Category Archives: Lebanon

3layye wou 3leik: A Platform To Help Implement The New Traffic Law, Stop Wasta & Fix Roads

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During one of the Arabnet panels last week, we had the chance to engage with the people behind the ISF and TMC twitter accounts and most of the tweets that I saw seemed to agree that both accounts are doing a great job online but the story is different on the ground. Everyone is interacting online with the ISF and TMC and sharing pictures of drivers breaking the law, but nothing is really changing offline. Of course there are hopes that the new traffic law would help make things better but a lot of Lebanese are skeptical about it and whether it will be properly implemented or not.

This being said, I had a cool idea few days ago that might help implement this new traffic law as well as fix our roads, while making sure there are no corrupt policemen or citizens trying to abuse the new law. If we look back at previous attempts to enforce traffic law, they all failed because of 4 key issues:

– People don’t trust the cops and the authorities.
– Attempts to enforce traffic laws were usually applied in few regions only.
– Corrupt policemen and drivers were abusing the law to skip the fines.
– The infrastructure and the roads are getting worse.

On the other hand, I strongly believe that there are a lot of decent and competent individuals in the ISF and TMC capable of implementing the law fully, gaining people’s trust and working on enhancing the roads, but in order for that to happen, you need an automated system that is monitored by a small group and that allows engagement between the related parties and the people. What I’m talking about is an app or platform that I randomly called “3layye wou 3leik” and that works that way:

Who will use this platform?

The app will be accessible to 3 types of users:
The Lebanese Driver, who will be able to see his fines and pay them, as well as report violations* (will elaborate on this point next). Drivers will register using their license plate number and their mobile number which are unique.
The Police Officer, who will report violations he sees and fine cars based on a car plate number.
The Traffic Management Center, who will be in charge of validating and approving the fines and violations reported.

How will it work?
The hardest part is coming up with this software and the rest is pretty simple. All officers will be given special devices where they will only be able to write down fines and send them directly to the application where they will stored under a certain driver’s plate number. The officer will have to back his violation with pictures and a video (at a first stage) that will be investigated then approved or declined by the Traffic Management Officer. Once approved, the driver will have to settle the amount online and further sanctions will apply if he’s late or refuses to pay.

Now here’s the interesting part. Drivers will also be able to report violations that they see and document them as well, that way if a police officer is breaking the law, he will also be reported and investigated by the Traffic Management Center. If the violation is validated and approved, then there are three ways to proceed here:

– If the driver has pending fines, he will be able to take out 1 or more, depending on the type of violation he reported.
– If the driver has no fines, then the officer will have to pay the fine.
– If the driver has pending fines yet wants the officer to pay, then he will also have that option.

Aside from violations committed by police officers or army men or politicians, drivers will be able to report violations committed by the municipalities and ministers such as leaving manholes open, not fixing potholes, parking in the wrong places etc. When such issues are reported, the municipality and ministries will have to comply within a set period before they get sanctioned.

This is just a brief description and there are more details to be shared (maybe later), but the idea is that municipalities, police officers and drivers will encourage each other to respect the law in order to escape the fines and there will be a competent and trust-worthy panel to monitor what’s happening and do the right thing. Things may be tricky at first due to the lack of evidence, which is why I recommend setting up cameras at a later stage to eliminate any human intervention and assist the Traffic Management Center. Moreover, traffic judges will have the final say in case any of the app users (driver or cop) wants to appeal a traffic violation.

How will people pay their fines?
This is the easiest part. Since all payments are done online, drivers will be able to track down their fines and points automatically, unlike what’s happening now where we need to waste a whole day just to pay a speeding ticket. As for police officers, army men, politicians, officials, municipality members and ministries, fines will be deducted from their salaries if they refuse to pay and invested in fixing and enhancing roads.

All in all, what I’m proposing is a pragmatic approach to this whole mess we are in, and even though the solution is not an ideal one and needs further brainstorming, I think it would be a great starting point and an effective way to try and implement this new traffic law once and for all. Let me know what you guys think and whether I missed out on some key points or it’s a decent idea.

Lebanesetweets.net : Where Lebanese MPs Tweet Boring Stuff (Except Walid Joumblatt)

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tweets MP Ali Bazzi retweeting a picture of an Indian woman carrying an Englishman in 1903.

Lebanesetweets.net is a pretty cool website set up by my friend Mustapha for indexing and organizing Lebanese tweets done by Lebanon’s Members of parliaments. You can filter out “MP Tweets” by district, sect and party. It’s a nice idea but our MPs tweet mostly boring stuff, except for Joumblatt maybe.

I expect to see journalists, celebrities, bloggers, famous Lebanese tweeps and other online influencers added to that list soon so keep checking it as everything Mustapha puts his hands on becomes useful. He’s the guy behind LebaneseBlogs in case you haven’t heard about it.

