Category Archives: Critiques

Video Showing The Suicide Bomber’s Kia Driving Around Dahieh

[YouTube]

We may be able to take few precautions against booby-trapped cars but there’s nothing we can do when it comes to suicide bombers. One thing that caught my attention though is that it seems as if the car got passed a security checkpoint on its way. If the Lebanese Army or ISF don’t have the proper tools to detect explosives, a good idea would be to have some kind of reader that verifies the plate number and tells if the car is stolen or not. Whether the plate number is fake or the car is stolen, matching it against some secure online database would do the trick. In fact, I wouldn’t be too worried about making that list public since all medias have access to it (don’t know me how) and don’t hesitate in posting who the car belongs to few minutes after every explosion.

Of course that’s not the ideal solution for preventing bombings but it would help detect stolen cars and cut down the chances of a potential attack.

Lebanese Rapper Double A the Preacherman Mistaken For A Terrorist

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I don’t know why they suspected this guy or his car, but having a beard doesn’t mean that you are a terrorist. When I first saw the news on the TL and was told by one of the tweeps (Thanks Bob) that he’s a rapper and social activist, I checked AA’s Twitter account and was almost sure something’s not right about his arrest.

I understand that the situation is critical and that there’s a paranoia over security and safety but there should be proper measures taken when arresting suspects, specially when there are innocent people like Hussein taken into custody for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I hope someone apologized to Hussein after all that.

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Via Al-Jadeed

Here’s a video of one of his performances:

[YouTube]

Water Shortage In Jounieh

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I posted back in November and December about the water shortage in few areas in Keserwan and in Beirut as well and there’s still no solution to the problem. Some of my friends and my parents have been buying water at least 1 or 2 times per week and can’t do anything about it.

It all started when Sad Chabrou7 was emptied for some maintenance works (Not sure if it’s related though) and things have been dragging for 3 months now! It’s really amazing how the Lebanese authorities are considering selling water to Cyprus yet vital areas and major cities are not getting water properly.

Fadl Shaker Fake Picture In Prison

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Al Mayadeen posted on their page that Fadl Shaker has been arrested by the Army intelligence, a news which was shared by Lebanonfiles and included a picture of Fadl Shaker inside his cell.

The news turned out to be unfortunately wrong and the picture a fake one, and so both sources removed them.

This is not the first time fake pictures are shared on Lebanese media outlets, so here’s a link I posted few months back on [how to verify if a picture is false or not]. It’s very simple and could avoid the embarrassment of having to delete the news later on. It took me 30 seconds to realize the picture is a fake one so it’s not that time-consuming specially when your credibility is at stake.

History Of Car Bombs In Lebanon

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According to this 1992 article from Time Magazine entitled “Lebanon: The Terrible Tally of Death”, our country has witnessed 3,641 car bombs during the 1975-1990 civil war period, which resulted in the death of 4,386 people (including 241 U.S Marines and 58 French Paratroopers).

I thought the number was pretty high and so did Karl (see below conversation) because 3641 car bombs during 15 years (almost 5475 days) means 1 car bomb every 1.5 days which is incredibly high. Having said that, another source “The Atlas Group” mentioned that only 245 car bombs, which is more reasonable, took place. From what I recall, the highest number of car bombs took place during the Elie Hobeika era.

Let’s hope we will reach one day in Lebanon where car bombs will become part of our history only.

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Help Rebuild Lebanon’s Torched Al Sa’eh Library

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I’ve been supportive of every initiative to help rebuild Al Sa’eh library in Tripoli, and I loved the book drive that was kicked off on January 8th and will last till the end of the month, but I was surprised to read about a campaign to collect $35,000 for the library to buy new bookshelves, a new front door and paint the wall .

Don’t get me wrong as I am not doubting the campaign but I thought one of Tripoli’s MPs or politicians would happily fund the project to restore the library as it was. I mean $35,000 is a ridiculous amount for billionaires like Mikati and Safadi, who happen to be from Tripoli.

We shouldn’t have to start crowd-funding campaigns for Al Sa’eh library. Since all parties condemned the incident and showed their support to Father Sarrouj, let them allocate a decent amount of money to repair the library and bring it back to life! Most MPs probably spend 35k on fuel for their convoys so it wouldn’t hurt their pockets if they donated money to rebuild Lebanon’s second biggest library.

Unfreakin-believable!

PS: If you wish to help or donate, click [Here].

How People In Muslim Countries (Including Lebanon) Want Women To Dress In Public

Stats [High-Res]

The majority of people in seven predominantly Muslim countries prefer women to completely cover their hair, and not necessarily their face, in public according to a recent survey conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.

According to this study, woman #6 who was without any headscarf, was chosen by 49% of respondents in Lebanon. Second most popular choice was woman #4.

I don’t know why buzzfeed chose to display this specific finding only as the original study is a more thorough and interesting one. In fact, it’s a comparative study between the Tunisian Citizens and 6 other different countries in regards to Gender Relations, Social Individualism, Secular Politics, Form of Government, People’s Wishes Versus the Shari’a , National Identity and National Pride, Concerns with Western Culture and Conspiracy, Religious Tolerance, Mosque Attendance, Likeability of and Attitudes toward Violence against Americans.

Here are additional findings related to Lebanon:
- Only 35% of Lebanese are proud of being citizens of Lebanon.
- 69% of Lebanese reported love as being an important basis for marriage (Against 7% in Pakistan).
- 44% disagree or strongly disagree that men make better political leaders than women.
- 50% of Lebanese like Americans as neighbors.
- Only 19% of Lebanese think it’s good that the army rules.
- 73% of Lebanese think life is unpredictable and dangerous in Lebanon.

