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]
An interactive piano set inside ABC Dbayyeh mall was inviting people passing by to play and making fun of those who can’t with messages like “Please Stop” or “Practice makes perfect (Try 10 years)” while praising those who know how to play the piano by saying “Music to my ears” or “Mozart! Bach! Beethoven! Listen to this genius”. At the end, some of those who gave it a try were rewarded with tickets to Al Bustan Festival.
Lebanon’s U17 national women’s football team beat Djibouti 1-0 and was crowned Arab champions few hours ago! The only goal was scored by Haneen Tamim in the first 10 minutes. Even though this is the U17 team, I think this result is a very important now specially that Lebanon was playing against well prepared and financed teams. We have plenty of talents and a victory like this one is important to bring attention to this young team and all talented athletes in Lebanon.
Congrats again to Haneen, Rana, Mariam, Samira, Hala, Aya, Gabrielle and all the team!
I am traveling next Saturday to Barcelona to attend Samsung’s #Unpacked event where the much anticipated new Galaxy S6 will be released. The event will take place right before the Mobile World Congress (MWC 2015) which is happening between March 2 and March 5.
I’ve been following news and rumors about the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and it looks like a huge step forward from the rather disappointing Samsung S5. The ultra-slim 5.1″ S6 will come with a Quad HD screen and will use an ultra-fast processor, the Exynos 7 Octa. The battery may be smaller than the S5 one (due to the ultra-sim design) but this won’t necessarily mean less battery life and Samsung will finally drop the plastic build with this new one which is great news! Moreover, a variant of the S6, the Samsung S6 Edge should also be announced and will feature a curved screen on the side. This is quite an interesting feature which was launched with the Note 4 Edge and that I’m looking forward to try out.
There’s still the camera which is rumored to be either a 16MP Sony-made IMX240 sensor or a 20MP one. Knowing that the S4 and the S5 had the best cameras when they came out, I don’t expect less from the new Samsung Galaxy S6. In all cases, I will be there at the #Unpacked event live tweeting and covering so follow me @LeNajib and let me know if you have any questions. My friends from AbsoluteGeeks and @AndroidBasha were also invited by Samsung and will be there so this promises to be a lot of fun!
On a last note, please drop any tips or hints on places to go in Barcelona if you’ve been there.
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.
Update: I added this old report that Zaven did on this matter and that explains where the Faraya-Mzaar name comes from.
I’ve been asking Red Bull for years to organize a Jump & Freeze or a Flugtag event in Lebanon and now that it’s finally happening, I won’t be here to participate in it! I’ve watched Jump & Freeze from all over the world and it’s a lot of fun. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept, it’s as simple as that:
1- Form a team of 3 and dress up in the most creative costume you can find.
2- Make yourself a crazy little vehicle.
3- Slide down the Mzaar slope as fast as you can and pull a cool trick while jumping into the freezing pool.
Red Bull will be choosing 20 of the best teams to participate. You can read more about the rules [here] and apply using this [form]. Red Bull Jump & Freeze will be hitting the slopes of Mzaar Ski Resort in Kfardebian on the 1st of March 2015.
I will be in Barcelona that weekend so I won’t be able to make it, but I am trying to convince my brother to join in with a couple of friends and form the “Baladi team”. I already have few ideas for the vehicle and costumes.
The BDL Beirut Marathon has been promoted to a SILVER Road Race by the International Association of Athletics Federation after it met all the organization’s quality requirements. Becoming a silver label marathon is very difficult and requires the participation of elite athletes, performing doping tests, ensuring proper road closures and safety measures, as well media coverage and others. Noting that there are only 26 other exclusive silver races in the world, this is a major achievement for Lebanon and the Beirut Marathon people who have been working for four years to earn this award.
Needless to say, I am definitely a huge supporter of this awesome annual run as it promotes peace, unity, causes and attracts more and more Lebanese every year. I run the 10k usually and my goal this year is to complete the race in less than 1 hour.
Congrats to all the Beirut Marathon people, to the runners, sponsors and all the supporters!
It won’t be easy for Miss Lebanon to win Miss Universe anytime soon but since we have all these world renowned Lebanese fashion designers, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a nicer national costume and have a chance at winning the Best National Costume award.
Sally Jreij’s costume was way too simple when compared to the [extravagant costumes] other Misses wore. Maybe we should let Madonna design the national costume for next year lol!
Here’s a sample of what other national costumes looked like:
When I first heard that Hiba Tawaji was participating in the Voice France, I was also surprised and did post that she doesn’t need to go to such a talent show with random judges to prove herself, but that I will be supporting her if she does. Hiba sees the Voice as an opportunity for her to prove herself in Europe and worldwide and she might be right. She wants to be there and we should support her not bash her now that she’s competing against other talents, and trust me not all of them are amateurs. (Check Battista Acquaviva for example).
Keep in mind that while Hiba is known in Lebanon and few Arab countries, most people outside have no idea who the hell that girl is. The worldwide exposure and acclaim she got from these few minutes on-stage in France is more than she could have ever achieved maybe and this is a big deal for every artist or singer. Moreover, I am pretty sure she’s not the first professional to compete in the Voice; After all, it’s a win-win situation for TF1 who’s getting viewers from around the world now and for the candidate who’s gaining exposure to new markets.