Category Archives: Critiques

Beach Resorts Are Not Allowed to Ban House Keepers & Helpers from Swimming

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teaser_31 Source: France24

A friend of mine asked me a question the other day that was quite troubling: Are there any swimming pools in Lebanon that allow helpers or house keepers to swim?

The sad truth is that there aren’t any that I know of as that most beach resorts and private pools in Lebanon ban house keepers and nannies from swimming or getting anywhere near the pool. Their “pathetic” argument is that some clients are not comfortable with the idea of swimming next to a maid or even worse a “black person”.

Needless to say, this is a clear violation of human rights but the sad part is that the concerned ministries never bothered to look into these pool regulations. Few days ago, the Lebanese Ministry of Labor issued a statement warning private pool owners from such discriminatory practices and pledged to take the necessary actions but we all know it’s just cheap talk.

Every summer, it’s the same story and nothing is ever done. If the Labor minister or any other concerned minister are serious about their warning, I suggest they take their house keepers and helpers and confront these beach resorts face to face.

It’s a shame that we are even talking about this matter.

صدر عن وزارة العمل البيان التالي: “تبلغت دوائر وزارة العمل ان عددا من المسابح حظرت دخول العاملات في الخدمة المنزلية اليها، سواء كانوا مع العائلات التي يعملن لديها، او بصورة افرادية اثناء عطلتهن الاسبوعية.

ان وزارة العمل تعتبر قرار المسابح مس فاضح بحقوق الانسان، وهو ما تلفت الوزارة النظر الى خطورته، وستقوم باتخاذ الاجراءات القانونية الكفيلة بوضع حد لهذا الامر داعية اصحاب المسابح الى التراجع عن هذه التدابير اللاخلاقية واحترام حقوق الانسان ايا كانت جنسيته وهويته ولونه، محذرة بأنها ستتخذ الاجراءات المناسبة في حق كل من يتخلف عن ذلك.

ان وزارة العمل جادة في حماية العاملين والعاملات الاجانب المتواجدين على الاراضي اللبنانية بصورة قانونية، من منطلق تصميمها على احترام الوجه الانساني لهذه الشريحة، على قاعدة مكافحة كل اعمال الاتجار بالبشر ومكافحة التمييز بكل اوجهه لقناعتها بما التزمت به في شرعة حقوق الانسان والمواثيق والاتفاقيات الدولية ذات الصلة”.

It’s Summer Season: Authorities Move Landfills To The Beach

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Where’s the best place to set up a new landfill? Right on the beach of course. The Costabrava landfill was approved by the Lebanese government 3-4 months ago and residents of the area are literally suffocating from the smells. In fact, anyone who’s driving from Beirut towards Khalde will notice the horrible smells on the way. At some point, it’s even worse than the Karantina landfill.


Residents of the area are already complaining and things will only get worse.

Here’s a report done back in April by GreenArea:

And another more recent one by AJ+:

PS: Someone should tell AJ+ the first 2 pictures used are old and not from Costa Brava.

Here’s Why It’s Safe To Walk At Night in Lebanon

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I can’t stop laughing every time I read this [story]. The sad part though is that it’s no longer that safe to walk in the streets at night as a lot of girls are being harassed and the cops are barely doing anything to catch these offenders.

On another note, it’s perfectly safe for a girl wearing a skirt to walk at night in Dubai and there are pubs and night clubs just like Lebanon now.

The Problem Was Never Parking Tariffs in Beirut, but Valet Parking Tariffs

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parking fees

Beirut’s governor Ziad Chbib issued new parking tariffs for Beirut yesterday which were distributed as follows:

Blue Zone (Qoreitem, Manara, Ras Beirut, Serail, Raouche, Bab Idriss, Minet el Hosn): 3000 to 7000 LL
Green Zone (Mousseitbeh, Tallet el Khayyat, Wata): 3000 to 6000 LL
Yellow Zone (Achrafieh, Mar Mikhail, Hekmeh, Sioufi, Hotel Dieu, Mar Elias, Unesco): 2500 to 4000 LL
Red Zone (Bachoura, Mazraa, Tarik Jdeide, Bourj Abi Haidar): 2500 to 4000 LL

It’s definitely a good initiative but one that will be impossible to implement because of Valet Parking companies, especially in Beirut. When valet people book all the park meter spots and take over parking lots, they will simply tell customers there are no spots left and force them to give their cars to the valet and pay a minimum of 5000 LL. The only thing that needs regulation in Beirut and outside it are valet companies.

On another note, who do we report violations to? Do I call the ISF at 11 PM and tell them the parking guy made me pay 4000 LL instead of 3000 LL?

I’m sure the governor has good intentions but we all saw how his decision to ban illegally placed election posters was widely ignored. In fact, there are still posters hanging all over Beirut up until now, including those of the current municipality.

lbc tarifss via LBC

Sectarianism and Racism Against Syrian Refugees Will Only Backfire on Us

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hakeer A racist slogan in #Beirut

I think we all agree that the Syrian crisis has deeply affected Lebanon and that the extent of the burden of that crisis has fallen more acutely on communities in Lebanon than in any other country, but the worst possible way to deal with this status-quo is inciting hatred and encouraging racism against Syrian refugees mainly for politically-motivated purposes.

Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs was quoted saying yesterday that he “will seek to bar Syrian refugees from setting up encampments and opening shops in towns that witnessed FPM victories in the latest municipal elections”, and he’s sadly not the only one adopting this political rhetoric.

To begin with, I don’t understand what Bassil means by “his towns” because as far as I know, he doesn’t own any town in Lebanon nor does any other minister. Such statements might encourage violent acts against families not just Syrian workers and may ignite violent acts in rather peaceful towns. This being said, I am not denying the security threat associated with having such a large number of refugees (almost 2 million now), but the real problem is elsewhere and is often being overlooked:

1- The open borders policy has been there since ever between Syria and Lebanon and Lebanon’s economy has long relied on qualified and cheap Syrian labor. The only difference is that Syrians were employed as seasonal workers in the past while they are permanently residing here due to the ongoing war in their home country.

2- Claiming that Akkar or Tripoli workers and craftsmen are suffering economically due to shrinking job opportunities is inaccurate. Akkar has long suffered from a tough economic hardship and has long been ignored by the authorities and local MPs. In fact, the levels of poverty have increased drastically all over Lebanon in the past five years and the Lebanese State couldn’t care less.

3- Banning Syrians from opening shops and businesses is understandable if they are doing it illegally. However, banning them from entering certain town will only harm local businesses because most of them are relying on this cheap labor to keep their business running. If Lebanese-run small businesses were forced to only employ Lebanese workers, they would close down in few months time.

4- The Syrian refugees crisis in Lebanon is creating more job opportunities for Lebanese through the hundreds of NGOs operating on the ground. Despite the fact that Syrian families are receiving direct aid, a lot of Lebanese families are benefiting as well indirectly. On another note here, I think the UN and all the major donors should reconsider the operating cost of their teams in Lebanon because considerable amounts of money are being wasted.

5- The Syrian refugees crisis in Lebanon could have been avoided since Day1 if camps were organized to host these fleeing families. Instead we have tens of thousands of families dispersed all over the place and causing a security headache for the authorities. Not opening refugee camps was a big mistake and those who are worried about naturalization should know better that it’s not gonna happen.

syrian A Lebanese campaign against Racism towards Syrian refugees

Last but not least, we tend to forget sometimes that we Lebanese are also seeking refuge in foreign countries. Ironically enough, Lebanon’s Foreign Minister was visiting Finland few weeks back and was warning that “the waves of immigrants that if not tackled by the roots would destabilize security and stability”, while Sweden was getting ready to deport over 75 Lebanese families.

I’ve said this a million times, but it is never too late to tackle this crisis and manage refugee camps in a proper way for our own sake and for the Syrian families.

Lebanon Won Yet Another Award That I Can’t Find Online

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It’s always great to share news about awards and achievements won by Lebanese abroad but I’ve learned out of experience to verify the story before spreading the word. Yesterday I was reading in Annahar about a Lebanese project that won an Energy Globe Award 2016 against 1700 other projects presented.

click bait

This would have been a major achievement and I am sure that Lebanese are capable of doing so, but I couldn’t find any reference or source proving that we won that award. The Energy Globe Award is real and is considered the most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It basically “distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources”.

Every year, the Energy Globe Award is awarded in the 5 categories Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth to projects yet Lebanon was not among the winners this year. He was not even among the finalists.

What we did win though is the National Energy Globe Award which is presented to the best project submission of each country. I have no idea how many Lebanese projects were submitted but here what this project is about:

Nutrients are discharged from rivers, inhabited areas and industry, which leads to eutrophication eventually followed by environmental deterioration, and large amounts of carbon dioxide are produced through energy production and emitted to the environment. This year’s National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Lebanon established a delivery chain for microalgae to ensure the use of micro algae for the production of biodiesel. The project contributes to an enhanced energy self-sufficiency based on renewable resources. Congratulations to your initiative!

I loved the idea but it will be very hard to implement when you have a government who couldn’t figure out how to pick up garbage from the streets for eight months and doesn’t mind dumping garbage in the sea.

PS: If anyone has additional information about this award please do share.

You can read more about this project [here].

Al-Manar Anchor’s Twisted Logic

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A Lebanese TV Anchor called Diaa Bou Taam tweeted yesterday that he wants to boycott restaurants that open during fasting hours and that he is going to shame them in public. He went on by saying that these restaurants are being disrespectful towards fasting Muslims by placing tables and chairs outside. He later on apologized and said that his tweets were just a joke but he’s not fooling anyone with that excuse.

I have no idea what is going through this guy’s head and I’m glad he apologized because as far as I know, non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t fast don’t need to adjust their life during Ramadan and those who feel offended by a couple of chairs and a table outside a restaurant, or someone eating in front of them, clearly got this whole Ramadan fasting wrong.