Category Archives: Critiques

Some Lebanese Refuse To Recognize The Armenian Genocide

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Lebanon Victims of the Ottoman rule – Picture taken in Lebanon via Annahar

A couple of Beiruti associations and organizations, as well as few Sunni groups in Tripoli, rejected Education Minister Elias Bou Saab’s decision “to shut down public and private schools on the occasion of the so-called Armenian genocide, and claimed that the genocide is a subject of historical dispute and lacks national consensus”. The Turkish flag was even raised in Tripoli to show support.

I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, but it’s quite shameful and pathetic to hear that some Lebanese don’t acknowledge a genocide that is documented in historical books, studies, novels and documentaries. Even the Turks acknowledged last year the killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks but still refused to call it a genocide.

Moreover, I think someone should remind these groups of Lebanon’s dark days of hunger during the Ottoman Rule, when General Jamal Pasha “instituted an internal blockade of cereals to enter Mount Lebanon, particularly the Christian Maronite Canton (Kaemmakam) that included the current districts of Kesrowan and Betroun. Consequently, the Lebanese could not receive wheat and cereals from the district of Akkar and the Bekaa Valley”. It is estimated that Mount Lebanon lost between 20 and 30% of its population and some sources claim that it was the highest death toll by population of the First World War. I know for a fact that the towns of Abidlleh and Chabtine lost more than 40 or 50% of its residents back then and cases of cannibalism were reported. Of course the severe drought and locusts that hit Lebanon made things worse but the suffocating internal blockade by the Ottomans did the most damage.

One of the many sources I found on this dark era is from “The Famine of 1915-18 in Greater Syria” book that mentions “500,000 victims of famine and related to famine in Syria and Lebanon, 200,000 of them died in Mount Lebanon, particularly in the districts of Byblos and Batroun and Tripoli”. If this is accurate, this means Tripoli also suffered from the Ottoman rule just like all of Lebanon did, and these groups should be condemning Turkey for these actions and what they did to the Armenian people as well.

Here’s an excerpt taken from a letter by Gibran Khalil Gibran to Mary Haskell dated May 26, 1916: “The famine in Mount Lebanon has been planned and instigated by the Turkish government. Already 80,000 have succumbed to starvation and thousands are dying every single day. The same process happened with the Christian Armenians and applied to the Christians in Mount Lebanon”. Also there’s an [article] written by Annahar on this matter, pictures and references I found on the AUB website, and this [article] that quotes several sources on the famine that hit Lebanon between 1915 and 1918.

A coalition of Sunni organizations in Beirut Tuesday condemned a decision by Education Minister Elias Bou Saab to close private and public schools on April 24 in observance of the Armenian genocide, saying it might torpedo Turkish efforts to release Lebanese hostages held by ISIS and Nusra Front.

“Beiruti Associations and Organizations rejects Education Minister Elias Bou Saab’s decision to shut down public and private schools on the occasion of the so-called Armenian genocide, given that the anniversary is a subject of historical dispute and the lack of national Lebanese consensus regarding the circumstances [of the events of 1915],” a statement said. [DailyStar]

أثار قرار وزير التربية الياس بوصعب بالتعطيل يوم الجمعة حفيظة البعض في المجتمع الطرابلسي، وفعالياته، رفضاً للقرار. ومن أبرز الهيئات الرافضة للقرار دار الافتاء في طرابلس، وجمعية العزم والسعادة التابعة لرئيس مجلس الوزراء الاسبق نجيب ميقاتي، وهيئة العلماء المسلمين، ودعا عدد من الجمعيات إلى اعتصامات الجمعة استنكارًا لموقف الوزير، ودفاعًا عن تركيا.

