Category Archives: Lebanon

Did You Like This Year’s Christmas Tree In Beirut’s Martyrs Square?

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Yesterday was the official lighting of the Christmas Tree in DownTown Beirut. This year’s tree is much nicer than last year but I still don’t find it appealing to be honest neither during the day or at night. I don’t like the ornaments nor the small trees placed around it.

Martyrs Square is one of the most visible areas in Beirut and there’s a huge space around the tree that could have been used to come up with a much nicer and richer decoration but for some reason no one’s interested in pulling a Christmas Decoration like the one in Jbeil for example.

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Annahar

patyl1 via Patyl

One Quote That Sums Up The AirBoard Hype In Lebanon

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lol By the hilarious OhMyJad

The air-board is a fun gadget but I never thought for a second it would become that popular especially that it’s very expensive ($800+). As it turns out, I was terribly wrong as it became a global trend and is probably this year’s most popular Christmas gift.

It’s all over the place in Lebanon as well. I see people using it in malls, on pavements, on public roads and almost every kid in Beirut Souks has one. The problem however is that there are fake ones being sold now and these are potentially dangerous for kids, not to mention that kids will become even lazier now.

I don’t envy parents who have to buy one for their kids this Christmas because I’m sure they will get bored of it very quickly. I remember when my younger brother once wanted a small electric scooter (that cost $500 back then) for Christmas then he ended up using for a couple of weeks only. Nevertheless, I recommend to buy it if you have to from authorized dealers or decent toy shops like Virgin Megastore or Mazen World.

All in all, I think Jad’s quote hilariously sums up the airboard hype.

Hyena Shot 4 Times In The Head In Akkar

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hyena Source

I cannot believe that their first instinct was to shoot the poor animal in the head instead of calling the cops or an ambulance or NGOs like Animals Lebanon & BETA that take care of animals. Unfortunately, this is not the first crime against hyenas in Lebanon and it won’t be the last.

I’ve said that a dozen times and will repeat it: Hyenas are harmless gentle creatures and they don’t attack humans (especially the striped ones). Moreover, the Lebanese hyena is an endangered species and plays a crucial role by cleaning forests from carcasses and bones, which is why we need to condemn these attacks and fine people who harm hyenas from now on. If they really felt threatened by the animal, they could have tied him up and waited for someone specialized in animals to show up instead of shooting him brutally like that.

Check out the [video].

PS: The video contains graphic content and may not be suitable for sensitive viewers or children.

Watch This Epic Dive From The Top Of Raouche Rock (Pigeon Rock)

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jump1

This video was shared yesterday on NostalgiaLB (I love this page!) and shows an incredible dive by a war amputee called Oliver Ghorayyeb back in 1994 from the top of Raouche Rock.

It’s definitely not the world’s highest cliff dive but it’s quite impressive especially that he’s diving with his head first and from the highest point. I’ve seen other dives but from lower points.

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[YouTube]

Syrian Father Who Used To Sell Pens In Beirut Streets Now Owns Three Businesses!

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Syria-Lebanon2 Attar is running 3 businesses now – via HUSSEIN MALLA/ASSOCIATED PRESS

We frequently hear terrible stories from Syria or related to Syrian refugees, but there are also inspiring stories that will restore your faith in humanity. Abdul Halim Attar is a Palestinian-Syrian who fled to Lebanon three years ago with his two children and has been selling pens in the streets of Beirut to make ends meet.

A journalist shared his picture on Twitter and within hours, his story went viral and a crowdfunding campaign was kicked off. Over $190,000 were collected online and two months later, Abdul Halim al-Attar started three businesses and is employing 16 other Syrian refugees.

More importantly, he moved with his two kids to a two-bedroom apartment and put back his 9-year old Abdullah went back to school after three years of absence. He also gave around $25,000 to friends and relatives in Syria.

All in all and as I stated previously, if this story proves anything, it’s that people are more than willing to help when they are given the opportunity and that small initiatives like this one can help change someone’s life positively.

