Category Archives: Critiques

What The Naameh Residents Are Going Through Because Of The Landfill

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The garbage crisis is first and foremost a health crisis and Naameh residents are the most affected by this crisis. Residents neighboring the landfill should have been given a financial indemnity as promised and moved outside the area long time ago.

No one should be allowed to live near this poisonous and toxic landfill. The air is contaminated with various toxic substances, the water is contaminated by the landfill, the flies roaming around the garbage and over your food can get you food poisoned or severely sick, and there’s an increasing rate of cancer among the residents as they are left exposed to untreated chemicals.

The Naameh landfill should have never reopened and residents have every right to block the road. The cost to maintain the Naameh landfill is one of the highest in the world and the garbage is not even being treated properly. Moreover, “The combination of organic and dangerous trash in the landfill has created toxic liquid known as leachate, which is much more polluting than sewage water” according to Lebanon Eco Movement President Paul Abi Rached.

All those living near the landfill should relocate the soonest and all medical and relocation expenses should be paid by the government. This should be the Health Ministry’s top priority.

مطمر الموت الصحي

ما لا تريدك سلطة الفساد أن تعرف عن ما يسمى من قبلهم بالطمر "الصحي".. شاهدوا للنهاية..#طلعت_ريحتكم وقتلتونا

Posted by ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ on Friday, April 8, 2016

Saudi-Owned Daily Asharq al-Awsat Removed The Disrespectful Lebanon Cartoon

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sharq Caricature published in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat newspaper “April Fools… the Lebanese state”

Saudi-owned daily Asharq al-Awsat angered Lebanese after it published a caricature earlier today depicting the Lebanese state as an April Fools’ joke. The cartoon was later on removed from the website without any explanation. The cartoon is disrespectful and offensive but I honestly laughed when I saw it because the joke is really on the paper and the cartoonist not on us.

Snapchat’s Beirut Story: AUB, National Anthem, AUB, Ain el Mreisse, National Anthem, Fattit Shrimps

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Snapchat has been featuring towns and cities as part of the “Life” Snapchat Stories and Beirut got its own Life Snapchat Story yesterday. Life stories are prepared by Snapchat and are basically a compilation of snaps from Snapchatters at events and locations around the world. Anyone can see them under “Live” on the Snapchat application.

Beirut’s story was a lousy one to be honest, but I’m not sure if I should blame Snapchat or Lebanese Snapchatters. Maybe it’s a sign that we need better Snapchatters in Beirut 🙂

Here are some of the things we learned in this story:
– Beirut’s logo is a mosque for some reason.
– Beirut is all about Ain el Mraisse, AUB and Beirut Souks.
– Maamoul is a national dessert (which we feed to pets as well).
– Fattit Shrimps is a traditional dish (local secrets).
– We sing the National Anthem everywhere we go.
– There are clowns in Beirut distributing balloons to cars rocking Ali el Deek.
– Everyone speaks English in Beirut except that motorist with his “Assalam 3alaykoum” greeting.

There are few good snaps in this story, mainly the Dabke, Oud, Wara2 Arich but that’s about it.

PS: They removed the fattit shrimps today from the story.

Najwa Karam’s Message to All Working Mothers

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mbc via MBC1

This is not an April Fool’s prank and this is coming from someone who is not married and doesn’t have children.

نجوي كرم توجه رسالة لكل امرأة قد تراها بعض النساء صدمة #شط_بحر_الهوى

Posted by MBC1 on Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Enough With Celebratory Gunfire!

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A 5 year old kid was hit and killed by a stray bullet from a funeral gunfire in Beirut’s southern suburbs back in June 2015. Yesterday, Bettina Raidy, an 8 year old girl, was struck in the head by a stray bullet and died.

I was watching MTV’s report on the poor girl and I couldn’t bear watching it to the end. I couldn’t imagine what her parents were going through and how devastated they are. They’ve been raising this young girl for 8 years only to see her get killed by some moronic gun-loving scumbag.

Not only should celebratory gunfire get banned but it should also be considered a crime. Guns should only be used in battle by the Lebanese Army or security forces, not for celebrations or during funerals in the street. Anyone who still thinks that emptying guns in the sky is part of our culture is a complete idiot and belongs in prison.