وأصدرت “جمعية بيت الزكاة” بيانا طالبت فيه الحكومة اللبنانية بتوضيح حقيقة تبنّيها لقرار الوزير، وأوضح بيانها أن الجمعية “تدين كلّ المجازر التي وقعت في بلادنا العربية والإسلامية أو في العالم”، معلنة في البيان: “سوف نتقدّم من مجلس الوزراء بجدول عن المذابح التي ارتكبت بالأقاليم العربية والإسلامية، وليتحمّل المجلس النتائج، ولتعطل المدارس كل أيام العام الدراسي حدادًا على تلك المجازر”. [Annahar]

Stop Attacking The New Traffic Law

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I understand people criticizing certain aspects of the new traffic law and how police officers will be penalized for breaking the law, but refusing the traffic law because the roads are bad and not lit, or because you saw a cop running a red light is absurd. I agree that the new law is tough when it comes to fines, but again that’s not an excuse for not abiding by the new rules and becoming a better driver. It’s like ditching classes because the classroom seats are not comfortable, or as my friend Mustapha stated yesterday “refusing to take an exam because the school has no electricity”. If you want to keep on speeding, running red lights, not wearing seat-belts and driving recklessly, then you are an idiot and I hope you get fined and thrown in jail.

Don’t confuse the traffic law with other issues like the infrastructure, security and corruption because they are different. Implementing a new traffic law is as important as enhancing security, fixing roads, fighting censorship and corruption and protecting your freedom of thought. We need to become better drivers, the same way we need to become more environmentally friendly and less corrupt, and only a tough law and raising awareness will do the job. Again this doesn’t mean that the law is perfect and doesn’t have any flaws, but let’s do our part and start pressuring the authorities to do theirs as well. Speaking of which, there are 4 issues that I’m still not comfortable with and that I believe need to be tackled properly:

1- Political and security convoys: Is the police allowed to stop them? What happens when they are driving dangerously and cutting off people?
2- Fake License plates: This is unfortunately becoming a trend whereas crooks use fake car plate numbers and cause other drivers to get fined.
3- Settling the fines: Fines always used to come late (sometimes a year late), which is unacceptable. The ISF needs to figure out a way to automate the process.
4- Valet parking companies: Valet guys park everywhere illegally and throw away fines sometimes. They need to be severely penalized and banned if needed.

Until then, let’s drive safely and let’s hope the new traffic law will last more than 2 months this time.

IMG-20150422-WA0016 How the Lebanese reacted to the new traffic law – at the Mecanique in Dekwaneh

PS: Watch out for trains.

666 via Tayyar

Only In Lebanon: When You’d Rather Have Cancer Than Protest Against Your Political Party

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I spotted posters on the Jounieh highway inviting locals to protest against the Zouk powerplant on Saturday the 25th of April at 3pm. I texted a friend, who happens to be from Zouk Mikhael, and asked him about the protest and whether he’s going or not. He told me that he’s definitely not going because the protest is organized by people he disagrees with politically (wou 3am bya3emlouwa benkeye and maybe he’s right). I asked him whether his party or whomever he’s supporting are doing anything to fix this problem and he didn’t have a clear answer. Instead, he started attacking others and blaming them for not doing anything.

This small talk pretty much sums up the Zouk power plant situation and how Adonis and Zouk residents and municipalities, as well as Keserwan MPs and ministers haven’t done anything to shut down this polluting and hazardous plant. Some people have been lobbying since the days of the Camille Chamoun presidency, yet all their efforts have gone in vain because it’s all about politics and some people would rather get cancer from the toxins dispatched by the chemical plant than protest against their Zaiims. I don’t know how some Lebanese can be so nonchalant about their health and the well being of their children, specially when there are studies showing an increase in cancer due to this power plant.

The Zouk plant has been operating for more than 50 years and is polluting the whole country not just the Keserwan area. A couple of years back, emissions were reduced by 80% by Minister Gebran Bassil but this is not enough as filters aren’t apparently an effective solution. I don’t know what Zouk residents are still waiting for, but they are jeopardizing their health and their family’s health by keeping things as they are. What’s even worse is that more buildings are being built around the plant and the area is becoming overpopulated, not to mention the new beach resorts that are opening every summer, and the third smoke stack that might be added.

