267 episodes

Storytelling and conversations, from Beirut and beyond. Subscribe from your preferred podcast platform. Support us through Paypal or Patreon.

The Beirut Banyan Ronnie Chatah

    • News
    • 4.8 • 36 Ratings

Storytelling and conversations, from Beirut and beyond. Subscribe from your preferred podcast platform. Support us through Paypal or Patreon.

    Ep.259 (Video): The Story of our Time with Mona Fawaz

    Ep.259 (Video): The Story of our Time with Mona Fawaz

    0:00 Intro
    2:47 Storytelling
    6:14 Difficulty of the Moment
    10:27 Change
    26:49 Repetition
    43:20 Academia
    50:55 A Path Forward

    We're with Mona Fawaz for Episode 259 of The Beirut Banyan.

    Click to watch:
    https://youtu.be/hjUradkdq_U

    We discuss how we met on my WalkBeirut tour in 2009, a shared passion for storytelling and Mona's illustrious career in urban planning and political activism.

    Our conversation includes the immense difficulty of the moment, a theory of change for Lebanon and the ability for academia to take the classroom to the street - in a literal sense during the first weeks of the October 17 Uprising and in shaping protest movement discussions on issues ranging from political and economic reform to local urban matters.

    Mona Fawaz is a Professor in Urban Studies and Planning and the Coordinator of the Graduate Programs in Urban Planning and Design at the American University of Beirut.

    The article discussed in this episode is linked below:
    https://tcf.org/content/report/beirut-madinati-prospects-urban-citizenship/

    Help support The Beirut Banyan by contributing via PayPal:
    https://www.paypal.me/walkbeirut

    Or donating through our Patreon page:
    https://www.patreon.com/thebeirutbanyan

    Subscribe to our podcast from your preferred platform.

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter:
    @thebeirutbanyan

    And check out our website:
    www.beirutbanyan.com

    Music by Marc Codsi. Animation & illustration by Sana Chaaban.

    • 57 min
    Ep.258 (Video): Online Markers & Caution with Aya Iskandarani

    Ep.258 (Video): Online Markers & Caution with Aya Iskandarani

    0:00 Intro
    2:17 Online Markers
    7:38 Online Caution
    15:41 Larger Problem
    22:49 Part of the Story
    30:03 Information
    37:07 Misinformation

    We're with Aya Iskandarani for Episode 258 of The Beirut Banyan.

    Click to watch:
    https://youtu.be/xoCRIGTgvNY

    We discuss the nine month marker following the Beirut port blast, and the challenge of 'marking' without justice. Our conversation includes the difficulty of open debate online - including Clubhouse - and the precautions taken when covering Hezbollah-related issues in Lebanon.

    We also talk about the emotions involved when covering a story at home, and the challenge journalists face when confronting misinformation with fact-based reporting.

    Aya Iskandarani is a correspondent at The National.

    Follow Aya on Twitter: @Aya_Isk

    The articles discussed in this episode are listed below (in order of appearance):

    'Lebanon: Hezbollah critics report threats on Clubhouse app':
    https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/lebanon/lebanon-hezbollah-critics-report-threats-on-clubhouse-app-1.1200400

    'Clubhouse App Creates Space for Open Talk in Middle East'
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/02/world/middleeast/clubhouse-iran-egypt-mideast.html

    ''There is nothing we can’t sell’: smugglers siphon off scarce Lebanese goods to Syria':
    https://www.thenationalnews.com/mena/lebanon/there-is-nothing-we-can-t-sell-smugglers-siphon-off-scarce-lebanese-goods-to-syria-1.1196239

    Help support The Beirut Banyan by contributing via PayPal:
    https://www.paypal.me/walkbeirut

    Or donating through our Patreon page:
    https://www.patreon.com/thebeirutbanyan

    Subscribe to our podcast from your preferred platform.

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter:
    @thebeirutbanyan

    And check out our website:
    www.beirutbanyan.com

    Music by Marc Codsi. Animation & illustration by Sana Chaaban.

