Category Archives: Lebanon

The Ultimate Guide to Dealing With Garbage in Lebanon

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If you’re having trouble dealing with the garbage situation in Lebanon, follow the below guidelines:

1- Keep a picture of our current Environment Minister with you at all time. It’s a very efficient blocking tool.
2- Make use of all these mosquitoes to create new local dishes. Mosquito Hrisse can be our new local secret on Snapchat. Chou we2fit 3al Fattet Shrimps?
3- If you can’t stand the smell and have to take out your garbage, throw if off the balcony.
4- If you risk getting caught, build a small catapult, install it on the roof and throw your garbage to your neighbor’s roof.
5- Urinate to mark your “garbage” territory so that no one else throws trash in your spot.
6- Keep a picture of a fried rat and show it to any rat you spot on the street. That way, he will get scared and stay away from you. (Make sure to look him in the eye).
7- Snapping at a party by rotating your camera stupidly and making your followers dizzy can be made much easier with mosquitoes around.
8- Buy a net mask and wear it at all time to avoid swallowing mosquitoes. If you can’t afford masks, try to negotiate with the mosquitoes and ask them kindly not to enter your mouth, or bribe them with a couple of blood drops.
9- There’s no need to feel guilty if you fart during a date or in public, just blame it on the garbage piles and fart at will.
10- The new waves of mosquitoes arriving are harmless and are part of the celebrations prepared by the government to mark the 100th anniversary of the invasion of locusts (jarad) during WWI. If you spot suited up mosquitoes, don’t be afraid.

If all else fails, follow the genius solution proposed by one of Mr.Lebanon’s candidates.

What The Naameh Residents Are Going Through Because Of The Landfill

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mka

The garbage crisis is first and foremost a health crisis and Naameh residents are the most affected by this crisis. Residents neighboring the landfill should have been given a financial indemnity as promised and moved outside the area long time ago.

No one should be allowed to live near this poisonous and toxic landfill. The air is contaminated with various toxic substances, the water is contaminated by the landfill, the flies roaming around the garbage and over your food can get you food poisoned or severely sick, and there’s an increasing rate of cancer among the residents as they are left exposed to untreated chemicals.

The Naameh landfill should have never reopened and residents have every right to block the road. The cost to maintain the Naameh landfill is one of the highest in the world and the garbage is not even being treated properly. Moreover, “The combination of organic and dangerous trash in the landfill has created toxic liquid known as leachate, which is much more polluting than sewage water” according to Lebanon Eco Movement President Paul Abi Rached.

All those living near the landfill should relocate the soonest and all medical and relocation expenses should be paid by the government. This should be the Health Ministry’s top priority.

مطمر الموت الصحي

ما لا تريدك سلطة الفساد أن تعرف عن ما يسمى من قبلهم بالطمر "الصحي".. شاهدوا للنهاية..#طلعت_ريحتكم وقتلتونا

Posted by ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ on Friday, April 8, 2016

To Control Mosquitoes, We Must Dispose of Trash Correctly

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The Environment Minister tweeted today that “the rise in the number of mosquitoes is the result of higher seasonal temperatures and a environment embracing bugs”. While we all are aware of that fact, someone should also remind the Minister that we need to keep our cities clean and get rid of any standing water or uncovered trash to control flies and mosquitoes.

Uncovered trash is all a mosquito needs to start a family, so imagine what hundreds of tons of uncovered piles of trash over a 9 month period can do.

I think we need to start a petition the soonest to introduce the “In-Denial” ministry.

Beirut Meets F1 on May 22!

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Earlier yesterday, LiveLoveBeirut shared a picture of a Red Bull F1 car spotted spinning in Beirut. The picture was actually taken from a Red Bull Showrun in Lima, Peru and it was just a teaser for the live F1 Showrun that is taking place in Beirut on Sunday May 22nd.

You heard me right! Beirut’s F1 Showrun is happening soon and it’s gonna be awesome! I’m a huge F1 fan so this is very exciting news for myself and all F1 and motorsports fanatics in Lebanon. F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr, son of rally legend Carlos Sainz, will take Red Bull Racing’s RB12 F1 car on a “tour”, starting from the Wafiq Senno Street, through the Meer Majid Arslan Street, all the way to Ahmed Daouk Street.

If I’m not mistaken, this road was actually part of the Beirut F1 Grand Prix that was suggested back in 1999 (I’m still trying to get my hands on the Beirut F1 track design). Back then, we lost the bid mainly due to political reasons but I’m still hopeful that we will get a city track one day in Beirut.

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Everyone will be invited to see the F1 car doing speed stretches, burnouts, donuts, and of course hear the awesome engine sounds (even though the old F1 engine sounds were much better) along the one-kilometer track.

Check out the [promotion] and stay tuned for further info.

Museums Night Was Great, But …

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Eleven museums were taking part in the 3rd edition of “Museums Night” (“La Nuit des Musees”) yesterday and opening their doors from 5 PM till midnight. The tours started at 5 sharp and free shuttle service was available for museums in Beirut every 30 minutes at specific stops.