To sum things up, if the problem is that we can’t get rid of the power-plant that easily, municipalities should raise awareness on its dangers and keep people away from it. They should also organize protests and pressure the authorities to cut down the pollution and agree on a plan to remove the power plants once and for all. At the same time, municipalities should do what Zahle did and try to figure out alternatives (renewable energy solutions maybe?) to provide their towns and villages with 24/7 electricity, that way they will be able to negotiate on better terms, noting that Zouk residents don’t even get 24/7 electricity! It’s quite absurd that the authorities are allowing people to build new residential areas, commercial centers and beach resorts around the Zouk power plant while there’s a yearly increase of cancer cases and other diseases due to this plant!

For those of you who think that there’s no solution to this matter, check out this study done by Patrick Kallas that I found online and that proposes four solutions to the Zouk power plant issue, and I’m sure there are other studies and solutions published online.

As far as Saturday’s protest is concerned, I don’t know who is organizing it but that’s not how you achieve things. You need to convince residents that you have a certain strategy, that you will be following a certain plan of work and that these protests will eventually get somewhere not just end up on some local TV’s news bulletin for 2 minutes.

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20150419_103401

Fatal Road Accidents In Lebanon: Don’t Blame The Roads Only

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News2558123-635644159326340632 Picture from Issam Breidy’s fatal accident – via LBCI

Over 900 people got killed in car accidents in Lebanon last year and the last victim was Lebanese actor and singer Issam Breidy who died on Sunday morning when his car overturned on the Dora bridge. Two other people died during the weekend and tens got injured in various car accidents. I personally didn’t know much about Issam but I was saddened by the news just like most Lebanese, and I was really touched by all the stories the media shared about him, on how his family and friends loved, on how talented and hard-working he was but I was also disappointed by the way Lebanese media covered the story, and covers any story related to fatal road accidents. I understand that people don’t want to hear such stuff, specially the victim’s family and friends, but the media’s responsibility is to shed the light on what happened and more importantly to spread awareness on road safety instead of just blaming the authorities.

Don’t get me wrong here as the authorities and concerned ministries are to blame and more for all the accidents that are taking place and I support any kind of pressure to fix the infrastructure and make our roads safer. Moreover, I still don’t believe we will be able to implement any new traffic law if there are no plans to filter out the corrupt cops from the ISF and improve the roads, but this is not an excuse for being a bad driver. Whether the roads are good or bad, it is our responsibility to wear a seat-belt, to respect the traffic lights, to drive slowly on wet roads, to respect the speed limits, to make sure our brakes are working fine etc ..

I’ve been driving in Lebanon for the past 15 years and I can easily tell you that roads are worse than ever but drivers as well. Every time I’m driving back from a party in Beirut, I feel like I’m in a Fast & Furious movie. Young people think they have control over the wheel no matter how fast they’re going or how drunk they are. They don’t understand that it’s pointless, irresponsible and stupid to drive when you are too tired or drunk, and it’s selfish because you will be hurting your beloved ones if something happens to you. If you’ve been drinking and driving for years without getting into any accident, it doesn’t mean you should keep on doing it. If anything, you should consider yourself lucky and stop doing it once and for all.

All what I’m saying is that we need to fix the roads, but we also need to change the attitude of the drivers in this country. When you’re partying with friends and one of them had too much to drink and wants to drive back home, stop him at any cost and order a taxi. If he insists on driving because he’s man enough to do so, call the cops. If I ever hear that my younger brother drove back home drunk or tired, I will forbid him from ever driving a car again for his own sake. We need to stop this carnage and put an end to all these accidents! If the authorities aren’t doing anything about it, let’s do our part at least!

