This April The Activist Academy will be devoted to the issue of public space. Horsh Beirut and the struggles to reclaim it for public use will serve as an example.

The goal of The Activist Academy is to work on concrete action, strengthen an international network of activists, foster inspiration and connection and learn about new tools and tactics for better and improved activism.

 Stay updated to learn about our program (that is being developed as we speak).

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Public Space and Activism

From 9 – 12 April 2015 PAX and NAHNOO will organize a new version of the Activist Academy, a place where activists from different countries exchange, interact and work together for more effective and concrete action. The topic of this academy is going to be PUBLIC SPACE. Why is this an important topic to work on?

Coen Veerman (intern at the Activist Hive) has reviewed different sources of information regarding public space. For the whole article, see below.

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Public Spaces and Spatial Practices: Claims from Beirut

[article originally found on :]

Public space seems to be back in vogue these days, especially in relation to social protests taking place in city squares and along major streets, occupying and claiming spaces, often violently. Why do public spaces matter in cities? Is the absence or presence of public spaces in cities related to the rise of political and social movements? Can protests happen in cities that lack public spaces? Do public spaces lead to radical spatial politics? Are public spaces a means for political and social change?
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Activist Academy Beirut: Public Space

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A new and fresh version of the Activist Academy is coming up! In April, together with Lebanese NGO NAHNOO, PAX will bring together activists to learn, connect and act on a very topical issue for activists: PUBLIC SPACE.

During the Activist Academy issues around the topic of public space will serve as a starting point for an exchange between activists from different countries. The goal is to work on concrete action, strengthen an international network of activists, foster inspiration and connection and learn about new tools and tactics for better and improved activism.

Stay updated to learn about our program (that is being developed as we speak). In the next weeks, a database with interesting articles and information will be made for activists interested in this subject.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more updates and don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Activist Academy – Beirut 16/17 May 2014

PAX launched the Activist Academy in Beirut in May 2014. The Academy is part of the educational system of Peace Activism 2.0, a program aiming to support, inspire and improve the work of young activists.

The Activist Academy brings together activists that will take up both the role of teacher/trainer and student. During the masterclasses that are given, theory and practice are combined. During this academy in Beirut we spoke about the following topics: Cyber Security, Non-violent activism in a violent context, Live Broadcasting from the spot, Using Bambuser, audiovisuals in Activism & Preparing people to take direct action.

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Meet Edgar

Edgar Khachatryan, a.k.a. The Professor, is the director of the Peace Dialogue NGO – an organization working on peacebuilding and human rights issues in Armenia and the South Caucasus. Edgar is a strategic thinker, reasoning from strategy and deep analysis. In order to become a successful activist he believes in a proper and deep assessment of the context an activist is operating in.

Edgar has been working in the South Kaukasus for a long time, on issues regarding human rights and peacebuilding. In his masterclass on ‘mobilising people’ Edgar shared great inside on theory behind one of activists’ main questions: ‘How do I mobilise people for my cause?’ Watch his masterclass and be inspired.

Follow the Peace Dialogue NGO on Facebook or Twitter: @peacedialogue


Meet Fadi

Fadi Taher works for the Media House in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. He’s a photographer and videographer and gives training on the use of video, photo and visuals in activism. “The shape and form in which you present your message is closely linked to the effectiveness of that message. In order to improve that shape and form certain ground rules need to followed.” See it, film it, change it! Read more on what he taught us during the Activist Academy in Beirut this spring.

Follow Fadi on Twitter: @fishiologe


Meet Wael

Wael Abbas is a very well known activist from Egypt who has found over 260.000 people on Twitter interested enough to press the Follow-button to watch his every step (with over 214.000 tweets we conclude he’s quite active). Wael was one of the most active bloggers and Twitter-users during the Egyptian revolution and still operates from Cairo.

Wael even has his own Wikipedia-page:

Wael Abbas (Arabic: وائل عباس‎) (born November 14, 1974 in Egypt) is an internationally renowned Egyptian journalist, blogger, and human rights activist,[1] who blogs at Misr Digital (Egyptian Awareness).[2] He reported an incident of mob harassment of women, and broadcast several videos of police brutality. His actions led to the conviction of police for torture, but he has been harassed by the Egyptian government, and his accounts with YouTubeand Yahoo were closed. YouTube has since restored his account and most of his videos. Facebook had deleted Wael’s account but it has since been restored”

Wael is very urged to teach more activists about the different strategies to broadcast your own ‘news’ items, which was also an important part of our Activist Academy in Beirut this spring. Read about his masterclass in Beirut, listen to his tips and start broadcasting yourself!

Read Wael’s famous blogs [Arabic] and start following him on Twitter too: @waelabbas