Does anyone know where his restaurant is located? I want to visit soon.

Check out the full story on [Telegraph] and [Mashable].

BuyPens

Should We Stay Positive About Lebanon?

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Two months ago, I was interviewed by my friend and esteemed Journalist Youmna Nawfal as part of her new series “A Positive Majority” that is aimed at promoting a positive Lebanon and shedding the light on those who are working on showing a positive side of Lebanon. I know this is a very cliché topic and that most people think that I’m delusional when I mention anything positive about Lebanon but that’s the only way to survive in this country, especially when you don’t have other alternatives, and I applaud Youmna for kicking off this series in the toughest of times.

When you don’t have a foreign passport, don’t have family abroad, don’t have enough money to travel and live abroad, the only thing that you can do is try to enjoy living here and make the best out of it. It doesn’t mean that you have to stay in denial and pretend to live in lalaland, but there’s no harm in appreciating the beautiful things around you and the fact that you’re surrounded by loving family and friends. You have to find a certain balance between criticizing and hating everything happening around us and between enjoying what this country has to offer and it’s much easier than you think.

In fact, I will never understand people who nag all the time and want to leave the country. If you really want to leave, start applying for immigration and stop nagging. If you cannot leave, try to make the most out of it for your own sake and your family’s sake. I’ve said it before and repeat it now, it is not impossible to phase out the negatives around us and enjoy living here despite all the chaos, instability, violence, bad economy, corruption and most recently the garbage.

Personally speaking, the blog has helped me a lot in staying positive (even though I was a bit negative at the start) and I’m trying my best to spread this positivity while promoting change. Whenever I’m posting about any problem, I try my best to suggest solutions and alternatives instead of just nagging for the sake of it. Take for example the garbage crisis, the posts I wrote about ways to reducing trash and the list of recycling companies are still being shared and even though we still have garbage, they somehow helped raise awareness and encouraged more people to recycle.

All in all, we cannot solve anything by nagging so let’s try to focus on these little positive things, and by that I don’t mean the longest man2oushe in the world, and keep in mind that the situation in countries around us is much worse.

Here’s the interview and I thank Youmna for hosting me :)

[YouTube]

7 Electricity Issues You Only Face In Lebanon

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elec

Ever since I moved to my new house a year ago, I’ve been struggling non-stop with the electricity and I hate to say that, but it doesn’t look like there’s a legal way to fix all these issues. I’ve been trying for months to figure out a way to finalize legal papers between the real estate company and EDL to have our own circuit breaker (disjoncteur), since we are using the main construction site one that powers three buildings, but it’s a very complicated and tiring process. In fact, it doesn’t look like any of the concerned parties (EDL, Real Estate company etc …) are interested in resolving this issue and as a result, you end up facing issues that no one has probably heard of outside Lebanon:

1- Main Circuit Breaker Keeps Going Off:
When the building doesn’t have its own electricity room yet, this circuit breaker is located on an electricity pole on the main road and it’s a hassle to turn it on everyday. Moreover, anyone passing by can turn it off and you can’t lock it because EDL officers can drop by anytime to make sure we didn’t replace the circuit breaker with a bigger one.

Of course it’s much easier during summer but imagine there’s a storm outside and you have to go down to turn it on and make sure you don’t get electrocuted in the process.

2- Lightning strikes the electric pole box and ruins the whole thing:
This happened 3 times now every since I moved to my new place. Last time, the whole electric box got burned at around 1 am, our phone was ruined and we ended up without electricity till the next morning. Luckily for us, the municipality takes care of such things so they fixed it the next day somehow.

I’m sure such things occur elsewhere in the world but not as often as they do here. Moreover, the setup is so bad lightning might ruin your home appliances in the process.

3- Generator overheats:
When there’s no electricity (EDL) for a long time, the generator owner sometimes has to rest his generator for some time and so you end up without electricity. We’re blessed to have a decent generator guy so this rarely happens but my parents used to suffer all the time from that.

