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Reconquering Horsh Beirut

A wood bewitched thanks to ASSABIL association's sticks

Bois des pins-web ©dussollier_1In a city where buildings are mushrooming and where only the arts scene can add color to the glass and concrete, it sounded almost impossible that at the heart of the city there exists a real pine wood, well-preserved, which takes its visitors on a trip away from all the traffic and into a rare calm and tranquility.

ASSABIL, with the support of the Region Ile de France, has chosen this public space to organize an annual festival since 2011, which allows the Horsh to open for three days and host activities, shows, concerts, etc.

The initiative has demonstrated to the municipality the need and possibility for the park to be open and host cultural events to the public without being damaged. In fact, in the past years, other organizations have built on the success of the festival to obtain authorizations to organize different events at the park and gradually reclaim it as a public space.

festival Bois des pins-web ©dussollier 4


The fourth edition of the festival was held from September 26 to 28 and was inaugurated by the Chairman of the City Council Mr. Bilal Hamad, who announced that arrangements are actually being made for the permanent opening and management of the Horsh in the coming months.

The team of ASSABIL was mobilized to organize all aspects of the festival, its programming, logistics, technicalities, authorization, communication, etc. It advertized the event via its libraries and traditional and social media. From its first edition, the festival was easily spotted by locals and eagerly awaited by a diverse audience, and it was a chance for other organizations to collaborate on both, its entertainment and awareness activities (e.g. the preservation of the environment, the fight against domestic violence, etc.).

This year, an original and extraordinary poetic performance was presented by “AL AFLABATOUNIYOUN”(1), which is a group of 11 actors organized by Collectif Kahraba and designed by  Oposito, a company Ile de France region.les habitants du bois des PIns-Collectif Kahraba©dussollier

- What does Beirut dream at night?

- At what time do you wake to the sound of the yard?

- The sea in front of you and the concrete behind you!

- We too want to buy Raouche!
So? We buy! We buy!

- Because they all want to see the sea, we can no longer see the sky…

The playful artists delighted the audience, both in the Horsh and in the surrounding neighborhoods prior to the festival, such as: the garden of Geitawi, Tarik el Jdideh, Hamra, and the Corniche.
AL AFLABATOUNIYOUN in the garden on the east Geitawi – published in l‘Orient le jour.

festival bois des pins-web©dussollier 2_1

Beyond the fun shared by everyone in the festival, new people have become aware of the existence of public libraries that offer important services and organize attractive activities for people of all backgrounds, and which are public cultural spaces that are open to all people.


Festival bois des oins-web©dussollier 3_1


[1] Contraction  between two Arabic words : AFLATONE = Platon et BATOUN = concrete