In 2016, Lebanese journalist with Greek roots, George Eid produced the documentary ‘Kalimera men Beirut’, the first of its kind to tell the story of the Greeks who came to Lebanon as refugees in 1922.
Many of the shots he recorded with his camera in the Greek community, today have historical value.
On the 4th of August, the fatal blast in the capital of Lebanon left at least 190 people dead, 6,000 injured and 300,000 homeless.
The explosion also irreparably damaged buildings that bore their own distinctive hallmark, such as the old Greek Club of Lebanon, where some of the most beautiful stories of the Greek community were written down.
Shocked by what he saw after the explosion, George Eid decided to take the camera again and shoot a short documentary about the deadly explosion which includes testimonies from Greeks in Beirut.
The documentary which Eid has temporarily named “The zeibekiko of Beirut,” is near completion. As reported by ANA-MPA, the zeibekiko often betrays a painful sentiment, that is, the physical expression of defeat through dance and many more that could be a kind of “bridge” in this difficult time for Lebanon and the Greeks living there.
“When I was learning to dance zeibekiko, and the whole family gathered on Saturdays, it was like a big celebration, they told me that we ‘inherited’ this dance from Asia Minor and that zeibekika often refer to sadness and deluded people who have gone through a lot but have maintained their dignity. They dance with their ‘ghosts’, their memories and so I found that the zeibekiko can be the connecting link with the Lebanese people at the moment,” the Lebanese-Greek journalist said.
“Every Greek living abroad tries to find a way to combine experiences and situations with Greece even if at first glance they seem unconnected. My grandfather, for example, used to say that even Costa Rica could be Greek as it includes familiar sounds, such as ‘Costa’. It is something that I inherited from my grandfather and so I try to find something “Greek” in everything and in this case with the zeibekiko,” he continued.
One of the stories viewers will listen to is a family friend of the journalist, Anna Armaou, who lost her eye in the deadly explosion.
“My goal is to keep alive the memory of the Greek community in Lebanon and to send perhaps a message of hope. It is a way to keep my identity alive despite the fact that only my DNA is what connects me to Greece. I may not have Greek citizenship, but I inherited many of the Greek values and I intend to pass them on to the next generations,” George Eid added.
In February 2019 he founded the organisation ‘Stin Viryto’ with the main purpose of promoting and preserving the Greek culture in Lebanon.
“The zeibekiko of Beirut” will be in Greek with subtitles in Arabic and English.