On a last note, I just want to make it clear one more time that this isn’t about Issam Breidy or any specific road victim, but about the role the media and we people have to play in spreading awareness and forcing our friends and entourage to drive safely and respect the laws.

Sincere condolences to the family of Issam, Charbel Z who also died that weekend and all the road victims in Lebanon.

bill

On The Issue of Child Beggars In Beirut And What Happened At Dunkin Donuts Hamra

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Almost 2 million people have fled Syria to Lebanon since the start of the conflict in 2011, out of which hundreds of thousands of children deprived of education, food and their most basic needs. As a result, a lot of them had to resort to begging in order to provide for their families, or were recruited and exploited by organized mobs (or sometimes their own families) to make revenues. These gangs usually distribute children at different strategic points and threaten them to collect a minimum amount of money or suffer dire consequences. This is why a lot of children beggars refuse to take food when offered and ask for money instead, and they follow you every where out of fear that they might get beaten up when they go back home. As a result, most of them end up working long hours in detrimental conditions and leading a catastrophic lifestyle which poses many risks on their physical and mental well-being. To make things even worse, some gangs are sexually exploiting these children or even selling their kidneys.

Should we help street children or not?
Child beggars have been present since ever in Lebanon, but their situation has worsened with the Syrian crisis as more families are inhabiting the streets and more children are being forced out of school to beg for their families, or are being exploited by child beggar networks, and this is quite noticeable in many streets in Beirut specially in Hamra where there are tens of families living on the side walks and child beggars all over the place.

Personally speaking, I can’t but help children I see on the street, no matter what their nationality is, but I always prefer to give them food instead of money because I know money is going to the wrong people. Some take the food you offer them while others only want cash and become annoying at some point, but giving them money will make them come back for more which is why I refuse to do so. Of course I wish I could get these children out of the street and put them back in school, but there’s little I can do about that and the only way to help is by spreading awareness on this matter and promoting the NGOs helping refugees and street children, or even doing small initiatives like the one LiveLoveBeirut and JouéClub did back in Christmas based on one of the pictures I took.

Who is to blame for this situation?
Both begging and child labor are illegal in Lebanon and the government is responsible for enforcing laws that prohibit exploiting children to finance illegal activities or for sexual purposes. Moreover, Lebanon is forced to abide by the Convention on the rights of the child that was agreed on in 1991. This being said, it is the responsibility of the authorities and mainly the ministry of social affairs to help get these children out of the street and back into school, and more importantly arrest the gangs that are playing a major role in keeping children on the street.

Sadly enough, this issue has long been neglected by the authorities and the only organization in Lebanon that offers a refuge to both Lebanese and non-Lebanese street children (Home of Hope) is not receiving enough funds to do its job. The organization, established by the Lebanese Evangelical Society (LES), is headed by Mr. John Eter, and offers kids a basic education, medical insurance and most importantly a loving environment.

What happened at Dunkin Donuts in Hamra?
A story has gone viral in the past few days about a Dunkin Donuts employee who “beat up” a Syrian child beggar and kicked him out of the coffee shop. The story spread before it even got confirmed and the picture of a DD employee that had nothing to do with the incident got shared somehow. Eventually, the employee who hit the child got suspended by Dunkin Donuts Lebanon and a police investigation is underway according to what they stated on Facebook, while Al Jadeed interviewed the employee and other eye witnesses who stated that the kid wasn’t beaten up as stated. Needless to say, what this employee did was wrong whether he slapped or beat up the kid and I think DD should have added an apology to their statement but I don’t understand people, specially Dima Sadek whom I respect, who are asking to boycott Dunkin Donuts because of that incident. How is boycotting Dunkin Donuts going to help with anything? When did boycotting ever achieve anything? And did they take into consideration the hundreds of families who are against such practices and working with Dunkin Donuts? What if the child beggar was a Lebanese or a Kurd? Why does it matter that he’s a Syrian?

