Monthly Archives: January 2013

Ex-PM Saad Hariri supports legitimizing civil marriage in Lebanon

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Source

In his first TV interview after a long absence, Saad Hariri talked about many things but what interested me most were his stances on civil marriage and Qabbani’s speech. This is what he said as quoted by Naharnet:

Hariri: Calling people expiates is not acceptable and addressing civil marriage in the approach Mufti Qabbani took is also rejected.
Hariri: Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey are all Islamic countries that adopt civil marriage. Will Qabbani consider their people expiates?
Hariri: There are many aspects in Lebanon that are not legal from a Muslim perspective.
Hariri: Personally I do not accept that my children marry in a civil union, but a deputy is a representative of the entire nation and of all people.
Hariri: Despite the different views on civil marriage I support debating it and going through with it.

Thumbs up for this brave position and let’s hope others will follow!

He got scared of Mar Elias’ statue!

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Picture via Panoramio

Two days ago, Sin el Fil municipality arrested a man (Mohammad K.) for destroying a Virgin Mary and a Mar Elias shrine. After investigating with him, and according to ElNashra, Mohammad got scared of Mar Elias and thought the statue was attacking him so he took a hit at it and broke it.

I wonder how drunk/high this guy was if this is really what happened.

Is it really Faraya-Mzaar’s fault?

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Remember the rescue story I posted about two days ago? Well the petition the 9-year old’s mother started, asking for enhanced safety at the Faraya-Mzaar ski slopes, has gone viral and reached over 2500 signatures in a couple of days.

However looking back at the incident and Pamela’s comment below (Pamela is an experienced Ski Instructor), I have to agree and say that part of the blame is on the instructor and the ski school behind him as he shouldn’t have left the kid alone.

I hope the people in charge of the Kfardebian ski slopes, as well as other ski slopes, take these comments into consideration and have few guidelines and prerequisites for ski instructors.

First of all hamdella 3a Salemto and he was lucky indeed!
But I disagree with u regarding blaming faraya mzaar only! I used to be a ski instructor for many years, and was licensed by the lebanese ski federation after undergoing extensive training’ and tests done by international committees. Every respectful and professional ski school SHOULD make sure its ski instructors go through this process before handing them any child since it is a great responsibility. What i’m trying to say here is that I believe the accident was first and foremost the instructor’s fault who should have trained your son to take the ski lift alone before allowing him to do so! And assuming your son just got in line before the instructor could stop him, he should have at least notified the person at the ski lift about the problem to inform the other guy at the end to help your son.
This is an unacceptable mistake, and I believe in this case Faraya mzaar should conduct routine training and testing to ANY ski instructor ; not anyone who knows how to ski well is qualified to be a ski instructor especially for young kids
I agree that there should be a “pisteur” at every slope, but that is secondary to the instructor’s role

Every year similar accidents happen and some less fortunate kids have actually fallen off the ski lift and broken their tiny bones because there are “dkekeen ski schools” with amateur ski instructors with only monetary purposes!!!

Best regards,
Pamela

How to legitimize civil marriage in Lebanon

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Three key events have helped put the civil marriage topic back on the table in the past few weeks in Lebanon: Kholoud & Nidal’s attempt to register a civil marriage, President Michel Sleiman’s stances and Mufti Qabbani’s unacceptable remarks on civil marriage. However, despite all that, I still believe we are far from legitimizing civil marriage in Lebanon due to many obstacles, mainly the influence of religious authorities and the lack of officials (MPs/Ministers/Politicians) brave enough to take the initiative.

One should not also forget the buzz created by Lebanon’s online community following Kholoud and Nidal’s marriage as it was and still is very important to keep the topic alive and put some pressure, even if limited, on officials and politicians. For example, the Facebook Group “تزوجنا مدني … و عَ قبالكن” has surpassed 16,000 members in just few days and the unilateral support for legalizing civil marriage on Twitter and Facebook has exceeded all expectations.

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Nevertheless, while I agree with Mustapha that the solution can come through a long-term “facts on the ground” strategy, ie doing little things like allowing people to strike off their sects from their ID cards (God bless you Ziad Baroud indeed!), we need at least 10 more Ziad Barouds in key positions to stand a chance at passing a legislation in favor of civil marriage.

Added to that, sectarianism is at its highest these days in Lebanon due to tensions regionally and locally, a factor that is forcing many MPs and Ministers, including PM Najib Mikati, to stay away from such adventures (Not that I agree with them).

So the fight is long and I believe we have to wait at least until elections are over to witness any change in this subject.

PS: When I said we need a change in the candidates for the upcoming elections, Myriam Klink was not what I had in mind.

Lebtivity.com

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Lebtivity.com

That’s currently my favorite website for browsing events in Lebanon. It’s designed to look like a social calendar, is extremely user-friendly and allows you to connect your Facebook events and even create your own.

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You can check out more about it [Here] and on how to create and manage events [Here]. Lebtivity is the work of five young and enthusiastic Lebanese.

BaytBaytak.com

[YouTube]

BaytBaytak is a map-based website that links directly home buyers and renters to the property owner. The idea was launched back in September 2012 and the first version of BaytBaytak has become available today!

You can search by range of prices, number of bedrooms and apartment sizes. I am sure those of you looking for an apartment (Rent or Sale) will find it very useful and will be more than happy not to pay brokers. Too bad BaytBaytak wasn’t there when I needed it 2 years back.

Posting new listings is not yet available but there’s a considerable number of entries already.

Check it out [Here] and follow updates on BaytBaytak’s Facebook Page [Here].

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Lebanese gets away with a $17,000 fine for killing his wife

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Picture via expressjr.files

A 62 year old Lebanese accused of stabbing his wife to death got his sentence reduced from 15 years in prison to paying a fee of 25 Million Liras (Around 17,000$) to the victim’s family. The man had already spent 6 years in prison but was able to go out with a fine because his wife refused to sleep with him and used to insult him and yell at him. I wonder how he was able to prove that.

Via LebanonFiles

Great Rescue Story from Faraya Mzaar

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We need more people like Ammar in Lebanon.

I am a proud mother of 3. I am a wife, a daughter, a sister. I am a sports addict and I do my best to pass my passion for sports onto my children.

Today, I am a mother who is in shock after what happened to her son on the slopes of Faraya Mzaar. Today, I am a citizen calling for change. Adel is my eldest child, he is 9 years old and has been skiing for 5 years. Like all other parents, we take every single detail in consideration when sending our kids to ski.

Adel wears a helmet to protect himself, he wears 4 layers of clothes to protect him from the wind and cold; but most of all, Adel only skis with my husband & I, or with the official ski school of Faraya Mzaar.

If anything were to happen to him, it would be because he didn’t ski well, or because, God forbid, someone bumped into him on the slopes. At least, this is what we thought.

On Saturday January 26th 2013, Adel was involved in a life-threatening incident that left all the onlookers frozen in shock, and left him traumatized by his ordeal. Adel was on the “Refuge” slope ski lift, on his own. For starters, in no case and under no circumstances should a 9-year old child be ever allowed to ride a ski lift on his own.

As any skier would do, Adel had lowered the safety bar and was waiting to reach the top of the “Refuge” terminal to catch up with the rest of his skiing group – some were in the lifts in front of him, and others (including his instructor) were behind him.

Upon reaching the “Refuge” terminal, Adel was unable to lift the safety bar – the wind was blowing in gusts and was resisting his efforts. He started screaming in panic, hoping the lift controller notices him and stops the ski lift. To Adel’s bad luck, the controller did not stop the ski lift; he either did not pay attention to him!! Or decided to ignore the distress screams and assumed the screaming child would eventually manage to raise the bar.

Right as he arrived to the terminal, Adel eventually pulled the bar upwards…but a strong wind gust slammed the bar violently and made Adel loose his balance and fall off the lift. His 4 layers of clothes got tangled on the foot bar and he was now being dragged along with the lift upwards screaming towards the “Mzaar” slopes..and still, the lifts were going full speed. People were shouting, Adel was screaming… until the ski lift suddenly stopped.
If you’re familiar with this part of the slopes, you probably figured out where Adel was exactly. If you’re not, I will just describe the nightmare in one sentence:

“Adel was now hanging by the tip of his clothes with one of his hands holding on for life and below him was a drop of at least 12 meters”.

The lifts do not reverse; they could not bring him back. The only way was either forwards or downwards.

A helpful man who spotted him (and who we are very grateful to) kept talking to Adel, calming him down guiding him to unmount his skis and throw his poles while he was dangling. Adel, was now effectively hanging for his life.
At this stage, no safety procedures, no emergency response. No rescuers or Red Cross were in sight, and certainly no initiative being taken by anyone employed by Faraya Mzaar.

My son was hanging in mid-air, with 25km/hr winds gusting and with no one equipped enough to save him, no net or anything to ensure a soft landing; but many onlookers standing there in shock and the friendly man who stood helplessly underneath Adel.

In sight of all this, the man beneath asked Adel to try and untangle himself and let go, promising to catch him but Adel wasn’t letting go.
Some minutes later, the drama took another twist when a hero made an appearance to save our son.

One of Faraya Mzaar’s controllers (on his 3rd day on the job) working in the nearby button-lift (tire-fesses) took initiative. He stopped his station and ran across to the ski lifts.

This man, Ammar, reached the nearest pole to Adel’s lift and climbed-up. He then used his bare hands to dangle his body from the cable and made his way across 10 meters to reach Adel’s chair. He pulled Adel back up onto the chair and back to safety.This man saved our son and if it weren’t for him, we cannot imagine what could have happened if he hadn’t. [Link]

via Gino