    • 45 min
    Ep.257 (Video): Political Psychology & Lebanon with Ramzi Abou Ismail

    Ep.257 (Video): Political Psychology & Lebanon with Ramzi Abou Ismail

    0:00 Intro
    2:16 Pursuits Abroad
    7:23 Common Identity
    13:46 Social Pact
    22:34 Higher Interest of the States
    40:02 Institutionalized Country
    51:52 October 17
    1:02:21 Groups & Individuals

    We're with Ramzi Abou Ismail for Episode 257 of The Beirut Banyan.

    Click to watch:
    https://youtu.be/QC4vgX8Jby4

    We discuss political psychology within the Lebanese context and dive into issues related to shared identity, Lebanon's social pact and a lacking higher interest of the state.

    Our conversation includes the role of institutions when examining common destiny, politics born out of October 17 and the relationship between groups and individuals and a sense of belonging.

    Ramzi Abou Ismail is a Political Psychologist and Doctoral Researcher at University of Kent.

    Follow Ramzi on Instagram: @the.political.psychologist

    Help support The Beirut Banyan by contributing via PayPal:
    https://www.paypal.me/walkbeirut

    Or donating through our Patreon page:
    https://www.patreon.com/thebeirutbanyan

    Subscribe to our podcast from your preferred platform.

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter:
    @thebeirutbanyan

    And check out our website:
    www.beirutbanyan.com

    Music by Marc Codsi. Animation & illustration by Sana Chaaban.

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Ep.256 (Video): 'Halfway There' with Abby Sewell

    Ep.256 (Video): 'Halfway There' with Abby Sewell

    0:00 Intro
    3:24 Collapse
    9:21 Coverage
    25:04 Halfway to Hell
    31:48 Long-Form

    We're with Abby Sewell for Episode 256 of The Beirut Banyan.

    Click to watch:
    https://youtu.be/lo7ECcK0bBU

    We discuss three of her recent L'Orient Today pieces covering collective memory and Haret Hreik, renewable energy and the power sector, and the black market surrounding fuel shortages and smugglers in North Lebanon.

    Our conversation includes the wider role of journalism and storytelling, and an appreciation for long-form analysis and the written word.

    Abby Sewell is a journalist at L'Orient Today.

    The three articles we cover are accessible below, in order of appearance:

    More than a ‘Hezbollah stronghold’: The complicated past and present of Haret Hreik

    https://today.lorientlejour.com/article/1254383/more-than-a-hezbollah-stronghold-the-complicated-past-and-present-of-haret-hreik.html

    EDL’s struggle to stave off darkness exposes a huge missed opportunity in the renewable energy sector

    https://today.lorientlejour.com/article/1256444/edls-struggle-to-stave-off-darkness-exposes-a-huge-missed-opportunity-in-the-renewable-energy-sector.html

    A roadside black market and vigilante justice for thieves and smugglers: North Lebanon adjusts to fuel shortages

    https://today.lorientlejour.com/article/1258315/a-roadside-black-market-and-vigilante-justice-for-thieves-and-smugglers-north-lebanon-adjusts-to-fuel-shortages.html

    Help support The Beirut Banyan by contributing via PayPal:
    https://www.paypal.me/walkbeirut

    Or donating through our Patreon page:
    https://www.patreon.com/thebeirutbanyan

    Subscribe to our podcast from your preferred platform.

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter:
    @thebeirutbanyan

    And check out our website:
    www.beirutbanyan.com

    Music by Marc Codsi. Animation & illustration by Sana Chaaban.

    • 38 min
    Ep.255 (Video): 'We Were There' with Zeina Saab

    Ep.255 (Video): 'We Were There' with Zeina Saab

    0:00 Intro
    2:23 Inspiration
    9:49 Poetic Justice & Resistance
    17:22 All we can expect?
    22:17 Political Power
    32:17 A tribute to Beirut?
    37:02 Nawaya

    Click to watch:
    https://youtu.be/kvTYg3n9Q40

    We're with Zeina Saab for Episode 255 of The Beirut Banyan.

