Category Archives: Information

New Signs To Be Deployed in Tripoli

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Via @MhdDankar

The heads of the armed groups in Tripoli (Aka قادة المحاور) held a meeting earlier this morning and agreed to install new signs across Tripoli to keep civilians away from the dangerous zones. This agreement was praised by all militiamen and specially snipers who won’t be responsible anymore for shooting innocent civilians if these civilians were trespassing on sniper property. One of the militiamen expressed his joy by donating a huge banner to alert the citizens of snipers before the sign is placed.

The Lebanese Authorities hailed this agreement and asked Tripoli residents to respect the new signs and stop blaming the armed groups for endangering their lives. They also promised to finance part of their installation.

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TransFocus: Lebanon’s First Transgender Festival

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Picture from NowLebanon

According to the Lebanese Law now, you are either male or female.

TransFocus is the first festival in Lebanon that explores the sub-culture, the challenges, and the hopes of the transgender community of the country. Yesterday at Minus 1, a new art space perched right in the middle of Ashrafieh, two movies – TransAmerica and Tomboy – were screened and a series of heated debates and workshops were organized with AUB’s Faysal al-Kak. What came out of an otherwise rich and successful afternoon was a portrait of a difficult situation for a minority too often abused and pushed to the margins of society.

The topic is complex, so before divulging more details, a few clarifications on terminology are needed. Bekhsoos, a “feminist and queer Arab magazine,” offers a useful dictionary:

Sex: Assigned at birth, either male or female (“the binary system”), based on bodily characteristics like chromosomes, hormones, and internal and external reproductive organs.

Gender (gender identity): The sex that one identifies with internally. Transgender individuals usually are of a different bodily sex.

Sexual orientation: An individual’s attraction (physical, emotional, romantic, spiritual) to another. Gender identity and sexual orientation are separate; a male-to-female or female-to-male person could be gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Transgender: Umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity differs from that assigned to them at birth. It spans from transsexuals to cross-dressers, bi-genders, and other gender-variant people. Transgender individuals may or may not choose to surgically and/or hormonally alter their bodies.

Transsexual: This is not an umbrella term, and usually refers to individuals who plan to transition, or are in the process of transitioning, through surgery or hormone therapy. [NowLebanon]

Origins of the Lebanese Dabké

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Picture from Kadmous

Here’s a nice post by Kadmous.org on the similarities between the traditional Lebanese Dabké and old Phoenician Dance rituals based on Sir Gardener Wilkison’s studies on The Historic Illustrations of Dancing from 3300 B.C. to 1911 A.D.

Read the full article [Here].

Of the Phoenicians, we have some illustrations of their dance, which was apparently of a serious nature , judging by the examples which we possess, such as that from Cyprus representing three figures in hooded cowls dancing around a piper. It is a dance around a centre, as is also that from Idalium in Cyprus. The latter is engraved around a bronze bowl and is evidently a planet and sun dance before a goddess, in a temple; the sun being the central object around which they dance, accompanied by the double pipes, the harp, and tabour. The ASSYRIANS ( presently known as syrians of whom Syria Got its name ) , their neighbours , probably danced as much as the other nations, but amongst the many monuments that have been discovered there is little dancing shown, and they were evidently more proud of their campaigns and their hunting than of their dancing. A stern and strong people, although they undoubtedly had this amusement, we know little about it.

[YouTube]

Open Letter From Lebanese Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud To British Ambassador Tom Fletcher

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Drawing By Sareen

It seems Karl wasn’t the only one who replied back to British Ambassador Tom Fletcher’s Open Letter to Lebanon as Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud posted a letter on his Facebook Page after Karl’s reply.

I have 3 things to say about this letter:

– “Love Lebanon, and No Other” is not meant to be as a monopoly. We should love our country before any other. I am not sure how the Minister made the comparison between exclusive agencies and this slogan but it’s a terrible one.

– I fully agree with the minister that our real enemy is Corruption and I ask him to step out of all political blocks accused of corruption, including his current block.

– I loved the “Freedom of Information Act” idea and I would support it fully but I doubt that the UK Ambassador or any Ambassador in Lebanon can help implementing it. The Minister should work on gaining the Lebanese people’s support on this matter before anyone else.

Open letter to Ambassador Tom Fletcher

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

I read your open letter and I read Karl’s remarks with interest , I am a minister in the Lebanese government , and I happen to be a British citizen due to the fact that I lived and worked in your country for years .

I know where Karl is coming from; I appreciate not only his excellent command of the English language, but also his pride which should be without prejudice. I do agree with some of his remarks but at the same time I agree with most of yours. ,.
In my country we find it difficult to share, we hate sharing, we love exclusive agencies. One of the Christian Maronite political parties came up with a motto “love Lebanon, and no other”. We love monopolies.

