Category Archives: Lebanon

Someone is Suing MTV Over Their Road Safety Campaign

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A Lebanese lawyer apparently got offended by MTV’s brilliant road safety campaign and is planning to sue them. Sandrellah Merhej, the lawyer in question, wants to stop the ad because it is disrespectful to religious symbols (mainly Christian Saints in that case). She even stated that a protest was being planned against MTV but they decided to legally sue MTV instead.

Now isn’t that the most ironic thing ever? someone suing MTV for disrespecting Christianity while MTV keeps bragging about standing for Christian rights in Lebanon? What would be even more ironic and funny is for the lawyer in question to fall into a pothole and ruin her tires on her way to the hearing session.

I personally loved the ad and thought it brilliantly tackled road safety in Lebanon.

[YouTube]

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The Virtual National Museum of Modern Art: The First of Its Kind In Lebanon

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The Ministry of Culture officially launched on Wednesday the Virtual National Museum of Modern Art in Lebanon. This is the first museum of its kind in Lebanon and will feature over 800 artworks including paintings and sculptures from different Lebanese artists.

I was invited to Rome for a couple of days to attend the opening of the Lebanese museum of modern arts last week but it turned out to be a cool stunt by the Ministry to introduce the virtual museum and I got the chance to meet the Minister who explained everything related to that museum, and the gigantic effort that it took to bring this large collection online.

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The virtual museum aims at digitizing the large collection that the Ministry of Culture has, as well as introducing Lebanese here and abroad, and of course art enthusiasts from around the world, to our local talents. You can explore it on [artmodernemv.gov.lb] and there’s an app also available for iOS (iPhone, iPad) & Android users.

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The website is available in four languages (English, Arabic, Spanish & French) and once you click to experience the virtual museum, you will be prompted to enter 4 different “rooms” organized periodically where you will be able to explore the artwork of various Lebanese painters and sculptors. There’s also a section called “Exhibitions” that will showcase artwork by a prominent Lebanese artist every 2-3 months. The first exhibition on display online is for painter Georges Daoud el Korom.

Technically speaking, the website is user-friendly and quite fast. I also tried the Android app and it works perfectly fine. There are few bugs and issues with the website though that I communicated with the concerned people.

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All in all, I loved the initiative as it aims to promote Lebanese modern art to locals and the whole world and will help maintain Lebanon’s arts heritage by digitizing it. Let’s just hope that one day, the Ministry will have enough money to establish a real museum and showcase the 2000+ artistic pieces in its possession.

Here’s a short video to help you experience the virtual museum. (Thank you Wajid from Uf concepts for the editing and the help!)

[YouTube]

PS: If you happen to have an Oculus VR machine, you can enjoy viewing the museum in VR mode.

Note: This post will be sponsored on BlogBaladi’s Facebook page by the Ministry of Culture with my consent of course.

Racist Joke on one of LBC’s TV Shows

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Elie Sleiman on MTV’s Menna w Jor featured two jokes from the LBC TV show Haram as part of his “Joke of the week” section. I’m really glad Sleiman picked up these jokes because one of them is extremely racist and inappropriate (it’s about black people and white chocolate) and that Pierre pointed out that it’s a racist joke, just a lame one.

To be honest, I have no idea how someone approved this script but then again this whole show “Haram” should not be on air.

Start watching at Minute 09:15

[YouTube]

#Sawwet16: Uber Offering Free Rides on Elections Day All Across Lebanon

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Uber Beirut keeps coming up with the coolest campaigns. Only yesterday I was telling my friends how I ordered #UberJanerik and delivered them to my wife. The driver delivered 2 nicely packed boxes of Janerik with a bag of salt for just 4$ to her office. Today, Uber launched a new campaign aiming to encourage voters in Beirut and across Lebanon to cast their vote.

#Sawwet16: Uber wants you to go vote:
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Municipal elections begin this Sunday in Beirut, Bekaa, Baalbeck and Hermel and for that occasion, Uber is offering free rides to and from the polls to help everyone get out and vote.

