Category Archives: Information

The Lebanese Transparency Association Anti-Corruption Campaign

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This comic is inspired from a common case of corruption in Lebanon and is part of the anti-corruption campaign launched by The Lebanese Transparency Association. There are 14 other comics that will follow and that you can check [Here].

For those who haven’t heard about LTA before, it is a Lebanese NGO that “focuses on curbing corruption and promoting the principles of good governance. LTA does not investigate or expose individual cases of corruption but advocates for reform by focusing on systemic improvement and by building coalitions with other anti-corruption stakeholders, including governments, the private sector and civil society organizations”.

Lebanese Minister For The Environment Mohammad El Machnouk Orders Construction of Janna Dam To Stop

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By Adonis, The Jabal Moussa Reserve FB Page is referring to the Adonis Valley in Nahr Ibrahim

Back in July 2013, I posted about the Janna damn and asked if it was yet another scandal in the making, given that there was a report done by The German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources that strongly recommended not to go ahead with the construction of the planned Janneh dam. Moreover, a new report appeared recently explaining the dangers of building the Janna Dam that you can read [Here].

Having said that, Gebran Bassil, who was the Energy and Water Minister back then, decided back in 2013 to go ahead with the dam in Janna, claiming that the German report is wrong and basing himself on studies performed by Khatib & Alami, Artelia and Safege. However, the current Minister for the Environment Mohammad El Machnouk doesn’t seem convinced by Bassil’s reports and asked today the new Energy Minister to stop the Janna dam project in order to conduct further studies.

Honestly speaking, I think it’s better to put the project on hold for the time being and get different expert opinions on this matter. The new Energy minister should cooperate with the Environment Minister to form a committee of experts and take the right decision once the studies are out.

The Global Competitiveness Report: Lebanon Infrastructure Ranked 127th Out of 144

Lebanon

According to the 2013 Global Competitiveness Report, Lebanon ranked 116th out of 144 in terms of basic requirements, 125th out of 144 in terms of institutions, 135th and 32nd (out of 144) in terms of macroeconomic environment and health/primary education respectively.

The most problematic factors for doing business in Lebanon are:
- Inadequate supply of infrastructure
- Inefficient government bureaucracy
- Government instability/coups
- Corruption
- Policy instability
- Access to financing
- Inflation
- Insufficient capacity to innovate
- Poor work ethic in national labor force
- Inadequately educated workforce
- Restrictive labor regulations
- Poor public health
- Tax regulations
- Tax rates
- Crime and theft
- Foreign currency regulations

You can check out the full report [Here].

Telecom Ministry: Higher And Cheaper Internet Speeds Within A Month

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Picture via MayaZankoul

Lebanon’s Telecom Minister Boutros Harb is promising faster and cheaper internet speeds within a month as well as unlimited plans. He’s also talking to the Wall Street Journal about fiber optics and implementing Law 431, which would allow free competition in the telecom market and stop the duopoly led by Alfa and Touch.

These are very ambitious plans to accomplish within few months, but I can only wish him good luck as these are all positive steps that would help make the internet better in Lebanon. I don’t think the government will allow competition as it will cut down its revenues from the Telecom sector but faster and cheaper internet speeds are great news. The first change introduced by Harb on prepaid cards wasn’t relevant to the majority of mobile users in Lebanon, so let’s wait and see if any of these more suitable demands is implemented.

Lebanese Civil Defence Volunteers Rescue Woman On Verge Of Suicide

The woman was identified as being an Ethiopian domestic worker. The Lebanese Police should investigate on the reasons why she was throwing herself off the balcony with the owners.

Great work from the Civil Defence guys!

On April 13: The Lebanese Civil War Mentality We Need To Get Rid Of

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When I first saw the announcement above, I wasn’t really sure if I should laugh at it or criticize it, and as it went viral and Lebanese started commenting on it, I noticed that few people were actually defending whomever posted this announcement and saying that this is the reality we live in. I wasn’t surprised to hear these comments to be honest as sectarianism is still infecting our society and has been on the rise lately mainly due to the Syrian conflict, add to that increased racism against Syrian Refugees.

The Lebanese Civil War ended in 1990, but the Lebanese were unable to put it behind them and move on, simply because every sect thinks his people were the good guys during the war and the others were traitors and collaborators. Moreover, a lot of Lebanese families are brainwashing their children into thinking these so-called other Lebanese are still the bad ones and that we shouldn’t co-exist with them, and this is what’s causing all these tensions and fights during university elections between students who weren’t even born during the civil war era.

Every year, I tell myself that there’s no need to write an April 13 remembrance post because we’ve all learned the lesson, and every year I am reminded that this civil war is not yet over, at least not in the minds of a lot of Lebanese. This sectarian mentality and hateful attitude towards the other is destroying our country bit by bit and it is up to each one of us to stop spreading it and fight it by all means. In the Lebanese documentary Heritages that I’ve reviewed lately, the father takes his children back to his Achrafieh apartment, shows them the war toys that he used to collect and tells them how he always thought those on the other side of the demarcation line were the bad guys, and how it took him years to realize they thought the same of him.

We don’t need Muslims to pray in Churches and Christians in mosques to achieve unity, nor bombings and assassinations to unite us. What we need is to stop thinking in this sectarian way and ignore those who do. We should explain to our children and the younger generations that the only emerging winners from any war are warlords and corrupt politicians, and that the only way to write down a history book past 1975 is by eliminating the factors that are stopping us from finishing it. If we are unable to achieve these things, the young generations will never learn the reasons behind the civil war, its consequences and how to prevent a new one.

More importantly, there won’t be any apartment to sell for Christians or Muslims in this country.

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How it all started

Fashionable Candles for Palm Sunday

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This doll is part of an art exhibition at the Beirut Souks done by Cynthia’s Candle. The candles on display are supposedly the world’s tallest Palm Sunday Candles which I hope no one will consider buying for their children. I remember when I was a kid, I had to carry my younger cousin’s 1 meter and a half candle for a good hour just because he was too little to hold it.

Aside from the exhibition, there are other fashionable candles for kids which are pretty cute, at least for girls. You can check them out [Here].