Monthly Archives: March 2012

Rotten Products sold in tons to Hotels/Restaurants in Lebanon

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I thought at first I was hearing the same news again and again but it turns out there are been several raids on several storage houses distributing rotten products to hotels and restaurants in Beirut. The expired/rotten products include meat, cheese, and even some vegetables.

I strongly believe the authorities should close down all concerned restaurants and run a thorough investigation before people get poisoned. Whomever is buying those products definitely knows that they are rotten.

Here are few links on that issue:
Van loaded with rotten meat stopped in Furn el Chebbak
Authorities confiscate rotten meat and chicken
Police arrest 3 in 2 rotten meat incidents

MMA tournament in Beirut

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Traditionally football-mad with a recent penchant for basketball, Lebanon is venturing into territory uncharted by any other Middle Eastern or North African nation. The country will host an event termed the Revolution Fighting Champion (RFC), boosting hopes among Lebanese and foreign martial artists that the occasion will herald a new era in the expansion and popularity of their sport. [DailyStar]

This one of a kind tournament will include 32 people from 10 different countries. I went to school with Wissam Abi Nader, the Lebanese Mixed Martial Arts Committee (LMMA) President. He’s a great guy and a great champion from Lebanon. I remember one time I was just messing with him and he flipped me over in a flash of a second. Here’s a nice compilation of Wissam I found online [YouTube].

What to do with Minister of Interior Marwan Charbel?

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I am as confused by Marwan Charbel’s behavior as Mustapha is, and I must say even though I believe that he’s a good man, he does not look like he’s the right person for this job. I am not saying he’s not qualified, as he is well-known to have trained and led few of the best units in the ISF, but given the circumstances we are living in, he’s failing on every aspect.

For those of you who missed out on this piece of news, it appears that our Lebanese minister of Interior teared up when asked about the security in Lebanon and the rise in crime. I am not saying he’s not allowed to cry, but such questions should not bring tears to a minister!

There are tons of solutions that could and should be adopted to enhance the security in all the Lebanese regions and that wouldn’t cost the ministry a dime. So instead of tearing up, maybe it’s time to stop living denial that all is great and everyone is happy and adopt few practical measures to boost safety and stop crimes.

– Municipalities MUST play a bigger role in their towns and cities and be given the appropriate equipment and weapons to monitor their areas and perform day and night shifts. If the Ministry of Interior does not have the necessary money, I am quite sure a lot of people, especially those wishing to run for the upcoming elections, will donate money left and right.

– Every region/town/city in Lebanon is dominated by one or two political parties. While they might disagree on politics, they do care about families in their areas and would not spare a chance to cut down violence and stop crimes. The ministry here can incite all political factions to report any wrongdoing and let the police/municipality handle it.

– I have barely seen any army or ISF checkpoints or patrols lately. While the minister is arguing that a lot of security personnel are being recruited as bodyguards to few politicians, I am sure there’s still enough people to run patrols and set up checkpoints.

– Last but not least, politicians requesting security personnel should be allowed to recruit from special security companies, even foreign ones, and have one or two ISF officers to coordinate all their moves. I don’t see where’s the harm in doing so.

I have lost count of the times I have suggested those solutions, and I’m sure there are many others, but I will make sure to suggest them again and again until someone hears me. I was shocked to read Mark’s post earlier this morning as I always thought Sheile was a rather peaceful area.

PS: I am tackling this issue as the problems are purely logistical and NOT political and I would like to ask everyone to keep the discussion away from politics. Despite the complexity of the political situation in Lebanon and the divisions we have, there are always ways to go around those issues and seek the better for the Lebanese, such as the ones proposed above.

Seheili is the ghetto

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When I’m in Lebanon I live in Seheili (it’s like 5 minutes after Jeita) and for some reason a lot of thefts and robberies take place there. For example my building got robbed twice during construction and the second time our buildings caretaker was held at gun point. Then yesterday night a neighbor across the street had his FJ Cruiser stolen. If that’s not bad enough the thieves contacted him from Baalbak the next day and told him he could have his car back for $10,000!

Seheili is starting to sound like the ghetto. It’s really odd.

Bad News all over Lebanon

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After the building collapse yesterday night, Two corpses have been found in an abandoned car near Tabarja on Saturday, reported Voice of Lebanon radio. [Naharnet]

In other news:
– 22 years old Yehya Ali Al-Mouhammad Akadro was found dead in his apartment in Ras Nabaa. he apparently hung himself.

– A cab driver was killed by a passenger in Saida after a dispute over the taxi fare. Driver was Palestinian. What is wrong with people these days? Killing a guy over 3000 Liras?

Let’s hope the day gets better.

Building collapses in Tabarja

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One person was killed and seven others wounded in a building collapse in the town of Tabraja Friday night, reported Voice of Lebanon radio on Saturday. [Naharnet]

The even more tragic part is that the building was illegally built in the 1970s and was lately under renovation also in an illegal matter.

How Useful Social Media is in Lebanon?

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When I first posted the video of the Ethiopian woman being humiliated and beaten in front her own embassy earlier today, it had around 300 views. Looking at it now, it has surpassed 6000 views and counting.

Almost everyone on twitter was talking about the video; I got like 4 emails talking about the same issue, not to forget Facebook, blogs, news portals and other social media tools. Tomorrow we’ll have new Facebook groups, conferences and sit-ins and online petitions. But then what?

Will we be able to arrest those who beat this woman? Will the government do anything about it? Will our dear ministers or deputies propose new laws to protect domestic workers? Will the Lebanese protest in large numbers against such actions?

Sure the government condemned the incident and ask for a probe, the same way they did for the red diesel scandal, and the Fassou7 building collapse, and the Ethiopian plane crash, and Joseph Sader’s disappearance etc …

I am not trying to blame any official here as I honestly lost hope in them, and that’s part of the reason I post and make fun of all of them, regardless of their political affiliations, but I always ask myself whether the Lebanese online community is actually making things better by raising awareness or is just trying to reach out to more people?

I mean social media has helped us spread a message quicker and to a wider range of people, but I feel like we have become more concerned in posting and tweeting and blogging about issues rather than taking actions. I’ve become almost convinced that unless violence and money are involved, nothing can be really changed in Lebanon, except maybe the size of forks at Roadster because their management happens to be highly flexible and customer-oriented.

I’ve supported throughout the past two years many causes on the blog, and even joined demonstrations against women rape laws and offered my help when possible, but when you see more Lebanese concerned about another country’s well-being than women rights in Lebanon, you can’t but reconsider your actions. (That’s just one example).

I am not trying to depress or target anyone here but what happened with the Ethiopian woman in this video and on social media channels shows an unprecedented level of negligence. People were watching from their balconies, some were too busy filming it, and none of the security officials (military hospital is right across the Ethiopian embassy) intervened.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s better not to post about such incidents at all, or think of better ways to make use of social media and the internet as a whole.