Category Archives: Critiques

Why Many Restaurants And Cafes Close Down In Lebanon …

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You don’t really have to be a genius or an MBA graduate to conduct a simple feasibility study and see if opening a restaurant or a cafe or any business for that sake at a specific location is a good choice or not. Unfortunately, very few people do that in Lebanon and then they curse their luck when they go bankrupt and have to close down.

If an arguile place opens, 4 or 5 other arguile places open right next to it. If a burger place is doing well, they open 10 other burger places on the same street. The worst part is that no one even bothers to offer competitive prices anymore. On the contrary, the new mentality is to up the prices and claim they offer a better quality which is not true most of the time.

Take for example this very special offer I spotted the other day at a small restaurant. Taouk + French Fries and Coleslaw for 10,000LL! How is that a good offer? The place is located in a deserted alley next to a hospital, was almost empty of course and there were a couple of tables smoking arguile and playing backgammon. The worst part is that Malak el Taouk is 200 meters from this restaurant and offers you a huge Taouk platter with fries, coleslaw, ketchup and garlic for almost the same price.

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I really don’t know why some Lebanese are so keep on throwing their money away to be honest. Here’s another place on the Kaslik maritime road that’s been puzzling me for quite some time. It’s now a trading company, but before that it was a car showroom, a sushi place, a poker place, a shop that sells dairy products and a Shawarma place.

Topless Woman Spotted Again In Mar Mikhail

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I just saw a video of a topless woman running on the Karantina highway in the Mar Mikhail area. I’ve been hearing about topless people roaming the streets of Mar Mikhail but that’s the first time I see a video and it looks very real. In fact, I am surprised it got uploaded because I don’t think it’s the right thing to do and that’s why I am not sharing it. The woman could be mentally ill for all we know.

Update: Video was removed.

Banned Anal Exam (Gay Test) Still Being Used By Police In Lebanon

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Even though this shameful “gay exam” was banned, some doctors are apparently still using it. I won’t bother explain against what happens during this exam because it’s outrageous, humiliating and is considered torture by the UN. Whomever this doctor is, he should be banned for life.

Lebanon needs to drop Article 534 once and for all and stop considering homosexuality a criminal offence in Lebanon. We need more than just exceptional rulings and banning anal exams.

Men suspected by authorities of being homosexual are still being anally “tested” in Lebanon despite a ban on the practice issued by health officials, it has been reported. Doctors from the Lebanese Order of Physicians have described the method of determining whether or not a man is gay as useless and akin to “torture”.

The test involves forcefully inserting an egg-shaped metal object into the rectum, which a 2012 Human Rights Watch report said “constitutes degrading and humiliating treatment” in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. According to the Lebanese Daily Star, however, a forensic doctor was hired in January by members of the police’s “Moral Protection Bureau” to determine the sexuality of five Lebanese and Syrian men accused of being gay. [Independent]

Between The World Cup And Israel’s Military Offensive Against Gaza

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Ever since Israel started its offensive against Gaza few days ago, a lot of people have been showing their support for the Palestinian people while some of them have been bashing football fans for not caring enough about Gaza and cheering for their teams. “How could you watch the World Cup while children are dying?” and “Shame on you for ignoring the massacres on Palestine” are some of the messages I got and I couldn’t but laugh at them.

We all condemn what’s happening in Gaza and what’s been happening for the past 30 years, as we condemn the hundreds of innocent civilians killed in the Syrian conflict everyday, and in Iraq and Yemen and anywhere there’s a conflict. However, as much as some Lebanese and Arabs feel concerned with what’s happening in neighboring countries, there’s nothing we can do to help even if we wanted to, and the truth is we need help in Lebanon more than any other country (except Palestine maybe). Moreover, if you truly wish to help Palestinians, do so on a daily basis and don’t just remember them during wars and start spreading pictures of dead babies and burned bodies on Facebook.

Going back few months from now, innocent people were dying in Tripoli (In Lebanon of course) due to sectarian fights yet a lot of people who are sharing Gaza posts and pictures all over the internet didn’t feel that concerned with what’s happening. A lot of Lebanese as well don’t feel concerned with the suicide bombings in Dahieh and Beirut’s suburbs, without forgetting the 1 Million+ Syrian refugees suffering in Lebanon.

