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It is important to acknowledge the effort of the Beirut Municipality to reach out to the public to inform Beirutis about its intentions and to respond to civil society groups' criticism of the Fouad Boutros Bridge project.However, the municipality's responses over the past several weeks reveal a much more serious set of problems that have led to this confrontation. Beirut deserves a better arrangement of its priorities.Why is the Beirut Municipality taking sides and not seeking innovative solutions to please everybody?Beirut's best municipal presidents during the Ottoman and French Mandate periods were the ones who stood up for the citizens against the foreign rulers, even when those presidents were effectively appointed by the rulers.Finally, there is a problem of image. If a real estate developer from Dubai can understand the importance of conserving Beirut's historic image in order to increase its real estate value, why are we trying to make Beirut more like Dubai?The municipality and the citizens should aspire for a better image, maybe starting with a headline that reads "Beirut Chooses History Over Highway".
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