The Kojak-Jaber building, a symbol of modern architecture in Ramlet El Bayda, and home to one of the region’s most prominent philosophers and thinkers, is facing the threat of demolition. Designed by Victor Hanna Bsharat, its distinctive circular openings have captivated many, and have made it a landmark in the Beiruti urban landscape for a long time. On the other hand, Hussein Mroueh, the famous Marxist thinker and philosopher, lived in this building where he wrote some of his books, and was unfortunately assassinated in his bedroom there during the Lebanese civil war.
Today, the new owner seeks to clear the way for real estate development, leaving long-term residents and ground-floor businesses in a state of uncertainty.
Demolition, a long-standing policy adopted by authorities in Beirut, would result in a significant loss not only for the inhabitants but for the entire community, severing ties to the city’s past and the right to shape individual and collective memories, and part of the intellectual, cultural, revolutionary heritage of the region. Faced with the looming threat of demolition, it is our collective duty, along with the advocates for the city’s social and cultural values, to protect this building and safeguard the remaining residents.
For how long will we grant real estate developers full authority to determine the fate of their properties, and thus that of our city’s history and urban heritage? How long will we allow building owners the right to demolish or leave their buildings vacant? Should individual rights outweigh collective rights?
Read details in Arabic here.