What Batroun is (all) about.

Batroun has always been a haven of peace for me, away from the city’s ceaseless chaos and the country’s madness (do I need to elaborate more on that?).

I can’t wait till my week is over in Beirut to see myself driving the seaside road that finally reveals the long stretch of healing blue to my eyes. Destination: my “island of paradise” where everything is reggae music, beautiful clean water, sunset SUP rides, bonfires by the sea, happy faces, the best “come as you are”  beach parties… but most importantly, where there is a built-in will to fight for – and enjoy – whatever beautiful Lebanon has inherited us.

Batroun is another Lebanon for me, not the one that has surrendered, under piles of garbage, to the self-destructive mindset that has taken control over so many Lebanese. Batroun is a sample of a clean, beautiful, and healthy Lebanon struggling every day to keep its beach town clean, beautiful, and healthy.

Kfarabida, Batroun
Crystal clear waters – Kfarabida, Batroun (photo credit: Jad Ghorayeb)
Kfarabida, Batroun (photo credit: Jad Ghorayeb)
Rare beauty – Kfarabida, Batroun (photo credit: Jad Ghorayeb)

This September weekend was a specimen of what Batroun is all about. Between “Save Kfarabida” and “Wickerpark”, Batroun represents a ground for hope, hope for the remaining natural beauty Lebanon is endowed with, hope for heritage, for local talent, and for life. Hope that somewhere in Lebanon people are still working hard to fight for our country’s wealth, from its natural beauty to its great human potential.

On September 10, 2016, Batrounis and non-Batrounis gathered for two causes:

  • Save Kfarabida“: A protest campaign again a major waterfront project that would destroy stretches of public coast and marine life in Kfarabida, causing tremendous environmental damage. Here, on the spot of the said project, people assembled peacefully, on their boards and “flukas”, expressing their love for sea life. Attendees also signed a petition that they hope would voice their concerns about the repercussions of this million-dollar private development on one of the very few natural spots left on the Lebanese coast.
Photo credit: Jad Ghorayeb
Kfarabida (photo credit: Jad Ghorayeb)
People protesting for "Save Kfarabida" from the waters
People protesting for “Save Kfarabida” from the waters

For more stunning pictures about Kfarabida, check Jad’s [instagram account].

(video by Joe Sokhn)

  • Wickerpark“: Launched in 2011, Wickerpark is the first grassroots music festival in Lebanon, originating and happening in Batroun every September. Taking place in the massive Daou family garden, the festival gathers one of the best new and established bands and artists in the Lebanese alternative scene, promoting local talent in a laid-back atmosphere and a full day of festivities much-awaited by many. Wickerpack also aims at creating environmental awareness by reconnecting people with nature through a grassroots venue and eco-themed exhibitions, the proceeds of which contribute every year to a different environmental cause.
Lumi, one of my favorite bands playing at Wickerpark
Lumi, one of my favorite bands playing at Wickerpark

This weekend, I was happy to contribute to both causes, as I am happy to belong to a community that is determined, despite everything, to enjoy a beautiful and prosperous Lebanon. A community that respects and appreciates its land’s nature and environmental legacy, and one that is still fighting to live a life every Lebanese deserves to live.