Category Archives: Lebanon

Are White Belly Dancers Engaging In Cultural Appropriation?

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[YouTube]

Ranja Jarrar argues in her piece that white women who practice belly dance are, willingly or unwillingly, engaging in appropriation. Personally speaking, I didn’t really get the point the author was trying to make and I never saw a problem in white women learning how to belly dance and finding in it a form of self-expression.

Women I have confronted about this have said, “But I have been dancing for 15 years! This is something I have built a huge community on.” These women are more interested in their investment in belly dancing than in questioning and examining how their appropriation of the art causes others harm. To them, I can only say, I’m sure there are people who have been unwittingly racist for 15 years. It’s not too late. Find another form of self-expression. Make sure you’re not appropriating someone else’s.

But, here’s the thing. Arab women are not vessels for white women to pour themselves and lose themselves in; we are not bangles or eyeliner or tiny bells on hips. We are human beings. This dance form is originally ours, and does not exist so that white women can have a better sense of community; can gain a deeper sense of sisterhood with each other; can reclaim their bodies; can celebrate their sexualities; can perform for the female gaze. Just because a white woman doesn’t profit from her performance doesn’t mean she’s not appropriating a culture. And, ultimately, the question is this: Why does a white woman’s sisterhood, her self-reclamation, her celebration, have to happen on Arab women’s backs? [Source]

Heads Up About Nutella In Lebanon: U.S VS Polish Version

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I was at O&C having lunch on Sunday and I thought I pass by the supermarket and pick up some stuff on the way out. On my way to the cashier, I noticed they had some Nutella jars on display so I picked up one but saw that it was priced at 9000 Lebanese Liras (6$), which is almost double the price of the one I usually buy. I asked around and as it turns out, the Nutella I got is the American version while the commonly available Nutella in Lebanon comes from Poland (Packaging done in KSA or something like that) and is priced at roughly 3$. Weirdly enough, the guy I asked told me this is the “original” one, as if the Polish one is fake or something.

I ended up getting both to see if the US one is any better but I haven’t tasted them yet as I am trying to get an Italian or German Nutella to taste as well. To be honest, I am just curious to know if they do taste that differently, but I don’t think I will switch to the US version and pay double the price even if it tastes better.

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The commonly available Nutella jar in Lebanon has Arabic writing on the back

Update: Here’s the list of ingredients for both as written on the back of each jar:

Polish Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Vegetable oil (palm), hazelnuts, fat reduced cocoa powder, skimmed milk powder, demineralized whey powder, emulsifiers (Soy Lecithins), flavouring.

American Version
Ingredients: Sugar, Palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), Vanillin: an artificial flavor.

CNN Report On Lebanon’s Slow Internet

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CNN

While one cannot deny that Minister Sehnaoui has improved the internet situation in Lebanon as a whole, internet is still relatively slow in Lebanon and the data caps are still ridiculously low. I am currently registered to the 1.5GB 3G plan and always exceed my monthly limit, even though I use WIFI at work and at home.

Let’s hope things will improve with the new minister.

You can watch the full CNN Report by Mohammad Jamjoum [Here].

Little Helps: Baking Maamoul For A Cause

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A little help from everyone can make a huge difference sometimes. That’s what “Little Helps” is hoping to achieve this year by making, baking and selling Maamoul during April to help the needy in Lebanon. All revenues that come out of the sales will be distributed to underprivileged Lebanese, elderly people, orphans or refugees fleeing the Syrian war. The sales will start during the month of April every Saturday in Souk el Tayyeb, Beirut Souks.

I love Maamoul and I love such genuine initiatives so I’ve already placed an order for 1 box of Dates and 1 box of Pistachios. You can place your orders [Here] or visit Souk el Tayeb starting April.

For more info, click [Here].

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Source

More Than 1000 Cyclists Take Part In The “Ride For Roy” 65K Memorial Ride

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Roy

The Ride For Roy is a 65 km ride that starts and finishes at Atlantis, The Palm. It was organized to honor Triathlon Lebanese Champion Roy Nasr‘s memory. Roy was killed by a drunk driver whilst riding his bike near Safa Park back in September 2013.

More than 1000 cyclists joined the ride, noting that all the registration fees will go into the Roy Nasr Memorial Fund.

Here are few testimonies given by athletes on Roy, including Lebanese Maxime Chaaya.

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“This is to celebrate the life of a man who was an inspiration to so many,” said Paul Venn, an organiser with Race ME, which hosts triathlon events. “It is a chance for people to pay their respects to a man who was never happier than when on his bike. The thought of more than 1,000 people on a ride with jerseys with his name would have put an enormous smile on his face.”