PS: This tool makes use of the Nouwweb Api that was created previously to get the latest tweets from the Lebanese Members of Parliament, filtered by relevant criteria.

The First Lebanese Car

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firstlebcar via RaniaelKhatib

I don’t know how accurate this poster is but Lissan Al Hal (in Arabic لسان الحال) was a daily Lebanese newspaper that was established by Khalil Sarkis in the 1870s and is considered as one of the oldest Lebanese publications. This 1960 article is entitled “The First Lebanese Car” and talks about a small vehicle (very similar to a Jeep) that was built using American parts by Younes Motors in Lebanon. It would be interesting to know if this same Younes Motors is linked to the current Rasamny-Younes group and whether they produced or sold any of these cars. I went through Lissan Al Hal’s horrible website but didn’t find anything except recent boring news. According to what I found online, the publication was acquired by the Lebanese National Congress that resumed its publication as a weekly newspaper.

As far as Lebanese cars are concerned, the W Motors Lykan Hypersport is considered as the first Lebanese car ever produced and is currently priced at 3,400,000 US dollars.

After his election and starting 1942, editing of Lisan al Hal was continued by his son Khalil Ramez Sarkis who was also a literary figure and had a series of literary works published. After Khalil Ramez Sarkis, editing and publishing was taken over by Gebran Hayek.[6][7] Bishop George Khodr wrote for the daily in his column called Hadith al Ahad (The Sunday Talk) from 11 March 1962 to 25 January 1970.[8] The newspaper stopped publication during the Lebanese Civil War in the 1970s. [Wiki]

Update: A friend just told me about another Lebanese car made by a guy from Tripoli. The car is called “Spider” and it took 3 years to build and cost $300,000. Mustapha used the body of an Infiniti G35 body and engine and boosted the engine to become a 700HP one. Even though what he did was pretty cool, I didn’t like the car much. Here are some pictures:

Bt36v7cIEAA_-yt

car3

car21 Pictures via ElIktisad

Missing Kid From Marina Dbayyeh’s Mini-Marathon Walked Back To His House In Barja

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Rafic via BMA

A 10 year old kid called Rafic Ahmed Jomaa went missing yesterday around 10:30am during the mini marathon in the La Marina Dbayeh. The Civil Defense and security forces started looking for him only to find out that he walked all the way back to his house in Barja! The child was interviewed by MTV where he confirmed he walked all the way back home. He was visited later on by May El-Khalil, Founder and President of the Beirut Marathon Association.

barja

I’m still finding this story hard to believe because Barja is 45 kilometers away from Dbayyeh and it would take at least 5 or 6 hours to get there from Dbayyeh assuming you know the road well. In all cases, the good thing is that the kid is safe because the road he chose to walk can be quite dangerous in many spots. Nevertheless, the cops and the BMA organization should investigate more thoroughly what happened and how this kid managed to miss his bus and walk the length of a marathon to get back home.

Marathon via BMA

Update: The child’s parents confirmed he didn’t know his way back. That makes the story even more complicated.

[YouTube]

Week20: LiveLoveBeirut’s Best Pictures Of The Week

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AUB LiveLoveAUB By Ragheb

You can follow LiveLoveBeirut on Instagram [Here]. I’m also on Instagram and you can follow me [Here] if you like.

Sioufi Green Beiruti house by Inesbey

Eclipse A cool shot of the partial solar eclipse – by Samarhitti

Baskinta Baskinta by elias

Anfeh Angry waves at Enfeh – by JubranElias

Amchit2 Amchit sunset by Nareg

Amchit Jbeil – Amchit from the sky by SleimanCharbel

A Reminder That Migrant Domestic Workers Are Mothers Too

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Racism

We celebrated Mother’s day on March 21 but it also happens to be the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and on this day, MARCH Lebanon invited us to remember the thousands of mothers that came from around the world to work in Lebanon and support their families. There are over 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon coming from the Philippines, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Ethiopia and working under horrible conditions that sometimes border on modern day slavery. In the past week only, two domestic workers committed suicide yet we barely heard about them or knew why they decided to end their life.

Unfortunately and despite the fact that racism in Lebanon is still widespread, the real problem has always been in the Kafala (Sponsorship) system that hasn’t been abolished yet and allows agencies and households to enslave the domestic workers and mistreat them. KAFA Lebanon once followed the journey of a migrant domestic worker (from Nepal and Bangladesh) from recruitment to working and shed the light on some alarming facts and stats. To list few:

– 69% of domestic workers either borrow money or sell their properties to cover the recruitment and travel fees to Lebanon.
– 96% of domestic workers reported that their passports were confiscated by their employer.
– 64% of the women worked more than 15 hours a day.
– 62% of the workers reported experiencing verbal abuse, 36% reported physical abuse and 8% reported sexual abuse.

