Josh Wood

A journalist's observations on Lebanon and elsewhere

Archive for December 2012

Tripoli’s Slow Decline

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The abandoned Rashid Karami International Fair in Tripoli, Lebanon. Photo by Sam Tarling. December 2012.

Tripoli, Lebanon’s second-largest city, has not had an easy time.  Once destined for a great future, the city is now plagued by poverty, corruption and violence.  When Tripoli is mentioned, it is usually to highlight the fighting between the city’s Sunni and Alawite militias, which has increased dramatically this year as the civil war next door in Syria has continued and turned more sectarian.  In my latest piece for the International Herald Tribune, I took a look at Tripoli’s once-promising past and where the city ended up instead:


The neglect and decline seen here at the renamed Rashid Karami International Fair mirrors that of Tripoli. Once the seat of Crusader, Mamluke and Ottoman provinces and a major port serving Syria, Tripoli is no longer known for its meandering souks, its commerce or its culture: Modern day Tripoli is known for its widespread poverty, high levels of corruption and repeated bouts of violence.


“I don’t understand why Tripoli is like this,” said Mira Minkara, 33, a tour guide from the city. “It’s a city that has a lot of potential — if it was developed in the right way it would be a great city.”


While Beirut still had its problems after the civil war, there was at least an effort to rebuild and develop the city. Tripoli, a city of half a million, was left to its own devices, abandoned in the eyes of many.


Read more in the International Herald Tribune here


Written by woodenbeirut

December 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm

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Tripoli fighting, yet again

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A child holds a Kalashnikov assault rifle in Tripoli’s  Bab al-Tabbaneh neighborhood amid clashes. Photo by Sam Tarling. December 2012.

Tripoli’s militias were at it again last week.  This year, both the frequency and intensity of clashes has increased dramatically.  In the latest round, munitions were hitting downtown, raising fears that the fighting could spread.  Check out my story from Monday’s New York Times below.

TRIPOLI, Lebanon — Clashes between Sunni Muslim and Alawite militias have killed at least 17 people here recently in perhaps the worst spillover of violence from the civil war in neighboring Syria.

Read more in NYT here


Written by woodenbeirut

December 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized