Category Archives: Critiques

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]

[YouTube]

[YouTube]

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

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scary

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]

[YouTube]

[YouTube]

A Horribly Titled Article

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ll

Update: Middle East Airlines issued the below clarification

تداولت بعض المواقع الالكترونية خبر مضخم حول الرحلة المتوجهة من إسطنبول إلى بيروت لذا يهم شركة طيران الشرق الاوسط ان توضح ما يلي:

“ان طائرة الشركة قد تعرضت لصاعقة ناتجة عن سوء الاحوال الجوية في منطقة شمال تركيا، وهذه الامور تواجه الطائرات عادة في مثل هذه الاحوال الجوية السيئة، ويهم الشركة ان توضح ان جميع طائراتها مجهزة للحماية من الصواعق الكهربائية، وبالتالي لم تواجه الطائرة اي عطل كهربائي او فني، كما وانها لم تتعرض لاي مخاطر تتعلق بالسلامة كما جاء في الخبر الذي ورد حول هذا الامر.

ويهم شركة طيران الشرق الاوسط ان توضح ايضا ان قائد الطائرة طمأن الركاب وان عملية هبوط الطائرة تمت بشكل عادي جدا في المطار

Update2: A passenger also told Lebanonfiles that most of the information they posted was incorrect but they deleted his comment.

comment

I was on my way back from a party yesterday when my friend texted me that there are news of a MEA Flight coming from Turkey exploding. At first, I thought that a plane had crashed or something and I started looking for updates online but then I got a link to the original story.

What happened is that a MEA flight coming from Turkey was struck by lightning and passengers freaked out after hearing a loud noise. The pilot re-assured them that this is a normal incident due to the bad weather conditions and that they might face some turbulence along the way. He re-assured passengers that that everything was under control and ended up landing the plane safely.

I know that this must have be a frightening flight for those on board, and I would have probably panicked like everyone else, but what I don’t get is why anyone would mention in the title that there was an explosion on the plane “خاص: رحلة الموت من تركيا الى بيروت… طائرة للميدل إيست تتعرض لصاعقة وانفجار” or let people panic over a lightning strike.

They could have easily said that a MEA Pilot saved the day after plane got hit by lightning and then explain what happened.

What Happened with Bassam Abou Zeid is An Outrage

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bassam1 via Lebanese-forces.com

LBCI Reporter Bassam Abou Zeid’s boys were not allowed to take part in the First Communion ceremony in a Zouk Mikhael church because those in charge were worried that Bassam’s kids, who have special needs, might mess up the ceremony. Moreover, and this is the worst part, they told Bassam that other parents threatened to boycott the event if his kids ever show up.

There’s nothing to say here except: Shame!

Shame on those in charge of the Zouk Mikhael church for not embracing these kids. Shame on every parent who refused to show up if Bassam’s kids attended. If anything, the Church should kick these so-called Christians out for good!

This is not just a disgrace, this is a scandal.

bassam via Lebanese-forces.com

Lebanese Goalkeeper Hassan Bittar Suspected Of Match-Fixing by FIFA

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match

The football game between Al-Ahed Beirut and Altyn Astyn from Turkmenistan was flagged as a “suspicious match” in FIFA’s anti-corruption system and Al Ahed’s goalkeeper is suspected of match-fixing following his horrendous goalkeeping mistake.

If you look closely at the video, you will understand why. The goalkeeper seems to be looking away when the ball came to him and even if he didn’t do that on purpose, he could have easily reached the ball before it went in. It looks like he really wanted that goal lol!

I wouldn’t be surprised if the match was fixed. To be honest, I’ve lost hope in Lebanese football a long time ago, especially after 24 players, including members of the National Team, as well as were charged of involvement in the match-fixing scandal.

Let’s wait and see what FIFA decides.

[YouTube]

Thank u Nady!

Best Picture Oscar Winning Movie “Spotlight” Banned in Lebanon?

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movie

One of the biggest surprises of the Oscars last night was “Spotlight” winning the award for Best Picture. Everyone was expecting the Revenant to clinch the award, after receiving two of the biggest Oscars of the night (Best actor for Leonardo Di Caprio finally! & Best director) but it was Tom McCarthy’s drama about the sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Church that took home the best picture Oscar.

[YouTube]

In case you are wondering why we barely heard about the movie “Spotlight” in Lebanon, it’s because the movie never got here and probably won’t be showing in Lebanese theaters anytime soon. It wasn’t banned by the Lebanese authorities as it was rumored, but apparently the distribution company didn’t even consider showing it in Lebanese theaters. This was confirmed by Father Abu Kassem, head of the Catholic Information Center, who stated that they never received the movie for approval but that they didn’t mind showing it if it was an objective one and highlighted how the Church reacted to these accusations and punished these priests.

I’m not sure if the General Surety commented on this matter or not, but this is yet another proof that we need a law in Lebanon to stop film censorship, or auto-censorship in Spotlight’s case, and revoke the role of The General Security and religious committees in licensing, monitoring, and censoring creative works.

Until then, you can probably buy Spotlight from any DVD store in Lebanon or just download it online.


PS:The movie won’t be shown anywhere in the Middle East, not just Lebanon.

In 2001, editor Marty Baron of The Boston Globe assigns a team of journalists to investigate allegations against John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting more than 80 boys. Led by editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton), reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Matt Carroll and Sacha Pfeiffer interview victims and try to unseal sensitive documents. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.