“Roy was a natural leader and had a certain aura about him, so whether it was in the sea or in the pool he would give others a boost and help them swim a bit quicker,” Seth Chappels, founder of Dubai Masters Swim Club where Nasr trained, said. “He was a competitive triathlete but always had time for a word for you,” he said. “You could not help but like him.”

“Roy was a motivator and such a warm person,” said Chris Khouri, an IT manager who took to triathlons after a 2009 motorbike accident left him disabled below the chest. “He would call me every couple of months to chat and he didn’t have to. He has left behind a legacy. He touched so many people because of his positivity.”

British Ambassador Tom Fletcher Strikes Again

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This is not my first post on Ambassador Fletcher’s actions and definitely won’t be my last, as I believe this man is doing way more what he’s required and setting the bar very high not just for other ambassadors and foreign representatives but for Lebanese politicians as well.

Ambassador Fletcher was at an event recently where domestic workers were asked to sit in a separate area. Instead of ignoring the matter, he decided to join the domestic workers for lunch and then leave. He said and I quote that “the true measure of the generosity of a society is not the way it treats Ambassadors, but the way it treats the most vulnerable”.

Speaking of human trafficking as well as discrimination and violence against men and women, the Beirut Bar Association has apparently launched a booklet on what people should do if they see human trafficking happening, but it’s not out yet on their website.

In Pictures: Lebanese Protest Against Domestic Violence On International Women’s Day

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Source

It was great seeing so many people at Mathaf today for the demonstration planned by KAFA. It is time to change all laws that give advantage to a man over his wife or any woman for that sake, and to officially set up an office to follow up domestic violence issues and provide the required protection for victims (A governmental office not one run by an NGO).

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Michel Sakr Freed By The Lebanese Police After Getting Kidnapped Yesterday Morning In Zahle

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[YouTube]

The son of Ibrahim Sakr, a reputed business man in Zahle, was freed after he got kidnapped yesterday in front of his house. Some reports are saying a prominent political figure intervened to release the kid, probably Nabih Berri.

Tens of kidnappings for ransom have taken place in the Bekaa area since last year, and it looks like everyone knows the groups behind them yet nothing’s being done. In all cases, this is definitely good news for the kid and his family.

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via Lebanese-Forces

A HeartFelt Message From A Victim Of Domestic Violence In Lebanon

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Here’s a letter I got from a good friend of mine who chose to remain anonymous. I salute her for her courage and hope that tomorrow’s demonstration and many others to follow will give Lebanese women the legal protection needed from abusive husbands.

“Everytime I hear about a woman dying because of domestic violence, every single time, I swear… I think of you. You’re one of the lucky ones. You escaped.”

My best friend just sent me this two months ago. And I have been thinking of how lucky I am ever since!

I’m one of the lucky ones indeed. I escaped.

I live today with my children in a house, next to my parent’s place. Society still didn’t accept my divorce: “walaw! Halla2 tzakkarit titirko?”… And, like many other women victims of domestic violence, and for the sake of my children, their mental health and growth, I still don’t utter a word about the reasons of my divorce. (maybe also to keep myself “safe” because I am not “strong enough” to face him again and fight back… I’m weak and tired of all this…)

But I, I escaped death.

And I don’t utter a word about that neither. Of course.

My parents first felt weird, but ended up supporting me.

Most of my friends still don’t understand the tension I face every time I drop my children at their father or pick them up after the visits he is entitled to (at least I’m one of the “lucky” ones who survived and kept her children! I am double lucky).

And I, myself, still don’t understand the fear I grew towards men.

When I hear the news, I often cry.

I cry because I was lucky to get out alive.
I cry because it was never too late for me.
I cry because no one saw my mother on television weeping my death.

I cry because my brother escaped the crime he would probably have committed after my death.

Furthermore,

I cry because I have to sit home and express myself without revealing my face or identity, because that is the only way to protect myself, my children and my family.

But from the bottom of my silence I send a message to everyone out there, to every lady who can hear me, every mother, every daughter, every child who is old enough to read: Get out before it’s too late. Get out alive.

It might be not enough. I want more. We all want more. I want to go out unveiled and shout to who can see me: I survived violence.

Now I can’t. One day maybe. If ever this country reaches a level of protection that would allow me to shout-it-out loud and clear, without putting anyone in danger, without risking of losing my children, without putting my life at risk.

But for the time being, as I wash my face, clear my throat and wipe my tears, I publish this and pray for every woman out there to be a new story of survival.

Happy International Woman’s Day.