Category Archives: Lebanon

On April 13: The Lebanese Civil War Mentality We Need To Get Rid Of

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When I first saw the announcement above, I wasn’t really sure if I should laugh at it or criticize it, and as it went viral and Lebanese started commenting on it, I noticed that few people were actually defending whomever posted this announcement and saying that this is the reality we live in. I wasn’t surprised to hear these comments to be honest as sectarianism is still infecting our society and has been on the rise lately mainly due to the Syrian conflict, add to that increased racism against Syrian Refugees.

The Lebanese Civil War ended in 1990, but the Lebanese were unable to put it behind them and move on, simply because every sect thinks his people were the good guys during the war and the others were traitors and collaborators. Moreover, a lot of Lebanese families are brainwashing their children into thinking these so-called other Lebanese are still the bad ones and that we shouldn’t co-exist with them, and this is what’s causing all these tensions and fights during university elections between students who weren’t even born during the civil war era.

Every year, I tell myself that there’s no need to write an April 13 remembrance post because we’ve all learned the lesson, and every year I am reminded that this civil war is not yet over, at least not in the minds of a lot of Lebanese. This sectarian mentality and hateful attitude towards the other is destroying our country bit by bit and it is up to each one of us to stop spreading it and fight it by all means. In the Lebanese documentary Heritages that I’ve reviewed lately, the father takes his children back to his Achrafieh apartment, shows them the war toys that he used to collect and tells them how he always thought those on the other side of the demarcation line were the bad guys, and how it took him years to realize they thought the same of him.

We don’t need Muslims to pray in Churches and Christians in mosques to achieve unity, nor bombings and assassinations to unite us. What we need is to stop thinking in this sectarian way and ignore those who do. We should explain to our children and the younger generations that the only emerging winners from any war are warlords and corrupt politicians, and that the only way to write down a history book past 1975 is by eliminating the factors that are stopping us from finishing it. If we are unable to achieve these things, the young generations will never learn the reasons behind the civil war, its consequences and how to prevent a new one.

More importantly, there won’t be any apartment to sell for Christians or Muslims in this country.

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How it all started

Fashionable Candles for Palm Sunday

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This doll is part of an art exhibition at the Beirut Souks done by Cynthia’s Candle. The candles on display are supposedly the world’s tallest Palm Sunday Candles which I hope no one will consider buying for their children. I remember when I was a kid, I had to carry my younger cousin’s 1 meter and a half candle for a good hour just because he was too little to hold it.

Aside from the exhibition, there are other fashionable candles for kids which are pretty cute, at least for girls. You can check them out [Here].

First Impression: PZZA.Co At The Beirut Souks

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Yesterday was the soft launch for The PZZA.Co Italian restaurant so I passed by and had a late lunch there. PZZA.Co is a gourmet italian concept brought to you by the same people behind BRGR.Co, which is by far my favorite burger place in Lebanon. PzzaCo is located right next to Brgrco at the Beirut Souks.

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The outside of the place looks very similar to Brgrco. The interior is simple but quite artistic and catchy and gives a cozy feeling. There’s a huge artwork done by Gregory Gatserelia (resembling an erupting volcano, Mount Vesuvius maybe) above the oven that expands to the whole roof that you can see in the picture below.

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As far as the food is concerned, PZZA.Co servers starters, salads, mozzarella specials, pizzas (including 3 Hussein Hadid signature pizzas), pastas, risotto, a couple of chicken and veal dishes, and of course desserts. The wine they serve is an Italian one. Here are some of the stuff I tried out:

Salads:
WP_20140410_12_36_00_Pro Baby Spinach salad with toasted pine nuts (with a traditional balsamic vinaigrette)

WP_20140410_12_37_19_Pro Fennel with oranges, pomegranate and pecorino romano (with an orange and pomegranate vinaigrette)

Both salads were fresh and tasted great and I absolutely loved the Fennel with oranges one, specially with the Orange and Pomegranate vinaigrette sauce.

Starters and Pastas:
WP_20140410_12_37_34_Pro Bocconcini in Carroza (baby mozzarella cheese breaded served with a tomato basil sauce)

WP_20140410_13_00_00_Pro Rigatoni Creamy Bolognese (served with Minced beef)

The breaded Baby Mozzarella balls were a delight and didn’t feel that heavy even though they were breaded. The Mozzarella tasted fresh too. As for the Rigatoni Bolognese, I am not a big fan of minced beef so I couldn’t really judge if it’s any good but I didn’t mind it.

Pizzas:

WP_20140410_12_39_03_Pro Marinara Fresh: Tomato, garlic, oregano, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil

WP_20140410_13_00_51_Pro The Wild Mushroom: Mozzarella Cheese, taleggio cheese, wild seasonal mushrooms and truffle oil

The Italian Chef running the cuisine is from Napoli and he takes great pride in preparing fresh tomatoes for his pizza. The Marinara is an authentic Neapolitan pizza and consists of fresh tomato, garlic, oregano and fresh basil. I noticed a lot of people in the restaurant had ordered it and the tomato did taste very fresh, but I’d rather have some cheese on top or mixed with it.

