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.
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.
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].
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!