Guns have no place in a celebration of any kind and celebratory gunfire is destroying people’s lives and causing unnecessary tragedies. Not only do we need the authorities to take strict measures against these criminals, but people need to start reporting such thugs.

My sincere condolences to the family and all my respect to the father for his stand on celebratory gunfire.

Yet Another Environmental Disaster: Jiyeh Sea Filled With Garbage

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The old Lebanese proverb “أعمل منيح وكب بالبحر” should be changed into “يا بهيم حاجي تكب بالبحر”. As if Israel’s deliberate bombardment of fuel tanks in Jiyeh back in 2006 wasn’t enough to pollute the waters, some assholes (Lebanese) have been dumping recently large piles of garbage into the Jiyeh sea.


The discovery was made by a woman (Dr. Halima Kaakour) who usually swims there every morning and the underwater pictures and videos being shared are horrific.


Civil Defense volunteers worked on cleaning the waters for hours last Friday but it will take them days if not weeks to take out all the dumped trash.


Jiyeh’s coast is one of the most beautiful in Lebanon and some of Lebanon’s most popular beach resorts are found there.

Beirut’s Raouché Rock Lit Up with Lebanese & Belgian Flags

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The Raouché rock in Beirut was lit up with the Lebanese and Belgian flags, in solidarity with the victims of the terrorist attacks that hit Brussels few days ago. Beirut’s Pigeon Rock was also illuminated to condemn terrorist attacks back in November 2015 following the Burj el Brajneh and Paris attacks.

Now we’ll never hear the end of it. Why Belgium and Paris and not Egypt or Ankara? Or Baghdad? In fact right now we have a repeat of what happened back in November 2015 whereas media is talking about the Ankara attacks that took place before Brussels and were barely mentioned in the news. There’s also the horrible suicide bombing that took place in Baghdad yesterday inside at a football match and killed at least 30 people.

I don’t want to get into this debate because it’s a useless one. Some argue that bombs have become the norm in our region while they have yet to become the norm in the West, while others insist that global media gives more importance to the West but what matters to me is that terrorism is on the rise, innocent people are getting killed and we are not doing enough to combat extremism.

Sagesse (Hekmeh) Players Went on Strike Over Non-Payment of Salary

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I was told by a friend who’s a loyal Sagesse fan that the players have stopped going to practice since Thursday until they get paid. Hekmeh players only got paid once this entire season and the team apparently still owes some players money from last year. The team is currently in 7th position and has lost 7 of its last 9 games.

Hekmeh’s nightmare season doesn’t seem to be getting any better, despite winning the Dubai international basketball tournament earlier this year. The real blame is on the previous management but the newly elected management knew what they were getting into and should have managed things better. A friend told me that sponsors did not pay yet their dues but that’s not something the player should be worried about. How can any team expect his players to perform well if they aren’t getting paid all season long?

Unfortunately, Riyadi is probably the only team that pays his players and staff on time, which means that we have a serious problem in the league, a problem that no one wishes to tackle. Instead of spending millions of dollars on foreign players and leaving the Lebanese players/staff and the team broke, the teams should have a solid financial plan over 3-years at least and properly manage their budget every year. That’s one the many reasons I was against that stupid 3-foreigners rule and things will only get worse now for Lebanese players and the teams.

I’ve always loved and supported Sagesse, even when Ghassan Sarkis was their coach, and it’s truly painful to see them go through such a phase, especially after everything President Choueiry has done to help Sagesse reach an international level and win Arab and Asian cup titles. More importantly, Sagesse fans are among the most loyal and dedicated fans and they deserve better than that.

All in all, there are two major problems in Lebanon’s basketball and they are not going away anytime soon with the current federation and team officials:
– The intervention of politics and religion in the sports, which was perfectly documented by Rayanne Moussallem two years ago.
– The incompetence of most Lebanese Basketball officials, which is mainly due to the intervention of politics and religion, add to that wide-spread corruption.

With or Against Cancelling The Brevet Official Exams in Lebanon?

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MPs Serge Torsarkissian and Nadim Gemayel submitted last week a law draft to cancel the Brevet official exams. Their argument is that the certificate no longer matches the development pace of the curriculum in Lebanese schools. I am for cancelling the Brevet exams as long as they are replaced by another type of exam or middle-year programs.

