Category Archives: Critiques

Cancerous Wheat: Lebanon’s Food Safety Scandal Refuses To Go Away

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Health Minister Wael Abu Faour first states that wheat entering Lebanon failed to match safety standards, and that few samples contain cancer-causing substances, then Economy Ministry Alain Hakim comes out and says that the results Abu Faour are inaccurate and that the wheat is safe. Minister Abu Faour replies back that the Economy ministry’s testing methods were “outdated and could no longer be relied on”, before Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb intervened and reconciled both parties. They later on agreed to develop an action plan that ensures the safety and quality of wheat entering Lebanon.

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It’s good to see ministers work together in health-related issues , but what happened to the cancerous wheat units that were found by Minister Abu Faour? If he’s confident that some of the samples did not comply with safety measures, then where are they and why weren’t they confiscated? How will referring the wheat file to the General Prosecutions going to stop people from getting poisoned by this rotten wheat? Is Minister Abu Faour’s food safety campaign working or not?

Personally speaking, I don’t think Lebanon’s food safety scandal will end anytime soon because the way it’s being handled is wrong. The real problem has always been slaughterhouses and food storage yet what’s happening now is far worse as there are more and more violating restaurants (Dkekeen) opening and there’s no control over them anymore because the follow up process is not clear and the standards are not well defined.

All in all, the wheat scandal will be forgotten soon just like other scandals but the cancerous wheat is still in the market and Lebanese citizens are the only victims.

Lebanese Student Suspended For Two Days For Dyeing Her Hair

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l1

A student called Racha at Maghdouche high school(?) was apparently suspended for two days for dying her hair. The school principal wrote a letter to the parents saying that the girl violated Articles 37 and 39 of Law #590, which apparently dates back to 1974. Funnily enough, the law does not mention anything related to hair dying.

The incident was reported by Racha’s brother on Facebook, where he shared screenshots of the principal’s letter as well as a copy of the student pledge that they have to sign.

I had no clue we still have school principals like that in Lebanon, but if this story is true, the Education Minister has to intervene and take the necessary measures, and by that, I don’t mean closing down schools for a day or two to investigate the matter 😀

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In other messed up news, Al-Manar TV is censoring men shorts now.

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USJ Fires (Intern) After “Insensitive” Instagram Picture

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kk

Update: the girl is a mid-wife not a nurse.

The girl who posted a selfie with a terrible caption on Instagram earlier today got fired from Hotel Dieu de France, as posted by USJ on their official Twitter account. That was a really bad joke she made and she should apologize for it.

Nevertheless, I chose not to share her full name or picture because I don’t see a point in doing that and help destroy her career before it even starts. She got what she deserved at this point and I’m sure she regrets posting that picture by now.

This incident reminded of an NYTimes article on how “One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life“.

USJ via USJ Liban

#BeirutShutdown: What’s Happening Tomorrow is a Mistake

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#YouStink just announced that they will be go on with their plan to block roads and shut the capital for a few hours starting 6:30am. The roads that will be closed are as follows:

1- Khalde triangle- over the bridge
2- The Dora region next to CIT
3- City Center- the Hazmieh highway towards Beirut

The purpose as stated on their page, is to cut down roads for the people, not to harm them. They want citizens to sacrifice a few hours of work or of learning (or stay home) for their health and their future.

To be honest, I still think that the general strike is a mistake and a rushed decision. Nevertheless, it is their right to proceed with it but the proposed plan to shutdown Beirut is not enough.

Why is this a bad idea?
– You cannot call for a general strike and shutdown 3 key entrances only. If you can’t shutdown all 12 entrances to the capital, you are doing it wrong.
– The aim from the general strike is to send a message to the politicians yet the only ones being harmed in the process are the people. If entrances to Beirut are being blocked, roads to the businesses of ministers and deputies should also be blocked.
– A general strike requires a large-scale participation yet the turnout to recent protests was considerably lower than the ones before. Moreover, there are no syndicates participating so I’m not sure how they are planning to block roads in the first place.
– Not all Lebanese are fond of #YouStink movement yet they always defend them against corrupt politicians. Blocking roads will probably turn these people against #YouStink now.
– #YouStink is not powerful enough to ask students to stay home and employees not go to work. They simply cannot assume this responsibility and no one is willing to sacrifice his job in the current circumstances.

