After being closed for almost 25 years, Horsh Beirut is finally re-opening to the public every Saturday from 7 am to 7 pm. The access to the 40,000-sq-metre pine forest was previously forbidden by the Beirut Municipality for fear of vandalism and poor maintenance, and due to the lack of resources to protect the park.
While I agree that entrance to this park and any public park is a right for all the Lebanese, I think the municipality should only open it on weekends for now until they are well equipped to manage the park at all time. Moreover, and in order to avoid closing Horsh Beirut once again, we have a responsibility as visitors to protect the park by committing to the following rules:
1- The park opens from 7am till 7pm
2- Do not park your car in front of the Horsh gate.
3- No cars or motorcycles are allowed in the park.
4- No sellers allowed inside the park.
5- Hunting is not allowed
6- Smoking and barbecues are not allowed.
7- No littering of any kind, throw your garbage in the designated bins.
8- No fires of any kind are allowed.
9- Playing ball games in the park is prohibited.
10- Do not pick the flowers or plants.
11- No arms of any sort are allowed.
12- For any problems, contact any park employee.
Mabrouk to all the NGOs and individuals who worked on reopening the park and all the Lebanese! Now let’s keep it clean and see you all there tomorrow!
The religions are on top, followed by politicians, political security forces and political media, then there’s the wozz, the armed wozz, the businessman, the singer, the mafiozo and the Arab investors. On the lowest level, you have the baby, the maid, the grandfather, the graduate, the mother, the botox neighor and the “blackberry teenager” (Replace with iPhone teenager) and last but not least the social activist holding a banner that says “We can create Facebook events”. Let’s not forget the yogi floating somewhere in between the 3rd and 4th level and the emo who doesn’t fit anywhere.
I hope this gives you an idea on how difficult it is for social activists to do anything in this country, and why the whole political class is so worried about the #YouStink movement.
Mustapha put together a website that gathers #YouStink news from Twitter, YouTube, Instagram & Lebaneseblogs. It’s an easy way to track all updates related to the #YouStink (#طلعت_ريحتكم) movement and an extra reason for everyone to stick to that hashtag and stop coming up with new ones.
#YouStink is a peaceful movement and should remain that way. Security forces are mainly to blame for the violence during the first protest while infiltrators turned the second protest into a nightmare. What’s important is that civilized and peaceful demonstrators stay away from these infiltrators and from clashing with the police. Let’s keep in mind that security forces are given orders that they need to follow and most of them want the same demands we do and don’t want to clash with the people. Needless to say, some of them are violating basic human rights and need to punished severely but I believe the best way to counter any violent act by the police or army is by documenting it and exposing it.
Aside from the use of violence during the demonstrations, a lot of protesters were wrongfully arrested and tortured. There are a lot of testimonies online stating how people were jailed for days, interrogated and tortured, and forced to do drug tests. Lebanese authorities and the Interior Minister should take immediate action to ensure there is no repeat of these actions in future protests. Human Rights Watch documented the violence in the early protests. You can read the report [here].
2- Damaged Public Property:
Riad el Solh statue was sabotaged, traffic lights were destroyed, shops and billboards were vandalized and even Hariri’s grave got its share of the riots during the second day of protest. I blame it all on the infiltrators but it is every one’s responsibility tomorrow not to damage public property and to report or stop those who are doing so.
A lot of parties are trying to take advantage of this movement. I’m not sure how the organizers are planning to keep them away from the protest but they should do so in order not to jeopardize its credibility. The fact that so many movements popped up during this week is definitely not comforting and a headache for the #YouReek guys.
4- More movements and hashtags: #مستمرون #طلعت_ريحتكم #بدنا_نحاسب #حلوا_عنا #عالشارع #بدنا_رئيس
I don’t know what happened this past week but every one decided to come up with a new hashtag and call it a movement. A hashtag is a not a movement and there’s already one hashtag that we can help trend. Stop coming up with new hashtags/movements for God’s sake!
All in all, I hope that today’s protest goes smoothly and achieves positive things. Stay safe everyone!
If you are planning on participating in the #YouReek protest or any kind of protest, it is important to know how to protect yourself from tear gas canisters. The effects of being tear-gassed usually last around 30 minutes but trust me it’s a very long 30 minutes. Here’s a brief post on the effects of tear gas and few tips on how to handle tear gas as shared by Zod security and based on few articles I looked up online.
What to expect when you are exposed to tear gas:
– Burning in your eyes, nose, mouth and skin.