If You Can’t Handle Criticism, Please Don’t Criticize Others

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criticism Le destin du Liban est tributaire de celui de la liberte de ses medias. L’existence du Liban est tributaire de sa liberte (Quotes from Gebran Tueni’s garden in Beirut)

A lot of Lebanese cannot handle criticism without feeling hurt, defensive or angry. Whether it’s constructive criticism, satire or mockery, a lot of people feel offended by the comments made on politicians, religious leaders, actors, or on Lebanese as a whole.

Every time a leader or a religious figure is insulted, we see reactions that only make the situation worse. I can understand people getting upset over a comedy skit mocking their leader, but I don’t understand how blocking roads and burning tires will achieve anything. Back in 2006, religious fanatics invaded Achrafieh to protest against Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet just because the Danish consulate is there. Also in the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of angry protesters blocking roads whenever someone insults or disrespects their political/religious/tribal/sectarian/feudal leader, and the most recent protests took place yesterday following MBC’s “lame” comedy skit on Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah.

If MBC broke any of the Lebanese laws, then let the authorities handle this issue. That’s one of the very few things that our government excels at, looking after online users that insult the president, a religious, or a prominent leader or even photoshoping posters. In fact, if the authorities were as efficient in tracking down criminals and terrorists as they are with arresting people over Facebook posts and Tweets, Lebanon would have been a much safer country to live in.

As for those who took the streets yesterday to express their anger or did so online, here’s one of my favorite quotes on this criticism:

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body; it calls attention to the development of an unhealthy state of things. If it is heeded in time, danger may be averted; if it is suppressed, a fatal distemper may develop.”

No matter if it’s a good or a bad criticism and even when it’s insulting and disrespectful, reacting angrily or blocking roads and burning tires will only make things worse and benefit those behind the original critique, no matter how negative it is.

Needless to say, this is not about what happened yesterday but about accepting criticism as a whole. We all need to start with ourselves, especially if we are bloggers or share opinions online. I personally read every comment that I get and always ask my friends to give me a sincere feedback on certain posts. I’ve learned a lot from negative and positive comments throughout the years and I love debating with the blog’s readers. It’s the only way to improve your posts and become a better and more responsible blogger. If you don’t do that, you will become full of yourself and grow further haters.

All in all, I personally believe that the press should be given the full freedom and that no one should be exempt from criticism, but we are still unfortunately very far from achieving that in Lebanon.

Police Certificate Costs At Least 500% More With LibanPost

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libanpost

I needed a police certificate for my wife and I last week so I called LibanPost to see if they can deliver it quickly enough. After several attempts to get someone on the phone, the operator told me that the police certificate costs 13,000 and that I have to pay an extra 15,000 to have it delivered, so a total of 28,000 for this piece of paper. Moreover, since this is a police record, you can’t do it on someone else’s behalf, so it will cost me 56,000LL in total, which is totally not worth it! In fact, if my wife and I go to the General Security, the whole thing would cost us 4,000 LL.

The Home Service is a very useful service and I understand putting a flat rate for the Home Service, even though I believe it should be less inside Beirut, but why is the police record priced at 13,000 when it only costs 2,000?

Lebanese Expats are Being Punished By The Lebanese State, not Saudi Arabia

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fears via AlAraby

Saudi Arabia decided to freeze the delivery of nearly $4 billion of grants to Lebanon last week, then it warned its citizens not to travel to Lebanon, followed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. Next thing you know, there are reports of Lebanese working in Saudi Arabia getting sacked for their alleged links to Hezbollah. None of the reports of Lebanese families getting deported were confirmed but it happened before and it might happen again.

Who’s to blame?
A lot of people are blaming Saudi Arabia and making fun of Gulf countries, others are blaming regional politics and the Syrian crisis but the truth is the Lebanese authorities are the only ones to blame. I stopped caring about politics a long time ago and I don’t believe what’s happening is strictly related to politics. What’s happening is the result of years of staggering incompetence, unparalleled corruption and dependence on the other. We cannot sit down and talk without bringing in representatives from half the Arab world, we cannot fix the simplest things without begging for money from Saudi Arabia or others, we cannot achieve anything without asking our neighbors for advice, or even worse, to step in and do things on our behalf.

When our Environment minister is attending environment conferences while garbage is all over the country, when our Education minister would rather close down schools every time it rains rather than properly equip classrooms, when your Prime Minister refuses to acknowledge a 6-month old garbage crisis, when your Justice minister wants to pursue a group of Lebanese burning an ISIS flag, when your Police is too busy protecting the Grand Serail from peaceful protesters, when no one asks about kidnapped army soldiers for months, when no one gets arrested for sending official fake papers to the Russian authorities, when the Military Tribunal is too busy questioning an 8 year old and lets a criminal like Michel Samaha walk away, when Lebanon’s most wanted drug lord is giving TV interviews left and right, then your problem is not a political one. Moreover, Lebanon stopped being a regional political player years ago and no one really cares what’s happening here.

I could go on and on but the end result is on: the Lebanese state is punishing Lebanese here and abroad and it’s the only party to blame. Needless to say, if you are still dumb enough to follow ANY of the political parties here, then you are also to blame and if you were expecting political freedom in Gulf countries, then you are also to blame. More importantly, if you still think Gulf states need us and you can outsmart them, then you are terribly wrong.

I think the solution is quite simple: Since Lebanon officially adopted a policy of “self-dissociation”, let them implement it and stick to it. We no longer have a role to play regionally and we can’t change anything on the ground, so let’s stick to our own problems and clean our own garbage (literally).

All in all, The Lebanese State is to blame, we are all to blame so let’s stop pointing fingers or apologizing to others because it will only make things worse.