Lebanon, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, is perhaps best characterized as a mix of many elements. This includes cultures (Greek, Pheonican, Arab), languages (Arab, French, English), and religions (Islam, Chistianity, Druze). While these mixtures have created a vibrant society, there are also many challenges confronting the country. Perhaps the most well-known recent calamity was the 2020 explosion in Beirut, which killed and injured many and caused massive economic damage. As with much in Lebanon, the roots of calamity can be traced back to corruption. Beyond corruption (or perhaps as a result) Lebanon has weathered multiple financial crises, and is currently dealing with the economic fallout from the pandemic and regional instability that still affects the country (particularly from Syria’s civil war).
An intrinsic aspect of Eureka’s motivation is to promote and give visibility to local, national and regional content, in particular that of women, people of color and Indigenous people. This effort has a double objective: a) to promote representation and give visibility to voices that are unfortunately still marginalized, and b) to challenge dominant narratives based on content closer to local realities. Given the structural inequalities in both the publishing and cinema industry, we know that by default, people predominantly consume content produced by white men (and do so without realizing it). The first step is to make this systematically visible, so it can be taken into account in people’s choice. To do so, we are designing a “diverse representation notation” to be assigned to every book and movie listed in the platform, specifically in terms of authorship (i.e. female, male, non-binary, trans, other) and content (i.e. percentage of female vs. male dialogues). These notations will be based on how authors self-identify, and will be designed with the ability to become more complex in order to include new categories as needed.