Category Archives: Events

#Achrafieh2020: I Want Every Sunday To Be Car-Free

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Every time Achrafieh 2020 organizes a car-free day, I get more convinced that Lebanon needs a car-free day at least once every month. On Sunday, thousands went down to Mar Mikhael to have fun, have a drink and grab a bite, walk their dogs, dance, play with their kids and enjoy the sun. More importantly, a wall of remembrance was placed in the middle of the street on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide where people shared their thoughts and showed support.

I went down to Mar Mikhael around noon when things were still relatively calm, sat at Radio Beirut and enjoyed a couple of drinks with friends. Around 2, the streets were already packed and you could barely walk among the crowds. The atmosphere was amazing, the pubs and restaurants were packed, kids were having fun and there’s music everywhere you go. I walked around for a couple of hours checking out the different stands, tasting all kinds of foods specially the Armenian ones and greeting friends and random people I meet. I even shared a Nutella crepe with a Sukleen worker who was taking a break.

I’m not sure why I enjoyed this car-free day more than others, but the crowds were amazing, the streets were packed and the day was just perfect! I really believe we need more car-free days like this one and I hope every Sunday will become a car-free day in Beirut and everywhere else in Lebanon.

Here are some of the pictures I took and you can find plenty on Achrafieh 2020’s Facebook page.

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Salma Hayek Is In Beirut For The Prophet’s World Premiere

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Salma via LiveLoveBeirut

Hollywood star Salma Hayek arrived to Beirut a couple of days ago and visited yesterday the museum of Lebanese-born poet and philosopher Gebran Khalil Gebran in Bcharreh. Salma is here for her movie “The Prophet” world premiere which will be held at Cinemacity in Beirut Souks.

The premiere will be a private event and few people were invited to attend. If L’Orient Le Jour’s info is accurate, the projection of the movie will be followed by a private dinner for 300 people at La villa Rose at ESA. I was actually eager to watch the movie tonight but I guess we will have to wait till Thursday when it’s officially released. The Prophet is based on Gebran Khalil Gebran’s masterpiece and will feature a voice cast including Salma Hayek as Kamila, Liam Neeson as Mustafa, John Krasinski as Halim, Alfred Molina as Sergeant, Quvenzhané Wallis as Almitra and Frank Langella as Pasha.

PS: Salma Hayek will be with Marcel Ghanem on Tuesday.

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In Pictures: More Than 100 Lebanese Men Walked In Heels Against Violence

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More than 100 men, including myself, wore heels today and walked a mile in support of #Kafa and in an attempt to raise awareness on violence against women. LBCI, Future TV, OTV, Al Jadeed, Al Arabiyya, Al Hurra, Skynews Arabia, Reuters, MBC.net and other media outlets were there to cover the event which is pretty cool. MTV didn’t show up which is weird.

One of the TV reporters asked me if I was worried that the Lebanese society would make fun of me or other men for wearing heels. I told them that I couldn’t care less and don’t mind it as I’m doing this for a good cause, and if wearing heels would help raise further awareness on violence against women, then maybe we should do this more often. By the way the heels weren’t as annoying as I thought they’d be lol!

Here are some of the pictures I took and more will be added tomorrow on Walk A mile Beirut Facebook page.

PS: For those who didn’t understand the point of the event and started a hashtag against it (#المراه_مش_كعب_سكربينه), the idea is to put yourself in her shoes by literally wearing heels, not representing women by heels. I never thought I would need to explain the idea, that’s just absurd! In all cases, instead of wasting your time by trending a silly and pointless tweet, a good idea would be show up at demonstrations that promote women rights and raise awareness the way you see it fit instead of criticizing positive movements and initiatives.

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Echoes Photo Exhibition: 40 Pictures From The Red Cross Archives & 6 Lebanese War Photographers.

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Echoes: The voices behind the pictures is a photo exhibition organized by The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) on the occasion of the 40th commemoration of the start of the Lebanese civil. There are 40 pictures being displayed for the first time and taken from the Red Cross archives and 6 Lebanese war photographers: Abbas Selman, Jamil Saiidi, Patrick Baz, Aline Manoukian, Marwan Tahtah and Hussein Baydoun.

The exhibition is taking place at Villa Paradiso in Achrafieh until April 26th from 10 till 10. I highly recommend that you pass by and see what the Lebanese went through during the war and the tough circumstances that these brave humanitarian workers had to endure.