Moreover, I can easily confirm that a similar incident has taken place in almost every coffee shop I’ve been to in Lebanon, and street children are humiliated, beaten up, slapped and pushed away almost everywhere in Lebanon. Shall we start boycotting all the shops? I think a smarter idea would be to mount the pressure on the authorities to do something about this growing phenomenon and help raise funds for concerned NGOs to help these children. I would also encourage journalists and influential people in the media to tackle this problem with the concerned ministries instead of focusing on an isolated incident.

Can we help Lebanon’s street children?
Lebanon has suffered the most from the flow of Syrian refugees, and the Syrian crisis has proven to be a huge burden socially economically and politically. The international help that we are getting is not enough to cope with the ever-growing influx of refugees and the biggest problem is that there’s a whole generation of children, victims of the Syrian war, that are forced to drop out of school and are destroying their future. This being said, the fact that there’s a single institution in Lebanon dealing with homeless children is unacceptable, and the work that the ministry of social affairs has been doing is less than pathetic. For that purpose, we need a new strategy to cope with this ever-growing problem and as it happens, one LAU student came up with a cool idea that “includes modified and improved methodologies of dealing with beggar children, collecting donations, recruiting street educators and volunteers, and educating the general populous about the situation, through the establishment of a non-governmental organization”. I’m sure there are other proposals and ideas that are as affordable and sustainable and can help provide a better living for all street children of all nationalities in Lebanon. Let’s not forget that 1.5 Million Lebanese are below the poverty line according to the UN and a lot of Lebanese child beggars originate from the Bekaa area so this is not just a problem related to the refugees and concerns a whole generation of Lebanese as well.

Leave Lebanon’s Hyenas Alone!

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Hyena1 via LBCI

The man showing in the picture above is called Mashhour Ghossen as per Akkar News’s Facebook page and he’s bragging about snatching a baby Hyena from his mother. He was hunting apparently when he found the mother with her three children and thought it would be a good idea to steal one of her babies. The two men below weren’t interested in raising hyenas at home so they decided to kill the poor little animal for no reason and pose for pictures.

Akkar2

This is not the first time hyenas are killed and abused in Lebanon even though they are harmless gentle creatures. Unfortunately, there’s this misconception that they are cruel and dangerous animals and they attack humans which is not true specially when it comes to striped hyenas. The Lebanese hyena is an endangered species and plays a crucial role by cleaning forests from carcasses and bones, which is why we need to condemn these attacks and fine people who harm hyenas from now on.

Protecting hyenas and Lebanon’s wildlife animals in general is a very important matter and the concerned ministries, mainly the Ministry of Environment, should enforce the 2004 law once and for all. It is no longer acceptable to see people posting pictures of killing hyenas and media outlets sharing their stories without taking any action. The guy’s name is mentioned in the article so the authorities should go after him and bring back the hyena cub to his mother. They should also arrest those who killed the hyena cub and warn them or reprimand them somehow.

Once and for all, hyenas are not like the ones you remember from the Lion King. They may not be the nicest looking creatures but they are harmless and will soon disappear if we don’t stop killing them.

Thank you Nadine Mazloum for highlighting these wrongdoings

What’s Stopping Beirut From Becoming A Tech Hub For The Middle East?

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FIBER-OPTICS via Executive-Magazine

Mike Butcher (Techcrunch) believes that “Beirut is rapidly shaping up to be a powerhouse for startups in the Middle East”, and that “Lebanon is uniquely posed to generate startups which aim both at the Arab world and the wider world at large”. Of course these are not just talks as Lebanon has everything from tech campuses, talented software engineers, successful entrepreneurs, a growing number of investors and accelerators, award-winning startups and more importantly a $400 million investment by Lebanon’s Central Bank through Circular No. 331.

