Category Archives: Critiques

Interview With The Lebanese Priest Who Sexually Harassed A Woman

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tsk

After a video came out showing a Lebanese priest called Antoun Farah sexually harassing a woman, New TV went and interviewed the priest as per his request. Clearly this guy is delusional but what I don’t understand is how he’s still a priest and is currently heading a charitable organization despite being involved in a previous scandal involving sexual harassment. Why doesn’t the Church kick him out for good and why aren’t the authorities doing something about his organization? What if he’s harassing members of that organization?

I’m hoping that New TV will follow up on that case and let us know what happens.

Here’s the interview:

[YouTube]

And here’s the original video leaked:

[YouTube]

Fadl Shaker Is On TV Instead Of Being In Jail

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Fadl Shaker is no longer hiding in Ain el Helwe, he is now giving TV interviews and trying to make us forget what he did with Al Assir a couple of years ago. I only have one thing to say here: Shaker is directly or indirectly responsible for killing Lebanese army soldiers, is charged with inciting sectarian hatred and undermining the reputation of the Lebanese Army.

Fadl Shaker belongs in prison and the authorities should figure out a way to arrest him.

[YouTube]

FAIL: OTV’s Lousy Take On Homosexuality

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homo

Instead of tackling homosexuality in Lebanon in an objective and scientific matter, OTV decided to promote the show by asking whether homosexuality is a fashion trend or an illness. In order to be fair, I did bother and watch the show and while the doctors and Pierre Bou Saab were mostly spot on and made sense, the host kept asking the wrong questions and making wrong assumptions and over-generalizing.

Homosexuality is not a trend nor an illness and people don’t choose to become gay. While people are affected by environmental and social factors, almost everyone agrees that sexual orientation has nothing to do with choice, and even if it did, no one is entitled to judge others based on that or call it an illness. Moreover, I don’t know why she assumed that more Lebanese recently are rejecting this “weird phenomenon” as she calls it. There aren’t any studies or surveys to prove that and if that’s the case, awareness is much needed then. We shouldn’t portray gay people as being different or weird and we should help them in their struggle against ignorance and hatred.

On another note, the host didn’t even know what LGBT stands for and thought it was a cool term gay people use nowadays. She also said biosexual instead of bisexual in the first part (Between Minute 3:20 and 3:35) and the doctor corrected her. I’m glad she didn’t bring any religious people but the show didn’t send out the right message and promoting it the way they did was a bad move.

Here’s the [first part] for those interested in watching.

I Don’t Blame Ali Mahmoud Or Terrell Stoglin For The New Sagesse-Riyadi Fight

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I am honestly sick of writing about Sagesse Riyadi games that end with a fight but I want to make one thing clear. Those who are arguing about who started the fight are missing a very important point. Fights do happen in all sports even in the NBA and players get suspended accordingly. It doesn’t matter if Stoglin hit Mahmoud first or not, they got engaged in a fight and should have been suspended immediately.

Having said that, the real problem are these IDIOTIC individuals who quickly join the fight and make things worse. There are cops and officials responsible for such incidents so let them do their job and stay away! I think it’s about time the Lebanese Basketball Federation forces teams to set up fences for the fans and make sure no one is allowed to step on the basketball court during a game.

Until then, enjoy the fights!

[YouTube]

[YouTube]

On a side note, I was honestly surprised by Ali Mahmoud’s reaction as I thought he was a rather calm and rational player but mistakes do happen and he might have lost his temper. Again it’s not a big deal as it happens in all leagues all over the world and players and teams get fined and suspended.

Why Zahle Having 24/7 Electricity Is A Big Deal

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Zahle1

The electricity problem in Lebanon is a very serious one yet we haven’t seen any significant progress in recent years. We have over a million Syrian refugees now, which means more electricity consumption hence more power cuts. Ever since I moved to my new house, I’ve been paying around $130-150 monthly for 10 amperes which aren’t even close to what we consume on a normal day. Take for example a regular working day where you get home tired and hungry after 2 hours of traffic, and just wish to heat up some food in the microwave and wash some clothes before you sleep. Once you turn the washing machine or the dryer on, you can’t use any other home appliance. Moreover, I can’t use my microwave if the electricity is off as it needs around 8 amperes to start and I would have to turn off the whole house just to start it. These are two silly examples on how the lack of electricity affects our every day-life and are nothing compared to the families who don’t have heating systems and have to rely on electrical heaters to stay warm and heat up the water. Of course I’m assuming you’re getting 10 amperes and not less as all generator owners tend to trick you. I’m lucky to have a decent guy run the generator.