To sum things up, stop pretending to care about Gaza children if you’ve just realized that they are suffering, stop telling people not to watch the World Cup because people are dying in Palestine and stop sharing graphic images to get people’s attention. If anything, start caring about your country more and let people enjoy their lives the way they see it appropriate.

No Tourists Yet Electricity And Water Shortages During Summer In Lebanon

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At the beginning of every summer in Lebanon, we are warned of water shortage and more electricity cuts. However things are looking much worse this year specially that we have over 1 million Syrian Refugees in Lebanon now. According to MP Qabbani, the situation is expected “to worsen in August and to hit bottom rock in September and October.”

In terms of electricity, Lebanon is in need of 2,500 megawatts of electricity while the current production is only 1,500 MW. As for water shortage, we’ve been barely getting any water in Keserwan for the past 2 weeks and things aren’t looking good. The sad part is that water shortage in Lebanon is purely due to the negligence and incompetence of the authorities.

Of course a lot of things can be done to save water, like stopping the car wash businesses and raising awareness on how to save water, as well kicking off new projects and finishing the dams under construction, but don’t get your hopes high.

Tripoli Cafe Open During Fasting Hours Hit By Grenade

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It is not clear whether the cafe was attacked because it was open during fasting hours, but that memo that was approved by Tripoli’s mayor has indirectly contributed to this incident. Having said that, the least Tripoli’s mayor should do is arrest those who threw that grenade the soonest and threaten those who attack cafes of punishment.

Bab al-Tabbaneh is a Sunni Muslim district in Tripoli that has frequently been involved in violence with the residents of neighboring Jabal Mohsen district, whose residents are Alawites — a Shiite Muslim splinter sect. The city as a whole has been affected by the growing presence of religious extremists, especially after the outbreak of conflict in neighboring Syria, with Bab al-Tabbaneh particularly affected.

Wednesday’s attack comes after cafes and restaurants were warned against opening during daylight fasting hours in Ramadan in text messages and on social media in recent days. One such message names establishments staying open, and says “these pigs are selling food and drink during the day and in view of everyone.” It advises people “to deal with them in an appropriate manner,” without specifying further. [Naharnet]

Electricity Only For Tripoli During Ramadan

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I have no clue what’s wrong with Tripoli officials these days. First they ban breakfasts in the city, then they declare that convoys and fireworks are not allowed as well during Ramadan and now this. What about other Muslims fasting around Lebanon? What about those who are not fasting and can’t afford to pay for a generator? What sort of logic is that?

A Blessed And Peaceful Ramadan To All!

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I wish I could have just wished everyone a Ramadan Kareem and moved on with other posts but given what’s been happening in the past week in Tripoli and before that in Abra, it looks like some people, aside from the terrorists and suicide bombers, are trying to ruin Ramadan for all the Lebanese.

As you all probably know by now, there’s a memo that was circulated in Abra first, and then in Tripoli asking restaurants and cafes not to serve breakfast during Ramadan. While Abra’s memo was supposedly revoked, few parties in Tripoli are keen on keeping the memo and don’t seem to realize the damage that they’ve done so far.

To be honest, I am sickened by most of the comments and reactions I’ve been hearing on this matter, and I believe these memos are as bad for Muslims as they are for non-Muslims. I’ve lived and worked with Muslims my whole life and I never had any problem with them in regards to fasting and eating during Ramadan. I was never asked not to eat by any of them, and it rarely occurred to me that I shouldn’t be eating because I know that’s not how fasting works either for Muslims or Christians. I was at a brunch yesterday and those who were fasting just sat on an empty table and didn’t feel offended one single bit. Moreover, I would always make an effort and fast the whole day when I am invited to an Iftar at some friend’s house as it’s an interesting and fun experience to have. Souhour is quite special as well but I’ve tried it once or twice only.

What I’m trying to say is that we don’t need someone telling us what to do and where or when to eat. We don’t live in an Islamic or Christian Republic and most Lebanese are respectful when it comes to fasting and religion. It’s really as simple as that and these memos will only give us a headache now and in the future.