It was like some exclusive place in Soho back when Soho was cool, but there was an ocean between it and New York, a tumultuous ocean full of the wrath of winter. Concrete ceilings, water spots, black walls that probably receive a regular dose of paint, and art, much art, a red-faced Warhol and Superman Obama and marvel comics on canvas, an explosion of popart was right there on the walls of a warehouse bar in Beirut on a winter's Friday night.
The future of Lebanon socialized inside those walls, a mix of programmers, bloggers, photographers, musicians, social entrepreneurs, Twitterers, and civil society activists, all of them recognizing that in natural resourceless Lebanon, human resources are the way to progress, building a knowledge society through technology and ideas.
They called it Geekfest.
They had come out from behind computer screens to prove they are real, that they aren't just avatars but living human beings whose ideas are as real as they are. Lebanon could be a leader in tech, but its telecommunications infrastructure prevents it from being so. Instead, tech investment goes to Amman, and young Lebanese are left in the dark. Will the new government make good on his promise to bring Lebanon into the twenty-first century, or will corruption and ineptitude keep these "geeks" mired in the past, their ideas fading with each advance made by the world around them?
There are so many great initiatives in Lebanon, so many skilled developers and talented individuals, and most of them attended Geekfest at Art Lounge on Friday night. I wish them luck in their endeavors and hope we develop long lasting partnerships for the betterment of Lebanon's civil society.
SMEX post on Geekfest.
Fake Plastic Souks post.