If the Red House could speak, it would say, “I’m afraid, don’t leave me. I’m scared, scared from fading away and becoming a mere memory.” The Red House is in danger of being demolished, to be replaced by yet another grey high-rise. Its residents have been ordered to evacuate, and pack centuries of memories in five days.
If the Red House could speak, it would tell us, “I’m a gem, special and rare, still standing in Ras Beirut, at the heart of the capital of Lebanon.” The Red House is a landmark of the area, being one of the last surviving historic houses of Ras Beirut. It stands vibrant with its famous red door, red windows, and green trees. It’s an oasis in a city that is losing its color to urbanization and concrete. Its Red Windows would count how they witnessed the changes in the city over the years.
If the Red House could speak, it would tell us how it feels treated like a Queen by its current resident and all the family, friends and even strangers that visit it. Samir, an architect and conservationist who was born and raised in the Red House, took very good care of it, keeping it well-maintained and preserving its architectural historical features. Samir, also a gastronome who cooks passionately always welcomes visitors to lunch or dinner with a delicious home cooked meal.
If the Red House could speak, it would tell us how it reigned like a Kind during the many wars the city witnessed. It protected many from the surrounding bomb shelling. Countless family and friends took refuge inside its strong and warm walls.
If the Red House could speak, it probably would still hold some secrets, but couldn’t help but brag about the role it played in the independence of Lebanon. Many meetings were held in its central hall by prominent political figures, discussing Lebanon and plotting its independence in the early 1940s.
If the Red House could speak, it would take a deep breath, close its eyes, and wonder how long it would still stand its ground. It’s difficult to remember how Ras Beirut was back in the 18th century, when the first part of the Red House was built, in the middle of fields of orange trees. The lady of the house at that time planted more trees in its courtyard. Now, the trees outlast the surrounding concrete jungle.
If the Red House could speak, it would recount endless stories of all the people who cherished it, lived in it, and passed by. If its Red Door could smile, it would smile back at all the curious strangers, peeking through it, trying to get a glimpse of the hidden garden and courtyard behind.
If the Red House could speak, it would scream, “I want to stay alive!”
If the Red House could speak, it would reply, “I hear you, thank you!” to all the people that are offering their support in our current efforts to safeguard an icon of Lebanese traditional houses, and to keep our values and heritage alive.
If the Red House could speak, it would tell us, “I love you back!”
The Red House would love your support as well. It is on Instagram (the_red_house_in_ras_beirut) and Facebook (theredhouseinrasbeirut).
The Red House in Ras Beirut