This being said, Zahle’s move to provide its residents with 24/7 electricity is a huge accomplishment and a brave move against the generator mafia. We’ve all seen how the generator gangs demonstrated against EDZ’s initiative and even fired and damaged four transformers a couple of weeks ago. As a result and until the transformers are repaired, many residents will only get 12 hours of electricity and will be forced to pay generator owners for the rest.

Of course the government is to blame for everything that’s happening and the generator gangs are just filling a vacuum but corruption runs so deep in this country that politicians assign generator owners for certain areas and get paid monthly fees. The Economist wrote a long article on the Zahle incident and how bad the situation is. I personally believe we need more initiatives like the EDZ one to weaken these gangs and let people rally against them.

If some politicians and ministers wish to truly fix the electricity problem, they should start with their towns, cities and areas before tackling this whole mess. We need to decentralize this problem and any other problem as nothing will ever be accomplished otherwise. Zahle residents will not let generator owners win this battle because it concerns them directly and will significantly improve their lives and the city’s economy.

How Did Zein El Atat Become A Goodwill Ambassador? WTF Did I Miss?

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zein

The UN An organization has apparently appointed Zein el Atat as an ambassador of goodwill for human rights for the International Human Rights commission. This guy was banned at some point back in 2011 and how he’s selling his products in pharmacies and is a good will ambassador? How is that possible?

Update: The organization has no relation to the UN which is good news. I wonder how that entitles him to get a diplomatic passport though

Update 2: Organization is fake according to this article.

zein1

What’s Wrong With Ziad El Rahbani?

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I think it’s about time Ziad el Rahbani stops talking about Fairouz or maybe stops giving interviews for good. I can’t believe he came out and said Fairouz is a fan of Qaddafi and Hitler! What’s wrong with this guy? Is he trying to tarnish his mother’s reputation? The sad part is that all media ignored most of the interview and put that statement in their headlines even though Fairouz clearly disapproves of it.

In fact, the interview says Fairouz is no longer talking to her son after he revealed that she supports Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah. It also shows that Ziad doesn’t know what the hell he is doing anymore. He was supposed to move to Russia, wanted to put his plays online but then didn’t, and now he wants to make a Lebanese movie in Germany and is writing songs for Maya Diab. Anyway, we all know Fairouz likes to stay away from the public and doesn’t share her views much and we all love her the way she is.

Fairouz is a symbol of hope, peace and freedom. She’s a symbol all Lebanese and Arabs agree on and she will stay that way.

ziad snob

MEA Airline Tickets Did Not Drop By 50%

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airline tickets

I saved a couple of articles I had read yesterday about MEA’s airline tickets dropping by 50% but when I woke up this morning to read the details, one of them had vanished and the other’s title had changed. I looked up a bit more and found Lea Fayad’s report which was much clearer and stated that the airline tickets dropped on average by 7% only. What was reduced by 50% is the cost of the fuel surcharge, which constitutes 14% of the ticket price.

annahar

The screenshot shown at the start and taken from LBCI’s report shows how much prices have dropped for specific countries like Ghana, Dubai, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Paris, London and Nigeria. The biggest drop is for Ghana and Nigeria by $100 but these numbers are not really significant as MEA should have made a small table showing prices before and after and how they compare to the average ticket price. My friend who lives in Ghana told me he usually pays $1000 for his ticket but I couldn’t even simulate the ticket price on the MEA website to know if it changed or not.

To sum things up, it’s always a good thing when ticket prices drop but my friends always complain that MEA prices are more expensive than other airlines, so it would be interesting to know where how the new MEA prices compare to others as I assume all airlines reduced their prices because of the fuel price drop.

