Lebanon is probably the only country in the world where no one understands what happens when syndicates or organizations call for a strike, especially when it’s related to the GLC, or General Labor Confederation. As we all probably know by now, the head of the GLC Ghassan Ghosn confirmed the general strike scheduled for May 3 in protest against the government policies regarding living conditions in Lebanon. He announced on the occasion of Labor Day: â€œWe will no longer remain silent over a government that is seeking to impoverish its people.â€ [Naharnet]
At first glance, you’d think this guy is serious about the strike and the whole country is going to be paralyzed tomorrow, but then you ask around and there’s absolutely no one you know who’s going to that strike. In fact, banks and private institutions are all open; Catholic, private and public schools as well as Lebanese university branches and private universities are all open, government institutions are open as well and all malls/restaurants/pubs are open!
Except for few taxi and bus drivers vowing to block roads, tomorrow is a regular working day. However, that doesn’t mean that the demands are not righteous but the man calling for those strikes is obviously the wrong person to do so and is part of the whole corrupted system.
So until further notice, I hope the authorities lock this guy up one day for every strike he calls for because he’s disturbing public order and wasting our time.
According to a source of mine Alshaya have purchased the franchise rights to open The Cheesecake Factory throughout the Middle East including Turkey, Russia and Beirut. The Cheesecake Factory is expected to open at the end of the year in Kuwait but I don’t have information on when the Beirut branch is planning to launch. Shake Shack on the other hand is opening this July.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been urged to abandon a planned gig in Israel, after it emerged that they performed at a pro-Palestinian gig that raised over US$500,000. The superstar band, who have won seven Grammy Awards and sold over 65 million albums worldwide, are due to perform in Tel Aviv on September 10, days after gigs in Beirut and Istanbul. [Link]
Here’s an excerpt of the letter:
Open letter from Lebanon to the Red Hot Chili Peppers: â€œCome to Lebanon, but not to Israel: Until All Palestinians Have the Right of Return”
25 April 2012
Dear Red Hot Chili Peppers,
Last November you played at a benefit for Palestinian refugee children at Cafe de Paris in London. Your decision to support Palestinian refugees must have come from an understanding that for 64 years Palestinians have been denied the right to return to their land and to be compensated for loss incurred by the Zionist colonization of their land. Fighting for the implementation of this right is the central tenet of the Palestinian Boycott National Committee and the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI). As a result, we find it strange that less than a month after your benefit concert you announced your decision to play in Israel.
There’s nothing strange about this decision. They are not politically affiliated yet wouldn’t mind promoting causes if asked to. How hard is that to understand?
Lara Fabian cancelled her concert back in February in Lebanon after receiving a similar letter. [Link]
At this rate, we will only be allowed to watch U2, Gorillaz and Roger Waters performing in Lebanon. Isn’t Wiz Khalifa performing soon in Lebanon? Hasn’t he been to “Israel” yet? How about Charles Aznavour? Chris de Burgh? The Cranberries? Tom Jones? Shakira?
When are we going to stop this nonsense? Should we label the Lebanese who attend those concerts as traitors or collaborators as well?
The hospitals, their staff and doctors went on the one-week strike to protest the NSSF’s delay in reimbursing hospital bills and its refusal to increase the fees of physicians. The head of the Syndicate of Private Hospitals Suleiman Haroun told Free Lebanon Radio, that the hospitals will only admit patients with severe hemorrhage, those who have heart and respiratory problems and who undergo dialysis, and victims of traffic accidents. [Naharnet]
This is a very serious matter that needs to be treated ASAP as there’s a great majority of Lebanese who rely on the NSSF to hospitalize themselves, their family and more importantly their elderly. However, I can’t really blame the hospitals for taking such measures as they can’t keep working for free and enduring losses.
One solution is to get insured somewhere else, but most insurances don’t cover people over a certain age and not all Lebanese families can afford paying for an insurance.
Zahi Zeidan vows he won’t back down as he stands in his bomb-shattered restaurant and oversees workers carrying debris out of dining rooms where on a good night patrons are usually drinking and dancing.
“They targeted us because we serve alcohol,” said Zeidan. “Selling alcohol is my right. This is my country and I will not accept that people dictate to me what I work.” [Source]
This is the 4th time a restaurant is targeted in Tyr for serving alcohol. I must admit you have to admire this guy’s commitment to serving alcohol despite all those bombings. I think we should organize a trip to Tyr in support of Zahi Zeidan. Who’s in?
On a different note, it is quite astonishing how police investigations have not led to any results yet, especially in a city like Tyr where Nabih
Berri, the speaker of the parliament, displays considerable influence.
Last but not least, is it so hard to dispatch few army men or municipality policemen to guard those places temporarily until the criminals are caught?
I went to visit February 30 yesterday and it is by far Hamra’s funkiest and most original venue. The chairs, tables, toilets, bar, roof, walls are all unusual and the whole place feels like it’s upside down. There’s an indoor space which could fit up to 50 people, maybe more, and a small outdoor space in an adjacent alleyway. I can’t be a judge of the drinks being served there as I always order Vodka (Russian Standard) on the rocks with a slice of lemon (you can’t really go wrong with that) but the Strawberry Margarita my fiancee ordered was fine. As for the food, we ordered Nachos and a goat cheese salad and both were good!
February 30 is located on Makdissi street in Hamra, close to Olio Pizzeria and Le Rouge Restaurant.
I tried to take as many pictures as possible to show you how original the venue is as it’s easier to look at pictures than describe it in words.