40 years have passed since the Lebanese war erupted on April 13th. Its “Echoes” are still resonating today. They are the voices of families of missing persons, the disabled and weapon wounded persons and dispersed families. Forty stories will be told in an audiovisual exhibition organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Lebanese Red Cross. The exhibition will be displaying 40 photos from the Red Cross archives and 6 Lebanese war photographers.

map Here’s a map showing where the exhibition is taking place. You can spot Urbanista on the main Gemmayze street and there’s La Tabkha on the way up to Villa Paradiso.

Here’s a small video showing the exhibition:

[YouTube]

Here are some of the pictures I took:

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Controversial French Comedian Dieudonné Is Coming To Lebanon On June 3rd & 4th

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I know for a fact that a lot of Lebanese are fans of Dieudonné, either because he’s anti-Zionist or just because he’s controversial and funny. For those of you who don’t know who this guy is, Dieudonné was born in the Paris suburs in 1966, and is a famous and controversial French stand-up comedian and activist. He’s been fined in France several times for hate speech and was recently arrested for being “an apologist for terrorism” after he published a post on Facebook that expressed sympathy with one of the Paris gunmen. He popularized the “quenelle” gesture, a straight-arm salute, that was labeled by some people as being racist and a gesture of hatred. The French authorities even tried to shutdown his show calling it racist and anti-Semitic, but Dieudonné insists that his comedy targets everyone and that he’s anti-Zionist not anti-Semitic.

Dieudonné has become somewhat of a divisive figure in France and abroad, as some view his show as being “a danger to society” and an “incitement of racial hate”, while others believe that silencing him is an attempt to limit free speech. I’ve seen many of his shows and some are hilarious while others are truly shocking but that’s what he does, almost the same way Charlie Hebdo magazine did (not according to the French law), and I’m actually surprised that they are letting him come to Lebanon specially after the latest controversy.

In all cases, Achillea is bringing Dieudonné to Beirut as mentioned on their website and “Dieudonné En Tournée: La Bête Immonde” will be showing in Lebanon on the 3rd and 4th of June 2015 at Casino du Liban and tickets should be available soon for purchase in all branches of Virgin Ticketing Box Office.

PS: This is not Dieudonné’s first visit to Beirut as he performed in 2010 at the Music Hall in Beirut.

[YouTube]

[YouTube]

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100 Years Already: Remember And Recognize The Armenian Genocide

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The above picture is the forget-me-not flower, the official emblem of the 100th year of Remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. The forget-me-not flower expresses the theme of eternal remembrance, and is also meant to symbolically evoke the past, present and future experiences of the Armenian people. Here’s what the emblem means:

THE PAST: the black center represents the sufferings of 1915, and the dark aftermath of the Armenian Genocide.

THE PRESENT: the light purpose petals represents the unity of Armenian communities across the world – all of whom stand together in this 100th year of remembrance.

THE FUTURE: The five petals represent the five continents where survivors of the Armenian Genocide found a new home. The dark purple color is meant to recall the priestly vestments of the Armenian Church – which has been,is, and will remain at the heart of the Armenian Christian identity.

ETERNITY: The twelve trapezoids represent the twelve pillars of the Dzidzernagapert Armenian Genocide memorial in Yerevan, Armenia. The yellow color represents light, creativity, and hope.

On this day, let us remember that The Ottomans wanted to get rid of the Armenians and Lebanese as well back in 1916, and that the blockage that Jamal Pasha imposed on Lebanon and the entire eastern Mediterranean coast caused the death of thousands in Mount Lebanon. Of course what happened in Lebanon is only a fraction of what the Armenian people had to go through, and Turkey must acknowledge the Armenian Genocide.

Everything you need to know about the genocide:
Approximately 1.5 million Armenians out of a population of 2.5 million were killed by the end of 1922. When the genocide was over in 1922, there were just 388,000 Armenians remaining in the Ottoman Empire. You can check more information on the genocide in Rita’s post [here] and on this [website]. Here’s also a touching story that a friend of mine sent me few months back about the Armenian diaspora in Lebanon.

Tales of survival of the Armenian Genocide:
– Tales of survival posted by Armenian elders [DailyStar].
– Lebanese Journalist and activist Joumana Haddad recounts her family’s trauma from the Armenian Genocide [Link].
– Blogger Garlik & Saphire shares her grandmother’s survival story. [Link]

[YouTube] AK made this film to document the printing of the magazine in real blood drawn from 5 Lebanese-Armenians who decided to give blood as a symbolic gesture of remembrance for the blood that was spilled by the Armenian people.

