The tragedy of the Lebanese depositors in a play reminiscent of the Intra scandal

In an interactive performance in which the stage disappears (Beirut Art Center), the audience simultaneously plays the role of actors and audience, in the play “Who Killed Youssef Beida?” The twenty-two participants sit at a rectangular table facing each other, in front of phones that simulate the days when the stock market was traded via cordless phones in the sixties, in the active and rapid movement of financial intermediaries for businessmen and businessmen. Against the backdrop of the 1966 bankruptcy of Intra Bank, owned by Youssef Beidas, the play that Lebanon suffered at the time presents a financial banking crisis similar to what is happening now, squandering depositors’ money in high-risk investments.

This is what it looks like for those in the audience who remember this crisis by their family or friends, or so director and screenwriter Christelle Khader wanted to link what is happening today to what happened in the past. It does not specialize in economics or in the field of finance and business, although some economic terms have been used in its text to describe the sale of services and goods as a process of commercial exchange. The exchange is a trade, whether it is in cash or exchange, or in bonds and securities. These words echoed through a voice in the background, trying to explain what was originally understood to the public, to simplify these terms for the audience. And since life is a give and take – that is, an exchange – love is too. Life is love, it is exchange. That is why Cristel turns to the comparison of love and trade exchange, since both – according to her – are based on exchange and give and take. Although they are not alike, either in the purpose of the exchange or in the passion that moves the two parties to the exchange.

In an interview with her, she explained the theme of the play / text, in an attempt to understand the passion that led to Youssef Beidas running the risk of using depositors’ money by investing in lucrative projects. which often yields false profits that cause inflation and consequently a devastating economic collapse. This is what happened in 1966. Inflation has led to the inability of Intra Bank to repay depositors’ money because it got stuck in long-term investment projects. This is what neoliberalism is pursuing in all parts of the world, pushing the economies of countries into repeated crises, without repetition preventing them from resuming the same capitalist approach. Kristel believes that this passion for expansion that dominated Yusuf Beidas led him to destruction, but the passion for love in her opinion does not lead to destruction, but rather promises are made on long, medium and short levels to fulfill promises that in ties that are placed in an envelope in front of the audience / audience that interacts with this Theater Preparation against the background of the comparison between the promises of financial activities, such as services, goods, banking effects and the promises of love that try to mimic in their exchange. securities, securities and banking operations of all kinds.

people numbers

A voice comes out in the background – from time to time – calling two of the contestants by numbers given to them before entering the theater performance, and the voice calls to them as numbers, with the aim of encouraging them to exchange securities whose scope and value differ, but rather ask one of the participants to disclose all his documents to another person. In a simulation of giving up bank secrecy, perhaps, except from a long-term document that asks us to “let’s fix our situation. By forgetting everything that happened so we can move on,” which is a long-term- As for the rest of the ties, it’s promises of love in seemingly naive terms that reflect the exchange on which the love affair is supposed to rest as give and take, but it’s an unconditional exchange other than some barter trade. in making promises, as if you were doing this to me, I would respond to this act with an emotional or romantic action in return.

The phone rings from time to time so that one of the participants responds to it, hearing the same voice repeating phrases that are a metaphor for various expressions of the love affair, which are sometimes seemingly romantic and naive, and sometimes this approach in return between love and money, but it is sometimes funny phrases and other times serious that reflect the anxiety of losing The lover and the risks that can arise if the two lovers do not respond to the logic of give and take, that is to say , the exchange they share with the commercial and economic exchange.

As Christelle Khader exclaims the love of being a purely human passion, unlike the greedy neoliberal passion whose greed for money destroys people’s lives by squandering their deposits in high-risk investments.

The passion of capitalism largely destroys people’s lives – according to Christelle – while the failure in love is limited to the destruction of the relationship of only two people or one of the lovers on the altar to abandon the comparison of exchange in love, it that is, the comparison of life as love, and as both give and take.

interactive theater

The interactive installation done by set designer Nadim Daibes and sound designer Ziad Moukarzel is what gives the interactive theatrical performance the fun and vitality, not the ideas that are sometimes confused and sometimes confused. Not only in the dilemma of comparing love as a human exchange, while the commercial exchange of financial and economic activities is limited to material gain that does not care about people’s interests and lives. We may agree or disagree on the comparisons between the two types of exchange, but what is very clear is that capitalist greed and relentless passion have left their mark on love itself. Love relationships have been recreated to include their transformation in recent decades into a mere interest in human relationships that distort their unconditional and negotiated essence.