I was a speaker at Talk20 yesterday at AUB so I thought it would be a good idea to drop by a couple of museums around 9-10 PM that way traffic wouldn’t be that bad. The first stop was at the National Museum and I was surprised to see so many people queuing to enter the museum, and the queues were as big for Nicolas Sursock and MIM, Le Musée des Minéraux in Achrafieh. I was positively surprised by the turnout and it was great seeing all these families and more importantly children eager to be part of that night but the overall experience could have been much better for 4 key reasons:

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1- Timing was bad: “La Nuit des Musees” should have been on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon rather than a Friday night. Traffic was hell and it took me an hour to get from AUB to Sursock at around 9 PM.

2- No Parking spaces: I think no one expected that many people to show up but parking lots and transportation should have been better organized. I ended up parking 1K away from the National Museum and walked mostly on the highway (no side walks) to get there.

3- No Lines & Not enough security guards: Our museums hold very unique and rare historical pieces that should not be touched by any visitor but that wasn’t the case yesterday and the blame is first on the parents and second on the lack of guards. I wasn’t as pissed as Patyl on that matter but seeing all these kids (with their parent’s approval) put their fingers on a 2,000-year-old piece was quite frustrating.

4- The smell: No one is to blame here but our rotten government (not the Ministry of Culture though). The garbage smell was terrible, just terrible!

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All in all, I think last night was a great success and I’m really glad a lot of Lebanese took part in it. We need more initiatives like this and on a more regular basis.

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PS: Pictures via Jimmy

Visiting Tripoli’s Syria Street: Wheat Market Restoration & Qahwetna Cultural Café

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Almost one year ago, an unprecedented security plan has managed to put an end to the endless rounds of fierce clashes and restore calm between Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighborhoods. Fortunately, we haven’t heard of any renewed clashes ever since but Syria’s street and more specifically Tebbaneh’s wheat market needed some serious renovation.

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A lot of buildings remain damaged there but the historic market’s restoration has kicked off and the first phase was completed a couple of months ago. I went to Syria’s street to check out the market and the new cultural cafe Qahwetna that was inaugurated recently.

Just to give you an idea on how bad the market’s condition was, here’s a picture showing the difference between the non-renovated part and the renovated one. Merchants were unable to open during winter and the roof was in a very bad shape.

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Now the walls have been replaced with white stone, and the market’s roof has been completely restored. I went for a walk inside the market, it was clean, everyone was extremely friendly just like they always are in Tripoli, I got offered Kaak and coffee like 10 times and I got to meet a couple of merchants who told me about their struggle when the Lebanese Army clashed with the Islamists inside the market.

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The wheat market is long and narrow and gets really crowded during the weekend. You can find almost everything there everything from food, clothes, accessories, movies, music and other stuff for extremely cheap prices. These markets are quite popular in Tripoli where half the population lives under the poverty line and especially in Bab el Tebbaneh, which is considered Tripoli’s poorest neighborhood.

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Before leaving Tripoli, I dropped by Qahwetna, a cultural café founded on the former fighting line (Syria Street) between the two areas, where “events such as other plays, stand-up comedy gigs, rap sessions and other expressive art forms can find a platform in the neglected conflict areas in Tripoli”.

I had a coffee and another Kaake and got to meet the guys that are managing the cafe. Qahwetna is perfectly located and is a much needed space for young people to interact around peaceful ideas, have fun, and enjoy themselves.

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All in all, Tripoli has been suffering for years from development and economic deprivation despite being Lebanon’s second largest city and having all the necessary components to become a second economic capital. Almost half of Tripoli’s population is poor and lives under poor conditions and unemployment rates are high.

Tripoli and more importantly Syria’s street needs small initiatives like the Wheat Market restoration, the opening of a cultural cafe, cultural events like the one MARCH organized last year etc. We need to keep in mind that that the problems in Tripoli are not stirred or generated by fanaticism or extremism but it’s the lack of opportunities and under-development that is suppressing any hope for the youth, leading them to resort to violence.

cemetery Bab el Tebbaneh’s cemeteries

Eco-Friendly Camping Site Inaugurated in Kab-Elias Town (Bekaa)

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Qab Elias is a beautiful town located in the Bekaa valley 15 km away from Zahle and 45 km from Beirut. Qab Elias is on the same road that takes you to Ammiq and Kefraya and is considered one of the largest cities there. The town has two noticeable landmarks: a medieval castle and a mysterious rock-cut altar. The castle dates back from the 12th century whereas the rock is thought to be from the late Hellenistic or early Roman times.

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I was invited last weekend to the town for the opening of an eco-friendly camping site (Scouts city) that was built over four months by the Qab Elias municipality. The land which was previously deserted was reconditioned and transformed into a green camping site with eco-friendly standards to help preserve nature and promote green spaces. The camping site includes around 7 small caravans that are all equipped with solar lighting and heating system to save energy.

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I loved the idea and I wanted an opportunity to visit the town closely so I went there and was truly surprised by the turnout. Aside from the town’s locals and heads of municipalities, the event was public, everyone was invited to attend and a large campfire was organized in the middle of the camp. Freshly cooked food and baked snacks were distributed for free on all the attendees with cold and hot refreshments as a hospitable gesture.

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There were no official statements or lame political speeches, just families eating, dancing, singing and having fun. The event slowly turned into a festival where people from all sects and colors celebrated around the fireplace with music and scout shows.

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I’m sharing few pictures from the event but I wish if I had filmed the whole thing because it truly brought years back to our village celebrations in the South mainly during Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (Eid el Saydeh).

If you are interested in visiting and camping in Qab Elias, contact Maher Nader (03894882).