Remember The Armenian Genocide And Discover Armenia Street On April 26th

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Achrafieh 2020 is collaborating with Audio Kultur for the commemoration of 100 years of the Armenian Genocide and organizing a “Discover Armenia Street” on April 26th. Armenia Street, also known as Mar Mikhael, is the hottest place to be in Beirut right now and will be turned into a car-free street for one day. Armenian artists and music will be there to celebrate Armenia and make this day an unforgettable one.

I will be at Waterfront City Dbayeh at 10am walking in heels on April 26th before heading to Armenia Street, so see you all at both events hopefully!

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Before I Die, I Want Lebanon To …

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A group of Jamhour students decide to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War by writing down their dreams and wishes for a better Lebanon on the pillars of the Fouad Chehab bridge in Beirut. The students were joined Live Love Beirut, Paint Up, Lezem, La 3ème Voix pour le Liban, Sakker el Dekkene, One Lebanon and Offre Joie, and left messages of hope for a better Lebanon on the symbolic bridge.

It’s always great to see Lebanese youth raising their voices against the civil war and its warlords. I love that they chose Fouad Chehab bridge as it stood between “Muslim West Beirut” and “Christian East Beirut” and the Murr Tower at the end of the Fouad Chehab Avenue was an ideal spot for snipers.

This picture can’t get any better as it was behind the bullet-ridden and the Jamhour students’ activity was underneath that bridge. Taken by @yasnoor via LiveLoveBeirut

Here are some pictures from the event and there’s more on @iwantlebanonwall. In case you missed my post on the civil war remembrance, check it out [here].

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Are You Man Enough Beirut? Let’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes

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scar Any volunteers to teach me how to walk in heels?

My awesome Uf Concepts friends are bringing the “Walk A mile In Her Shoes” event to Beirut in an attempt to raise awareness on violence against women and raise funds for KAFA by selling heels to men. You heard me right, Lebanese men will be asked to walk or run in heels for 1 mile on April 26 starting 10:00 AM at Waterfront City Dbayeh.

I got my heels yesterday and you can buy yours from Le Mall Dbayyeh and Sin el Fil (April 11,12 & 18,19). I’ve already convinced a couple of friends to join me and anyone is more than welcome to join the BlogBaladi team. We will have some fun and walk for a good cause that concerns us all. Check out the [website] and [Facebook] page.

[YouTube]

If you want more info, call 00961 70 519171 or email info@ufconcepts.me. You can also smoke-signal them at 34.301221,36.117094.

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The “Museum of Civilizations” Unveiled: Will We See It In Beirut One Day?

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The ‘Museum of Civilizations’ was unveiled yesterday at the Metropolitan Art Society in Achrafieh and the exhibition will go on until April 24 from 11AM till 7PM. As I’ve mentioned before, the project was unveiled by Galal Mahmoud Architects and consists of a museum set in the heart of Beirut and built upon a site sunk deep into the successive strata of the civilizations that underlie Beirut.

I was at the unveiling yesterday and asked around to see if this project will ever come to life. I was told that there are ongoing talks with the related ministries and Beirut’s municipality so nothing is confirmed yet. However, one comment on the picture I posted on Instagram caught my attention as it mentioned that the Galal Mahmoud Project is close to what’s posted on Solidere’s official website under the public spaces section. (Thanks Hassan)

I looked up Solidere’s website and found an open space design from 2005 done by Noukakis & Partners (Greece). Apparently an international design competition was proposed back in 2004 to revive Martyrs’ Square and Noukakis & Partners were the winners. Their proposed museum aims ” to connect the archeological site with existing traditional buildings and “complete” the proposed winning proposal of Martyrs’ Square. To establish this connection, the concept of the building emerges from the lifted corners, public space, court, façade, materiality and construction to address the historic site and embrace the surrounding context, preserving the Martyrs’ axis (open to the sea) and the axis between the two lots to prevent the distortion of visual continuity.” [Source]

th_martyrs-garden via Solidere

It’s good to know that Solidere are planning to have a museum there and I personally prefer Mahmoud’s project to the 2005 one so let’s wait and see what happens.

Here are some pictures I took from the event yesterday:

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