The Beirut Call: The Strongest Souls Emerge Out of Suffering

The Beirut Call: The Strongest Souls Emerge Out of Suffering


“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.

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