Lebanon has officially announced 3 days of mourning for the death of the Saudi King Abdullah. I won’t dig into politics and explain why it’s only normal that the Lebanese authorities mourn the Saudi King (they don’t really have a choice) but the question that everyone has been asking is why don’t we ever mourn our own greats? the likes of Sabah, Wadih el Safi, Said Akl and others? Is the Saudi King more important or relevant to us than these legends? I don’t think so.
Moreover, why don’t we mourn our Lebanese Army martyrs? those brave men who are fighting as we speak terrorists in Ras Baalbeck? I am not asking for 3 days of mourning as we would have spent the past year mourning the army martyrs unfortunately, but the least we can do is set our priorities straight in this country and show support to the army who’s leading fierce battles to keep us from mourning new victims of terrorist attacks.
On a last note and since we are mourning the Saudi King, should we mourn the $3-billion in arms that were promised by the late Saudi King as well? Let’s hope not.
PS: Nelson Mandela got a mourning day too.
Health Minister Wael Abu Faour announced that indoor smoking ban will be enforced, and that the ministry will be raiding restaurants and other enclosed public places to make sure the law is being implemented. The first attempt to ban smoking took place two years ago and failed miserably as the majority of restaurants, pubs and venues are breaking Law 174.
I would love to see the smoking ban law implemented in Lebanon but I believe Minister Abou Faour should take a pragmatic approach and avoid the mistakes that were done before, specially in regards to restaurants serving shisha that are still growing in numbers unfortunately and are the biggest problem nowadays. If we want this smoking ban to really work, it should be done in several phases and over 1 or 2 years to allow all pubs and restaurants to adapt. In fact, if the government had adopted a proper strategy back in 2012, the law would be running smoothly by now.
In all cases, we can’t but support any initiative to cut down smoking in Lebanon so let’s see how things will go this time.
It may seem hard to believe but these people are demonstrating because Zahle is getting 24-hour electricity soon and their generators will become useless. I think they should be held accountable for ripping off people with ridiculous generator bills all these years.
Every year, I tell myself that driving can’t get any worse in this country but I am proven wrong. Drivers are becoming more violent, more reckless and unpredictable and what happened with Johny is a clear proof of that. The last time I got into a verbal dispute with a driver, it was a 60 year old man who cut me off and almost hit me. I was with my brothers and we could have easily kicked his ass but I just ignored him and drove away because he was with his family and I don’t believe in violence, even though he was cursing at us and broke my front mirror.
Going back to Johny’s story, this poor guy was trying to clear the way for an Ambulance yet somehow ended up getting beaten and rushed to the nearest hospital. The cops were no where to be seen and even though they manage to arrest the assailants later on, it was only for few hours. Luckily no one got shot or killed in the incident but that’s not a reason for the cops not to arrest and jail these people for:
1- Driving in the wrong lane and blocking the road.
2- Blocking an Ambulance which is a very serious charge anywhere in the world.
3- Beating Johny and another driver.
Check out the full story [here].
Civil marriage in Lebanon was dealt a setback last week after Interior Minister Machnouk’s statement. During an interview on Kalam Ennas, Machnouk said that he doesn’t encourage legalizing civil marriage and that “Cyprus is not too far”. Legally speaking, couples can still get married in a civil way in Lebanon but their wedding won’t be registered as long as the minister refuses to sign them, which is problematic for them and more importantly for their children. Surprisingly enough, Minister Machnouk was at some point in favor of civil marriage but for some reason changed his position. I hope we can still count on Saad Hariri’s support whenever he comes back.
The ever-growing influence of religious authorities and the lack of officials brave enough to take the initiative and legitimize civil marriage in Lebanon are still the main obstacles and I honestly don’t see any changes happening anytime soon.
Here’s a reminder on the steps to follow to get a civil marriage in Lebanon:
– Go to a mayor and fill in a request to strike off your sect from your ID.
– Submit the form at the personal status directorate of your region
– Get a proof of address (إفادة سكن) for you and your spouse.
– Perform medical tests for you and your spouse and get witnesses for your wedding.
– Afterwards, you need to post a memo on your new house’s door stating that you are getting marriage in a civil way and asking people to contest the marriage if they have a valid reason. Once done, you can go sign your marriage contract at your notary public!
PS: It seems Miss Israel photobombed Sally’s selfie by taking her own selfie. This calls for a new hashtag #Incelfie
I just noticed people have been tweeting all day at Miss Lebanon Sally Jreij because of a selfie that included her and Miss Israel. I looked a bit and found that Miss Lebanon’s manager issued a statement where she says that she was being harassed by Miss Israel and that Miss Israel photo bombed her picture. If this is really the case, then the organizers should have taken action and avoided this whole mess.
In all cases, I think the statement Sally is pretty clear and she should report the picture and have it removed if it’s going to cause her trouble. Until then, let’s focus on more serious issues we have in Lebanon, like the two Lebanese army soldiers that were injured after Israeli troops tossed smoke grenades in Aita el Shaab today.