Moving on to the Hussein Hadid signature pizza, The Wild Mushroom was just delicious and I think I finished the pizza by myself. The dough was just perfect, not too thin not too thick, a bit crispy on the sides but tender when you eat it. The ingredients were all fresh and I liked the taleggio cheese which I hadn’t tasted before, at least not to my knowledge.

I noticed that they have a Calzone on the menu as well. The last decent one I had was at Pinocchio Achrafieh years ago, so I am looking forward to trying it out next time.

Desserts:
WP_20140410_13_36_27_Pro Caramel and Biscuit Pizza

WP_20140410_13_36_40_Pro Vanilla Bean Panicotta

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I didn’t want to try the chocolate or caramel pizzas because I usually find them too sweet but my friend insisted I try out the Caramel and Biscuit Pizza and I am glad I did. I will let u figure out which biscuit is put on top but it was a heavenly sweet pizza. The Panicotta is a dessert you won’t find in many places and is worth a try and the Tiramisu was good.

Price-wise, PZZA.Co is really affordable as the salads, appetizers and pizzas range between 10$ and 20$ and the quantities are decent. Of course there are few special dishes and signature pastas and pizzas which are a bit more expensive, but you can easily have a salad or appetizer, a pizza and a dessert for like 30$.

I really liked PZZA.Co and I am definitely going there soon to try out the Calzone and have that Caramel Biscuit Pizza again.

Review: Heritages (2013)

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I went to watch Philippe Aractingi’s latest movie/documentary “Heritages” and it honestly didn’t live up to my expectations or at least to what I’ve heard and read about it. Heritages is basically a documentary on Aractingi’s family, where he shows in pictures and old footage how they’ve been moving for decades from one country to another and why. While I loved the amount of old pictures, old videos, breath-taking stories and impressive archive the director has, I wasn’t really sure what he was trying to prove or the final message he was trying to relay throughout the movie.

In fact, there were several powerful messages that I loved, specially when he went to meet the family of a good friend he lost during the war, when he sat down with his kids and showed them his old “toys” back from the war days or when he tries to describe to his kids what Achrafieh looked like at some point and how children used to play back then. I loved how he approached his children on the war issue and I hope all parents are as honest and straightforward as Philippe is. However, the last scene was a bit too cheesy and the whole “building nations and staying in Lebanon” thingy is not very convincing, specially that the director has been trying to come back relentlessly to Lebanon but in vain and odds are that his sons and daughter will probably leave Lebanon for the same reasons he did.

Don’t get me wrong as I am not blaming him or saying it’s a bad thing to leave. On the contrary, and just like his wife said, Lebanon is a country that people leave, not stay in and build a family, and that’s the unfortunate truth we all live in these days. Unfortunately, not all of us have the option to leave and even when we do have that choice, it’s not as easy as people might think it is because of several factors such as money or family or society maybe, but for me, that’s not a country I’d want my children to grow in at the moment and probably won’t be for the next 10 years or more. The scenery on that final scene was breath-taking though and reminds us of Lebanon’s beauty or whatever is left of it.

All in all, Heritages is a nice family documentary that I do recommend you watch as the director has done an impressive work collecting all his archive and linking between his grandparents’ stories and his.

[YouTube]

What’s Inside The Lebanese Parliament Drawers?

[YouTube]

Here are few examples of bills buried in the Lebanese Parliament drawers and that need to be tackled ASAP!

1- Retirement Benefits Bill
2- Civil Status Laws Bill
3- Mental Health Bill
4- Women Citizenship Bill
5- Anti-Corruption Bill
6- Anti-Censorship and Freedom of Theater and Cinema Bill
7- Penal Code Revision
8- Labor Law Revision

For those interested, Gino who first wrote about this gave a brief explanation of every bill.

To learn more about the Lebanese Economic Association who’s behind this video and many others, click [Here].

In Pictures: Huge Storm Hits Lebanon, Drowns Roads

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via YazbekWehbe

Of course it wasn’t a huge storm that hit Lebanon this morning, but if you look at what happened today after it rained for a couple of hours only, you’d think a tsunami had hit the Lebanese shores.

Here are few pictures that speak for themselves:

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via CharbelElKhoury

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via FadiHaddad

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via TMCLebanon

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via YazbekWehbe

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via CeeClearer

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via NadimBakry

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via WissamKhlaf

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via SamerSarkiss

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via FouadKhreiss

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via EliGhanem

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via EliTouma

PS: If I credited the wrong person or forgot to credit any picture please do inform me and I will gladly update it.

Lebanese Reporters Show Support For The Civil Defence Volunteers By Taking Off Their Shoes

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The Civil Defence Volunteers went to the sea yesterday and threatened to keep on swimming until the law is passed. Some of them almost drowned and others fainted before the law got approved by the parliament. Meanwhile and in order to show support, Lebanese Reporters from various TV stations decided to share pictures of their shoes.

Ya3ne ya hek support ya bala or as Nadine from LBCBlogs said, “Because selfie, or it didn’t happen”.

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