The Beirut Call: The Strongest Souls Emerge Out of Suffering

Article published on arleb.org

“I am more than honored to be part of an amazing team of contributors whose testimonials, perceptions, narratives, and stories highlight the change-making arts and cultural scene here in Beirut. Together, these academics, poets, artists, activists, and individuals engaged in a wounded city, reveal glimpses of their thinking and doing, offering inspiration for other communities facing wars, crises, instability, and despair—and when negotiating with margins of varied forms. As “border individuals”, “cultural amphibians”, and harnessers of creativity for change, many of the people featured in this anthology have mastered the art and act of crossing borders along textual, political, and cultural margins; they humbly encourage us to challenge carefully guarded territories, deconstruct concepts of unitary, essentialized or monolithic identities, learn lessons from the past, live in the present beyond mere survival, seek justice, engage in dialogue with one another, and gather hope for tomorrow. As Edward Said writes, they are, “responsive to the traveler rather than to the potentate, to the provisional and risky rather than to the habitual, to innovation and experiment rather than the authoritatively given status quo.”

The Beirut Call contributors remind us that humanity is formed in and by the complexities of overlapping territories and intertwined histories. They remind us of the benefits flowing from arts and culture, as these help shape reflective individuals; facilitate greater understanding; increase empathy and respect; promote not only civic behaviors such as voting and volunteering but also viable alternatives to current assumptions; help fuel a broader political imagination; help minority groups to find a voice and express their identity, and help peacebuilding and healing by assisting communities to deal with the sources of trauma and bring about reconciliation. 

All contributions to The Beirut Call inspire us to think about the impacts of arts and culture on cities and urban life, urban regeneration, modes of engagement with cultural activities, tasks that are neither all metropolitan nor all peripheral, and acts in the spirit of initiating dialogue across asymmetrical divides and of peripheralizing centers… They inspire us to deconstruct the internalized status quo and articulate coalitions between differences. They inspire our souls to re-emerge, or as Lebanese-American philosophical essayist, novelist, poet, and artist Gibran Khalil Gibran once wrote: “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars”.

Source: “Out of the Margins: Towards the Rise of Beirut’s Arts and Culture Scene? Introduction to The Beirut Call Anthology” by Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, in The Beirut Call, Harnessing Creativity for Change, 2021.


About The Beirut Call:

The Beirut Call is Nabad by Dar al Kalima University project of a book on resilience & resistance culture in Lebanon, featuring artists, poets, authors, activists, and academics testimonials, analyses, narratives, and stories of initiatives for social change.

The Beirut Call brings together individuals who think, do and create to inspire and communicate diverse approaches in facing wars, crises, instability, and despair; people who are turning to the arts and culture as a way to engage audiences through deep and emotional connections to bring about change, and who are imbuing their work with social and political messaging to advance the issues about which they feel most passionate.

The Beirut Call presents diverse perceptions and expressions that speak to Lebanese in their homeland and in the diaspora, but it also transcends the borders of Lebanon as contributors address glocal (local-global) issues — war, peace, memory, history, identity, creativity, cultural resistance, resilience, artistic activism, human rights, feminism, social justice, intercultural dialogue… — which can be discussed in a range of settings such as in schools and universities, arts & culture workshops and learning programs, youth and community centers, women’s groups, NGOs, as well as alternative education programs.

Proceeds will help Nabad continue to fund artists, arts NGOs, and small creative enterprises’ projects in Lebanon.

Edited Book: THE BEIRUT CALL: HARNESSING CREATIVITY FOR CHANGE.
Editors: Pamela Chrabieh, Roula Salibi.
Publisher: Dar al Kalima University, Bethlehem – Palestine.
Production, Printing, and Distribution: Elyssar Press, Publishing company in Redlands CA.
Date of Publication: April 2021.
Language: English.
Availability: The book is available in Digital Format and Hard Copy with hardcover.

Contributors: Anthony Semaan, Carmen Yahchouchi, Cliff Makhoul, Dorine Potel Darwiche, Faten Yaacoub, Frank Darwiche, Joelle Sfeir, Katia Aoun Hage, Linda Tamim, Loulou Malaeb, Mitri Raheb, Nada Raphael, Nadia Wardeh, Omar Sabbagh, Pamela Chrabieh, Rabih Rached, Reine Abbas, Roula Azar Douglas, Roula-Maria Dib, Roula Salibi, Wadih al-Asmar


CHECK OUT https://elyssarpress.com/the-beirut-call/ FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND PURCHASE.

