You may have not heard of it before but Champlain is a Lebanese group and one of the very few Francophone Lebanese bands that writes and composes its own songs, which varies from rock, pop, funk to blues and jazz. They already have an album entitled “Permis de rêver”. Champlain has been around for quite a while and had a few lead vocalists including the Lebanese talent Anthony Touma who is very talented and one the favorites to win this year’s edition of the Voice in France.
ArabNet is considered the hub for Arab digital professionals and entrepreneurs to connect and learn and has been a success for the past two years.
ArabNet Beirut’s third edition is set to kick off today with a lot of exciting speakers and competitions. This year’s focus will be on the “creative digital sectors and on promoting the idea of Lebanon as a hub for creative production” as per Arabnet’s founder Omar Christidis.
I will personally take part as an official blogger for ArabNet and I am looking forward to see the new startups this year. There are 3 competitions to look for, the Startup Demo Competition, the Ideathon and the Creative Combat. You can check out the official agenda [Here] and the evening program [Here].
If you want to follow updates throughout the day, follow me on twitter [LeNajib]
I couldn’t resist not taking a nap on these couches
I just got back from Empire Premiere‘s launch in Sodeco and I have to say it wasn’t at all what I expected. I thought it would be a new VIP theater with some additional features and a more expensive entrance but it turned out to be cheaper (20$ the ticket) than the so-called VIP theaters (30$ the ticket) we currently have and comfier. It doesn’t feel like the VIP theaters we currently have, but rather more like a refined place for people aged 35 or more to stay away from the crowded theaters and enjoy a calm and relaxing experience at the movies.
One of the things I loved most is that they joined every two or three seats together, unlike VIP theaters I visited where you are 1 meter apart from the person next to you.
Food-wise, you can either have Sushi with your wine glass from the awesome Le Sushi Bar or just popcorn and soft drinks. I was told they will have a new flavor for the popcorn every week. They were showing the new movie Hitchcock which I highly recommend that you watch.
All in all, Empire Premiere is targeting Lebanese who want to enjoy their movies, avoid crowded theaters and get a little pampered for an extra 10$. There’s nothing wrong with that if you can afford it.
After organizing a car-free day in Achrafieh, Rmeil and Geitawi, the people behind the Achrafieh2020 initiative are joining the global community in celebrating Earth Hour by voluntarily cutting the power off for an hour. The event will take place in Achrafieh on March 23rd at 8:30pm.
The electricity goes out involuntarily everyday. On Saturday 23rd March, make it a choice. Achrafieh goes dark for Earth Hour at 8:30 pm, switching off for an hour and turning up environmental awareness. Join us at ABC Achrafieh for a voluntary power cut, or join in wherever you are. Join the rest of the world to save our planet. Badna nitfeya. [Link]
I know that we technically “celebrate” Earth hours 6 to 12 hours a day in Lebanon, but this global event is to remind us all that we have to seriously start considering renewable energies as individuals and as a country. Companies and large corporations can start by spreading awareness inside their workplace and Lebanese can start by installing a solar panel at their apartment or house if they can afford it for example.
You can read more about the Achrafieh2020 [Here] and on their Facebook page [Here].
Protecting women from domestic violence is as important as any other issue in this country. Having said that, a hunger strike is an extreme and life-threatening measure but it might pressure the government to amend these archaic laws ASAP. This is the first time I hear about hunger strikes in Lebanon so let’s hope it will end well.
March 8,2013 was the International day for Women. After years of receiving nothing but deaf ears from the Lebanese parliamentary committee, a group of Lebanese women will be giving the Lebanese Parliament one more week to correct article 522 and serve justice to Lebanese women who still suffer from domestic violence. They plan to start a hunger strike and will need all the support possible, be it via social media or on the ground. [Link]
The documentary film telling us the amazing adventure of the the Lebanese Rocket Society will be out soon in theaters across Lebanon by end of this month. I will be attending a press screening next week and posting a quick review. You can read more about it [Here].
The adventure of the Lebanese Rocket Society began, in the early sixties, at Haigazian University, a young Armenian University in Beirut, where a group of students, led by a professor of mathematics, Manoug Manougian, set up the Lebanese Rocket Society to “create and launch rockets for space study and exploration.” They produced the first rocket of the Arab World. The project had no military character and was aimed at promoting science and research.
The adventure, which appears nowadays rather unbelievable and surrealistic, was nevertheless a serious one. Between 1960 and 1967 – at the time of the Space Race, revolutionary ideas, and Pan-Arabism – more than ten solid fuel Cedar rockets were launched. The launchings gave rise to national celebrations. To commemorate the 21st anniversary of Lebanon’s independence, a set of stamps representing the Cedar IV rocket was issued. The Arab defeat of 1967 put an end to the initiative and slowed down the thrive towards this aspect of technological modernity of this part of the world.
Nowadays, considering the world divisions and the bellicose attitudes, it would be unconceivable to allow a small team of dreamers to launch rockets into the skies of the Middle East.
The project enables us to consider the historic events of those years: pan-Arabism, the notion of a vast Arab nation and its decline after the Arab armies were defeated by Israel in 1967. A defeat which confused our societies, our parents’ generation, and which transformed deeply the Arab world and, first and foremost, our image of ourselves.
The documents, photos and mainly films relating to the space project have disappeared.
This unusual and heroic adventure, which had made the front pages of the press, is nowadays forgotten. It appears like an anecdote in the course of history, a story kept secret.
The project investigates the apparent absence of the Lebanese space program from our personal and collective memory, shedding light on our perceptions of the past and present – and our imagination of the future, exploring the notion of a collective dream. Documents and archives as well as reconstitutions and art installations attempt to question this story and the ideas of reenactment, reconstitution and restaged in the present time. [Website]
Phoenicia are celebrating this year’s International Women’s day by asking men to take part and have a say about it. These two posters are my contribution with a little help from my friend Maya Zankoul.
It took me some time to finish the second phrase (I am happy women now) because Lebanon is still very far behind in terms of equality and women rights. I hope we will soon have laws that protect women from domestic violence, allow them to give the nationality to their children, and encourage them to engage in the political life.