So why isn’t Lebanon a tech hub yet?
Lebanon has everything except one tiny yet crucial thing, which is a fast and abundant internet. Butcher pointed out that the current average internet speed in Lebanon is 3.11 Mbps (vs 27.9 Mbps in the UAE) but it’s not really the case as the speeds outside Beirut are much lower and barely reach 1Mbps in some areas. Moreover, the changes that MP Harb introduced last year required an increase in bandwidth by Ogero which never took place and therefore forced some ISPs to charge the unlimited night traffic. The only fast and reliable connections nowadays are the 3G and 4G mobile data plans but they are relatively expensive if you need a plan bigger than 10GB.

Who’s to blame for the internet?
This issue has been dragging for quite some time, and is the result of the endless political bickering between the Telecom Ministry and Ogero. We thought that things would improve now that both the minister and Ogero are on the same political side, but things actually got worse somehow. It could be due to the lack of coordination between the two parties or/and the lack of expertise of Minister Harb in Telecom given that he’s a lawyer. Funnily enough, if we look back at previous strategies of implementing changes without coordinating with the other party, some of them actually worked out and forced others parties to adapt after a while (while end users suffered) so this “crisis” we are in might actually lead to something better in the near future but no one knows when. In fact, the sad part is that we can’t get any of the two parties to explain what’s happening and the proof is the latest Executive Magazine interview with Ogero’s head Abdel Moneim Youssef. Here are 3 small paragraphs that sum up the whole interview and leaves all our questions in regards to the internet and the future of fiber optics unanswered:

When asked why the new fiber optic network contracted in 2011 — which now connects the bulk of the central offices in Lebanon as well as many of the country’s heavy users such as universities and hospitals — has not been turned on, Youssef immediately retorted on the semantics, not the substance, of our question. ‘Heavy users’ is a meaningless term, he shot back, embarking on a diatribe arguing that the term was “not even a word.” If you look up ‘heavy users’ on Google, he said, it would yield no results. He went further to say that ‘heavy users’ was only a term used by people in Lebanon, to describe a concept that does not exist in the rest of the world’s parlance.

To close the discussion, he invited Executive to call up all of our sources and tell them they were wrong. “They are completely ignorant,” he said. Every source we had cited in our interview — the advisers to the Ministry of Telecommunications, the consultants, the internet services providers — were implied. All of them.

After we dismissed some ideas implied by our interviewee — such as buying shovels and digging trenches to check for the presence of cables, or calling respected experts to insult them — the net gain of 40 minutes’ exposure to Youssef’s mastery in haranguing was thin. What we learned was that the questions we were asking, for some reason, were questions that Youssef did not want to answer.

What’s next?
As Butcher stated, the building blocks are all there to transform Beirut into a tech hub for the MENA region, but we need decent internet for that to happen and I still find it hard to believe that Ogero or the Telecom Ministry don’t want this to happen. They have everything to win by enhancing the internet speeds and everything to lose by not doing so. In all cases, I hope we get some answers in the weeks or months to come but until then, Dubai is becoming a vibrant startup hub for the Middle East and that’s where all Lebanese entrepreneurs are or will be going.

500MB Of Extra Data Consumption Costs As Much As A 10GB 3G/4G Plan In Lebanon

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Screenshot_2015-04-03-20-19-59

A year ago, I was still subscribed to the 1.5GB 3G mobile data plan but I was exceeding it by some 300-400MB a month. After Minister Boutros Harb approved the new 3G/4G rates my account got upgraded to 5GB but it still wasn’t enough for me as I had moved to a new place and I didn’t have WIFI so I ended up upgrading it to the 10GB plan which costs $49 monthly. Moreover, my last two smartphones were 4G enabled which means more consumption and I wasn’t willing to drop my speed to 3G anymore as 4G is super quick.

In all cases, I can’t really complain about the 3G/4G speeds as the coverage and the speed are perfect but my problem is with the extra consumption rates which are still unacceptable and ridiculously high. If we take what I’m currently paying for, it’s $49 for 10GB yet 1 extra MB costs 0.07$ which means that 100MB of extra consumption costs $7.