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Are Malls In Lebanon Taking The Necessary Security Measures? The Answer is No!

[YouTube]

I was watching this TV report and laughing my ass off because I’ve been to 5 different malls in the past week, and none of them had taken extraordinary security measures given the recent bombings. In fact, I noticed that some malls are not taking the current situation Lebanon is going through seriously and are not even making the slightest effort in terms of security and prevention.

Here are the malls I’ve been to and what I’ve noticed:

ABC Dbayyeh & Achrafieh:
- They are still using defective bomb detectors at ABC.
- There’s an additional security inspection at ABC Dbayyeh for both men and women which is good.
- There are metal detectors at the ABC Achrafieh main Entrance (not sure about the other entrances) but you can walk or drive in from the parking and not get checked.
- You are not allowed to park anymore in front of ABC Achrafieh (on the way down from Sassine) which is also good.

Le Mall Dbayyeh
- They are still using defective bomb detectors.
- They use bomb-detection mirrors but the last time the mirror was broken!
- I didn’t notice any extra measures taken at both entrance doors but I can’t confirm.

City Mall
- They have some special bomb detector that I haven’t seen in any other mall and they check the trunk of the car.
- I can’t confirm whether they took extra safety measures at the entrance door which is good

Beirut Souks
This place is a security nightmare for the management and the authorities given that it is wide open and has numerous entrances, however:
- They are the only ones equipped with bomb-sniffing dogs.
- Unfortunately though, they are using defective bomb detectors but they have security members all over the souks.

Beirut City Centre:
- They are still using defective bomb detectors.
- I didn’t notice any additional security measures taken at the entrance door.

To sum things up, the security measures taken at malls in Lebanon are not enough to prevent (God Forbid) an explosion or an armed attack or whatsoever, and I can’t freaking believe that defective bomb detectors are still being used. I understand that no one’s doing well economically in Beirut these days but things would get much worse for all of us and specially malls if an unfortunate incident takes place there.

Here are few recommendations that I urge all malls mentioned above and others concerned to consider for boosting security and preventing potential criminal and terrorist acts:

- Throw these defective bomb detectors in the nearest garbage bin.
- Get Bomb-sniffing dogs and put them at every entrance.
- Get high quality and effective bomb scanners.
- Set up metal detectors at every entrance and make sure there’s an armed soldier or ISF officer nearby (To prevent armed attacks mainly).
- Schedule patrols around the parking lot for a security guard and a bomb sniffing dog every half hour.
- Set up a metal entrance gate far from the initial one. This would help limit the damage in case of a suicide bomber.
- Set up No Parking signs around the mall.

One more thing I’d like to see implemented, even though it’s a bit ambitious, is to have car plate numbers scanned to verify if the car is stolen or not. Technically speaking, it’s very easy and cheap to implement but it requires a lot of paper work and a collaboration between the ISF and third parties. The idea is that information related to black-listed or suspicious cars gets constantly updated and shared through an application or a platform that mall security personnel have access to. Even valet parking companies could help if they are able to detect suspicious cars and report them but I am not sure how trust-worthy these companies are.

Note: If you have further (verified) information regarding the security measures taken, please do share them and I will gladly update the post.

Lebanese Ministry Of Interior & The Lebanese Traffic Management Center Launch the #منحط_دركي_لكل_سيارة Initiative

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Driving 3al Lebnené

The Lebanese Traffic Management Center (@tmc_lebanon) launched an awareness road safety campaign on Twitter on Sunday with the collaboration of LBCI, Annahar, LebanonDebate, the syndicate of Taxis in Lebanon and IDE academy. The aim of the campaign is to spread awareness and allow Lebanese drivers to share traffic violations on Twitter by using the hashtag #منحط_دركي_لكل_سيارة (Long and Unappealing hashtag).

I’ve already stated previously that TMC is doing a great job and I love how they’re always tweeting new updates but this campaign is very similar to what Cheyef7alak has been doing for years. The one big advantage they have is that they are linked to the Ministry of Interior and the local authorities and can actually handle some of the violations or problems raised.

For example, someone complained on Twitter about the potholes on the Zouk Mosbeh road leading to NDU, and TMC informed the concerned authorities who went on site and apparently fixed it. However when I crossed the road at night, it was more of a “ter2ee3a” than a job well done and the potholes started showing again already.

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In all cases, it’s always good when the authorities listen to people’s complaints and handle them and things could only get better if both sides cooperate properly. I think the next step should be a nice mobile app or website where people could submit complaints and violations and follow up on them.

Here are some of the pictures shared on the hashtag:

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Father Ibrahim Sarrouj Historical Library, The Second Largest In Lebanon Set On Fire In Tripoli

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Father Ibrahim Sarrouj

What sort of people would burn a library these days? This is a shameful and alarming act to be honest. Al-Saeh Library had more than 70,000 books.

Unknown assailants on Friday set fire to a famous library owned by Father Ibrahim Sarrouj in the northern city of Tripoli. “Firemen are trying to extinguish the blaze that erupted in Father Ibrahim Sarrouj’s library in Tripoli’s al-Rahbat street,” LBCI television reported.

The torching of the al-Saeh Library comes after reports that claimed the father had published a book deemed insulting to Islam. Bashir Hazzouri, an employee at the library, was shot and wounded on Thursday in the old souks of Tripoli. Al-Saeh Library is considered one of the most renowned libraries in Tripoli and the second largest in Lebanon.

Sarrouj says the library contains more than 70,000 books. [Link]