Monthly Archives: June 2012

Flat Out Segregation at Lebanese Beaches

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Here is the video of an event that occurred earlier this summer in the Saint-George Yacht Club & Marina (Beirut).

This sort of event happens all the time in Lebanon, and it is time to put a stop to it.

Now that the Ministry of Tourism has issued a circular, banning discrimination at beaches, it has become easier for everyone to demand fair treatment of all people, regardless of skin color, background, occupation, or nationality. Although this circular is far from being a solution to the discrimination that plagues most of Lebanon’s institutions, it is a start.

Having witnessed an act of blatant discrimination, the people in the video called the tourism police (Hotline: 1735), who were very cooperative and helpful. According to the tourism police, Saint-George will be fined (amount to be determined), and a date for the trial is currently being set. This should set a powerful precedent, which will deter other beaches and public institutions from continuing with their racist policies.

Please know that we do not intend to single out Saint-George in any way. It is obviously not the only beach with racist policies. We simply posted this footage because it is the only one we have until now.

Hopefully, with your help, we will be able to compile a comprehensive list of violators. But we also want to create a list of beaches which welcome all people into their resorts and pools. Before the end of the summer, we hope to have sorted most beach resorts into one of two categories: friendly beaches (those who respect the discrimination ban), and beaches to boycott (those who continue their racist practices).

Here is what you can do to help:

– If you witness an act of discrimination at a beach (not letting someone in, not letting them swim, or other “filtration policies”, etc.), please call the tourism police right away (hotline: 1735), and let them know!

– If you do not want to call them, let us know (by phone, sms, or email), and we will deal with it! (contact details below)

– Please send us your experiences at beaches in Lebanon. You can email us, call us, send us a video or a picture. You will remain completely anonymous unless you ask for your name to be used.

Together, we can make sure that this discrimination ban is enforced, and does not end up forgotten like many other rules and laws in Lebanon. Little by little, things are starting to change. Finally.

Contact details:

Thoughts on the the month-long security plan

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Picture from Naharnet

I am all supportive of the month-long crackdown that our Lebanese Interior Minister has started, however there’s something that I’ve been asking myself since day1.

Why did Marwan Charbel announce publically the starting date and time of this security plan? Isn’t the element of surprise a key element in catching criminals and wanted individuals? It’s like telling them to do their thing or run away and hide for a month before the police and Lebanese army start looking for them.

Some are hoping that with Ramadan on the doors, things will calm down further but honestly I don’t think those who are burning tires/blocking roads/stealing/killing/kidnapping care whether it’s Ramadan or not.

On a positive note, I like the fact that there are more women getting enrolled in the ISF ranks as they should be harder to bribe than their male counterparts. However, I don’t think it’s wise to deploy new recruits, men or women, in sensitive areas at the moment.

Updates on the Ancient Phoenician port case

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The destruction of the Ancient Phoenician port in Minet el Hosn with the blessing of Lebanese Culture Minister Gaby Layoun did not go unnoticed as local and foreign media outlets have condemned the act and asked the minister for explanation.

Rhonda Parker from the Examiner posted a nice article rounding up the reactions from all parties involved. You can check it [Here]

The only party happy with the minister’s decision is the real estate company behind The Venus Towers that will are projected to be built on top of the ruins.

El Lebnené batee2 (Update on Dlebta)

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[YouTube] Video via LBCI

Almost two weeks ago, I posted on how Lebanese are always slow to react and basically wait for bad things to happen to realize something has to be done. This is what happened in Dlebta where the municipality has been trying for the past few days to take back the 7700 square meters land that was sold to a Saudi Prince almost a month after the deal was done and the decree approved and signed by the Prime Minister Najib Mikati and President Michel Suleiman.

If the government approves their proposal, the Saudi Prince who bought the land for 300$ the meter will lose the land and get paid back 38$ per meter, meaning that he will lose 2,310,000$ minus 292,600, which is approximately 2 million dollars. Even though I am against selling our lands to any foreigners, this doesn’t seem like a fair deal.

Isn’t it a better solution if the guy who originally sold the land gives back all the money to the Saudi Prince and takes back his land? Can’t the government come up with some decree to annul the whole thing? I am sure they can.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Asir and the anti-Sunnite toy machine gun

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Video of a Sunnite Sheikh complaining about those guns

I received an email few days ago from one of our readers telling me about some Sheikh who showed up on MTV talking about a gun that has a recording that is highly offensive to Sunni Muslims. I had already heard about this story years ago, so I thought it was old news until I checked online and as it turns out, it was Sheikh Ahmad Al Asir, the highly controversial Sheikh that popped out of nowhere in Saida a year ago, who is pissed off with those guns and threatening left and right.

According to Al-Asir, the gun has a recording that says “Go Go Kill Aicha” while in reality it is simply “Go, go and take the hostages”, as confirmed by the General Security Department. Aisha is considered by many Sunnis as the favorite wife of the Prophet, but is unpopular among Shiites.

The first thought that came to my mind is why would anyone buy toy guns when real guns are available now everywhere in Lebanon? The second thought was taking Al-Asir to some network place where young Lebanese from all religions play Counter Strike or Call of Duty and let him hear what they have to say about each others without any of them giving a damn. Those who played Counter Strike at some point in their lives know what I am talking about.

Thanks Omer!