Finally! Thank you Beirut Souks and I hope it gets banned in all Lebanese malls.
Finally! Thank you Beirut Souks and I hope it gets banned in all Lebanese malls.
The General Security released an important memo a couple of weeks ago but apparently very few people have read it or heard about it (including myself) because we were all too busy with the holidays. In fact, I think the timing and the rollout were terribly planned as a lot of people travel back to Lebanon during this time of year just for few days and the last thing they’d want to do is spend hours, if not days, to come up with new passports. I’m not sure if they had announced these measures before but they should have done a proper campaign to inform everyone.
The memo basically says that you will need to apply for a new Lebanese passport if:
– The renewal on your old passport is hand-written, just like the picture above.
– Or your passport includes accompanied individuals such as children.
The deadline was set to the 10th of January, after which the old renewed passports will no longer be considered valid on departure. In other words, you won’t be able to fly if the conditions apply and you don’t have a new passport. On the other hand, arrivals will be warned.
Luckily for me, I only have 5 months left on my passport so I have to renew it soon but this sucks for those who just renewed their passports last year for more than a year.
إلتزاماً بالمعايير المفروضة من قبل منظمة الطيران المدني الدولي ،
تُعلم المديرية العامة للأمن العام المواطنين اللبنانيين حاملي جوازات سفر مجددة بخط اليد أو جوازات سفر تتضمن مرافقين بوجوب إستبدالها بجوازات جديدة في حال رغبتهم بالسفر ، وتلفت عنايتهم إلى أنه سيصار إلى سحب الجوازات المنوه عنها من قبل الدوائر والمراكز الحدودية اعتباراً من تاريخ 2016/01/10 ليصار الى إلغائها.
PS: LBCI did a report on this issue. Watch it [here].
[LebaneseBlogs] has just published this morning its blogging statistics and awards for 2015 and BlogBaladi emerged as Lebanon’s Most Influential Blog of 2015, also known as Lebanon’s Blog of the year which is awesome news!
What I love about these statistics is that they are not based on subjective opinions, but on hard data gathered and analyzed from the thousands of posts that were published and indexed this year, and I thank Mustapha for going through this effort to pull out these results because I know it’s not easy.
BlogBaladi was featured in all the top lists as follows:
Lebanon’s 20 Most Shared posts on Facebook:
My post on the Facebook Safety Check following the Burj Brajneh attacks gathered over 30k in terms of shares and ranked #7 in the most shared Facebook posts list.
Congrats to Elie from A Separate State of Mind for topping the list.
Lebanon’s 20 most shared posts on Twitter:
It’s very hard to compete with KarlRemarks on Twitter but I managed to sneak into 10th spot with my post on Lebanese journalist and activists and my friend Joumana Haddad being denied entrance to Bahrain.
Ambassador Tom Fletcher topped the list this year with his farewell tweet.
Lebanon’s most viral blogger:
BlogBaladi was ranked as the 3rd most viral blog in 2015 with an average of 35.9 over 50. Virality is a “score for each post that combines its Twitter shares and Facebook shares while normalizing extreme variations”. Last year my average was 21.72 so this is a huge improvement and I’m glad that all the hard work I put into generating better content this year paid off.
Congrats to Elie from A Separate State of Mind and Ralph from Blog Of The Boss for the top 2 spots.
Lebanon’s most prolific blogger:
Last year I was the most prolific blogger with over 1,557 posts throughout the year, and I could have probably topped the list this year but I decided to cut down my posts to 2 or 3 per day and try to improve the quality of the posts even further and it surely paid off in the virality average and user engagement.
Congrats to Anthony from NoGarlicNoOnions for topping the list.
Lebanon’s blog of the year:
I’m very proud to top the list and be Lebanon’s most influential blogger for 2015. Blogging is hard work and it’s always great to see your work being appreciated, especially when it’s based on objective results and hard data.
Check out all the results [here].
Here’s a small update on the #CristianoMeetHaidar story. Haidar did end up visiting Real Madrid and meeting Real’s president and his hero Cristiano Ronaldo. I know this visit won’t bring his family back nor will it make his life any easier in the future, but it brought a smile to his face and probably cheered him up a bit.
Haidar survived the latest Beirut bombings in Burj el Brajneh but unfortunately lost both his parents. He is much better now and is living with his grandparents. Aside from the Real Madrid trip, tens of thousands of dollars were collected online to help him have a better future.
You can follow his updates on this [FB page].
Christmas will have a different “flavor” this year in Lebanon. There are still no solutions for the garbage crisis and everyone is hoping at this point that snow will cover everything. Until then, Santa is taking special precautions this year to celebrate Christmas with the Lebanese as portrayed by Muriel.
If you don’t like this card , there’s another one that I loved that says “Merry Christmas wou bye bye regime” and a couple of others that also awesome. To be honest, I can’t stop recommending Muriel’s greeting cards because they are well-designed, original, hilarious and they perfectly reflect the Lebanese culture.
I got these from Virgin Megastore but you can find Mukagraf greeting cards in almost every bookstore.
Check out Mukagraf’s insta [here].
Update: Anonymous r denying the rumors.
Anonymous, the collective of online activists, has revealed that ISIS is planning attacks tomorrow in Paris and around the world and has published a list of potential targets.
Anonymous declared war on ISIS last week following the Paris attacks and this list is probably a result of their hacking. I’m not really sure how serious this threat is and it’s very weird to find USEK on that list but it wouldn’t hurt to take extra precautions.
Google has acknowledged the recent terrorist attacks in Beirut with a commemorative ribbon on their Lebanon homepage www.google.com.lb. The black ribbon is a sign of remembrance and mourning and was also added to Google’s main page in response to the #Paris attacks.
In addition to Google, several foreign papers today acknowledged the #Beirut attacks especially after Facebook’s Safety Check was activated for Paris attacks but not Beirut. To name few, Time and The New York Times featured articles on how Beirut feels forgotten after the latest ISIS attacks. NY Times also quoted fellow blogger Elie in their article following his great take on the Paris and Beirut attacks.
Egyptian Legend Adel Emam put the Lebanese flag as a background on his profile picture in support.
Even in football, German star and ManUnited player Bastian Schweinsteiger expressed his condolences to the Beirut bombing victims.
Chelsea player Cesc Fabregas, whose wife Danielle Semaan is Lebanese, also mentioned Beirut in his FB post. The first comment he got was funny though as someone asked him to “Pray For Chelsea because they will be relegated”.
On a last note, a French reader of the blog shared his idea of the “Facebook Safety Check” for Beiruti people adding a “We don’t care if you are affected” button.
I’ve been following up on Baby Ali all day yesterday with Leb4refugees and I got a confirmation yesterday night that he finally moved to the new apartment with his family. The new apartment is decent but needs few things which will be shared tomorrow for all those who wish to help. As far as the online campaign is concerned, the amount collected until now is around $5000 which is awesome news!
For those who are in Lebanon and can directly donate (cash, food, supplies etc ..), contact Leb4refugees offices at +961 4 546 077 (or +961 3 315500) or email them email@example.com.
For those who are in Lebanon abroad and wish to help online, you can donate [Here].
The pictures shown in this post were taken today.
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!
PS: Pets are not allowed at the moment!
Done by Samer B. Saleh
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.
Done by Samer B. Saleh
You can check the high-res version [here].