Monthly Archives: June 2013

Remembering Riad Charara

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I just saw that there’s a Riad Charara Special on MTV tonight and remembered how much I loved this guy’s shows, specially “El Awwal 3al LBC”.

Here are few things I didn’t know about him though:

Riyad Charara started his career on television as a sports commentator. He was a school in the sports commentary for basketball games and athletics. Sharara was a legend, he commented on more than one Olympic game. He was also a basketball player and a member Al-Ahly Club and Al-Jazira Club.

He enriched the sports library with a set of books and articles. He also worked in the Al-Akhbar newspaper. Riad commented and presented a number Egyptian sport games. [Link]

Check out this old video of Riad Charara’s “Al Hossn” show:

And a very old interview with Sabah

Lebanese Need To Chill

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Mövenpick Beirut - Square
Sunset Chill at Square – Movenpick (Source: RagMag)

People have been asking me to comment on recent incidents, such as the video showing few army men assaulting an unarmed civilian in Saida, Fadl Shaker bragging about killing army men (or Hezbollah I am not sure) and lately the incident that took place between MP Nadim Gemayel’s bodyguards and the Nasawiya members.

To be honest, I have a lot to say but I haven’t done so because I am disgusted by the way most Lebanese are reacting to every single thing that happened. It feels like everyone’s gone crazy and is ready to start the next civil war. Even the slightest accident is taken out of proportion and turned into a drama. For instance, news reported few days ago that a bus full of Syrians was assaulted by few thugs on its way to a studio in Jisr el Wati; Few minutes later, I started hearing people comparing that bus to the Ain el Remmaneh bus in 1975 that ignited the civil war!

I understand that the situation is critical and things are tense in few areas but we need to exercise some self-control and stop exaggerating and dramatizing everything. Unfortunately, the Lebanese Media is playing a destructive role and adding more fuel to the fire, an issue that I will get back to in a different post.

Some people might argue that people need to know about what’s happening and I agree but we need to do so more responsibly and in a mature way, and more importantly try to listen to everyone’s story and get the whole image before expressing our anger. What saddens me the most is that people refuse to even dialogue lately and end up screaming and yelling and cursing, whether online or on TV shows.

Let’s express our frustration by partying in night clubs and rooftops and try to chill a bit and avoid our country more problems. It doesn’t mean we should forget about other issues but we can tackle them in a more objective and rational way. All this negativity will not help resolve anything but on the contrary make things worse.

I’ve gone through phases in my life where I was upset of everything that’s been happening in Lebanon and I wanted to change things and demonstrate etc .. and I can assure you the way you look at things is very different when you sit back and look at the bigger image. It helps you be more objective and efficient in promoting your thoughts or causes or whatever you are fighting for. It also helps you reach out to a bigger number of people and get your message through more easily.

On a last note, I just want to emphasize again that I am not trying to take things lightly and ignore how bad the situation is, but I am asking everyone to act more calmly and responsibly. As the Lebanese proverb says “Ba33id 3an el char wou ghaneelo”.

PS: This post is not directed at any side or group or individual.

Lebanon tourism pays the price for Syria’s war

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Picture from the 80s night at B018 – Tribute to Michael Jackson

If Lebanon is truly paying the price of Syria’s war, then why is there traffic everywhere I go? Why is traffic increasing on a daily basis from Beirut to Jbeil? Why are all the nightclubs and rooftops packed from Wednesday to Sunday? Why are the beaches packed on weekends?

I know that numbers suggest that Lebanon’s economy is suffering, Arab tourists are not coming and tourism is bad but it honestly doesn’t feel that way wherever I am going lately. This makes me wonder how bad traffic would be if all these tourists were here.

“As soon as you even utter the word ‘weapons’ you’ve killed tourism,” Paul Achkar, head of the Lebanese hotel association, told AFP. “Three hundred tourism establishments have closed down since the start of the year,” he said.
Although confident that the industry will recover, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud said the figures for the start of the season were pitiable.

“The occupancy rate at hotels in Beirut is barely 35 percent this month, half of the usual at this time of year.
“Outside Beirut, it’s catastrophic. We’re talking about five percent compared to the usual 35 percent,” Abboud told AFP.
The atmosphere in Beirut, dubbed party capital of the Middle East, is not so morose, and Christian areas such as Byblos or Jounieh have also fared better than other areas. [AFP]

Lebanese Landlords Getting Rich Off Syrian Refugees

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Picture from the Atlantic

Most of the Landlords and real estate companies are trying to rip us off Lebanese with their prices so it’s no surprise to find them trying to rip off Syrian refugees.

“The landlord is not a good man,” he says cautiously as the smile he wore just a minute earlier fades. “He’s greedy, and he’s become greedier since the rest of my family arrived.”

“Most of the stories we get include refugees renting out a room or sometimes a small piece of land, mainly in the Bekaa [near the Syrian border] and are having to pay a lot of money,” said Joelle Eid, a Public Information Associate at UNHCR.

Hassan, who asked his last name not be used for fear of retribution, says the landlord, an overweight local sheikh in his 50s, used to charge around $67 each month for a room. Mohammad, a 23-year-old refugee from Idlib, lives in a one-room apartment with three family members in Faraya, north of Beirut. He pays around $135 a month for what he describes as a broken down apartment where nothing works properly. He also says that his family is being charged more for the room than his Lebanese neighbors are for their homes. [Link]