– Blurry vision.
– Coughing and difficulty breathing.
How To Protect Yourself
A gas mask is usually the best way to protect yourself from tear gas. If you are unable to get one, you can always use swimming goggles, respirators and even wet bandanas over the nose and mouth can do the trick.
What To Do When Exposed
– Put your gas mask or goggles on, or cover your mouth and nose with cloth.
– Try to stay calm and walk away quickly to fresh air. Avoid visible clouds if possible.
– Don’t touch tear gas canisters as they are extremely hot.
– DO NOT RUB your eyes. Wash them with water or soap and cold water if available.
– DO NOT APPLY cream, sunscreen or makeup as they absorb tear gas.
– AVOID swallowing and try to cough and spit repeatedly.
– AVOID wearing your contact lenses to the demo.
On a last note, keep in mind that security forces are legally allowed to use tear gas for crowd control just like we have every right to protest. I strongly believe in civilized and peaceful demonstrations and I’m sure we can keep it this way if we are disciplined enough. If there are thugs and troublemakers among the crowds, the organizers should figure out a way to isolate them and expose them. I truly hope you will never need any of the tips above and that what happened yesterday will never be repeated.
Illegal dumping is not new in Lebanon but it has increased drastically ever since the garbage crisis has begun. In fact, while few municipalities and towns chose to start recycling and reduce waste, others decided to dump and burn their garbage in illegal places or even worse in nature. To name few, Broumanna, Beit Mery and Dekwaneh are handling the garbage crisis in the worst possible way and the officials and concerned ministries aren’t doing to stop them. There’s currently an online petition urging Broumanna municipality to stop dumping and burning but I don’t think it will get anywhere.
Burning trash is a very serious problem as it adds to air pollution, creates an unpleasant smell especially when burning plastic, rubber or painted material and can produce a range of poisonous compounds. Moreover, fire can spread to buildings and trees and damage public properties. Municipalities who claim that they have no other option but to burn are either corrupt or incompetent as the solution is out there and quite simple: Recycle!
Everyone knows by now the country’s existing recycling companies as the lists have been circulating for weeks. Recycling should start at home and the municipality should handle the rest. Recycling will reduce trash, generate profit and make everyone’s life better.
Overall, the Lebanese are getting more and more fed up with their government, the #YouStink campaign is still going strong, everyone is talking about recycling but I wouldn’t call this garbage crisis a blessing in disguise yet as dumping and burning trash is on the rise and no one is taking action against them.
I think we should do what the Naameh residents did by protesting against our own municipalities and forcing them to recycle and properly manage their waste.
I’m not sure how accurate these schedules are but everyone’s been sharing them over the past few days. They indicate where the ISF will be setting radar speeds gun and at what time. As you can see, chances are you will get fined if you’re speeding at night (between 9pm and 2am) which makes sense.
Needless to say, these radars should not be secret and the aim is not to surprise drivers speeding and fine them but to help raise awareness and encourage Lebanese to drive slowly. I think the ISF should make these schedules public and keep the speed radars working all day.
The 2006 Lebanon War Wikipedia page is in the top 30 most edited Wikipedia pages and controversial topics with over 20,000 revisions, with the most popular ones being George W. Bush and World Wrestling Entertainment. It’s the only Middle-East related page on that list weirdly enough despite everything that’s been happening since 2006. Other pages on that list include The Undertaken, Adolf Hitler, Jesus, Michael Jackson, Roger Federer and others.
I think the main reason for that was the cyber war that Israel launched back then against Lebanon and Hezbollah and that turned into a global cyber-warfare between the US and its enemies.
The UNHCR released its annual Global Trends Report: World At War on Thursday, and revealed that the number of people displaced by war and persecution has reached a new high whereas one in every 122 humans globally is either a refugee, internally displaced or seeking asylum. We are talking about almost 60 million people that were forcibly displaced compared to 51.2 million in 2013.
As far as refugees per 1,000 inhabitants ratio is concerned, Lebanon is still leading the way with 232 refugees, followed by Jordan with 87. The “good” news though is that this number has slightly dropped from mid-2014 where it peaked at 257, which could be due to the visa restrictions set by the Lebanese authorities.
Needless to say, there’s still a lot of work to be done as refugees need to be regrouped in decent camps and should get the necessary help. Of course Lebanon needs all the help he can get from Arab countries and the UN, but more importantly, we need transparency and accountability when it comes to foreign aids to ensure funds are not going into the wrong pockets.