We witnessed few days ago a huge fire in Baabda that destroyed an entire forest just because the Fire Department wasn’t equipped properly and our firefighting helicopters couldn’t be used, and yesterday it rained for few hours and the roads got all jammed and flooded with water, and today I am reading that Lebanon had a tsunami drill in Byblos yesterday.
Of course we should be conducting tsunami drills in Lebanon and I am glad Byblos has taken this initiative but I don’t think a tsunami would hit the Byblos coast only and I am pretty sure the Civil Defense, the Lebanese Red Cross and the Lebanese Army won’t have enough units to perform such a drill along the coast. Moreover, our focus should be at the moment on fighting fires since summer is near.
In fact, I think municipalities located in the mountains should seriously consider investing money and employing people to monitor and guard the forests and quickly react to any fire that erupts.
Picture taken from GreenResistance
A massive fire destroyed yesterday a great part of the Betshai forest in the Baabda area. Residents claimed it was the biggest fire they’ve seen in years and some of them blamed the civil defense units and the authorities for their inefficient and late response. At this point, we are all to blame for what happened, because we are not taking the whole civil defense issue seriously.
These firefighters are volunteers who are very badly equipped (if equipped at all) and don’t get paid a penny for what they are doing. I am not saying they shouldn’t their job properly if they are volunteers, and I am sure they are doing their best, but don’t blame them when the authorities don’t give them their most basic needs to fight fires. They have old fire trucks, old equipment, no substances to fight the fires and sometimes barely any water.
The first thing that this government and the concerned ministries should do, even before electing a new president, is setting up a decent firefighting unit and making sure they are ready for the summer. Otherwise, more forests will get burned down (intentionally or not) and more ugly buildings will replace them.
I didn’t see any official press release from the ISF, and I don’t think it’s because of Whatsapp that the ISF took this decision.
In all cases, and since ISF is active on Twitter and Facebook now, it should cooperate with Lebanese citizens to catch these officers by letting people send pictures and upload them.
It’s been almost two years now that the Jal el Dib bridge got dismantled and there are still no plans to build a new one. Honestly, I think we need a bridge there, because while traffic has slightly improved on the highway, it has worsened in the inside roads and on the Nahr el Mot bridge.
In fact, I used to play basketball at Hoops Antelias but ever since it closed, I started going to V-club in Jal el Dib and it takes at least 15 minutes extra to get there. I either have to go from Antelias and take the inside roads to get there or go to Nahr el Mot bridge and go back towards Jal el Dib.
In all cases, let’s see what happens tomorrow because the Jal el Dib residents seem pretty determined and launched a Facebook page called “The Jal el Dib Revolution”.
The Internal Security Forces launched the #زغير_البيت campaign on Twitter last week to raise child safety awareness, and the importance of putting children in car safety seats when driving. I thought the hashtag was quite original and a lot of Lebanese use it to tweet pictures of their children.
It’s good to see the ISF making good use of twitter and the internet, and I believe they should get closer to bloggers, influential tweeps and the whole Lebanese online community in order to make the best out of social media. More importantly, following up should be crucial to any campaign. For example, the منحط_دركي_لكل_سيارة campaign that was started by the Ministry of Interior back in January was great but a lot of people posted pictures of policemen and officials breaking the law and to my knowledge, no measures were taken against any of them. Moreover, a lot of pictures are shared daily showing idiots making stunts with their bikes on the highways without helmets or anything and nothing’s being done to arrest them.
I think the initiatives being taken recently by the ISF are very encouraging but more actions need to be taken regarding the daily violations we are all aware of.
Picture From The Daily Star
Lebanon’s former Tourism Fadi Abboud called for the “legalization of the cultivation of marijuana, and the authorization of its use for medical purposes and exportation” a couple of weeks back and LBCI’s TV host Dima Sadek tweeted in favor of cultivating marijuana few days ago. Even Al-Akhbar newspaper back in September asked on their front page to legalize weed as it’s the only source of income for a lot of Lebanese families.
I’ve already posted about this matter last year and said that while I have nothing against legalizing it, we need a proper plan to start the cultivation and let the government profit from it to close the debt and not gangs and armed groups. Honestly speaking, I don’t see how this can be done in our current state and I really wish someone proposes a viable plan and present it (Why didn’t Abboud propose this while he was still minister?). One of the readers suggested that the authorities strike a deal with the families growing marijuana so that both parties could benefit, but this is just to good to be true, specially when marijuana trade is thriving with or without the government’s approval and the areas where it’s being grown are out of the state’s control.