We see this perhaps in the increase in the rates of divorce and domestic violence or the existence of relationships and marriages, in the midst of an atmosphere full of tension, deception and betrayal, which ends with the fall of victims, often women, and the damage to it affects the lives of children, it is natural if we do not talk about incestuous relationships between fathers, mothers and children, or between brothers. Capitalism is an approach that also destroys human relationships and erases the values ​​of love, except for those who can resist or accept the risk of reluctantly living within a love relationship, or continuing an unhappy marriage under the pretext of the interests of children or the stereotypical image of marriages, in order to preserve deceptive marital and family appearances.

Despite the many ambiguities in the text that seemed incomprehensible or interconnected, and the expected clear purpose of the theatrical performance does not appear in questioning the present based on the experiences and crises of the past, in money, business and love no, some may show it without receiving the idea, or perhaps that is what The director deliberately wanted it to be, similar to what we experience today from the confusion. Or she wanted us to be shocked by the repetition of the current crisis of the 1966 bankruptcy of Intra Bank. Today it may seem like yesterday to the roots of capitalism in its approach to expansion and greedy profit and not stop at a limit, but the 1966 crisis forced the Lebanese state to compensate some of the depositors from its assets ‘s loss. The state did not try to protect Baidis from bankruptcy because he did not belong to any of the well-established houses like Beit Edda, El-Gamil, Karami or Hamada. He’s from Lebanon, from a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother, in addition to foreign fingers trying to bring him down, Arabic and international – according to Christel Khader, the writer and director, who led to his death or murder, it makes no difference.

Styg a choice

It remains to be seen that Kristel Khader also presented an interactive theatrical performance in 2020, after the outbreak of the financial and economic crisis, but it was broadcast on radio and was titled “The Rise and Fall of the Switzerland of the East” , and it also included a simulation of the experience of Youssef Beidas and the Intra-crisis to question the financial and economic crisis whose characteristics began to become apparent. In 2019, it exploded in an unprecedented form in history in the form of seizure of depositors’ money, but with implicit complicity in the ruling political system that looted these funds through the budgets that the Central Bank of Lebanon has in the arteries of pumped in corruption and organized looting.

read more

This section contains related articles, placed in the Related Nodes field.

Perhaps Christelle Khader’s digging into a thorny issue in an interactive theatrical work shows unprecedented courage in the subject of the “Lebanese economic pandemic”. Addressing it in a theatrical or interactive text seemed less difficult than addressing capitalist greed that does not stop, even if it kills the future of capitalism as a crisis-generating approach, but rather the whole planet .

It remains to point out the efforts of the work team, whose fingerprints can not be ignored, in an interactive installation that can not succeed without the work of the “Who Killed Youssef Beidas?” Team. Started with the set designer Nadim Daibes, then in interior design for Rawad King, Fares Merhi and Abdel Qader Sharaf El-Din, and also in the prominent graphic design of Philippa Dahrouj. The active coordination of production manager Walid Saliba also had a prominent impact in supporting the team with everything that the interactive presentation of integrated management and creativity required.

Throughout the “Beirut Art Center”, the main hall shows us a documentary panel about stations from the life of Youssef Beidas, his roots and his short biography, in stations up to the moment of his bankruptcy and death. Soon the audience encounters a “paper palace” built of cardboard sheets that included the same promises that were traded as bonds within the show, as well as more and more promises / bonds, with the collapse of this palace that made the promises as illusions, or perhaps even sincere feelings But it can become an illusion if the lovers do not abandon their naivety or their objectification of love, as an extension of the approach that capitalism has imposed on everything, including the deepest human values, or the illusion that demanded by the capitalist justification of greed and the expansion of false profits, causing more crises every day. Or so we imagined.

Leave a Comment