Category Archives: Lebanon

What’s Happening At Sabis School?

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According to this MTV report, Sabis which is a secular school, dismissed Christian students having a cross of ashes on their forehead on the first day of Lent because the school does not tolerate any display of religious or political symbols. However, and as per the school regulations shown in the report and what the school principal explained to the parents, Hijab which is a “religious obligation” is accepted by the administration.

Here’s an excerpt of the regulations as shown in the MTV report:

The display of any religious or political symbol is strictly forbidden. A religious obligation may be accepted by the administration if it is not in conflict with the curriculum, rules and regulations of the school.

Personally speaking, I believe a secular school shouldn’t allow any religious symbols and shouldn’t make exceptions at all. Whether Hijab is a religious obligation or symbol is open to interpretation and has caused endless debates worldwide specially after France banned it, so it’s a bad idea for a secular school to stick its nose in these matters. Moving on to the MTV report, and since Lebanon is obviously not a secular state, I think they should have dealt with this sensitive issue more carefully without adding more fuel to the fire. Turning the matter into a sectarian one and wearing crosses vs wearing veils matter is silly and won’t do us any good.

More importantly, the way some parents are reacting to this matter will only reflect negatively on their children as they have nothing to do with this matter and are probably clueless about religion as a whole. All in all, I think the administration and the parents should meet and sort this out in the best interest of the children and the school.

Georges Clooney And Amal Alamuddin Are Not Getting Married In Lebanon Apparently

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I don’t know how the rumors spread that Clooney and Alamuddin are getting married in Lebanon, but it doesn’t look like the wedding is taking place in Alamuddin’s native Chouf Village of Baakline. In fact, the HuffingtonPost and Time reported that the couple are probably getting married at Highclere Castle (the castle from Downton Abbey) in England or at Clooney’s palatial Italian villa on Lake Como. People magazine however is saying the couple might have a party afterwards near Alamuddin’s Lebanese hometown.

To be honest, I am not really interested in the wedding but it would be a great boost for Lebanon’s tourism if the world’s most talked about couple decides to have a small party in Lebanon.

Lebanese Champion Edward Maalouf CrowdFunding His Way To The Rio De Janeiro 2016 Paralympics

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Edward Maalouf is a Lebanese professional athlete and the winner of 2 Bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in Beijing back in 2008. He’s been competing in races for more than 10 years without any financial or official support from the Lebanese authorities. He has won the Hand-cycle Marathon in New York back in 2006, the silver medal in the Disability Cycling World Championships in Bordeaux, the Beirut Marathon in 2012 and has participated in the 2012 Paralympics in London but failed to win any medals.

I’ve been following Maalouf’s successes for years and always wondered how he managed to achieve all that with so little support and a limited budget. Of course you’d expect a successful athlete like him to get substantial support from the Lebanese authorities specially after winning 2 medals for Lebanon at the Paralympic Games in Beijing back in 2008 but that’s not the case unfortunately as Maalouf has been struggling financially year after year and cutting back on everything to compete in international tournaments.

This being said, Maalouf is still determined to achieve his dream and win a gold for Lebanon at the Rio De Janeiro 2016 Paralympics but he cannot do it without the help of a professional coach, a professional nutritionist and without the proper equipment. That’s why he’s seeking the help of all the Lebanese who believe in him by crowdfunding his way to the next Paralympics games in Brazil.

The amount needed is $90,000 for the next 3 years and is easily achievable if this campaign goes viral so let’s spread the word and show Edward our support because he truly deserves it.

For the individuals interested in helping Maalouf, you can donate [Here]. For the companies interested in sponsoring this campaign, there are packages that you can check [Here].


Lebanon: Not As Seen on TV

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These videos are part of the Live Love Lebanon campaign and were shot by young Lebanese to show alternative gateways in Lebanon and emphasize on Lebanese hospitality, eco-tourism and basic pleasures in life.

You’ve seen the international news reports. You’ve heard the talk. But Lebanon is much more than that. From exciting Beirut nights to the serenity of its villages, and from the crashing waves of its shores to its snow-capped mountains, the Lebanese are showing the world what their country is truly about.


Idiots Of The Day

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As I said on so many occasions before, what bothers me the most about these stunts is that they take place on highways where it’s very easy for cops to spot these motorists and arrest them. Moreover, these bikers go out usually on Sundays and have gathering points, so there’s no excuse not to stop them before someone gets hurt.




PS: Pictures taken from YASA Facebook Page.

Antoury Market In Hamra Closing Down: This is not Ariel Sharon’s Supermarket

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shop hamra

If you pass by Makdessi street in Hamra, you will notice the above banners outside Antoury’s market. The big banner says “This is not Ariel Sharon’s Supermarket” while the small ones translate roughly to “Stop this unjust decision that will leave 6 families homeless” and “Can you find a property in Hamra that sells for $2000 per square meters?”.

So what’s the story?
Based on The Beirut Report’s post, a relative of the shopkeeper is saying she was offered only $60,000 to vacate both the shop and the shopkeeper’s 130 square meter apartment. Obviously, the market price for such a property is at least 10 times higher but the woman is an old renter and apparently that’s the amount she was offered after several court rulings.

I don’t know how she ended up getting $60,000 only and it does sound like an unfair amount, but that’s one of the many consequences of this old rent law that we will soon get rid of. The old law is affecting both tenants and landlords and both parties rarely manage to settle things out in a fair way.

My friend Amer said this place had one of the best Labneh sandwiches in Beirut.

#BreakingBarriersLebanon: Michael Haddad Defying Disability To The Top Of Raouché’s Rock

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Michael Haddad is a young Lebanese who lost control of 75% of his body after a jet-ski accident 26 years ago and stays standing up with his two crutches and a 15-kilogram steel exoskeleton. Despite all that, he has already succeeded in walking 19 kilometers between the Cedars of Bcharre and the Cedars of Tannourine and now wants to climb to the top of the Raouche Rock on June 8 which happens to be World Oceans Day.

Michael is a great guy and an inspiration to us all. Let’s wish him the best of luck!