Monthly Archives: November 2011

MEA Pilots on Strike

I’m currently at the Beirut Airport and my flight is being delayed because of the pilot strike Najib posted about below.

Until a few moments ago no flight was showing as delayed. If you had called the airport before arriving to check on your flight they would have told you it was leaving on time. If you asked the employee at check in if your flight was delayed they would have told you no. If you entered Duty Free past the immigration desks and checked the screens your flight would have also shown to be on time. I only realized my flight might be delayed because of the Naharnet article Najib linked to. Even then I checked the Beirut Airport website and the departure screen in the lounge and it still showed I was leaving on time so I figured my flight was affected. Only when it was nearly boarding time and I was about to leave lounge did I find out my flight was delayed. On my way out of the lounge I asked an employee if my flight was taking off on time and she told me no it was delayed by 2 hours.

Even though my flight is delayed and I have to sit and kill time in our boring airport, I do understand why the pilots are on strike and I stand by them. You don’t dump an employee who has been serving you for over 30 years because he ended up getting cancer. I’m not saying the pilot should continue flying (depending on his condition he probably can’t). What I’m saying is that the pilot should continue to undergo treatment on his MEA insurance and once the treatment is complete if the pilot can continue to fly then he should. In the meantime while being treated they could assign him a desk job or accommodate him some other way. Keep in mind this isn’t a new employee or one just has been with them for a short period of time, we’re talking 30+ years here.

Update: Here is a response from a MEA pilot

First of all i offer our apologies for this delay, and thank you for your support. Believe me when i say it was the only way to get our management to listen. The Lebanese pilots association is not demanding that the captain returns to fly, but they are only asking that this captain get his rights as described by the Lebanese law; receive 2 months full salary and 2 months half salary on sick leave where after that the Lebanese DCA shall decide if he is fit to fly and fully recovered or not. MEA gave him half of what the law says and fired him after 38 years of work during his sick leave in the middle of his treatment (against the Lebanese labor law). Again my sincere apologies and thank you for this support.

MEA Pilot Laid Off

Pilots at Lebanon’s national carrier are delaying outgoing flights to protest a decision by the company’s administration to fire a pilot who is undergoing medical treatment.

The pilot in question has been serving the Middle East Airlines for more than 30 years now.

MEA has been trying to rebuild its image as one of the region’s top airlines following years of civil war and the global financial crisis. [Naharnet]

And they are hoping on achieving that by recklessly laying off a pilot because he was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment?

This is a very shameful and immoral decision to take.

Green Rooftops for a Greener Beirut

Conjuring images of the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Melki’s company StudioInvisible propose to apply their project on an enormous scale. They plan to make everyone, “by force, if necessary”, plant a couple of trees on their rooftops, in a way that is “accessible, cheap and easily maintained.”

I think this is a great idea! I am not sure if the Beirut municipality will approve it, and even if it does so, if it will be able to force building owners and real estate companies to implement it.

You can read more about it [Here].

More on Myriam el Achkar’s murder

After reading few comments on the earlier post on Myriam’s death and listening to her parents and fiance on TV, I thought it would be convenient to give my take on that matter and try to appease those seeking revenge and taking things way out of proportions. Mustapha from the BeirutSpring has already urged Lebanese not to make wrong conclusions out of this horrific crime and I encourage other bloggers to follow the example and spread the word.

Myriam’s murder was a true shock to all of us and devastating news to her parents and close ones. No one will ever be able to make up that huge loss for her family, yet I strongly believe it is the family’s responsibility to make sure justice takes its course, and behave like the true Christian Myriam was.

Myriam was not killed because she was a Christian. She was killed by a mentally unstable individual and a criminal. He did not kill her because she was Christian and he was a Muslim or a Syrian, he killed her because he’s a psychopath. Having said that, I urge everyone to stop turning this into a religious matter, stop inciting for more violence and simply pray for Myriam to let her rest in peace and help her family get over this difficult time.

Solet Tapis on fire… right now

I was on my home from the airport and was dropping a friend off to her car next to ABC Debayeh when I noticed thick smoke coming out from a building further down the road. So I drove up closer and noticed two fire trucks and people gathered outside Solet Tapis. I quickly parked the car and snapped these two shots before continuing back home. I didn’t see any flames while I was there so hopefully it’s not a big fire. It also smelled electrical.

Cat in Boots? Puss in Boots?

I noticed the billboard for the new “Puss in Boots” while stuck in traffic on the seaside road. I wonder why they changed the name from Puss in boots to Cat in boots. I’ve seen posters for this movie in cinemas in Lebanon and they had the word puss in it. Is it because puss is one letter away from the female genital? (Keeping it PG-13). They should rename the movie “Feline in tall shoes”