However, the real problem in Lebanon is not with the exam itself but with the widespread cheating during officials exams. When I was presenting my Brevet, I gave everyone in the classroom my answers and took some guy’s paper and did it for him because the instructor “kindly” asked me to. I’m not proud of what I did but I was forced to and we all knew that it was ok to cheat. We weren’t even scared that we’d get caught in the process and I’m sure things have only gotten worse ever since.

This “open-cheating” syndrome is the real problem in our educational system and should have been the primary concern of Lebanese schools and our Education Minister. It is important to understand what motivates students to be dishonest and to punish harshly teachers that encourage them to cheat and commit unethical acts.

Who Doesn’t Want a Better Internet in Lebanon?

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internet Speedtest on a 4MB DSL Ogero connection in Beirut

The Lebanese government has been busy investigating illegal internet companies for the past couple of weeks. We are talking about large communication devices and towers installed in several areas across Lebanon and a 40GB per second bandwith bought from Turkey and Cyprus and equivalent to 1/3 of the bandwith set by the Telecom ministry. The worst part is that a lot of sensitive official departments were using these free internet services and therefore compromising our security.

One of the areas where illegal internet equipment was found is al-Zaarour resort, which is owned by Murr. However those in charge of the resort and MTV (also owned by Murr) have been attacking Ogero, LBCI and Al Jadeed for the past week over these claims and stating that there’s nothing illegal there, and they may be right based on what I’ve heard and read.

Needless to say, we are all against illegal internet networks but there are bigger questions that need to be asked at the moment: Who doesn’t want a better internet in Lebanon? Where do we stand from the 2020 plan? Who’s responsible for the delay?

I keep hearing people blaming Ogero and Abdel Menhem Youssef on the internet slowness and they are right to do so but Ogero is not the only one to blame. Blaming Ogero for the internet slowness is like blaming Sukleen for not recycling enough. The real problem is that the parties that are behind Sukleen don’t believe in recycling in the first place and don’t see the point from doing so, and similarly those covering for Ogero and most of the people that covered for Youssef over the past decade (or even stood against him) don’t understand that a cheaper and faster internet is better for everyone and will bring them more money (since that’s all they care about).

Deploying fiber optics in a fancy street in Solidere or equipping Beirut Digital District offices with the fastest internet is not what we’re after. Internet should be free, abundant and fast for Lebanon to become a tech hub and we should put more focus on schools, universities, households and more importantly areas outside Beirut. The only fast and reliable connections nowadays are the 3G and 4G mobile data plans (4G+ coming soon) but they are relatively expensive and the quotas are ridiculous.

via Executive-Magazine

What can we do?
Assuming that most of the Lebanese people agree that we need a faster and more abundant internet, we should keep asking for a better internet through social media channels and other online methods. The internet problem is as important as the garbage problem, whether you like to admit it or not, because technology has a huge impact on every country’s development and falling behind will cost us dearly in the future. We must question Ogero, the Telecom Minister and the government and push them to improve the internet at all cost. Even if our demands will probably fall on deaf ears, we should keep this topic alive at all time.

As far as the TVs and media are concerned, most of them, except for Executive-Magazine, don’t seem to understand the importance of having a better internet yet unfortunately and this is reflected in most of the news reports and talk shows that tackle the internet situation in Lebanon. Yesterday, MTV had a special episode with Walid Abboud on the illegal networks and the internet as a whole and it was extremely disappointing. Walid’s guests talked about everything except the imminent need of a proper internet connection for the sake of our country and the future generations. They turned the topic into a religious (and sectarian) one and one of the guests wouldn’t stop talking (more like yelling) about Christian rights and Christian representation and it made no sense.

What we need are responsible and knowledgeable hosts that are willing (and able) to tackle this internet problem and send out the right message to politicians and concerned parties. The last thing we want to see on these shows are corrupt parties and individuals accusing other corrupt parties of corruption and theft, or hosts praising ministers and MPs for a small and pointless achievement while the country is in ruins.

All in all, we will have over 3 million internet users in Lebanon by 2017, Lebanon has the 4th highest internet penetration in the region and we still cannot get a proper 2MB DSL connection outside Beirut, and sometimes even in Beirut. This is embarrassing and unacceptable especially when the solution is out there and only needs a political decision.