By Antoine Abou-Diwan
Beirut may soon be the only city on the Mediterranean that does not have a public beach.
Most of the Lebanese capital’s coast has been developed into private beach clubs and resorts, making it inaccessible to most of the public due to expensive entry fees.
Ramlet al-Baida, commonly known as Beirut’s last public beach, is under development.
A small patch of sand near the famous Raouche (pigeon rocks), Ramlet al-Baida has been, for decades, a place for working class families to relax and swim.
Those days appear to be numbered. Construction has begun, and the Eden Rock Resort is slated to open in 2018.
The Dalieh, just south of the Raouche, may be next. The rocky outcropping has long been a place for working class families to picnic on its hills, swim in its pools and for fishermen to make a living.
But a fence went up a few years ago and construction machinery has been moved in.
Activists have filed a number of legal challenges, delaying construction, but if the rest of Lebanon’s coast is any indication, the odds in the long run are very much against them.