Category Archives: Information

Byblos To Join The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network

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Picture taken by myself: @LeNajib

By joining this network, The city of Byblos will receive the below:

1- Membership in a new network. 100 Resilient Cities is creating the 100 Resilient Cities Network, which will provide support to member cities, share new knowledge and resilience best practices and foster new connections and partnerships.
2- Support to hire or fund a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO). The creation of this innovative new role will help ensure resilience building and coordination is the specific responsibility of one person in a city government. The CROs will also oversee the development of a resilience plan for the city and be part of a learning network of other CROs as representatives to the 100 Resilient Cities Network.
3- Support to create a resilience plan that reflects each city’s distinct needs.
4- An innovative platform to provide tools and resources for implementation of the plan focused on four areas: innovative finance, innovative technology, infrastructure and land use, and community and social resilience from partners such as Swiss Re, Palantir, the American Institute of Architects, Architecture for Humanity, and the World Bank.

If you want to read more about The Rockefeller Foundation, click [Here].

The Rockefeller Foundation today announces the first 33 cities selected to join the 100 Resilient Cities network. The cities were selected from nearly 400 applicants across six continents. In applying for the 100 Resilient Cities Challenge cities were required to submit their visions, needs and plans to build resilience in a way that connects government, the private sector and civil society, and specifically addresses the needs of their poor and vulnerable citizens. The announcement of the selected cities will be made during The Rockefeller Foundation’s third annual Innovation Forum titled, “Building Resilient Cities.”

The other cities selected:
Alameda, California, USA
Medellin, Colombia
Berkeley, California, USA
Mexico City, Mexico
Ramallah, Palestine
Boulder, Colorado, USA
Porto-Alegre, Brazil
Dakar, Senegal
El Paso, Texas, USA
Quito, Ecuador
Durban, South Africa
Jacksonville, Florida, USA
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Bangkok, Thailand
Los Angeles, California, USA
Bristol, UK
Da Nang, Vietnam
New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Glasgow, UK
Mandalay, Myanmar
New York City, New York, USA
Rome, Italy
Semarang, Indonesia
Norfolk, Virginia, USA
Rotterdam, Netherlands
Surat, India
Oakland, California, USA
Veije, Denmark
Christchurch, New Zealand
San Francisco, California, USA
Ashkelon, Israel
Melbourne, Australia

Own a Picasso For 100 Euros And Save An Ancient Lebanese city

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Pablo Picasso’s grandson is selling 50,000 raffle tickets at 100 Euros each for a chance to to win “The Man with the Opera Hat,” a cubist work nearly 100 years old. The reason why he’s doing that is for the rescue of Tyre, “a city devastated by decades of military conflict, including Lebanon’s 15-year-long civil war”.

Yup you heard me right! You could own a Picasso for 100 Euros only and by doing so, you will be helping an old Phoenician city in Lebanon. Olivier Picasso got the idea from his friend who was fed up with “boring” charity dinners.

You can read the full article from CNN [Here].

What Can Arguileh (Hookah) Do To Your Health?

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[YouTube]

Earlier in November, Lebanese scientists have joined with a host of officials and researchers in the region in declaring nargileh smoking a “global epidemic”. [Source]

I think we all agree that smoking is bad but the problem lies elsewhere in Lebanon. There are way too many Shisha cafes and the Arguile is cheap and accessible to everyone (No Age Restriction). Added to that, there’s no control on the cleanliness of the Arguile and its pipes and Hookah deliveries are allowed. What I believe should be done is restricting the number of Shisha cafes, or at least banning new Shisha lounges from opening, increasing the price of an Arguile drastically (200%) and fining restaurants who offer them to minors.

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