So the 10GB normal plan costs as much as 700MB of extra consumption which is quite ridiculous to be honest. I made sure to check with my Dubai friends to see if the extra MBs cost a lot and they are also expensive there but not as much as in Lebanon. I think the common sense would be to charge 0.07$ for every 10MB not 1MB and allow users to add MBs in the same month for a set rate. For example if I have 5 days left I will be able to add 1GB for $10 or $15 instead of paying almost $100 for it.

I think someone needs to raise this matter to the Telecom Minister Boutros Harb and ask him to change these ridiculous rates ASAP.

PS: Let’s not talk about data roaming rates which are out of this world.

It’s Ok For Some Valet Parking Guys To Park Illegally In Beirut

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valet

Every time I’m heading from Achrafieh to Beirut Souks, most of the traffic is caused by valet parking guys from Annahar building till we get to the souks. It’s either people stopping in the middle of the road to give their cars to the valet, or the valet parallel parking or even double parallel parking the cars. As a result, you have a 3-lane road turned into barely one lane while the cops stand there and do nothing, or at least that’s what we thought.

As it turns out, one of the cops has apparently agreed to only fine drivers that parked illegally but didn’t give their car to the valet parking. So if the valet parks illegally it’s fine but if anyone else dares parallel park he will get fined within 5 minutes. That’s what happened with Rizk Khoury who reported his story to Annahar and stated that the cop clearly told him that he got fined because he didn’t give his car to the valet. The ISF promised to follow up this case and punish the cop in question but this is not enough as valet parking companies should not be allowed to block roads in the first place and operate the way they are. Moreover, the park meter spots should be strictly for drivers and not valet parking companies.

What’s happening in DT Beirut is also happening in Mar Mikhael, Gemmayze, Antelias, Hamra, Badaro (recently) and almost everywhere you go in Lebanon. They charge you the amounts they want, which may vary from one hour to the other just like in Antelias and they are never responsible for what’s inside the car or the car itself. A week ago, my friend was telling me his cousin bought a stolen Rolex by a valet.

I personally stopped giving my car to the valet years ago and I think everyone should do the same. However the problem is that they are taking over the huge parking lots lately and forcing you to pay extra if you want to park there, but I’d rather pay more or walk for a mile or even take a taxi than give my car to a valet.

You can read the full Annahar story [here].

[YouTube]

Should Lebanese Cops Be Punished More Severely If They Break The Law?

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Yasa via Yasa

Every day, there’s a new picture being shared online of a police or a municipality officer breaking the law. These officers are either not wearing helmets on their bikes, or running a red light, or talking on the phone instead of facilitating traffic and other countless violations. Unfortunately, barely any actions are ever taken against these cops which is quite frustrating specially for Lebanese citizens who do respect the law. So how should police officers be punished when they break the law? Should they be more severely fined?

ooo via Yasa

The answer is yes because law enforcement people are entrusted with great power over all of us and should act as role models for others to follow. Police officers should be more afraid of breaking the law and their punishment should be much more severe than ordinary law breakers. Moreover, stiffer fines will force bad cops to either give up their badges or straighten up and will filter out the good cops in the force. That’s how things should ideally work and how we will be able one day to enforce traffic laws in Lebanon.

A week ago, I suggested one way to report bad cops through a platform I called “3layye wou 3leik”. The platform encourages citizens to respect the law and report any violations they see in an attempt to reduce their fines. I’m almost sure such an initiative will never be taken seriously but there’s no harm in sharing the idea and getting some feedback on it.

On a lighter note, few Lebanese came up with a funny list of fines for violations involving police officers or related to ministers. The fines set were outrageous in response to the newly introduced heavy fines in the new traffic law.

Here’s the first list (Don’t know the source):
new traffic law

And a funnier one by Gino:
ginos