Category Archives: Critiques

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.

Works Already Underway at Ramlet el Baida: Beirut’s Only Public Beach

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Ramleh Baida2 via Sara Bou Kamel

Works are already underway at Ramleh el Baida, whereas excavators were spotted destroying one of the entrances to Beirut’s legendary coastline. It’s only a matter of time before Beirut’s last public beach no longer becomes accessible to the public.

A year ago, Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter vowed to prevent the closure of Beirut’s only public beach but privatization is already underway and Beirut Municipality and the government are the ones to blame.

This beach belongs to the people and should remain public instead of being turned into luxury projects that cater to the wealthy.


For All Those Complaining About the Valet Parking, Stop Using it!

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“Mich Chatir 2ella bil na2”!

That pretty much sums up the below report on Valet Parking in Lebanon. Everyone MTV interviewed was complaining about the valet parking services and sharing their bad experiences but none of them was apparently willing to stop using the valet, as if there are no alternatives or someone is forcing them to do so.

I stopped using the valet two or three years ago and it’s much easier than you think. There are parking lots almost everywhere I go and when there aren’t any, I order an Uber or take a “service”. If I’m with my family and can’t park too far (wedding for example), I drop them first and then go park wherever I want. Sometimes I even park where the valet is supposed to, keep the keys and ignore them. Most of the valet parking guys are assholes and even when they are not, they couldn’t care less about your car.

If you can’t stop using the valet service, then you are probably a show off or a lazy bum or simply couldn’t care less about your car.


Beaten Sea Turtle is Doing Better

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Here’s a quick follow up on the giant marine turtle that was hit on the head and pulled out of the water to be used as a photo prop. The turtle’s skull is damaged but he is in safe hands now and was moved to a pool to recover.

This sea turtle cannot eat on his own or dive under the water. Days ago he was carried on shore, used as a photo prop, and beaten on the head with a stick. The blows were so strong that his skull is damaged.
To better care for him we bought a large pool and sun shade. The pool was set up this morning next to the port and sea water pumped in. By noon the turtle was moved in and looking more relaxed.
The Ministry of Agriculture and the Civil Defense have been great in caring for this turtle. [Animals Lebanon]

The turtle will be set free once the recovery process is over, but no one can guarantee the animal’s safety as long as there are no sanctuaries for these endangered species and there’s no law to protect them. Till now, the Lebanese parliament hasn’t approved the law to protect all animals that was submitted by Animals Lebanon and got approved by the Council of Ministers.