We need to end the sponsorship system and give domestic workers the same rights as any foreign worker. It’s about time we stop racism against domestic workers and all foreign workers and refugees in Lebanon. Having said that, we can only hope that this Mother’s day will be the last sad one for Lebanon’s foreign domestic workers but their fight is a long one.

[YouTube]

Lebanese Mothers Had A Nice Surprise Waiting For Them At The Movies

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alfa2

“Ne7na ma3 7oriyyit el te3beer bass sma3 kelmit 2emmak”. I suggested that slogan to one of my friends who was working on some university project and even though it’s a bit silly, I’m pretty sure most of us woke up and realized one day that our mothers were right about a lot of things. I’ve always been a stubborn kid and refused to listen to what my parents told me, but I learned through my mistakes that they were right about many things and started changing my ways (without admitting it). Funnily enough, I’ve come to realize after many years that I am similar to my mother in many ways, as she’s also stubborn and refuses to admit a mistake at first (don’t tell her I said that), she always does good without expecting anything in return, she always adapts easily to new circumstances, she likes winning arguments or having the last word in a debate, she goes quiet when she’s angry and she loves buying gifts and spoiling her family and friends.

What I love most about my mum is how proud she is when she sees me on TV or in some paper even though she doesn’t really follow the blog and didn’t really figure out yet why I’m appearing on TV shows or traveling for events. She doesn’t really care but makes sure to tell everyone about it and of course give them number in case they have an internet or smartphone problem (same for my dad).

This being said, Alfa this year took Mother’s Day to another level and kicked off the #صار_لازم_قلّك campaign as they asked people to submit videos and tell their mothers they were right. I personally loved the idea and I salute those who submitted their videos and took part in that campaign. For those who refused to admit yet, every day is a Mother’s Day and a new opportunity to tell your moms they were right.

[YouTube]

Best Mother’s Day Ads In Lebanon [2015]

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ALmaza Deyman fo2 rassna – by Almaza

Exotica’s ad is still the best I’ve seen this year!

Maria Pino #‎FromHeadToToe‬ by Maria Pino

Nicolas Sehn To the women of our brave Lebanese Army – by MP Nicolas Sehnaoui

dairy Nice wordplay By Dairy Khoury

Kababji Moms leave their special touch everywhere – by Kababji

khoury Khoury Home giving mothers a free social media course this year

volkswagen The most important promise to keep – by Volkswagen Lebanon

kunhadi Drive responsibly

touch I never bring back the Tupperware :S

BankAudi Every day is Mother’s Day – by Bank Audi

Dodge Spoil her – by Dodge Lebanon

Jeep True that – by Jeep Lebanon

Castania By Castania

barilla Hahaha good one by Barilla

ssitcom Hilarious one by Sitcom Lebnene

Radioactive Sanitary Towels Seized At The Beirut Airport

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irport

That’s just crazy stuff! More than half a ton of sanitary towels containing a radioactive substance were seized today at the Beirut Rafic Hariri Airport. The pads confiscated were all Chinese-made and delivered to Lebanon through Dubai. The news were reported by Reuters but they didn’t mention what level of radioactivity had been detected.

I think this is far worse than expired or rotten products and I hope the authorities will be able to trace back the source and see if any radioactive products are being sold in the market. We need to know the name of the company and who the hell is sending half a ton of radioactive sanitary towels to our market. On another note, this is the first time I hear about the Lebanese Atomic Energy Agency. I had no clue we had such a thing in Lebanon so I looked up a bit and found a website and the below info:

The Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission (LAEC) was established in 1996 with the support and collaboration of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Arabic Atomic Energy Commission, in order to promote the peaceful application of atomic energy in Lebanon. The Commission is the only institution of its kind within the CNRS. Recently through its operational arm a radiation protection infrastructure is being established. The Commission is currently involved in environmental and food monitoring programmes using state of the art equipment and techniques.

Lebanese Journalist Joumana Haddad Denied Entrance To Bahrain Because She’s An Atheist

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Joumanal

Joumana Haddad is Lebanese journalist, activist, poet, instructor, author and the head of the cultural pages for An Nahar newspaper, as well as the editor-in-chief of Jasad magazine, a controversial Arabic magazine specialized in the literature and arts of the body. She’s an exceptional woman that speaks seven languages and was recently ranked among the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2015.

Joumana was supposed to fly to Bahrain on the 6th of April to attend a cultural event, however an online campaign (#البحرين_لا_ترحب_بالملحدين) was started against her visit and as a result, she was denied entrance because she’s an atheist and a threat to society. How is being an atheist a threat to society? Unless Joumana chops heads off and trains terrorists while pretending to write poetry, I think that’s the most pathetic thing I’ve ever heard of.

In all cases, it’s their loss as any country should be proud of having women like Joumana Haddad.

Love and support to you Joumana as always!

Joumana