Can Beirut Recover? Artists Reflect on the August 4th Blast in Lebanon (by Elyssar Press)

August 4th, 2021 marks the one-year commemoration of the devastating explosion in Beirut, Lebanon. There are still individuals in need of support who are driving forth relief efforts, as well as elevating the arts in Beirut as one way to demand change and government accountability. 

Today, please consider supporting Lebanese artists by purchasing The Beirut Call: Harnessing Creativity for Change, a collection from Elyssar Press that features the work of 21 artists, poets, professors, and activists. Proceeds from The Beirut Call help Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture fund artists, arts NGOs, and small creative enterprises’ projects in Lebanon.

In addition to revisiting that life-changing day and offering a first-person account, the contributing writers and artists in this anthology explore the theme of how—in the words of professor Dr. Mitri Raheb “art is a necessity” as well as a “political tool.” 

When the Beirut Explosion Happened

In the midst of a global pandemic, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded on August 4th, 2020. Hundreds of people lost their lives and thousands more were injured, traumatized, and impacted by this explosion. To add to the devastation and grief, the explosion could have been avoided—the unstable explosives had been stored unsafely in a port warehouse for six years. The Beirut port blast is one of the largest non-nuclear explosions that has occurred.

Often overlooked in traumatizing events like this explosion, is the role of the arts to center the lives of traumatized individuals, including children and adolescents. Art relief is often sidelined as unnecessary in the face of a disaster. Many individuals, such as Dr. Mitri Raheb of Dar-Al Kalima University, challenge this problematic viewpoint that ignores the complex role of art.

Dr. Raheb explains in the interview for The Beirut Call that “art is important as a political tool in the context of war and a post-traumatic context. It also is really important as a tool to express oneself.” For decades, art has been used to elevate movements for social justice, as protests around the world have demonstrated. Additionally, when entire communities are rattled and devastated, emotional healing via art is vital. No person should have to choose between which basic needs they receive, with the arts being just as essential to short and long-term recovery. 

Can Beirut Recover? Artists Call for Creative Change

Beirut has been called the Paris of the Middle East and right now, this city is experiencing a daily struggle. To meet 21 artists and individuals with their own unique experiences of August 4th, 2020, you can watch the Beirut Call Book Launch, and see how this anthology is just one part of elevating the lives of people directly impacted by the aftermath of the explosion.

Featured artists, activists, academics, and change-makers include Anthony Semaan, Carmen Yahchouchi, Cliff Makhoul, Dorine Potel Darwiche, Faten Yaacoub, Frank Darwiche, Joelle Sfeir, Katia Aoun Hage, Linda Tamim, Loulou Malaeb, Nada Raphael, Roula Salibi, Nadia Wardeh, Roula-Maria Dib, Omar Sabbagh, Rabih Rached, Wadih Al-Asmar, Reine Abbas, and Roula Douglas, with a foreword by Mitri Raheb and an introduction by Pamela Chrabieh.

21 profiles of artists in black and white for The Beirut Call Virtual Book Launch.
21 artists speak to greater hopes, daily life, and demands for change in The Beirut Call Virtual Book Launch. You can learn more or purchase the anthology here.

Support Artists Leading Recovery and Social Justice Efforts in Beirut

Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Dr. Mitri Raheb, and Ms. Roula Salibi are largely responsible for making this anthology possible, and for creating a space for individual stories to be heard and shared across the world. When you purchase The Beirut Call, proceeds help Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture as they fund artists, arts NGOs, and small creative enterprises’ projects in Lebanon.

The book transcends the borders of Lebanon as contributors address worldwide issues of war, peace, memory, history, identity, creativity, cultural resistance, resilience, artistic activism, human rights, feminism, social justice, intercultural dialogue.

You can learn more about this new anthology and purchase your copy today at: https://elyssarpress.com/books/the-beirut-call-arts-resilience-resistence/.

SOURCE: ELYSSAR PRESS, REDLANDS-CALIFORNIA, USA (AUGUST 3, 2021).