    We discuss her book project: 'We Were There: A Book About the Beirut Explosion' and reflect on the pursuit of poetic justice through preserving and honoring collective memory.

    Our conversation includes the wider role of civil society in the aftermath of the port blast, grassroots-led movements seeking political power and real inspiration at a time of tragedy and prolonged uncertainty.

    Zeina Saab is the Founder and Director of Nawaya and Co-Founder at SE Factory.

    To help support the book project, click below:
    http://weweretherebeirut.com

    Help support The Beirut Banyan by contributing via PayPal:
    https://www.paypal.me/walkbeirut

    Or donating through our Patreon page:
    https://www.patreon.com/thebeirutbanyan

    Subscribe to our podcast from your preferred platform.

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter:
    @thebeirutbanyan

    And check out our website:
    www.beirutbanyan.com

    Music by Marc Codsi. Animation & illustration by Sana Chaaban.

    • 46 min
    Ep.254 (Video): Falling into Place with Amb. Frederic C. Hof

    Ep.254 (Video): Falling into Place with Amb. Frederic C. Hof

    0:00 Intro
    2:12 1999-2000
    8:37 Post-War Sovereignty
    18:03 Certainty
    27:19 The Wider Story
    40:10 Memories of My Father

    We're with Amb. Frederic C. Hof for Episode 254 of The Beirut Banyan.

    Click to watch:
    https://youtu.be/Yt93xZ3KML0

    We discuss his recent Newlines Magazine piece: 'Assad: The Shebaa Farms Are Syrian, Whatever Hezbollah Claims' and revisit previous US efforts at securing a peace deal between Syria and Israel.

    Our conversation includes Lebanon's position during these talks, and why post-civil war sovereignty never in fact took hold. We also reflect on Amb. Hof's memories of my father while he was mediating between Lebanon and Israel over offshore oil reserves.

    Ambassador Frederic C. Hof is Diplomat in Residence at Bard College and Former Director and Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. He was also Former US Special Envoy to Syria.

    The article referenced in this episode is accessible below:
    https://newlinesmag.com/first-person/assad-the-shebaa-farms-are-syrian-whatever-hezbollah-claims/

    Additional career info below as per Bard College's bio:

    Hof was previously the special coordinator for regional affairs in the US Department of State's Office of the Special Envoy for Middle East Peace, where he advised Special Envoy George Mitchell on the full range of Arab-Israeli peace issues falling under his purview and focusing on Syria-Israel and Israel-Lebanon matters. He joined the State Department in 2009 after serving as the president and CEO of AALC, an international business consulting and project finance firm formerly known as Armitage Associates LC. A graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Hof began his professional career as an Army officer. He is a Vietnam veteran and served as a US Army Middle East Foreign Area Officer, studying Arabic at the Foreign Service Institute in Tunisia and receiving a master's degree from the Naval Postgraduate School. He served as US Army attaché in Beirut, Lebanon and later in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as director for Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestinian Affairs. He has written extensively on the Middle East and diplomacy. His awards include the Purple Heart, the Department of State Superior Honor Award, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, and the Defense Superior Service Medal.

    Help support The Beirut Banyan by contributing via PayPal:
    https://www.paypal.me/walkbeirut

    Or donating through our Patreon page:
    https://www.patreon.com/thebeirutbanyan

    Subscribe to our podcast from your preferred platform.

    Follow us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter:
    @thebeirutbanyan

    And check out our website:
    www.beirutbanyan.com

    Music by Marc Codsi. Animation & illustration by Sana Chaaban.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
36 Ratings

36 Ratings

Annoyed customer !! ,

thank you

thank you

Rami Yashruti ,

Excellent - Lebanon needs this!

Something Lebanon (and the region) is missing - sober and unbiased discussions about politics, culture and society. Past and present. Old and new. Spoken by a diverse group of very interesting people. Ronnie and The Beirut Banyan team have done a wonderful job highlighting issues we sometimes forget about in Lebanese society. Highly recommended podcast!

Elsa Hach ,

Finally

A great way to learn more about Beirut’s history. Easy to follow, and the episodes link so well together. Thanks, Ronnie!

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