Category Archives: Critiques

About That Video On Syrian and Ukrainian Refugees In Lebanon

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Picture via GlobalPost

I am sure you’ve all seen this [video] showing how Lebanese reacted when asked about Syrian Refugees in Lebanon and the possibility of having Ukrainian refugees following recent events in Ukraine and the Crimea region.

For some reason, whomever uploaded the video and most of the people commenting are labeling the Lebanese as racist and insensitive, and that’s the message being spread all across the social media networks. Knowing that there’s still racism in Lebanon, that’s not what the interviewed people said and that’s definitely not the message being sent out from this video. The Syrian Refugees in Lebanon is a very alarming and serious matter as they constitute almost 30% of the country’s population now, and are a huge economic burden on the Lebanese people and its government. That’s not a racist statement, that’s a fact that even the UN acknowledges and I don’t think there’s anyone helping the Syrian Refugees as much as the Lebanese are. Moreover, the Lebanese Online Community and a lot of NGOs and associations have long condemned all the racist acts against Syrian refugees and helped in promoting awareness on that matter.

After all:
It’s normal for public schools and universities to get overcrowded when you have a 1 million refugees in a country of 4 million.
It’s normal for Lebanese workers and local businesses to complain because they are competing with a cheaper labor force.
It’s normal for rent prices to go up when there’s more demand.

What’s not normal is for Lebanese to spread this misleading video and label their own people as racist and insensitive.

Moreover, whomever asked that question about Ukrainian refugees (Just Female Refugees) obviously meant it in a funny way even though I didn’t find it funny, but still the answers were not serious ones and cannot in anyway be compared to the first part of the video. This being said, stop sharing this video and report it if anything because it’s misleading and harmful to the Lebanese and Syrians. No one’s denying that there’s still racism in Lebanon but that’s not how you portray it and raise awareness on it.

Lebanese Cameraman Samir Kassab Still Missing In Syria

samir-kassab

I don’t know why Samir’s story is not over the news like the Maaloula nuns, but he’s a Lebanese who’s gone missing along with Sky News Arabia Mauritanian correspondent Ishak Moctar back in October 2013 and there are still no news of him. Lebanonfiles reported via Al Jomhouria that he could be in the Rakka area in Syria.

Speaking of kidnappings, the Missing and Kidnapped Lebanese issue is a critical one that must be given the highest priority by any government, specially the thousands who disappeared during the Lebanese war at the hands of Lebanese militias. Their families deserve to know what happened and the authorities should work hard to close these files once and for all.

Let’s hope Samir’s case will be resolved soon as he’s just a cameraman and wasn’t kidnapped for political reasons.

Are White Belly Dancers Engaging In Cultural Appropriation?

[YouTube]

Ranja Jarrar argues in her piece that white women who practice belly dance are, willingly or unwillingly, engaging in appropriation. Personally speaking, I didn’t really get the point the author was trying to make and I never saw a problem in white women learning how to belly dance and finding in it a form of self-expression.

Women I have confronted about this have said, “But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on.” These women are more interested in their investment in belly dancing than in questioning and examining how their appropriation of the art causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I’m sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It’s not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s.

But, here’s the thing. Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in; we are not bangles or eyeliner or tiny bells on hips. We are human beings. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that white women can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of sisterhood with each other; can reclaim their bodies; can celebrate their sexualities; can perform for the female gaze. Just because a white woman doesn’t profit from her performance doesn’t mean she’s not appropriating a culture. And, ultimately, the question is this: Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs? [Source]

8 Useless Speed Bumps At the Marina Dbayyeh

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Anyone who takes the Dbayyeh Maritime road in the morning has probably noticed a bunch of new speed bumps at the Marina entrance all around the new public park that they are working on. Now I understand placing one speed bump or maybe two to slow down cars driving around the park but why the hell would you put 4 consecutive speed bumps over barely 30 meters? Similarly there are a couple of other speed bumps placed at the end of the straight or right when you turn which don’t make any sense.

Funnily enough, the long Dbayyeh road where all Zouzou Ebbas meet to do their drag races and which is now packed with malls and restaurants is still without a single speed bump.

Beirut Municipality To Install 1500-2000 Security Cameras Worth $40 Million Dollars

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Surveillance cameras at the entrance of the Iranian embassy in Beirut – Source

Beirut’s Municipality has decided back in August to install CCTVs all across the city due to the security situation, and based on what Annahar reported yesterday, the budget allocated to installing between 1500 and 2000 cameras will be around $40 million dollars. Honestly, it’s quite a huge amount for a couple of thousand cameras (Around 20,000$ per camera), but nothing’s clear yet about the bids submitted and Beirut’s Mayor is saying he’s expecting the real cost to be 30% less. In all cases, the proposal has to be approved by the Ministry of Interior and the government and hopefully will be done in a transparent way.

On another note, I liked the suggestion made by one of Beirut’s municipality members in that article that consists of giving the Park Meter officers devices to scan cars and make sure they are bomb-free, but I wish he had elaborated and specified which type of devices they should be given, because a decent bomb scanner costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. A better idea maybe is to invest in bomb sniffing dogs and let them patrol the city along with the Park Meter officers.

FAIL: Only “Gad” Can Judge Me

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via LebaneseMemes

The driver could be a Gad el Maleh fan but he better be careful because Gad is not welcome in Lebanon. In fact, his show got cancelled few years back because someone decided to edit Gad’s Wikipedia page and circulate a false picture of him fighting with the Israeli Army. Needless to say, Gad has a lot of fans in Lebanon and a lot of them made the trip to watch him live in Dubai on the 13th and 14th of February.