How does it work?
– Open or download the Uber app.
– Enter promo code ‘Sawwet16’.
– On Election day, request a ride to and from your polling location.

The offer is only valid for 2 rides during polling hours (7am – 7pm). Maximum value per ride is $15.

Illegal Municipal Banners Increased After Beirut Governor’s Ban

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I expected municipal candidates to take Beirut Governor’s ban seriously but instead the number of posters has drastically increased and they are all over the place (public walls, fences, bridges, traffic lights, poles, toilets etc ..)

Let’s see if anyone is going to remove them after the elections are done. I just wish the Interior Ministry and Beirut’s governor were more strict on these matters but then again sheep are getting slaughtered in broad day light on the streets without anyone intervening.

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The Eternal Magic of Beirut By The New York Times

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I just finished reading “The Eternal Magic of Beirut”, an article by Michael Specter published on the NY Times. It’s one of the best articles I’ve read on Beirut in a long time.

Here are some of my favorite passages from the article but I highly recommend you read the whole thing.

On Beirut as a whole:

There is something singular about Beirut. It has one foot planted in the Middle East and the other in Europe, but it doesn’t quite belong in either place. Nothing seems permanent there; it is a perpetual transit point.

Perhaps alone among great cities, Beirut has earned, and manages to maintain, reputations both for wanton licentiousness and for utter terror. “There it stands, with a toss of curls and a flounce of skirts, a Carmen among the cities,” Jan Morris wrote in her great love letter to what she described as “The Impossible City.”

No other place could serve so effortlessly as a luxurious pit stop for rich Europeans, Arab royalty and celebrities like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The cafes were filled with radical intellectuals, oil sheikhs and every kind of huckster.

On the ongoing crisis-mode we live in Beirut

Today, more than a million Syrian refugees have swarmed into the region, having fled the 10th-century carnage little more than 100 miles away. It is this constant tension that makes the city so hard to understand — and such a fascinating place to visit.

On Leaving Beirut

I asked if she ever considered leaving the city where she has spent the bulk of her life. “Of course,” she said. “But I don’t, and I am pretty sure I never will. This kind of turmoil, this kind of volatility, this kind of precariousness … ” She let the thought drift for a while. “I don’t want to say that life in war zones forces us to be creative,” she continued. “I know that is banal. But Beirut is a demanding city, and that makes it vital and alive. And vitality produces greatness.”

Villa Clara’s French Chef Olivier Gougeon take on Beirut

“Here, there is total anarchy,” he explained, with a look of pleasure in his eyes. “Chaos. You have to fight on a daily basis for everything you get.” And like so many others I encountered, he regarded that daily struggle as a benefit rather than an obstacle. “In France everything is regimented,” he said. “There are hours and rules and long vacations. Here there are no days off. And very little rest. But we have something they no longer have: energy, desire and complete freedom.”

On Solidere and the new souks:

The (Beirut) souks today are filled with shiny objects and marble floors. It is a great place to buy moisturizer, a $10,000 handbag or a Patek Philippe watch. But the new souks have far more in common with the Mall of America than with the many Levantine bazaars that have dominated the Arab marketplace for thousands of years.

There are cleaners, banks, bakeries and restaurants threaded through the old residential blocks. The newest towers, many of which hover ominously above graceful old villas, are nothing but giant walls of glass. Many terraces have been replaced with windows that can’t even be opened. “Every one of these places is a gated community, a vertical gated community,” he said. “There are no shops, no public space, no place to chat.”

On the US travel warnings to Beirut

But on the alert went: “U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Lebanon despite this Travel Warning should keep a low profile, assess their personal security, and vary times and routes for all required travel.” I did none of those things — nor was any of it necessary. There are parts of Beirut that are clearly unsafe; but tourists don’t, as a rule, hang out in Hezbollah-controlled territory. The city I visited was peaceful, even serene, and nobody I spoke to suggested it wasn’t. The loudest noise usually came from the most energetic nightclubs.