[YouTube]

Does It Really Matter If We Say Faraya Instead Of Kfardebian?

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ski Picture via Ralph Saade

I was checking the Red Bull Jump & Freeze event details on Facebook and saw a post done by a member of Kfardebian’s municipality asking the admin to change the location from Faraya Mzaar to Mzaar Ski Resort Kfardebian or else the event will be stopped. I wasn’t surprised to see that post as Kfardebian’s mayor and municipality have been monitoring Facebook (and other channels) for quite some time and asking people to correctly tag their town instead of Faraya, but what I didn’t appreciate was the approach and the tone they’re using.

Legally and geographically speaking, the ski slopes are all located in Kfardebian not Faraya, but we’ve been saying Faraya since ever maybe because the name is shorter and easier to say. Nevertheless, Kfardebian’s municipality has every right to clarify this misconception but they should do it in a way that doesn’t backfire on them. After all, everyone who’s going to ski in Faraya is practically going to Kfardebian as there are no ski slopes in Faraya so there’s not really a competition between the two towns. This being said, I don’t think they should threaten to cancel events in public and the comments on that post show exactly what I mean. If all Lebanese start saying Faraya just to upset the municipality and they are already doing so, then all this work would go in vain. Ironically, when Yves Nawfal was killed in Kfardebian and one of the media outlets mentioned Faraya, it was Faraya’s municipality asking to correct the location.

Speaking of this unfortunate event, Kfardebian witnessed three tragic incidents this year that I believe need more attention from the municipality than wrongly tagged photos or events:

1- Yves Nawfal‘s murder highlighted the need for further security in Kfardebian-Mzaar. Police or municipality patrols should be scheduled maybe and I think the Lebanese Army checkpoint should be put back at the town’s entrance.
2- Melanie Freiha‘s ski accident and the imminent need of setting up medical Centers and clinics (or a helicopter) near ski resorts in Lebanon.
3- The unfortunate story of a young man who got beaten up for trying to clear the road for an ambulance. There should be better traffic management specially during weekends and an emergency plan to clear the way for ambulances.

All in all, I understand and support the Kfardebian municipality’s aim to clarify this misconception we all have, and I’ve learned to tag Kfardebian in my pictures, but I don’t think they need to be that aggressive about it and I urge them to look into more serious issues (with the authorities and concerned parties) to avoid tragic events like the ones that took place during the past few months.

kfardebian

Update: I added this old report that Zaven did on this matter and that explains where the Faraya-Mzaar name comes from.

[YouTube]

A School Diploma Issued in Syria’s Province: Lebanon

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syria school via Al-Akhbar

The picture above is a school diploma given to a Syrian student enrolled in a Lebanese school by the temporary Syrian government’s Ministry of Education. You’d think this is a fake diploma at first, specially that it mentions Lebanon as a province (in Syria?), but the truth is these exams were done by the Syrian Opposition back in 2013 (under the supervision of the Lebanese Army) and financed by USAID according to Al-Akhbar. Having said that, Education Minister Bou Saab had declared that these exams are illegal of course and that there’s a procedure set for Syrian students in Lebanon whereas they can apply for official exams and send the diplomas to the Syrian Embassy in Beirut for validation.

So to sum things up:
– If you are a pro-regime Syrian refugee in Lebanon, your diploma will be certified by the Syrian Embassy that may not be recognized by certain institutions and countries outside.
– If you are against the regime, your diploma will be issued and certified by a temporary government that the Lebanese authorities don’t recognize yet but that is acknowledged by some countries abroad.

In both cases, the real victims are refugee children who are trying to continue their education in Lebanon yet are facing all sorts of obstacles. Just to give you a glimpse of how bad the situation is, it is estimated that 50% of Syrian refugee children aged between 5 and 17 are out of any form of education. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of children who are either forced to work or being abused or end up begging on the street. On top of all that, those who are lucky enough to enroll in a school are graduating with illegal and unofficial diplomas.

Update: Speaking of Syrian Children in Lebanon, check out this article from The Guardian on how those forced to work on streets of Beirut face severe exploitation.

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