Category Archives: Critiques

Official Exams Must Be Held On Thursday

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I don’t know what’s wrong with the Syndicate Coordination Committee but they are obviously not thinking straight and need to step down once and for all. I am sure that they have righteous demands even though I am against approving the new wage scale that they are proposing, but delaying official exams is a very bad move and affects the students first and foremost.

I fully support the Education Minister in keeping the exams on time and holding them with or without the SCC’s collaboration. If SCC’s argument is that standards must be followed in holding official exams, there are also standards to be followed in protesting. Speaking of official exams, maybe it’s a good idea to let a private company oversee them because we all know how things go during the Brevet and Baccalaureate exams.

The Syndicate Coordination Committee warned on Sunday Education Minister Elias Bou Saab against holding official exams without teachers and proper monitors, renewing its call on parliament to approve the new wage scale draft-law.

But the minister hit back later in the day, announcing that “there is a very high probability that the official exams will be held on Thursday.” He stressed that “no one intends to strip them (the exams) of the official nature in order to privatize them.”

“It is only for the education ministry to decide whether or not to hold the official exams,” Bou Saab underlined. Earlier, the SCC said during a press conference: “If parliament does not approve the new wage scale draft-law on Tuesday, then the official exams will not be held on Thursday.”

Parliament is scheduled to convene on Tuesday to address the draft-law amid concerns that lack of quorum will prevent the session from being held. The SCC added: “There are standards that should be adopted in holding official exams. [Naharnet]”

Who Closes The Dbayyeh Maritime Road And DownTown Beirut’s Main Road On A Monday?

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It took me almost 2 hours to get to work today because the maritime road in front of the ISF HQ in Dbayyeh was closed due to the military parade planned for their 153rd anniversary. The traffic had almost reached Zouk and cars were barely moving. To make things even worse, the road from Annahar bldg in Beirut was closed due to the parliament session.

The police ended up opening Dbayyeh’s road after realizing the traffic they’ve caused, which is definitely a good sign, but I urge our interior minister, who’s a pragmatic person from what I’ve seen, to put an end to these catastrophic and badly timed road closures. Traffic on a Monday morning is always bad, so it’s definitely not the best day to be closing down busy roads. Celebrations should be strictly held on Sunday mornings or any day of the week in a remote area.


LebanonFiles Has The Full Story (Not Really) On The Troubled MEA Flight From Riyadh To Beirut

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When I first saw the headline in red, I thought I was going to read about some kidnapping attempt, or some fight on board, or some mechanical failure (God Forbid) that led to an emergency landing, or some passenger gone crazy, but what I got instead was that the plane underwent some severe turbulence and few passengers felt nauseous.

Of course turbulence is a very serious matter and I hate it (and get scared) when it happens, but my point is that they should have at least bothered and got more details on whether anyone got injured or hospitalized, and how did the crew handle this matter because there’s a comment on the article saying that no one tried to comfort them. They could have called MEA or interviewed some of the passengers instead of saying there was turbulence and that’s it.


PS: LebMediaMonitor originally posted about this.

Youssef Nassar’s The Exhibition Banned In Lebanon

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The General Security has apparently banned The Exhibition by Youssef Nassar, which is a short movie that was showing at the Cabriolet Film Festival in Beirut. The reason is that there are topless Lebanese girls in the 10 minutes long movie.

Here’s what Youssef said:

Just came back from Vienna, what a beautiful city, the culture, the people, it’s just so perfect. Well here I am back in Beirut, I turn my cellphone on, loads of messages about the screening of Cabriolet Festival tonight at Gemmayze. Well, apparently the General Security in Lebanon banned my film to be screened in Lebanon for good. I’m glad The Cabriolet team is being supportive in that matter. It’s 2014 already.. time for a change I guess

I will never understand how censorship works in Lebanon to be honest. So what if there are topless girls or some nudity scenes? Do you really think the American series all the Lebanese watch don’t include nudity and sex scenes? Make the movie suitable for those above 18 and give the people the choice to watch whatever they want!

