(The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Today, while the building has long been liberated from now largely disarmed militiamen, the re-named Beit Beirut is the site of a contemporary battle.While the parties tasked with stewarding the site are seeking to make the space into a museum, they have yet to agree on how best to deal with ghosts of Beirut's sensitive past. In 2012, the building – under the ownership of the Beirut municipality – underwent an $18 million restoration project aided by French technical advice with the intention of transforming the space into a commemorative museum of the city's history.Then in September 2016, Beirut's current Mayor Jamal Itani held a reception for Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo at the newly restored Beit Beirut.While Beit Beirut defines itself as a museum, it would perhaps be more accurately described as a venue.In many ways, Hallak is Beit Beirut's godmother.Alongside Beit Beirut's scientific committee – a large group of high profile architects, historians and activists including Sursock Museum's Zeina Arida – Hallak has contributed in the design of many of the proposals for Beit Beirut's future.
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