Update: Here’s what Sally told her fans apparently:
“To all my supporters and Lebanese citizens, I would like to thank you indeed for your continuous support of Miss Lebanon at the Miss Universe contest …The truth behind the photo: Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me).
I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media. This is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest”
Update (20/01/2015): It appears that the government won’t be fixing any prices and the prices will drop by more than 1,000 Lebanese Lira tomorrow.
Gas prices have dropped by over 13,000 Lebanese Liras from last year until now in Lebanon, and they should normally continue to drop since oil prices are plunging worldwide. However, it appears that the Lebanese authorities and the concerned ministries want to put an end to this drop and set a minimum price for the tank. Moreover, there are talks that they might re-introduce a fixed amount that is related to internal distribution and governmental taxes and that was abolished by Gebran Bassil a couple of years ago.
Knowing that the prices are related to international market fluctuations, I don’t think it’s fair for the government to set a minimum price. If they want to compensate for the oil companies and gas stations’ losses, they should also set a maximum price and relieve the Lebanese from high fuel bills. If the government wants to take action and help oil companies by fixing the price of 20 liters of gas at 22,000, they should also prioritize the average citizen and set a maximum price.
On another note, I wonder if the drop in gas prices has anything to do with the increase in traffic lately.
Kalam Ennas showed yesterday exclusive footage from inside Roumieh’s Bloc B and I can easily say this is one of the biggest scandals in Lebanon’s history. A whole building inside Roumieh’s prison that contains an operations room, servers and hubs, a library and a coffee shop, a school to train terrorists, LCD and LED TVs, drugs and women clothes etc …
I am glad that Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk ended this mess but someone should be held accountable for it so that it doesn’t happen again. After all, the prisoners are still there and corruption among officers as well. If you want to know the kingpins of the Islamist Floor inside Roumieh’s prison that were identified by the ISF, check it out [here].
Yves deserved candles not bullets, he deserved birthday cakes and celebrations not a funeral. I didn’t know Yves, neither did many of us, but we all helped spread his story and ask for the arrest of his killers because we are fed up with thugs and criminals mocking justice and doing whatever they like. We forced some politicians to come out and deny covering for these criminals and we should continue to push until justice prevails. I believe in our juridical system and I am positive there’s a number of decent judges in this country but we need to keep the pressure on and make sure every murderer gets arrested.
Until then, my good friend wrote this beautiful letter that I thought is worth sharing:
So I woke up there, it’s such a beautiful and a calm place… The last thing I remember that I was partying with my friends and enjoying my time.
I didn’t realize where I was until two beautiful angels walked towards me and welcomed me to heaven and took my hand and asked me to join them.
They showed me my room, it looks small from the outside and I was surprised, is this really heaven everyone talks about? But when I walked in I was shocked by how huge it is from the inside.
The room had 4 windows, I walked towards the first one; I saw my mom, she was there crying while looking at my picture, I called her name “Mum, I’m fine, I am here not physically but you can close your eyes and there I am hugging you and telling you how much I love you”. I couldn’t see her that way, I looked away.
The second window showed my dad, my hero. I whispered: “Dad, I know how strong you are and whenever you will break down, I will take your hand and lift you up, the way you lifted me up every time I fell since I was a kid”
The third window showed my sister, that’s when I was speechless and I couldn’t say a word.
The fourth window got bigger the closer I got to it and when I looked through it, tears of happiness filled my eyes and I couldn’t stop smiling as I was seeing many people from Lebanon and around the globe supporting #JusticeForYves.
For a second I stopped there and looked at my friends and the people who did not know me and I smiled, there were people from all around the globe.
I’m here to thank you, I’m there in each and everyone of you.
I don’t want any of you to be Yves, Stand up for me and for you.
And as I was going to get some rest, an angel knocked at my door with a cart full of letters that are from you, prayers and pictures.
Thank you people,
Three million copies of Charlie Hebdo were printed and distributed today with a cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign on the cover page. Above the cartoon are the words “All is forgiven” in reference to the bloody attack on the magazine last week. I’ve seen a lot of Lebanese and few journalists and medias sharing the cartoon on their social media page but I wonder if it’s legal to do such a thing?
I know for a fact that you can go to jail for “blasphemy God publicly” in Lebanon and I am pretty sure you can’t draw the prophet and publish it anywhere in Lebanon, but I don’t know if it’s the same thing when you are sharing someone else’s work. If it were up to me, I would vote for a limitless freedom of expression as I believe extremes will end up being repelled by most societies. Take for example Charlie Hebdo, the magazine was suffering financially and looking for funds before the attack and now it’s selling 3 million copies and has collected over $1 million dollars in donations because of that incident.
In all cases, I hope no one gets sued or threatened for sharing the cover today.