Category Archives: Lebanon

The Only Flag That Matters: The Lebanese Flag

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FLAG_NAJIB_851_315 Thank you Gab for the flag!

Every now and then, we have a new controversy that keeps Lebanese busy for a few days. No matter what the topic is and how meaningless it may seem, everyone wants to get involved and express his opinion on the matter, either by tweeting, posting statuses or images on Facebook or maybe uploading videos. Of course that’s a good thing and sometimes it helps put pressure on the concerned parties, but at the same time, it wouldn’t hurt to sit back and rethink of what you’re about to post or share before doing so, or at least focus on the important matters instead of investing all our energy on useless topics. Moreover, the way we react to events happening around us is often rushed and irrational and doesn’t help the cause we’re trying to promote, which is why we have to be more responsible and mature in our approach.

I’ve learned the hard way that I should not rush posts and look at the bigger picture, because that’s the only way I could make sense out of my post and get my points to the largest number of readers possible. I could easily write inflammatory posts or bash and curse people but I’ve taken a decision years ago to go for the calm and rational approach. I may be wrong, but I think that’s the best way to reach out to more people and convince them of your point of view.

Moving on to the topic at hand, Lebanese have been arguing for the past 4 days over the burning of a Da3esh flag in Sassine square by some kids, specially after our Justice minister decided to legally pursue those who burned it. Needless to say, his decision is a wrong one and there’s nothing to argue about here. Anything Da3esh-related has nothing to do with Islam and should not be associated with Islam at all. This being said, any Lebanese who believes otherwise or hints at defending Da3esh (ISIS) in anyway should be jailed, specially after the recent beheading of a Lebanese army soldier by ISIS savages. There are no politics involved, no comparisons that are valid when it comes to dealing with such people. Moreover, the only flag that should matter to ALL of us is the Lebanese one, so stop worrying about other flags and this country will become a better place.

As soon as the ISIS flag burning trend was done (and the ALS Ice Bucket challenge of course), Lebanese were all shocked by some document (sent by fax) and signed by the Lebanese authorities that asked for the banning of 6 websites that are promoting child porn. Personally speaking, I am against censorship of any kind but I know for a fact that blocking porn is impossible and stopping 6 websites is ridiculous so I didn’t bother comment on this matter. The only thing we should be worried about is how the Lebanese authorities decide which websites to block and on what basis. However, what’s (pleasantly) surprising was seeing all these Lebanese online bashing the decision and against banning websites in general, but I wonder if they’d react the same way when someone mocks their religious or political leaders because censorship can’t be selective (and I am talking about ALL sects and parties here).

Sadly enough, the arrest of 27 presumed homosexuals in a Turkish-style hamman in Beirut a couple of weeks ago barely made it to the news or to social media. This is even worse than censorship as it’s a clear breach of human rights. Why aren’t we making a fuss about that? Isn’t it more important than burning a flag? Add to this case women rights, domestic violence law, Roumieh prison and many important topics that somehow no longer are relevant.

There’s no denying that Lebanon is going through a critical phase these days, which is why it’s crucial to always look at the bigger picture when we comment or react to any incident around us. We can always support the Lebanese Army but there’s no need to ask for a military regime. We can refuse alcohol bans but there’s no need to label a whole city as Da3esh-friendly. We can condemn censorship but there’s no need to turn it political. We can hate one politician but there’s no need to bash a whole community or religion because of him. We should always keep our eyes open on the things that matter the most, which are our liberties, our dignity, our rights and safety, keeping in mind that freedom is ALWAYS more important than security. We should show respect to other Lebanese and dialogue with them with reason and common sense and we should hold accountable those who do us wrong, no matter who they are.

These are the things that will keep our country intake and our people united behind one flag. I don’t think it’s too much to ask everyone one of us to think before tweeting or posting and try to cut down on the hateful and sectarian comments and be constructive for a change. Keep in mind that the only thing that will bring ISIS into our towns and cities is division among the Lebanese.

Why The Lebanese Army Should Not Negotiate With Terrorists In Arsal

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sayyid

I thought the pictures of the beheaded soldier were fake but unfortunately they turned out to be true. Sergeant Ali al-Sayyed’s body was handed over yesterday to the Lebanese authorities and his family. This is the most horrific crime against a Lebanese army soldier that we’ve ever witnessed and of and a proof that we should no longer negotiate with these terrorists.

Moreover, I think the Muslim scholars committee should be sent home and not allowed to interfere with any of the negotiations. No one should be interfering with the army’s business except for bringing more weapons and supplies.

HRW described the alleged beheading as a war crime.

90% Of Cars Purchased In 2014 In Lebanon Cost Less Than $11,000

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cars

Based on this report, 22004 cars were sold in the first 7 months of 2014. 43% are Korean cars, followed by Japanese (33%), European (28%), American (5%) and Chinese (1.5%). We definitely need less cars in this country, but the number is on the rise (by a considerable 7.2%) mainly due to the lack of decent public transportation.

