Monthly Archives: October 2012

More racism against Foreign workers

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Picture from Al-Akhbar

A number of young men riding three motorbikes and a four-wheel drive vehicle brutally assaulted Syrian workers at a construction site in Wata al-Msaytbeh on Wednesday at midnight, the National News Agency reported. The assailants attacked and injured six workers with knives and sharp tools. [Link]

Almost ten days ago, Lebanese army members raided houses in Jeitawi, Achrafieh and attacked more than 70 foreign workers, including Syrians, Egyptians and Sudanese with broomsticks. They beat them up for over 2 hours. HRW asked that Lebanon punishes those assailants but we all know that’s not gonna happen anytime soon.

Magnolia Bakery opening soon

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I was at ABC Debayeh and I noticed that Magnolia Bakery is opening where Nestle Tollhouse used to be. I think thats really great since I stopped passing by Nestle Tollhouse once they stopped serving their chocolate chip cookies. Plus Magnolia Bakery has an amazing banana pudding and chocolate cheesecake swirl. Delicious, can’t wait.

Update: Turns out Najib already posted about this [Here]

Carlos Ghosn invests in Lebanese winery

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Carlos Ghosn at IXSIR’s launch

Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has decide to invest in Lebanese winery and become a sleeping partner in a winery called IXSIR. I was invited to that event and had the honor to meet Carlos Ghosn and even take a picture with him.

I don’t need to talk about Ghosn as this man needs no introduction. I will leave you with excerpts of his speech translated to English by

I believe in the future of this country. Of course there will be highs and lows, but the Lebanese people can make it.” Having survived a terrible civil war (1975-1990), Lebanon now suffers the consequences of fears of a violent spillover from neighboring Syria. With the Gulf countries issuing travel advisories on Lebanon, both the real estate market and the tourism sector are in free fall, with GDP contracting rapidly after posting 8% yearly growth between 2007-2010. ”Yes, the Syria crisis is scary, but Lebanon is used to living in crisis. I have no doubt it will make it this time as well,” said Ghosn, a Brazil native who grew up in Beirut, where he studied with the Jesuits. ”And anyway, a good glass of wine is the elixir we need in times like these,” adds Ghosn, making a pun out of the winery’s name.

IXSIR Winery in Basbina, Batroun

You will ask yourselves, what is a carmaking boss doing here,” he says. ”Well, for those of us dealing with an industry made of metal and big investments, in which governments often intervene, it is sometimes a relief to get away and recharge. And let’s not forget that this land has been producing wine since the Phoenicians. By exporting wine we can also export the lesser known aspects of Lebanon, which are quality and joie de vivre.

Annahar releases Mobile App and gets hacked

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Annahar Newspaper has finally launched a mobile App for Android and iOS platforms. I downloaded the app and I like the layout. It’s very easy to browse and you can instantly share/submit articles and photos. Added to that, I read on there’s an interesting feature within the app, which is the historical oath of Gebran Tueni that starts playing as soon as Annahar newspaper logo is scanned.

Unfortunately for Annahar though, they got hacked the same day the app was released and apologized to their readers for the inconvenience.

Lebanese government to sue Homeland over Beirut portrayal

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Everyone in Lebanon knows this is not how Hamra looks like these days or ever looked like and It’s only normal that the Lebanese government sues Homeland producers for this misrepresentation of Beirut streets in Season2. Here’s what Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud had to say about the matter:

Minister Abboud said the reach of the show made the misrepresentation even more problematic. “This series has a lot of viewers and if you are promoting Lebanon as a non-secure zone it will affect tourism. It will mean a lot of foreigners stay away if they are convinced by what they see,” he said. “Beirut is one of the most secure capitals in the world, more secure than London or New York.”

The show was not filmed in Lebanon at all, but was shot instead in the Israeli city of Haifa. For Abboud the fact that it was filmed in a state with which Lebanon is technically at war was an added insult. “We would like to welcome the crews here to film in this city — we were offended by the fact that they filmed the thing in Israel and said it was Beirut,” he said. [Source]

And this is how Hamra really looks like these days:

Picture from Sieskte

Arab artists pull out from Austria’s Salam.Orient festival

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Lebanese Rapper Malikah

Arab artists, including Marwan Abado, Syrian singer Lena Chamamyan, Lebanese MC Malikah, and Palestine’s DJ Sotusura and MC Boikutt pulled out in the past two days of Austria’s Salam.Orient 2012 music festival because of sponsorship from the Israeli Embassy. Malikah justified her withdrawal by saying:

“”I cannot participate in an event sponsored by a Colonial Occupying Force, especially when the occupied subject is us!!”

With all due respect to Malikah and other Arab Artists, but their decision to pull out doesn’t add up. If you want to boycott Israel and Zionism, you boycott any event including an Israeli and not just one sponsored by Israel. The festival’s schedule clearly listed all participants, including the Israeli band Buchara Groove, so they should have all withdrawn from the start!

Added to that, if they had asked for a clarification from the organizers, they would have understood the reason behind this sponsorship. As shown below, the sponsorship came for one performance and has nothing to do with the event as a whole. In fact, the same happened in 2011 with an Indian band.

“In 2012 Vienna Acts also invited a group from Tajikistan living in Israel to present a music program called “Buchara Groove.” For this evening – and only for this performance – we asked the Embassy of Israel for financial support to cover local cost (meals and hotel) which they agreed to cover. For this reason, the logo of the Israeli embassy is displayed on our website (alongside all other sponsors). Besides this, the Embassy of Israel has no influence on the programmation or content of Salam.Orient.” [Source]

All in all, it doesn’t look like those baseless boycotts are going to end anytime soon. You’d think Arab Artists would make use of their talents to show support to Palestine through songs or plays or acts but instead they insist on doing it the wrong way.