We had to do something following the Beirut port blast

This summer marks the release of the anthology The Beirut Call: Harnessing Creativity for Change, a collection [by the Nabad program – Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture] from Elyssar Press that features the work of 21 artists, poets, professors, and activists exploring the theme of art as essential, especially in the wake of disasters.

The virtual book launch, hosted by the Shuffle Collective, celebrates this crucial anthology about resilience & resistance culture in Lebanon. Collectively, the art, poetry, academic testimonials, analyses, narratives, and stories in this work and demand social change.

Below are just a few highlights from this virtual event, which you can watch and leave a comment on our Elyssar Press YouTube channel.

Artists and Academics Speak to Art as Essential

Katia Aoun Hage, the founder of Elyssar Press, opened the reading portion of the book launch with her powerful poem “Beyond the screen in my palm,” where the speaker studies her phone filled “with faces of loved ones” while contacting family during the immediate aftermath of the Beirut port explosion.

Cover image of The Beirut Call shows downtown Lebanon at night with street art and many people near a large church with arches and columns.
You can purchase The Beirut Call now as an e-book or hardcover copy.

After setting the stage, Hage welcomed Dr. Mitri Raheb, who spoke to the role of art immediately following the explosion on August 4th of 2020.

“Staying a spectator was not an option,” Dr. Raheb explained in the book launch, “we had to do something.” At the time, Dr. Raheb was in Palestine, where he is the Founder and President of Dar Al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, and he also wrote the foreword in The Beirut Call.

Dr. Raheb, along with Dr. Pamela Chrabieh and Roula Salibi are three key people who made this anthology possible. The team at Elyssar Press could not be more impressed by their dedication to the support essential art. This anthology is a result of that sentiment, with proceeds from The Beirut Call going towards Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, as a vibrant and critical effort to fund artists, arts NGOs, and small creative enterprises’ projects in Lebanon.

In the words of Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, from her introduction for the anthology, the “contributions to The Beirut Call inspire us to think about the impacts of arts and culture on cities and urban life […] as well as so many other facets of living.”

At around the 75th minute mark of the book launch, Dr. Chrabieh continued to share powerful words:

“We’re not looking for a light at the end of the tunnel, because we will probably not see that in our lifetime, but at least in our darkest hours, we are surrounded with people who shine—beautiful souls—who are both resistant and resilient.”

-Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, professor & artist

Featured speakers in this book launch also included Anthony Semaan, Carmen Yahchouchi, Cliff Makhoul, Dorine Potel Darwiche, Faten Yaacoub, Frank Darwiche, Joelle Sfeir, Katia Aoun Hage, Linda Tamim, Loulou Malaeb, Nada Raphael, Roula Salibi, Nadia Wardeh, Roula-Maria Dib, Omar Sabbagh, Rabih Rached, Wadih Al-Asmar, Reine Abbas, and Roula Douglas.

21 cropped portraits of the artists, reporters, writers, and professors whose work is in The Beirut Call.

The Beirut Call is a new anthology about resilience & resistance culture in Lebanon. Click the image or here to watch the Book Launch.

(…)

SOURCE: ELYSSAR PRESS, June 22, 2021. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE.

Nabad Event: Gathering Minds and Hearts to support Artists in Lebanon

Nabad (nabad.art) program dinner, June 8 at BEYt (Mar Mikhael). Gathering our partners and celebrating collaborations which have helped us support more than 130 artists, small creative enterprises and arts NGOs in Lebanon in less than 7 months.

A special thank you to Meadows NGO, Haven for Artists, Plan Bey, Beirut Jam Sessions, SPRKL, Elyssar Press, 5D Studios, and The Beirut Call anthology contributors.

There are countless other contributors we would like to thank such as Deafcat Studios, ITS, The Art of Boo, Shuffle Collective in the US, several Lebanese diaspora groups in the US, Europe and the Gulf region, and the local/regional and international press bodies that helped us spread the news about Nabad’s projects such as l’Orient-le-Jour, Agenda Culturel, Nidaalwatan, Janoubia, AlModon, Al Afkar, Libnanews, Virgin Radio Lebanon, l’Amicale des Anciens de Jamhour, Marie Claire Arabia, Executive Women in the UAE, Stars Illustrated Magazine in New York, and Aesthetica Magazine and Elaraby in London.

