Category Archives: Lebanon

Khod Nafas And Join The Beirut Yoga Festival This Weekend!

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yoga beirut

I think you all remember the picture that went viral last year of a woman who was doing yoga in the middle of the street? Well that was Dalal Harb, the founder of the Beirut Yoga Festival but unlike what people thought (including myself), it wasn’t really a stunt as Dalal tends to roll out her yoga mat wherever she feels like (usually in nature). The picture did go viral though making the first Beirut yoga festival a success and encouraging the organizers to redo the same thing this year. The second edition will be taking place this weekend on the 19th and 20th of September at Pleine Nature in Mar Roukoz. The event is a non-profit event where proceeds will go to the Lebanese Red Cross.

I think we all need to unplug for a weekend with everything that’s been going on lately, so here’s a good opportunity to do so! I’ve never really tried yoga before so this will be my first time. See you all there!

There are classes for everyone, including parents and their kids. You can find more info on the event [here] and on the [website].

A Shameful And Inaccurate Report On Baby Ali

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baby ali (2)

Update: I got a clarification from MTV saying “that the title used was indeed wrong and that it was changed at the midnight news. Moreover, they didn’t mention the online campaign because it wasn’t related only to Ali and they wanted to shoot another report on online campaigns especially that there are already two success stories. Also, they couldn’t mention all the names and they made sure to thank everyone”.

I thank them for the clarification and for changing that horrible title. The report should have been elaborated further in my opinion as it sent out a wrong message unfortunately and the title made it worse. What matters the most and MTV agrees on that now is that Ali is now in a new shelter with his family.

Everyone is happy that Baby Ali was rescued from the street and moved into a new shelter but MTV’s report last night was a disrespectful one for the baby and his family and those who helped.

To begin with, they gave themselves all the credit for shedding the light on the story which is not correct as the story had spread before on Twitter and was highlighted by several media as well. I personally knew about Baby Ali from the MTV report but a lot of people were following up on the baby since day 1 and posting updates.

Second of all, calling the baby a “bastard” is inappropriate and unnecessary. The headline used “بعد الاعلان: منزل للرضيع اللقيط!” was a terrible one! Did you verify that he’s a bastard? And if that’s the case what difference does it make? Did you check if the mother was raped or forced into prostitution for example? Or if the father ditched her or maybe died in the war in Syria? This baby has a name and you could have used it for announcing the story.

Last but not least, why didn’t they mention who helped and how? If they don’t want to say Alfa helped, what’s wrong with mentioning LiveLoveBeirut and letting people know about the online fundraising campaign to help Ali and other children?

Speaking of donors, Alfa covered the rent as you all know and Touch promised to buy the family everything that’s missing in the house. Several anonymous donors also offered to help and one of them was referred by MTV. As far as the 30-day long online campaign is going, we collected over $6500 in only 4 days which is amazing!

Overall, moving Baby Ali into a new apartment was a very demanding task that took a lot of time and dedication mainly from Carol Maalouf and the Leb4refugees team but also from a lot of people who were taking care of the baby since Day 1. Rachelle, Lama and Rana spent hours every day watching over the baby, feeding him, buying him and his grandpa stuff, taking him to a doctor on their own expenses, getting him meds, trying to reach out to the media and other things. They were the first people I talked to about sharing the post and they were extremely helpful and caring. they were sick worried about the baby and wanted to know every single detail of the story and still ask for updates every day. It is not MTV’s report nor my post that got baby Ali out of the street, it’s the follow-up of these mothers and the Leb4refugees team. Carol made sure that Ali won’t be sleeping on the street the day she found out about him and did all the arrangements to move him and his family the next day to a new house despite the obstacles (Police, paper work and some NGOs) that she ran into. It’s very easy to show support online and share stories but things are very different on the ground especially when it comes to refugees and street children.

Despite this disappointing report, what matters the most is that Ali and his family are doing great now and they are enjoying their new shelter and the new life they were given.


11 Awesome Aerial Pictures From Lebanon By RiseAboveLebanon

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Harissa1 Our Lady of Harissa

Christian Ghammachi started the Instagram Account @RiseAboveLebanon almost two months ago and has been sharing some amazing aerial pictures from all across Lebanon. The aim is to “show Lebanon’s wealth, diversity and beauty from a different angle: Above!” and he’s doing so perfectly!

I selected 11 of my favorite pictures and shared them in this post but I strongly recommend you follow him and check out his gallery [here].

Tyre2 Tyre, also known as Sour.

Raouche Raouche Rock

Rabbit Island Rabbit Island – Tripoli

Monas Monasteries in Lebanon have the best spots

Continue reading

S&P: Lebanon’s Outlook Downgraded From “Stable” To “Negative”

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garbage Via NationalPost

Standard & Poor’s has revised the outlook for Lebanon on the long-term ratings from “stable” to “negative”. We used to blame regional instability on the economic situation in Lebanon and it definitely has impacted us negatively but I believe our biggest problems right now are domestic instability and corruption.

We haven’t had a Lebanese president since May 2014, elections since 2009, the parliament has failed to pass a budget since 2005 and garbage is all over our streets! It’s a good thing we still have a solid financial system backed by the Central Bank.

My favorite quote from the article is the below:

The agency did not expect the government to use the lower oil price environment, and the resulting fiscal space, to implement the structural reforms that would reduce fiscal vulnerabilities and promote longer-term economic growth. It added that public finances and fiscal flexibility would remain constrained by structural expenditures that include transfers to EDL and high debt servicing.

I guess this is the S&P’s way of telling the Lebanese authorites: #YouStink!

