The Hague X Beirut attempts to support human rights activists and artists in Beirut - in face of a severe economic crisis, governmental repression, and the desolation of the city following the explosion in the capital’s port on August 4th, 2020.
This project strives to empower the local populations’ pursuit of human rights, peace, and freedom of speech by increasing the global visibility of activists, facilitating the market capacity of local artists, and supporting the livelihood of human rights defenders.
The main goal of this project is to contribute to the basic needs of human rights activists in Beirut, in order that they may focus on (re-)building a more peaceful and democratic Lebanon.
The Hague X Beirut is a multi-media and sales project to achieve positive social impact in Beirut. It has a primary focus on the use of Instagram as a tool to mobilize the voice of the population, and on ARTivism (Art + Activism hashtag) as a tool to encourage active participation in Beiruti society. Artists are included in this project as catalyzers of social movements, and as the storytellers of history. Through the promotion and distribution of their work, we aim to achieve a lasting affect on their livelihood and help to structure their access to the marketplace, encouraging international connections between artists, activists, and customers.
1. Cover the basic needs of three human rights activists based in Beirut for a minimum of six months.
2. Payments to artists collaborating with this campaign.
3. Increase the global visibility of human rights activists in Beirut.
1. A greater and more effective defence of human rights in Lebanon.
2. Facilitate activistic artists in Lebanon to grow their market capacity and establish a better position in the global marketplace.
3. Improve the safety of protesters in Lebanon through increased visibility, and media and political attention.
4. Increase the scope and freedom of speech of human rights defenders in Lebanon.
1. The publication of an Instagram-inspired photographic book based on the voices of collaborating artists and activists to explain the situation in Lebanon.
2. An online sales campaign to raise funds through the sale of prints on canvas, photographs, and art pieces.
3. An Instagram campaign to raise awareness, and to create momentum for the sales campaign.
4. The publishing on the HPP’s Medium.com page of at least ten articles about topics related to Lebanon.
Since the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990, the country's institutions have been organised as a system of sectarian division. Despite this, Beirut has continued to thrive and express a richness of diverse identities and traditions. This vibrant capital is known for its parties, but also for its engaged and creative citizens.
In October 2019, in protest against the major economic crisis of October 2019, Lebanese civilians from all classes and religions called for the resignation of the political class, and for the creation of a brand new system of government. This became known as the ‘October 17’ movement.
Lebanese citizens persevere with their protest against the ruling political class, which lost its legitimacy following a long history of mismanagement and forceful suppression of pacifistic protests. As the movement intensified, the Covid-19 pandemic took hold and forced the country on its knees.
On August 4th, 2020, two explosions in Beirut's port were felt as far away as Turkey. They resulted in 203 deaths and thousands of injuries, including the loss of more than 10 billion dollars in property damage. The geographical impact of these explosions is about half the size of The Netherlands.
As a result of the explosions, human rights activists, artists, and civilians in Beirut have lost their homes, livelihoods and jobs. However, despite these critical conditions, they continue to take social action and advocate for change.
This project is directed at those people who are still fighting for their universal human rights and freedoms, and takes place at a critical moment in the history of Lebanon. The stakes are very high in one of the most relevant countries in the Middle East, and this year will make a critical difference between a conflict- and poverty-ridden Lebanon, or a new, peaceful and stable Lebanese future.
Owing to our human rights mandate and our position of privilege at The Hague Peace Projects, we feel that we have the duty to actively get involved in the support and the protection of human rights in Beirut.
The Hague Peace Projects (HPP) is a peace organisation based in The Hague, The Netherlands, established in 2014 by four human rights defenders and conflict resolution professionals. Our founders were brought together by the common idea of wanting to provide the general public with genuine and reliable information about on-going political and social disputes, both locally and transnationally. Today, The Hague Peace Projects still holds this as one of its driving principles and we believe that conflicts can only be resolved through the creation of spaces for dialogue, as opposed to violent or aggressive means of dispute resolution.
Our staff consists mainly of young professionals from all over the world with a broad expertise in conflict prevention, peace building and human rights. We welcome people in our team who have personally lived through circumstances of violence and oppression in their countries of origin, and who use this experience to be catalysts of peace; both in their home country and within other conflict areas. In order to achieve our goals, The Hague Peace Projects, as a non-profit organization, establishes and manages a number of activities including; public events, debates, conferences and dialogue meetings. Furthermore, we initiate cultural and social activities for trust building between communities in conflict, and develop peace building training programs for diaspora groups. Part of our work is also the creation of media content and online peace platforms for policy research and human rights advocacy.
The Hague Peace Projects strives to be as impartial as possible, yet, dealing with human rights and pursuing sustainable solutions is not possible without making choices that are partisan and political in character, especially in the context of Lebanon and Beirut in 2020. We therefore acknowledge the fact that by giving a voice to certain individuals that carry strong political messages and defend strong anti-status quo views, we indirectly take on a political stance through this project. In this context, it is important to acknowledge that Beirut remains a fragmented political environment.
As such, we abide by The Hague Peace Projects’ code of conduct and stand against discrimination, whilst being aware that our work is not completely unbiased.
CALL FOR DONATIONS
The Hague Peace Projects supports the human rights causes, and the livelihoods of activists and artists in Beirut. Without taking over the narrative at any point, we provide a platform for art and activism emerging from Beirut in order to help empower local activism, and to strengthen the voice of democracy amid the current systemic crisis in Lebanon.
This project makes innovative use of social media, and approaches NGO work from a fresh perspective. The production and sale of our prints are arranged locally, and are heaviily focused on sustainability. As such, we can rely on low upfront costs.
We are keen to collaborate with like-minded organisations and outstanding innovators, and this is why we are reaching out to you for your support. We are very grateful for the support we get, and hope that you will pick up the challenge of helping to make the world a better place, together.
- George Bandy
- Giuseppe Massimiliano Lodovico
- Federica DE GRESTI
- Teodora Stirbat
- Richenel Akodi
Organizer and beneficiary
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