Thank you again for your trust, diligent efforts, expertise, solidarity, and innovative ways to overcome barriers in our journey through this long, dreary tunnel.

Last but not least, thank you to Tony Sfeir and BEYT’s community for hosting our event.

The Beirut Call – Interview by Elyssar Press

Watch this interview by Elyssar Press with Dr. Mitri Raheb, Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, and Ms. Roula Salibi on “The Beirut Call: Harnessing Creativity for Change” anthology.

The Beirut Call is Nabad by Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture project of a book on resilience & resistance culture in Lebanon, featuring artists, poets, authors, activists, and academics testimonials, analyses, narratives, and stories of initiatives for social change.

Editors: Pamela Chrabieh and Roula Salibi.

Contributors: Mitri Raheb, Pamela Chrabieh, Roula Salibi, Joelle Sfeir, Nada Raphael, Roula-Maria Dib, Roula Azar Douglas, Loulou Malaeb, Wadih Al-Asmar, Rabih Rached, Carmen Yahchouchi, Anthony Semaan, Omar Sabbagh, Nadia Wardeh, Katia Aoun Hage, Linda Tamim, Faten Yaacoub, Reine Abbas, Frank Darwiche, Dorine Potel, Cliff Makhoul.

Publisher: Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture.

Production/Distribution: Elyssar Press (Redlands, CA-USA).

Cover photo: Nada Raphael.

The book is available in Digital Format and Hard Copy with hardcover. Go to https://elyssarpress.com/the-beirut-call/ for more information. Proceeds will help the Nabad program further support artists, small creative enterprises, and arts NGOs in Lebanon.

Follow us on Instagram @nabad.art, @elyssarpress, on Facebook @nabad.art @thebeirutcall

Read also this article about the Interview, published by Elyssar Press: Art as a Political Tool: The Beirut Call Interview, June 1, 2021.

The Beirut Call in Barnes & Noble

“The Beirut Call: Harnessing Creativity for Change” is now available in print in Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3oKPayX, in print, in the UK, on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oIgFsV; and as an ebook on Booktopia, Australia: https://bit.ly/3vhBFJo

It is also available as a hardcover on Amazon, and as an ebook on Kobo.com, Lehmanns.de, Chapters.indigo.ca, and Fnac.com.

AMAZON.COM:
https://amzn.to/3bEKoxD
KOBO.COM:
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-beirut-call
FNAC.COM:
https://tinyurl.com/tduzrmvh
CHAPTERS.INDIGO.CA:
https://tinyurl.com/453wh6vf
LEHMANNS.DE:
https://tinyurl.com/yj33y9c6

Proceeds will help Nabad further support artists, small creative enterprises, and arts NGOs in Lebanon. Get your copy and support artists in Lebanon!

Cover photo Nada Raphael

The Beirut Call Hardcover is now on Amazon

Proud to announce that “The Beirut Call: Harnessing Creativity for Change” anthology hardcover is now available on Amazon, and as an ebook on Kobo.com, Lehmanns.de, Chapters.indigo.ca, and Fnac.com. Proceeds will help Nabad further support artists, small creative enterprises, and arts NGOs in Lebanon.

AMAZON.COM:https://amzn.to/3bEKoxD

KOBO.COM:https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-beirut-call

FNAC.COM:https://tinyurl.com/tduzrmvh

CHAPTERS.INDIGO.CA:https://tinyurl.com/453wh6vf

LEHMANNS.DE:https://tinyurl.com/yj33y9c6

Editors: Pamela Chrabieh and Roula Salibi.

Contributors: Mitri Raheb, Pamela Chrabieh, Roula Salibi, Joelle Sfeir, Nada Raphael, Roula-Maria Dib, Roula Azar Douglas, Loulou Malaeb, Wadih Al-Asmar, Rabih Rached, Carmen Yahchouchi, Anthony Semaan, Omar Sabbagh, Nadia Wardeh, Katia Aoun Hage, Linda Tamim, Faten Yaacoub, Reine Abbas, Frank Darwiche, Dorine Potel, Cliff Makhoul.

Publisher: Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts & Culture.

Production/Distribution: Elyssar Press (Redlands, CA-USA).

Cover photo Nada Raphael.

Follow us on Instagram @nabad.art, @elyssarpress, on Facebook @nabad.art @thebeirutcall⁠ or go to https://elyssarpress.com/the-beirut-call/ for more information.