All in all, cutting roads NEVER worked in Lebanon and was NEVER the solution to anything. I was surprised by the decision on Saturday and I’m surprised #YouStink decided to move on with it. I just hope there won’t be any clashes between citizens and demonstrators tomorrow.

Dear Lebanese people
We call upon you to meet us tomorrow from 6:30 to 10AM at the following entrances of Beirut:

1- Khalde triangle- over the bridge
2- The Dora region next to CIT
3- City Center- the Hazmieh highway towards Beirut

We will not be cutting the road to harm the people… We will be cutting the road for the people

For those who can: Stay at home… Sacrifice a few hours of work or of learning… Your health and your future are in danger!

For years, citizens have been demanding their rights using that method.. We hope that the Security Forces will treat the citizens as they have done previously

Garbage Crisis in Beirut Back in The Old Days

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aub trash

This is an old interview with an AUB student (Engineer) talking about a garbage crisis at the time (Not sure about the year), and asking people to wrap their garbage properly and not throw them in the streets randomly.

Funnily enough, the journalist is asking him if burning the garbage can help them (she’s serious) and he answers that there’s no need to as long as the garbage is being collected every day and dumped in the sea!

You can’t really blame them as there wasn’t much awareness in the world at the time (assuming these were the 60s or 70s), but the shocking part is seeing people nowadays still burning garbage and dumping them in the sea. What’s even more shocking is having incompetent and ignorant ministers and officials still suggesting hazardous solutions to the garbage crisis instead of promoting recycling.

فيديو يظهر ازمة النفايات قديماً في #بيروت

Posted by Old Beirut lebanon on Thursday, October 29, 2015

How is Saudi Arabia a Better Country for Women than Lebanon?

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lb1 An Online campaign shedding the light on women rights in Arab countries.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 in Lebanon and around the world every year. It is a a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and more importantly a reminder for us here that Lebanese, and Arab women in general, are still second-class citizens.

The Lebanese laws discriminate against women and don’t guarantee their basic rights. Lebanese women cannot pass their children the Lebanese nationality if they marry a non-Lebanese, they have no legal protection against abusive husbands, they are barely represented in the government and they have to go through hell to terminate unhappy or abusive marriages among other things.

In fact, and I’m quoting HRW, “Lebanon’s current system of personal status laws violate women’s human rights, including to non-discrimination, equality in marriage, and at its dissolution, physical integrity, and health.”

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Despite all that, I’m finding it hard to believe that Saudi Arabia got a better rank than Lebanon in the 2015 Gendar Gap report. The Global Gender Gap Index is a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress and is published by the World Economic Forum. It is based on four indexes:
– Economic Participation and Opportunity
– Educational Attainment
– Health and Survival
– Political Empowerment

KSA Lebanon - Copy [High-Res]

The worst part is that Saudi Arabia got a much better rank in political empowerment than Lebanon. I don’t know how it’s possible to compare the two systems and how the Saudi regime is more favorable to women than the Lebanese one to be honest.

If we dig deeper into that index, it is based on three ratios:
– Ratio: females with seats in parliament over male value
– Ratio: females at ministerial level over male value
– Ratio: number of years with a female head of state (last 50 years) over male value

Now I know that we barely have any female representatives in the parliament or as ministers, but disregarding the fact that Saudi Arabia is arguably one of the most repressive regimes in the world is quite absurd. I bet Gaddafi would have scored really high in that list with his 200+ female bodyguards lol!

You can check out the full Gap Gender Report [here].