[YouTube]

Lebanese Basketball Federation Took The Right Decision By Keeping Two Foreign Players

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bball

The Lebanese Basketball Federation decided today to keep the number of foreign players to two and not three like it was suggested (weirdly enough) by most Lebanese teams. I think it’s the right decision and I hope the teams will accept it so that the league kicks off the soonest.

As I said on previous occasions, allowing three foreign players on each team will basically kill the game in Lebanon. The arguments presented by few teams are invalid and don’t make any sense.

Ultimate Lebanon Summer Guide 2014

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I just got back from Lebanon a few days ago and here are my favorite places for 2014:

sundays

SUN.DAYS at Skybar
Skybar Beirut have something new going on this year and it’s called SUN.DAYS. Starts at 6:30PM on Sundays while the sun is still up and goes on till past midnight. The whole Skybar gets a major makeover for SUN.DAYS with fake grass flooring, a raised bar area and colorful lounges and chairs all over. It actually takes them nearly 12 hours to setup this conversion, that’s how dedicated they are to SUN.DAYS. There are also special guests on SUN.DAYS and while I was there HVOB were performing and I ended up capturing the great shot below. Reservation is a must.

hvob

mont

Le Montagnou
Probably the nicest looking pool in Lebanon with the greatest view. Located up in Faraya, Le Montagnou is a restaurant with an outdoor pool and bar. Caters mostly to the fancy schmancy crowd of Faraya and Faqra but still cheaper than many pools in Beirut. Stay for the sunset and reservation is a must.

robot

The Gärten by Uberhaus
They’re only open Saturday night from around 8PM to 6AM and it was favorite place last summer and again this summer. It’s an outdoor club that’s open just for the summer with a large green garden filled with bean bags on one side and a huge open dome which is the dance floor on the other. Thank you Gino for the backstage pass!

Internazionale
There are a ton of great pubs in Mar Mikhael but my favorite this trip was Internazionale. It’s owned by the same owner as another favorite pub of mine Torino Express. Internazionale has two advantages over Torino, a larger space and the fact it’s located in the more vibrant Mar Mikhael area. Just like at Torino, the owner DJ’s here as well.

The Train Station
I wish I had taken pictures of this place but I didn’t have my camera on me then. The Train Station is located on the grounds of the old Mar Mikhael train station. They’ve taken one of the abandoned rusty 50+ year old trains and setup a DJ booth inside. They then setup a bar along with tables all around and they’ve kept everything intact including a rust old water tower which the bar surrounds. Pricy for what it is but it’s worth checking out.

The Junkyard
Also located in Mar Mikhael, The Junkyard is located in a large space between a heavily packed residential area and the theme of the place is a giant junkyard. There is indoor and outdoor seating it’s also worth passing by and checking out since it’s visually interesting. The place is a bit too bright so best to start off your evening with The Junkyard which makes sense anyway since they have a good food menu filled with friendly dishes like burgers and fish & chips.

Make sure you check out last years Ultimate Lebanon Summer Guide since most of the recommendations are still applicable as well [Link]

Posted by Mark

Wickerpark Music Festival 2014 Lineup

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wicker

Wickerpark kicked off in 2011 and has been attracting more and more people every year. The festival has hosted over 30 artists and gathered over 5000 people over the past 4 years. Its aim is to promote local talent and create environmental awareness. The lineup for this year include:

- Mashrou’ Leila
- Scrambled Eggs
- How Sad
- Youmna Saba
- Charlie Rayne
- Flum Project
- Z the people & Al Jihaz

Tickets are for $20. For more info, check their website [Here].

A Walk Inside Horsh Beirut

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horsh

Joelle from RacingThoughts had the opportunity to visit Horsh Beirut and take pictures, after a local NGO called NAHNOO got the permission to hold a picnic inside the park for 3 hours only.

As you all probably know, the Beirut municipality does not allow anyone to enter the park for fear of vandalism and poor maintenance. I wish I had known earlier about this event as I’ve never been to Horsh Beirut yet. I am going to email them and see if it’s possible to go for a visit.

Check her post [Here].

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A Faux Pas From Ashraf Rifi

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isis flag A “Safe” ISIS Flag to burn – via BeirutSpring

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi has requested today to legally pursue a group of Lebanese who were seen burning a flag for the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIS) in Sassine’s Square, Achrafieh. I’ve never expected Rifi to come up with a statement. If anything, those who are raising this ISIS flag in Achrafieh, Tripoli and anywhere else in Lebanon should be the ones pursued legally and arrested.

Speaking of sedition, what is the purpose of raising an ISIS flag in Sassine Square?