4- EDL officer cut off the electricity.
Since we don’t have an electric room, there’s a bill that has to be paid by all the tenants. Usually the real estate company takes care of that until you register your house but after that, you have to pay a lump-sum bill for all the buildings connected to that same electric box.

The bills usually are much higher than the normal ones but the real problem is with the bill collector. The first time, he showed up and placed a paper on the door giving us a second warning (we never got the first one) and then he called two days later threatening to cut off the electricity if we didn’t pay. The second time, he also showed up around 10 am when everyone is away and when I called him to set up a date, he didn’t show up the whole week and called me on Sunday night to inform me that he’s visiting the next day.

5- Someone is stealing electricity and screws things up
It’s very easy to steal electricity when it’s a new building because the electric box is out on the street, and you can’t really do anything about it especially when you’re not home the whole day.

6- Neighbors who think they are electricians:
Electricians in Lebanon never show up on time and they rarely get the job done when they do. I don’t know what’s their deal to be honest but it’s easier to learn how to fix things on Google than expect your electrician to show up but electricity is obviously not something you want to play with. Unfortunately, you always have that neighbor who thinks he knows it all and ends up screwing everything.

Few weeks back, our house looked like a Christmas tree for an hour or so because one of the neighbors was doing some works.

7- Someone keeps switching off the electricity:
Since the circuit breaker is on the main road, anyone passing by can switch it off for no reason and this used to happen quite often at my parent’s place. In fact, we once monitored for a week the circuit breaker and finally caught the guy. Luckily for us, this is not happening where I live now but it happens a lot elsewhere. I remember Gemmayze residents used to complain a lot about drunk people switching off their electricity as well.

All in all, we were promised 24/7 electricity in 2015 but instead things got even worse than 2010 and it looks like we are headed towards 24/7 generators soon. I want to make things legal and have my own bill and our own electric box and I’ve been trying for a year now but in vain. Instead, I am paying inflated bills and I cannot control who’s stealing electricity. Until now, I still refuse to use wasta and I’m still trying to fix things for next year so let’s see how things go.

PS: There’s always the option of moving to Zahle.

Why I Will Never Get A Housekeeper Under The Kafala System In Lebanon

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kafala11 via Now

A woman is beaten to death by her maid in front of her child, a family maid kills a 4-year old child, an Ethiopian maid survives apparent 4-story suicide, a maid commits suicide after being accused of theft. The more I hear about tragic stories involving housekeepers and employers in Lebanon, the more convinced I become that I will never hire a housekeeper under this archaic Kafala (sponsorship) system.

The Kafala system is to blame for all the tragedies that are happening because it is reinforcing the status of migrant domestic workers as victims of human trafficking and forced labor and is building unhealthy relationships between the housekeepers and their employers. The whole process from the beginning is wrong and needs to be changed drastically. Most recruiting agencies treat domestic workers like slaves, confiscate their passports and beat them up if their employer is not satisfied, and then expect them to behave normally and go on with their lives.

Think about it this way: If you were asked to leave your home, travel to a foreign country where you are mistreated by a local recruiting agency and get not training whatsoever and then you’re handed to a family where you risk getting abused or locked up all the time inside the house what would you do? Even if some employers are the kindest and most friendly and treat the housekeeper as a family member, they will never be able to understand what’s going through her mind.

Personally speaking, I refuse to hire someone I know nothing about to sleep in my house and take care of my family. More importantly, my apartment is not fit to host a housekeeper and I cannot let a human being live in a tiny room that barely fits a bed and get locked up all day. If I can afford one day to buy a big house or a villa and have an isolated and decent shelter for a housekeeper then I will look for a professional agency (if there are any in Lebanon) and hire one. Until then, I will hire a cleaning lady to come once or twice a week just like I’m doing now or learn to manage just like our parents and grandparents used to do.