All in all, Lebanon still has a long way before it reaches the needed level of women’s rights and freedoms but there are tens if not hundreds of NGOs working day and night to achieve that, there are even politicians (hard to believe I know!) drafting laws to make things better and concerns and issues are being voiced all the time. We cannot possibly be worst-ranked than Saudi Arabia and in the bottom 10 list.

Municipalities are Also to Blame For The Garbage Crisis

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potholes Making good use of open manholes

The majority of municipalities in Lebanon are to blame for the garbage crisis as much as the Lebanese government is. They’ve been doing very little to manage and recycle waste throughout the years and the end result was more than 700 illegal and unsafe dump sites. Things got even worse after the 8-month still ongoing garbage crisis when municipalities resorted to opening new unsafe dump sites and burning garbage randomly.

baladiyye1 Tasks assigned to municipalities

Municipal elections are happening soon and people should hold accountable those who turned valleys and mountains into dump sites, those who leave open manholes and conduct lousy and hazardous road works etc. Municipalities, at least most of them, are failing big time in Lebanon and the below videos by LADE are highlighting this reality as well as the importance of holding municipal elections on time.

الحلقة الخامسة حول الصرف الصحي

فقط في لبنانOnly in Lebanon#البلدية_نص_البلد

Posted by LADE on Sunday, March 6, 2016

Using open manholes as an interphone lol!

[YouTube]

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A Terrifying Aerial View Of The Garbage “Mountains” Across Lebanon

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This footage was shared today on طلعت ريحتكم’s Facebook page prior to their “Final Warning” demonstration on Saturday at 4pm. Lebanon’s trash collection crisis is now in its eight month with still no resolution in sight.

The footage is quite scary and shows the severity of the garbage crisis in Lebanon, yet I believe spreading it online is more efficient than planning demonstrations at this point. Moreover, I think activists should focus more on encouraging recycling initiatives all over Lebanon and work with NGOs to raise awareness and implement solutions. A lot of municipalities have already begun recycling and it’s going great for them.

On another note, I don’t think YouStink should have linked the video below to the “Rise Above Lebanon” tourism video because despite everything that’s happening, there’s nothing wrong in showcasing the beauty of our country and we should stay supportive of such positive initiatives.

YouStink’s demo is on Saturday at 4 pm at Sassine Square for those who want to join.

الفيديو الفضيحة الذي لا تريدك ان تراه السلطة اللبنانية الفاسد

الفيديو الفضيحة الذي لا تريدك ان تراه السلطة اللبنانية الفاسدة، شاهد للنهاية..الإنذار الأخير، السبت ١٢ أذار، الساعة ٤، من ساحة ساسين الاشرفية إلى ساحة رياض الصلح #طلعت_ريحتكم وقتلتونا

Posted by ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ on Monday, March 7, 2016

One of The Voice Kids Finalists, Zein Obeid, Is Being Bullied Online

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Zein

Zein Obeid was one of the three finalists on The Voice Kids yesterday. The talented Syrian boy was able to prove himself throughout the whole competition and made it to the final stages after impressing all three judges. Even though he lost to Lynn el Hayek from Lebanon, he remains one of the best young talents on the show and should be praised as such.

Unfortunately, Zein has become since yesterday a target for internet bullies as people are shamelessly sharing a picture of him that says “Ma Tsawwetle B3atle Farrouj” (Don’t vote for me, send me chicken) and making fun of the little boy because of his body. This boy was brave enough to get on stage and show his incredible talent in front of millions of viewers yet some people were insensitive and cruel enough to mock him because he’s overweight.

I honestly don’t know if Zein is active on social media, and if he will be able to understand what’s happening. I don’t know if the people behind the Voice Kids show will be able to help him overcome this bullying. He’s probably still saddened by the fact that he lost, and the last thing he needs is to become an internet joke.

I won’t be posting the shameful picture being shared and I hope you all do the same. I also hope that Zein realizes that these haters are just jealous and probably will never have the guts to go on stage and sing in front of millions.

Zein, you have a bright future ahead of you. Stay strong and turn your back on all the haters!

Here are some of Zein’s best performances:

[YouTube]

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