Lebanon Municipal Elections 2016: All You Need To Know About The Voting Process

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Who is eligible to vote?
Every Lebanese individual who has attained the legal age stipulated in the constitution (21 years), whether or not resident on the Lebanese territory, shall be entitled to vote.

Who is not eligible to vote?
All the individuals listed under Article 4,5 and 6. [Source]
• Persons deprived by legal sentence of their civil rights
• Persons convicted to be permanently disqualified from public service at any grades or positions
• Persons disqualified from their grades or public service temporarily, until the end of the disqualification period
• Persons convicted of a felony etc ..

Non-retired military personnel (ISF, Public security, State Security, Customs Police, Lebanese Army etc ..) are not allowed to vote as well..

What is the legal age for voting?
The legal voting age is still 21 years in Lebanon. It should have been reduced to 18 years back in 2008 but the proposed law didn’t pass.

What are the documents needed to vote?
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You need an identity card or a valid passport to vote. An individual civil registry extract or the old voting card are NOT valid.

Where can I get an ID?
If you don’t have an ID, it’s probably too late for the upcoming elections in Beirut but you should do it anyway. Go to the mayor or the registration office in your district and fill an ID Request Form. You will need individual civil registry extract and two passport photos. You can track your application [here].

Where can I vote?
The first municipal elections will take place on May 8th in Beirut, Bekaa, Baalbeck and Hermel. Polling stations are open from 7 AM to 7 PM. If you want to know where is the nearest polling station to you, check out this [link].

When are the elections taking place?
The first municipal elections will take place on May 8th in Beirut, Bekaa, Baalbeck and Hermel.
Mount Lebanon will follow on May 15th, then South Lebanon & Nabatieh on May 22nd and finally North Lebanon and Akkar on May 29.

Guidelines to follow when you’re voting:
– Make sure you check the names properly before voting.
– If you are making your own list, write down the names neatly.
– The voting booth is mandatory and you have to enter it by yourself.

I highly recommend you watch the below video for further details:

If you want more information, you can also call the Minister of Interior and Municipalities’ hotline 1766 or visit [elections.gov.lb].

“Beirutis List” Apparently Got The Wrong Lighthouse in Their Logo

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Update: Comparative picture done by Lina Ghaibeh.

The picture above has gone viral yesterday and shows the lighthouse in the Beirutis List logo versus the authentic lighthouse in Manara. I can’t confirm if Beirut-Madinati is behind it (couldn’t find it on their page) but I looked up old pictures of Beirut’s famous lighthouse, which dates back to the 1800s, and it’s very different from the one in the logo indeed. Even the new one that was built in late 90s doesn’t resemble the one shown in the Beirutis List. Assuming the curved stripes are meant to show a tie, the upper shape of the lighthouse has nothing to do with the two lighthouses we have in Beirut.

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I know that this is a minor detail and the slogan in the “Beirutis List” is the real problem for me to be honest, but still it’s funny how no one paid attention to this detail, especially if their whole campaign is about giving Beirut back to the Beirutis (whatever that means). If there’s something I’m missing here, please do share but this is the only lighthouse I know about.

5 Manara, 1960

ASHEKMAN’s New #ZiadRahbani Calligraffiti in Beirut

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ASHEKMAN put the final touches yesterday to their latest #‎calligraffiti portraying Ziad Rahbani with his famous quote “Bennesbeh Labokra Chou?”, or in English “What about tomorrow?”. The graffiti is strategically located at the center of a previous war zone a.k.a خط تماس at the Basta/Bechara el Khoury/Sodeco intersection.

I love the quote, the location and of course the artwork. It’s another masterpiece by ASHEKMAN. Thank you for covering and replacing ugly political slogans with beautiful graffiti murals!

Here are a couple of exclusive shots from ASHEKMAN and Jad Ghorayeb.

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