This auto-ethnographic essay revisits the story of the Beirut City Center Dome, also known as the “Egg,” a 1960s brutalist-modernist cinema abandoned to snipers during Lebanon’s civil war, which briefly became a stage for a direct action politics in the early days of Lebanon’s October 2019 uprising. One of the uprising’s most ambitious aims was the ushering in of a new social contract beyond sectarian divisions.

The essay tests the argument that a postwar model of expert-driven peace, which involves compartmentalizing the political society while devolving power into real-estate investors–prime ministers, crucially depends on the constant reproduction of technomoral hierarchies between experts and their subjects. In the context of mass mobilization, the essay considers “real estate” to be a fitting metaphor to describe the process through which potentially emancipatory projects fail to materialize within a toxic climate that tends to equate political critique with purity competitions and boundary work.

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