What’s Happening At Sabis School?

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According to this MTV report, Sabis which is a secular school, dismissed Christian students having a cross of ashes on their forehead on the first day of Lent because the school does not tolerate any display of religious or political symbols. However, and as per the school regulations shown in the report and what the school principal explained to the parents, Hijab which is a “religious obligation” is accepted by the administration.

Here’s an excerpt of the regulations as shown in the MTV report:

The display of any religious or political symbol is strictly forbidden. A religious obligation may be accepted by the administration if it is not in conflict with the curriculum, rules and regulations of the school.

Personally speaking, I believe a secular school shouldn’t allow any religious symbols and shouldn’t make exceptions at all. Whether Hijab is a religious obligation or symbol is open to interpretation and has caused endless debates worldwide specially after France banned it, so it’s a bad idea for a secular school to stick its nose in these matters. Moving on to the MTV report, and since Lebanon is obviously not a secular state, I think they should have dealt with this sensitive issue more carefully without adding more fuel to the fire. Turning the matter into a sectarian one and wearing crosses vs wearing veils matter is silly and won’t do us any good.

More importantly, the way some parents are reacting to this matter will only reflect negatively on their children as they have nothing to do with this matter and are probably clueless about religion as a whole. All in all, I think the administration and the parents should meet and sort this out in the best interest of the children and the school.

Idiots Of The Day

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As I said on so many occasions before, what bothers me the most about these stunts is that they take place on highways where it’s very easy for cops to spot these motorists and arrest them. Moreover, these bikers go out usually on Sundays and have gathering points, so there’s no excuse not to stop them before someone gets hurt.




PS: Pictures taken from YASA Facebook Page.

Antoury Market In Hamra Closing Down: This is not Ariel Sharon’s Supermarket

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shop hamra

If you pass by Makdessi street in Hamra, you will notice the above banners outside Antoury’s market. The big banner says “This is not Ariel Sharon’s Supermarket” while the small ones translate roughly to “Stop this unjust decision that will leave 6 families homeless” and “Can you find a property in Hamra that sells for $2000 per square meters?”.

So what’s the story?
Based on The Beirut Report’s post, a relative of the shopkeeper is saying she was offered only $60,000 to vacate both the shop and the shopkeeper’s 130 square meter apartment. Obviously, the market price for such a property is at least 10 times higher but the woman is an old renter and apparently that’s the amount she was offered after several court rulings.

I don’t know how she ended up getting $60,000 only and it does sound like an unfair amount, but that’s one of the many consequences of this old rent law that we will soon get rid of. The old law is affecting both tenants and landlords and both parties rarely manage to settle things out in a fair way.

My friend Amer said this place had one of the best Labneh sandwiches in Beirut.

Syrian Elections In Lebanon

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I couldn’t care less about elections in Syria or in Lebanon for that sake, and Syrians and non-Syrians in Lebanon have the right to elect their president, but that doesn’t mean they can block highways and walk in the middle of the street. Why were the elections scheduled on a Wednesday and why aren’t there designated gathering spots for those going to vote?

syria3 via Hagop


10341504_664673443580034_7379078098285754025_n via Sara Assaf

Why We Should Close Dekkenet el Balad

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1907330_1426877300912787_6497287955229637538_n via Sakker el Dekkene

Dekkenet El Balad opened its doors a couple of weeks back in Gemmayze offering illegal certificates, driving licenses and other permits. Of course this was part of a marketing campaign to raise awareness on corruption and ask people to report acts of bribery but as expected, and since Lebanese and people living in Lebanon are unfortunately used to “buying” everything, the Dekkene has been receiving messages on their hotline number (76/808080) from people inquiring on these illegal services (just like the one illustrated above).

Having said that, the only way to fight corruption in Lebanon is by reporting and exposing people involved in these acts of bribery and it’s everyone’s duty to get involved in this campaign La Nsakkir el Dekkene once and for all.