This is a rather old story but a fascinating one and I am surprised I’ve never heard about it until now. It’s about a Lebanese-American doctor called Georges Hatem, also known as Ma Haide or Dr. Ma, who became the first foreigner to be granted citizenship in the People’s Republic of China. He was also the first foreign member of the Chinese Communist Party and Mao Zedung’s personal doctor.
Who is Georges Hatem?
George Hatem was born into a into a Lebanese-American family in upstate New York. His father had moved from his hometown Hammana to the United States in 1902 and got married back in 1909. Soon after being married, the Hatem family moved to Buffalo, New York, where his wife Nahoum took a job at a steel mill. It was in Buffalo where their first child, George, was born on September 26, 1910. Hatem attended pre-med classes at the University of North Carolina and medicine at the American University in Beirut and the University of Geneva, and set off to Shanghai to establish a medical practice to concentrate on venereal diseases, as well as basic health care for the needy. Hatem never came back to the US and despite accusations by party members that Hatem was a foreign spy, he established a remarkable healing presence and harnessed the will of the Chinese people to eliminate venereal disease from their country. [Source]
Via Wajid el Hitti
Dr Ma was credited with helping to eliminate leprosy and received the Lasker Medical Award in 1986. He died in China in 1988 and was buried at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery that you can see in the picture above. Hatem was honored in Hammana where a main square of the city is named after him. There’s apparently a movie about him that is broadcasted frequently in China and shows an American doctor affirming Communist ideology but I couldn’t find it.
Update: I added 3 pictures showing Dr Ma’s memorial in China, his son holding the family tree and a picture of the Embassy of Lebanon in Beijing all provided by Wajid el Hitti who visited the embassy and his son there.
Here’s one of the few videos I found online of George Hatem.
So first we have people demonstrating against 24-hour electricity in Zahle and now we have employees protesting after they got fired for not showing up to work. The title is of course a joke but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them didn’t know where the Casino du Liban is. According to LBCI, some of them used to get paid up as high as $11,000 without any attendance … while others were residing outside Lebanon.
Of course if some of these 191 fired employees never skipped work or weren’t among the corrupt ones, then it’s their right to protest but those who used to get paid and never showed up to work should be fined not just fired.
Casino du Liban was plunged into a major crisis on Tuesday after the board of directors sacked 191 contract employees in a step it described as a “salvation” move, which prompted the laid off workers to shut down the vital tourist attraction. “Due to your lack of discipline and your irregular attendance at work, hence your lack of productivity at the Casino du Liban company, it has been decided to consider you dismissed from work at your full responsibility as of the evening of Friday, January 30, 2015,” the company said in a dismissal letter sent to the employees. [Link]
I am sure you’ve all clicked on such titles only to find out the story is lame and stupid. I wouldn’t go as far as to say “Journalism is dying” in Lebanon but the amount of pointless and stupid online stories that are being published is increasing dramatically and we are to blame as well as the journalists.
PS: The above titles were all made up so don’t go looking for them
I was preparing a post on the cost of a ski trip in Lebanon but LBCI’s Lea Fayad beat me to it so I will make use of her report as a reference to my post as it has the Laklouk pricing which I didn’t know. As you can see below, the highest ski ticket during the weekend is at Mzaar (around 47$), followed by the Cedars (40$) and Zaarour (40$) then Laklouk (23$).
As far as ski rental equipment is concerned, it’s around $30-40 including skis, boots, ski goggles and gloves. If you include food and gas expenses as well, a ski trip during week days costs around 75$ and at least 90$ during the weekend. These prices don’t include the fees of a ski instructor which is based on the LBCI report around 30$ an hour but I think you can easily find cheaper prices than that specially when you are a group. There’s also a Facebook group called Skiing Society that gives up to 30% discounts on ski tickets, rental equipment and other stuff.
BETA‘s shelter for abandoned and abused dogs in Lebanon is now full due to low adoption rates and no kill policy. As a result, they’ve decided to start a new campaign ” The Expats Pets Program ” to help find loving and permanent homes abroad for these animals, while raising awareness on this forced immigration to encourage local adoption.
I think you are all familiar with BETA‘s amazing work in Lebanon and I’ve shared many of their stories in Lebanon, so let’s spread the word and donate:
– To help them keep these animals in Lebanon
– Or donate to their rehoming program to give them an opportunity abroad.
Of course if you wish to adopt a dog locally in Lebanon or internationally anywhere in the world you can also do so through the [website].
A video was shared earlier by Animal Rescue Lebanon today showing sheep loaded inside a truck with tons of bags placed on top of them. That’s just outrageous but I wonder why didn’t the people who filmed it call the cops? The truck probably stayed for a good half hour on the highway so they could have easily been arrested.
Health Minister Wael Abu Faour announced that indoor smoking ban will be enforced, and that the ministry will be raiding restaurants and other enclosed public places to make sure the law is being implemented. The first attempt to ban smoking took place two years ago and failed miserably as the majority of restaurants, pubs and venues are breaking Law 174.
I would love to see the smoking ban law implemented in Lebanon but I believe Minister Abou Faour should take a pragmatic approach and avoid the mistakes that were done before, specially in regards to restaurants serving shisha that are still growing in numbers unfortunately and are the biggest problem nowadays. If we want this smoking ban to really work, it should be done in several phases and over 1 or 2 years to allow all pubs and restaurants to adapt. In fact, if the government had adopted a proper strategy back in 2012, the law would be running smoothly by now.
In all cases, we can’t but support any initiative to cut down smoking in Lebanon so let’s see how things will go this time.
That’s how Victoria Moore, The Telegraph’s wine correspondent, ended her article on Lebanon’s wine industry, on the end of an era with Serge Hochar’s tragic death and how Lebanese wine is booming abroad. She spoke about the obstacles that wine makers are facing recently in Lebanon, and how she was impressed by the energy and commitment of the new generation of producers that managed to double the quantity of Lebanese wine abroad in five years.
Lebanon moved from 12 wineries in 2004 to 40 commercial wineries by 2012 making eight million bottles of wine a year and exporting wine worth $14.5 million. Some of the wineries mentioned in Moore’s article include Domaine des Tourelles, Ixsir, Chateau Musar and Château St Thomas.
Lebanese wine is great and definitely worth trying. I will post shortly a list of my ten favorite Lebanese wine bottles.
It may seem hard to believe but these people are demonstrating because Zahle is getting 24-hour electricity soon and their generators will become useless. I think they should be held accountable for ripping off people with ridiculous generator bills all these years.