Beirut is a city of fascinating dualities. It is one of the most religious and culturally diverse cities in the Middle East, with Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Druze (mystical movement based on Shi'a Islam) communities. A perfectly maintained mosque stands next to a crumbling movie theater; a luxurious swimming pool is bordered by a beautiful stretch of Mediterranean Sea on one side, and a building site full of construction cranes on the other. The streets are dotted with palms, the bars filled with beautiful, highly educated young people who switch easily between different languages.
As the largest city in one of the smallest countries in the Middle East, located along the Mediterranean coast, bordered by Israel, Palestine and Syria, Beirut has suffered a torrent of torments. Several buildings still bear the marks of conflict, mainly of the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990. Nevertheless, the inhabitants show great resilience and an unflagging belief in the future. Artists, museums, theatres and cultural initiatives play a key role in the revival of Beirut. They help turn the city into a dynamic place and are more than ever active and present in the international art world.
During the festival MOUSSEM CITIES: BEIRUT, which runs from February 2 to 18 in various venues in Brussels, we present a broad multidisciplinary program packed with performances, concerts, exhibition, performances and installations. Artists, thinkers and cultural operators are invited to tell the story of their city with their work.