Find Ali is dedicated to the memory of Ali Abdallah, a homeless man who passed away 40 days ago. Ali had no roof over his head, no one looking after him and died due to the cold wave that hit Lebanon earlier this year. In order to honor his memory, the [FindAli] website was initiated to locate homeless people and try to help them before it’s too late.
1- Go to the project’s website
2- Click on ‘Submit a report’
3- You’ll be redirected to a page that has many boxes.
Report Title (e.g.: homeless man found on bliss street),
Description (e.g.: include all available info),
You can modify the date and time (it starts automatically at your current time)
Choose appropriate Category: Medicine, Blankets & Clothes, Education, Food, Shelter, Unknown, Urgent, Trusted Reports
What does He/She looks like?
Location Name. Here you can also use the map to pinpoint the exact location
News Source Link: Was he/she reported in the news?
External Video Link: Was he/she recorded on video?
Upload Photos: Do you have his/her photo?
You can get e-mail alerts (enter your e-mail here and confirm the link they’ll send you) of homeless people as soon as they are spotted and you can choose how you wish to help (medicine, shelter, food etc.)
The project also has its own Facebook page and allows iPhone and Android users to install the Ushahidi application.
I’ve been following up on that various initiatives that were suggested after Ali’s death and I believe this is the best one I heard about so far. Nevertheless, I think it will be very challenging to maintain unless someone’s doing the proper follow-up and people are submitting useful reports. For example (see below screenshot) this kind of description “Man digging in trash: Older man, gray hair, shaddy clothing. not really a beard but not freshly shaved. on the short side” is not helpful at all.
In all cases, I ask everyone to give this initiative a try, submit useful reports of homeless people and try to offer help regularly. If the government and the authorities don’t care about the poor and homeless, we have a duty as citizens to try and help as much as possible.
Every time I go to Le Mall Dbayyeh during peak hours, I spend at least 15 minutes looking for a parking spot and another 15 waiting for the elevator. However, that’s also the case (not as bad though) in almost every mall so it’s not a big issue.
My problem is that Le Mall Dbayyeh security guards are lying to people telling them the parking is packed while it shows (see picture above) there are a lot of empty spots. The first time it happened to me, he told me the counter is not working so I went and parked somewhere else. The second time it happened, I insisted on going in and found the parking was almost empty. Yesterday the same thing happened again but I ignored him and found tons of empty spots.
I don’t know who’s asking them to lie, but that’s just wrong.
On a side note, I am finding Le Mall a better place to hang out than ABC. Restaurants are more spacious and better located than the ones in ABC Dbayyeh, specially the ones on the front facade.
[YouTube] – Leb Elections – A single detail can prevent you from voting
Elections are coming soon and the Ministry of Interior has launched a campaign asking all potential voters to verify their information and make sure all is in order. In order to do so, one has to visit the website [www.dgps.gov.lb] and verify his information.
That’s a very good initiative but funnily enough, it seems the problem is not really in people being unable to vote but in those who should are eligible to do so yet voted. In fact and according to Minister Charbel, there were 12,015 Lebanese who voted illegally in 2009. 12,015!!!
Who is not eligible to vote?
• Persons deprived by legal sentence of their civil rights
• Persons convicted to be permanently disqualified from public service at any grades or positions
• Persons disqualified from their grades or public service temporarily, until the end of the disqualification period
• Persons convicted of a felony
• Persons convicted of one of the following major offences: burglary, fraud, issuing of uncovered checks, breach of trust, misappropriation of funds, bribery, perjury, rape, intimidation, falsification, forgery, false testimony, immoral crimes as stated in the seventh chapter of the penal code, and crimes related to the planting, production and/or trade in illicit drugs
• Persons interdicted by court order until the end of the interdiction period
• Persons declared fraudulently bankrupt or those sentenced to sanctions stated in Articles 689 to 698 of the Penal Code
• Persons convicted and sentenced to sanctions stated in Articles 329 to 334 of the penal code
• Naturalized Lebanese individuals before the lapse of ten years after the naturalization decree is issued.
• Military personnel of various ranks
Picture taken from NowLebanon – Ottoman-style house in Beirut
Skyscrapers, malls and Shisha cafes are our new identity.
