The Fishermen of Raouché (Lebanon)
A beautiful but sad description about the difficulties faced by the last remaining fishers of Raouché, an unspoilt part of Beirut’s coastline defined by natural rock formations that protrude from the sea like two white beacons. Raouché is part of the Daliyeh (Dalieh), a small peninsula and one of the few remaining public spaces left on a coastline otherwise dominated by private beach clubs.
‘This land isn’t ours, but my grandfather lived here,’ he says. ‘The government asked us to destroy our house six months ago. They want to get us all out of here.’
Itani remembers a different Raouché. ‘It’s changed a lot. Before the concrete blocks, everyone used to bring picnics here. It was like a garden,’ he says, referring to the port’s bulkheads, which have become a symbol of the impending eviction of the community.
‘A lot of people have accepted the money [from the developers] and left,’ he says. ‘We’re 70 percent sure this is all going to be gone soon,’ Hammoudi continues, looking out over the port. ‘We’re just waiting for the new president to be elected, when the decision will be made.’
Pigeon Rocks have a transcendent glow. Even at this hour, a handful of visitors pose for photos on the Corniche. There’s a constant flow of people, like pilgrims to a shrine.
The working day has also begun at the café, where Ali works and shares his first coffee of the day with a few of the fishermen. One of them, Nasser, moved to the sea from his landlocked hometown of Baalbeck, and has worked with Itani’s brother, Abou Mustafa, for years.
‘He cannot leave the sea. He’s stuck with it,’ laughs Ali.
Read the whole article and see the photos here.0