On a positive note, I am glad the marijuana issue is being brought up to the public as there’s a lot of misconception around it and I noticed a lot of people still associate it with hard-core drugs which is totally wrong.
I am glad the wage scale draft submitted by the Syndicate Coordination Committee did not pass yesterday, not because the banks and economic committees’ arguments convinced me, nor because I believe the current system is a just one, but simply because it’s not the right time to approve such a bill.
I will not dig into details here, but the problem is not with those who are demonstrating in favor of this bill, but in the thousands of useless and corrupt government employees that will get undeserved raises and worsen the financial burden on the Lebanese state. Unfortunately, a lot of decent workers are paying the price for these corrupt individuals, but things could get much worse for ALL Lebanese if this bill is to pass, at least in its current form.
The Lebanese government needs to find a way to cut down expenses, by eliminating the MPs and Ministers’ salaries to begin with, by cutting down the number of employees in governmental institutions, and by increasing the taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and other non-essential goods. These are few suggestions and I am sure a lot of economists and experts have better ideas, better than raising the VAT like it was suggested yesterday.
Picture from Al-Abraaj
ThHank you Rumzz for writing this. Read the full article [Here].
Cultural appropriation is at least inappropriate. Israel has colonized Palestinian indigenous land and displaced and dispossessed Palestinians. Now it is claiming Palestinian traditions as its own. A buzzfeed article claimed that ‘in Israel hummus flows almost as freely as water’… unfortunately, Israel has ensured that water doesn’t flow freely to Palestinians, now they’re appropriating food too! Many of the dishes that Israelis claim as their own are from the Mediterranean region common to all Arabs as well as Turks, Greeks, Cypriots, Armenians, and Persians. Everyone should enjoy the food the world has to offer, just don’t colonize and appropriate it.
When I first saw the announcement above, I wasn’t really sure if I should laugh at it or criticize it, and as it went viral and Lebanese started commenting on it, I noticed that few people were actually defending whomever posted this announcement and saying that this is the reality we live in. I wasn’t surprised to hear these comments to be honest as sectarianism is still infecting our society and has been on the rise lately mainly due to the Syrian conflict, add to that increased racism against Syrian Refugees.
The Lebanese Civil War ended in 1990, but the Lebanese were unable to put it behind them and move on, simply because every sect thinks his people were the good guys during the war and the others were traitors and collaborators. Moreover, a lot of Lebanese families are brainwashing their children into thinking these so-called other Lebanese are still the bad ones and that we shouldn’t co-exist with them, and this is what’s causing all these tensions and fights during university elections between students who weren’t even born during the civil war era.
Every year, I tell myself that there’s no need to write an April 13 remembrance post because we’ve all learned the lesson, and every year I am reminded that this civil war is not yet over, at least not in the minds of a lot of Lebanese. This sectarian mentality and hateful attitude towards the other is destroying our country bit by bit and it is up to each one of us to stop spreading it and fight it by all means. In the Lebanese documentary Heritages that I’ve reviewed lately, the father takes his children back to his Achrafieh apartment, shows them the war toys that he used to collect and tells them how he always thought those on the other side of the demarcation line were the bad guys, and how it took him years to realize they thought the same of him.
We don’t need Muslims to pray in Churches and Christians in mosques to achieve unity, nor bombings and assassinations to unite us. What we need is to stop thinking in this sectarian way and ignore those who do. We should explain to our children and the younger generations that the only emerging winners from any war are warlords and corrupt politicians, and that the only way to write down a history book past 1975 is by eliminating the factors that are stopping us from finishing it. If we are unable to achieve these things, the young generations will never learn the reasons behind the civil war, its consequences and how to prevent a new one.
More importantly, there won’t be any apartment to sell for Christians or Muslims in this country.
How it all started
This BuzzFeed article by ReThinkIsrael is so ridiculous and disrespectful to international cuisines that I don’t know where to start. The author could have simply stated there are things you could eat in Israel, but to claim that these are Israeli specialties is just too much. Moreover, how can you claim that a fruit is specialty?
I scanned through the list quickly and 8 of the 19 items listed are definitely not Israeli and I am sure there are others as well. One thing that caught my attention was the Krembo, which is the equivalent of Tarboosh in Lebanon. There have been talks that Tarboosh may be copied from a Swiss company’s product (Le Petit Perrier) but I am pretty sure both came before the Krembo.
As far as Hummus is concerned, here’s a proof that Hummus is Lebanese.