“Invest in books, not bullets” advocated Malala during her speech for the inauguration of a girls school in Bekaa, Lebanon. Malala is a Pakistani young adult, she won the Nobel peace prize in 2014, making her the youngest winner ever.
Lebanon has witnessed the huge influx of Syrian refugees since 2011. Days ago, UNHCR announced that the number of Syrian refugees attained 4 millions persons. Lebanon has today among its population about 1.2M refugees. It has also the highest ratio of refugees in the world, Lebanon has a population of 4 Millions.
Malala Yousafzai is today not only the symbolical young face of peace but she’s also a face of resistance against patriarchal societies.
The Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, not far from the Syrian inland, has today more than 400,000 of refugees. Roughly half of them are toddlers, children or teenagers.
When Malala says “Invest in Books, not in Bullets” it may sound simplistic and symbolical. But she has all the reasons to claim that. Just 8 days of global military spending could fund 12 years of free, quality education for every child on the planet. A year of global military spending could fund roughly 547.2 years of free quality education! Picture the huge amount of money that goes towards war and destruction.
The war in Syria, which is now in its 4th year, is depriving the young Syrians of school. A single school brings much needed hope.
You might haven’t heard of Lycée Abdel Kader. It is a school, it teaches from Maternelle (kindergarten) to Lycée (high school) and prepares its students for the French and the Lebanese Baccalaureate.
It is located in Zarif, at the end of the Mar Elias Road in Beirut, Lebanon.
Lycée Abdel Kader is more than 100 year old, its walls have seen the best years of Beirut, and the worst, and its 2000 students know how much history it witnessed.
Its walls have seen old cars and buses take children from the school and to the school, children who will be parents, parents who intend to have their own children go to the same school they attended.
Its walls have seen the bullets, the missiles, the blood during the Lebanese Civil War, yet it still stands, education beats war.
But Business might beat Education, and when we speak of a 100 years old school, we also speak of History. The Lycée Abdel Kader might be relocated within 5 years, and the whole area will be destroyed. The school is a part of MLF (Mission Laïque Française ), AEFE ( L’Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger) and the Rafic Hariri Foundation.
The latter sent a message to the Lycée Abdel Kader, it was posted on the Facebook Page LAK Forever, a group that reunited professors, students, ex-students and parents to protest the idea of the probable relocation. It has now more than 1600 members.
Here’s the message in French.
“Fondation Rafic Hariri is studying the project of relocating Lycée Abdel Kader in a Beirut Suburb, within the delay of 5 years, to answer needs of development and modernization of the establishment. No decision have been made yet. AEFE stays Fondation Hariri Partner, whether the decision of relocation is taken or maintaining the school in its current location.”
Why Mrs Salwa Sinionra didn’t think of renovating the school instead of destroying/relocating it ?
The school was established in 1909, Rafic Hariri Foundation began to manage it in 1985. Legally, you have every right to relocate, even bomb it, morally, it’s another story.
Some rumors say a mall will be constructed at this place…
Here’s what I read in Hariri foundation website :
The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development greatly values the rich cultural legacy Lebanon has inherited from past civilizations with five World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO and considers safeguarding this distinguished culture among its top priorities.
Don’t destroy the cultural Legacy of Lebanon. Lycée Abdel Kader is a cultural legacy. And it’s a part of the history of Beirut.
And oh how ironic, Solidere is a part of this empire, and Solidere was criticized with the “development” and “modernization” of post-civil war Beirut’s Down Town.
Why are we allowing corporations to destroy our patrimony ? I always hear how proud are we, how we’ve known so much different civilizations, yet we don’t do a single thing to stop this massacre. We have so much beautiful ruins that are being destroyed for soulless modern buildings. Don’t get me wrong, I am with modernization, but I believe that preservation is a part of it.
Lycée Abdel Kader is not more important than the other schools, all the other schools that might one day get relocated, must fight this war. It’s Education Versus Business.