Protesting For The Wrong Reasons

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Piles of Garbage were apparently blocking the Dora pedestrian bridge so an old man decided to cross the highway and got killed. As a result, the #بدنا_نحاسب movement decided to stage a protest in front of the bridge and blamed Sukleen among others for the incident. They also moved some of the garbage and dropped them in front of the company’s offices in Karantina.

I know we are all fed up of the garbage crisis and the corruption and incompetence of Lebanese officials, but there’s no excuse to jeopardize your life by crossing the highway, and Sukleen has nothing to do with the piles of garbage under a pedestrian bridge. Those who organized this protest should have at least promoted road safety and advised against crossing highways and blamed the municipality and concerned ministries (not Sukleen) for not clearing the pedestrian bridge.

Moreover, I think Yasa or KunHadi should organize a campaign on the Dora-Karantina highway to prevent people from crossing the highway because I spot people almost EVERYDAY crossing the highway, sometimes underneath the pedestrian bridge which is quite absurd! They could start by placing a police officer or volunteer next to the bridge for a short period of time to prevent people like this old man from crossing the highway. A lot of people don’t understand the risks of crossing busy highways and this old man’s life could have been saved easily if someone was there to prevent him.


Updates On Baby Ali And The Refugee Children Online Campaign

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I’ve been following up on Baby Ali all day yesterday with Leb4refugees and I got a confirmation yesterday night that he finally moved to the new apartment with his family. The new apartment is decent but needs few things which will be shared tomorrow for all those who wish to help. As far as the online campaign is concerned, the amount collected until now is around $5000 which is awesome news!

For those who are in Lebanon and can directly donate (cash, food, supplies etc ..), contact Leb4refugees offices at +961 4 546 077 (or +961 3 315500) or email them

For those who are in Lebanon abroad and wish to help online, you can donate [Here].

The pictures shown in this post were taken today.



The Bad Guy In “BlackHat” Is A Lebanese

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One of the key villains in Michael Mann’s latest action thriller Blackhat is a Lebanese known para-military who fought with the Christian Phalanges during the Civil War and is called Elias Kassar. The character is played by Ritchie Coster. Kassar is a ruthless machine gun-wielding and bloodthirsty guy who would do anything to protect the big boss.

I don’t remember the last time someone referred to the Lebanese civil war and militias in a Hollywood movie. There are two movies that had scenes shot related to Beirut during the civil war era and that I can think of now: The Delta Force with Chuck Norris and True Lies with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As far as Blackhat is concerned, it’s an action-packed movie but the plot is not that good. I’d give it a 6/10.





Here’s another movie as well: (Thanks Christian)

Mr Lebanon 2015 Candidate Genius Solution To The Garbage Crisis

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I feel so stupid right now. I’ve been brainstorming for months now on how to resolve the garbage crisis but I never considered such a simple and straight forward solution. This guy deserves a Nobel Prize for his ground-breaking solution!

Check it out [here] if you don’t believe me.

If you can’t watch the video, check below from Minute 1:45:00.


How To Help Baby Ali & Other Refugee Children

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baby ali via Lama

As soon as I heard about the 8-month old baby, that was originally tweeted by Jad, living under the Charles Helou bridge yesterday, I shared the story and talked to a couple of friends and NGOs to see how we can help. After making few calls, I was introduced to Lama Beydoun (Thank you Sarah) who was apparently among the first to spot the baby and has been helping him since Day1 along with Rachelle Ismail who took him yesterday to see a doctor on her own expenses. I also talked to Rana who has offered to relocate the baby and his grandpa and has been helping as well to get some feedback on the family. I finally decided to meet with Carol Maalouf and members of the Leb4refugees NGO at Charles Helou station as they have been dealing with refugees for several years now.

What’s The Story?

Ali is an 8-month old baby who lives with his mother, her sisters and brothers, his step-dad and his grand father somewhere in Ouzai. His dad is Lebanese from the South but has apparently abandoned his family for some reason. The grandpa was taking care of the baby most of the time from what he told us and he decided to move him out of the apartment because it was in a very bad condition (too dirty and too hot). To be honest, I don’t think any place can be worse than living under the Charles Helou bridge and we couldn’t really figure out why the grand father took the baby and moved out but what’s for sure is that he’s taking good care of his grandson and other members of the family are helping as well.

To cut the story short, we told the father that the baby should no longer sleep under the bridge and that he should sleep at the Ouzai house (if there is one) till we find a new shelter. He agreed and the baby spent the night at home yesterday and we made sure with the police that he didn’t keep him under the bridge.

How To Help?

Ever since the story broke up, a lot of people have offered to help and several of them showed up and offered the grand father money, food and baby supplies. Everyone wants to help but it needs to be done properly in order to get Ali off the street and into a decent shelter. First things first, we need to find them a new apartment and cover the rent for at least 6 months, then get the baby and grand father the food and supplies they need.

– Alfa Telecom were among the first to offer help and Alfa’s CEO messaged me directly and told me they will cover the rent for 6 months which is awesome news!
– As far as online donations are concerned, I decided to team up with my friends at LiveLoveBeirut and Leb4refugees to start a crowdfunding campaign. Since there are a lot of children in need, the funds donated here will go to Lebanese 4 Refugees to help find Ali get a new life at first and then help other refugee children because there are thousands of babies like Ali in Lebanon unfortunately.

For those who are in Lebanon and can directly donate (cash, food, supplies etc ..), contact Leb4refugees offices at +961 4 546 077 (or +961 3 315500) or email them

For those who are in Lebanon abroad and wish to help online, you can donate [Here].

I really hope this works out and we can get Ali a new shelter and a new life. No baby deserves to be sleeping under a bridge. No one deserves living under such conditions.

Update1: I just passed by this morning and Carol told me they found an apartment in Nabaa for $350 a month and that they will probably move today as soon as the funds are secured.