Get your copy today and support artists in Lebanon!!

The Beirut Call Anthology is now Available on Lehmanns.de, Chapters.Indigo.ca and Fnac.com

THE BEIRUT CALL ebook is now available on Lehmanns.de! Get your digital copy today! ⁠https://tinyurl.com/yj33y9c6

Also on Chapters.Indigo.ca! https://tinyurl.com/453wh6vf

and on FNAC.COM! https://tinyurl.com/tduzrmvh

Follow us on Facebook @thebeirutcall.⁠@daralkalimauniversity, @nabad.art⁠

Photo credit: @nada.raphael⁠

“The Beirut Call: Harnessing Creativity for Change” Virtual Book Launch

We had an amazing virtual book launch event via Zoom organized by Elyssar Press and sponsored by the Shuffle Collective (California – USA), and which full video will soon be shared.

“The Beirut Call. Harnessing Creativity for Change” is Nabad by Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture project of a book on resilience & resistance culture in Lebanon, featuring 21 artists, poets, authors, activists, and academics testimonials, analyses, narratives, and stories of initiatives for social change.

Proceeds will help Nabad continue to fund artists, arts NGOs, and small creative enterprises’ projects in Lebanon.

Editors: Pamela Chrabieh and Roula Salibi, Beirut (Lebanon).

Contributors: Mitri Raheb, Pamela Chrabieh, Roula Salibi, Joelle Sfeir, Nada Raphael, Roula-Maria Dib, Roula Azar Douglas, Loulou Malaeb, Wadih Al-Asmar, Rabih Rached, Carmen Yahchouchi, Anthony Semaan, Omar Sabbagh, Nadia Wardeh, Katia Aoun Hage, Linda Tamim, Faten Yaacoub, Reine Abbas, Frank Darwiche, Dorine Potel, Cliff Makhoul.

Publisher: Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, Bethlehem (Palestine).

Distributor: Elyssar Press, Redlands-CA (USA).

Follow us on Instagram @nabad.art, @elyssarpress , on Facebook @nabad.art @thebeirutcall⁠ or go to https://elyssarpress.com/the-beirut-call/ for more information.

Repost Nabad

The Beirut Call Anthology ebook is now available on KOBO.COM

“The Beirut Call” anthology electronic version is now available on Kobo.com!


“The Beirut Call” presents diverse perceptions and expressions that speak to Lebanese in their homeland and in diaspora, but it also transcends the borders of Lebanon as contributors address glocal issues-war, peace, memory, history, identity, creativity, cultural resistance, resilience, artistic activism, human rights, feminism, social justice, intercultural dialogue…-which can be discussed in a range of settings such as in schools and universities, arts & culture workshops and learning programs, youth and community centers, women’s groups, NGOs, as well as alternative education programs. Proceeds will help Nabad continue to fund artists, arts NGOs, and small creative enterprises’ projects in Lebanon.


VIRTUAL BOOK LAUNCH is set for Sunday, May 9, 2021, at 10am PST (1pm EST), 8pm Lebanon Time, 6pm UK time, 9pm Dubai time. Sign up here for the event: https://fb.me/e/1XYDoqyim

Editors: Pamela Chrabieh and Roula Salibi, Beirut (Lebanon).
Contributors: Mitri Raheb, Pamela Chrabieh, Roula Salibi, Joelle Sfeir, Nada Raphael, Roula-Maria Dib, Roula Azar Douglas, Loulou Malaeb, Wadih Al-Asmar, Rabih Rached, Carmen Yahchouchi, Anthony Semaan, Omar Sabbagh, Nadia Wardeh, Katia Aoun Hage, Linda Tamim, Faten Yaacoub, Reine Abbas, Frank Darwiche, Dorine Potel, Cliff Makhoul.
Publisher: Dar al Kalima University College of Arts and Culture, Bethlehem (Palestine).
Distributor: Elyssar Press, Redlands-CA (USA).
Cover photo: Nada Raphael.
Virtual Book Launch Sponsor: The Shuffle Collective (USA).

Follow us @nabad.art, @elyssarpress, on Facebook @nabad.art @thebeirutcall⁠ or go to https://elyssarpress.com/the-beirut-call/ for more information.