The cars are parked in a line adjacent to Ottoman and French-style buildings in Beirut’s Martyrs Square. A tramway surrounds the square, and people walk along the wide sidewalk of Foch Avenue. This is how downtown Beirut looked in the first decades of the last century, now preserved only in old pictures.
“My grandfather suppresses a tear when passing by what used to be Martyrs Square and the adjacent souqs,” says Pascale Ingea, from the Association for the Protection of Lebanese Heritage (APLH).
Lebanon’s post-war period has seen the destruction of most of the buildings that made Beirut the Paris of the Middle East. “This kills our identity,” she adds.
During the 1990s, the Ministry of Culture put together a list of historical landmarks in the country. The Direction Générale des Antiquités (DGA) included approximately 1,600 buildings in Beirut, most of them from the Ottoman period or the French mandate.
As of this year, 80 percent of the buildings on the list have been demolished, say representatives from both APLH and Save Beirut Heritage (SBH). There are many reasons for the mass destruction of heritage buildings, but the two associations cite the lack of enforcement of the heritage law by successive Lebanese governments out of corruption and lack of interest, as well as non-existent construction regulation. They also note that the DGA’s budget of around $3 million represents less than 0.02% of annual government spending. [NowLebanon]
I am not really interested in the reactions we hear about this incident, but more than about the stories being circulated every couple of days. None of the them add up to be honest and all fail to indicate who are the other kills and the names of the injured soldiers. I hope a clear and honest investigation will take place to clarify why things went wrong and why two army men got killed.
The funny part about the story below is that those eye witnesses (all women) remember and saw everything except what happened to the men who killed Khaled Hmayyed, which is the most important part of the story lol.
The LAF announced that Major Pierre Bechaalany and Adjutant Ibrahim Zahraman had been killed after being ambushed during an operation to arrest Khaled Hmayyed, a 45-year-old Arsal resident wanted on terrorism changes. According to official statements, during the operation the soldiers were attacked by a group of armed men who killed the two officers. The LAF placed checkpoints at all the entrances to the village in search of the suspects and sent a list with the names of 80 wanted people to the municipality.
However, many villagers in Arsal who claim they saw everything on Friday tell a different story from what the LAF has been reporting.
The Toyota pickup truck that Hmayyed was driving at the time of the incident is still at the location of the shooting. Municipality council members said it will not be moved until an independent commission is named to investigate the incident instead of the Lebanese military intelligence.
The suspect was shot through the front widow of the car, with what appears to have been a machinegun. Hmayyed’s neighbors say they saw everything. Most of the witnesses were women, because at noon on Friday, most men were at the mosque to pray.
“They came with two cars, a jeep and a van,” a woman in her 60s told NOW. “They waited over there in the bushes, and when he came out of his house and drove onto the road, they stopped him, one car from the back and one from the front. Then men in civilian clothes shot at his car. I don’t think they killed him on the spot, because I saw them while they dragged him out and they shot him in the head. Then they took the body away to their car,” she said.
“I live right there, next to his house,” said a young woman standing nearby, pointing toward a group of houses around 100 meters away from the road where the shooting had happened. “Why didn’t they come to take him from home? Why did they have to kill him like this?” she said, sobbing.
“We all thought they were Hezbollah, because the two cars were civilian and the people who shot him were wearing civilian clothes,” the younger woman said. “The army with the Hummers came in later, after the people attacked those who killed Khaled [Hmayyed] because they were taking his body away. The army came in to put an end to the fight. One of the officers [Bechaalany] had been shot in the head, I saw him. He died on the spot. The other man [Adjutant Ibrahim Zahraman] was shot in the chest, and we took him to the municipality building. He died because the ambulance did not come in time,” she said.
It is not clear what ultimately happened to the men whom villagers say killed Hmayyed. [NowLebanon]
Barely 100 made it to the demonstration planned yesterday at Martyrs’ square in support of civil marriage legislation. I didn’t even hear about it until today to be honest, and I would recommend we stop those spontaneous sit-ins and demonstrations because they are hard to organize and don’t reflect the opinion of the Lebanese community.
I got stuck for more than 3 hours yesterday in traffic due to protesters blocking roads in solidarity with the army. I tried to find a convincing reason for which people might block roads and highways at peak hours and the only conclusion I came up with is that they are either paid or stupid.
I don’t think I need to say more on this issue, specially when the Lebanese Army asked them to stop doing such things and go back home.
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.
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.
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.