I have a lot of respect for your country. Great Britain received me, and many other foreigners with open arms, and we received all of what the country has to offer exactly like every British citizen .Furthermore I do not want to fall in the trap of comparison. I love Lebanon my country, I respect my people, I think like you we probably have one of the most interesting cultures in the world, but this will not stop me respecting and appreciating other cultures.
We in Lebanon, at this stage of our long history feel very vulnerable, and we have little space to maneuver when it comes to relations with other countries. This should be clear for everyone to see, Lebanon is not only about Lebanese living in Lebanon, we have a duty towards the Lebanese Diaspora, many of them with dual citizenship, living in other countries around us and overseas.
Mr. Ambassador, yes your help is needed, but let us concentrate on the one enemy from within, this enemy is holding us back and keeping us from achieving any growth, it is the real enemy, more powerful than any other:” Corruption”.

I have been watching all our friends specifically our friends from the free and democratic countries, trying to help through financing NGOs among other things. I think they can do more.
I would like to suggest, a new approach supported by the United Kingdom towards our members of parliament. We need to have a new law concerning the freedom of information. The law should be simple; anything to do with public money should be published on the internet with free access to all. This will also help any country to achieve more transparency, it is to a certain extent available in your country, but transparency in my country is still a luxury we think we can live without.

I call on you Mr. Ambassador to adopt my unloved orphan “ Freedom of Information Act “ and help us by lobbying with all your friends , and ours, to bring this dream to reality. We need all the support we can get to achieve this goal.
This law if passed and applied will radically reduce corruption and will make Lebanon the dream country it should and could be.

Fady Abboud

Time Out Beirut’s Best Of 2013: Vote For BlogBaladi

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BlogBaladi.com was proudly nominated in the Time Out Beirut Best Of Reader’s Choice Awards 2013 under the category “Best Online Resource About Everything Beirut”.

If you wish to vote for BlogBaladi:
1- Go to: www.timeoutbeirut.com/bestofbeirut2013
2- Scroll down to the category “Best Online Resource About Everything Beirut” and select “BlogBaladi”.
3- Fill in the necessary details and submit!

Voting ends on December 5th.

No Electricity in Mansourieh For A Month Now!

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[YouTube]

When I first heard the report and knowing how much MTV likes Gebran Bassil, I thought I’d ask my friends who live in Mansourieh first and it turned out to be true. They were getting 0 electricity hours for weeks and were living off the generators. As of last week things started to improve but the cable is not fixed yet.

Two questions I have to ask here:
1- I was told that a private company cut the cable by mistake or something like that. Why didn’t MTV do the extra effort and investigate the reason behind this delay? Why didn’t they contact the ministry or the municipality?

2- How come there’s no mention of this crisis anywhere in the news? I couldn’t find anything about it on the Minister’s Facebook Page or the EDL website as well.

On a last note and speaking of shortages, some parts of Keserwan are still without water due to the works in Sad Chabrou7. I have relatives who live there and have been buying water (Locally Not From Cyprus yet :P) for the past 2 weeks now.

Update: There’s apparently water shortage in MonteVerde as well, here’s why:

[YouTube]

Marijuana Trade Thriving In Lebanon

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A Lebanese farmer harvests cannabis plan
Picture from HuffingtonPost

Lebanon’s instability and the war raging in Syria are blessings in disguise for drug dealers and Hashish growers in the Bekaa. According to this article, 40 grams sell for $20 in Lebanon, $100 in Syria and up to $500 in Turkey.

Lebanese marijuana grower Abu Sami is practically rubbing his hands together with glee: the Syrian conflict has paralysed authorities at home and left the nearby border virtually uncontrolled.

“This year, the harvest was abundant, and the authorities have left us alone because they are otherwise occupied,” he tells AFP in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa region.

In the past, the Lebanese army would descend annually to destroy some of the illicit crop, but this year the harvest has gone untouched.

The area shares a long, porous border with Syria and is a stronghold of the Shiite Lebanese movement Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the Syrian regime against a 32-month-old uprising. [HuffingtonPost]

Dog Shot At Close Range In Dbayyeh

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BETA Lebanon uploaded today a video showing a man in Dbayyeh shooting a dog at close range. I refrained from posting the video as it’s too graphic but you can watch it [Here] if you want. The dog (Brad) was shot in his mouth and his shoulder, had to undergo 2 surgeries and is now recovering. As you can see from the picture, he’s doing better now.

These sick and barbaric people who enjoy abusing and killing animals should and will get their punishment one day. Until then, I will keep spreading awareness on that matter and exposing these assholes if needed.

BETA rescued the dog and took care of him but Brad needs now a foster home. If you can help anyhow, send an email to contact@betalebanon.org. You can also contribute to their rescue fund [Here].