Category Archives: Lebanon

LGBT Movie “WASP” by Lebanese-Swiss director Philippe Audi-Dor Banned In Lebanon

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WASP is a movie by Lebanese-Swiss director Philippe Audi-Dor that tells the story of a gay man in a relationship, who finds himself unexpectedly attracted to a woman. The film won Best International Feature and Best Actress in a Feature at the Film Out San Diego Film Festival, and recently had a sold-out UK premiere at the renowned Raindance Film Festival in London. WASP was scheduled to play at the Beirut International Film Festival but failed to secure a screening license due to the film’s topic. The Lebanese-Swiss director was surprised by the decision as LGBT films (Lilting (UK) and Tom à la Ferme in 2014) were previously screened at the festival.

We all know censorship is random in Lebanon but there are several Lebanese films that tackled homosexuality in the past and I’m sure there are tons of Hollywood movies in the theaters that included gay scenes so why did they ban WASP? It’s not even playing in theaters so what’s the big deal?

Actually, I will never understand why the censorship bureau would ban any movie or anything. I don’t even know why this bureau exists in the first place. If some people don’t like a movie or a play or a book, they can simply not watch it. Banning it is useless as it will not stop us from downloading it online or getting a pirated copy. More importantly, it’s about time that the Lebanese authorities acknowledge the fact that homosexuality is not a trend nor an illness and people don’t choose to become gay. There are plenty of homosexuals in Lebanon and it’s their right to be so.

If you are interested in the BIFF screening schedule, check it out [here].

New Aïshti Complex In Jal el Dib To Open On October 25

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For all those who have been wondering about the new Aïshti Complex on the Jal el Dib highway, this is the new building for the The Aïshti Foundation and it’s opening on October 25. The Aïshti Foundation is part of a 35,000 square-meter complex that will include fashion boutiques, a curated bookshop, restaurants, cafes, a spa and a rooftop bar with an amazing sea view. More importantly, it will include one of the largest contemporary art museum in the region. In fact, the huge complex which was designed by Adjaye Associates will be dedicated to presenting contemporary art exhibitions and artworks from the 2,000-strong private collection of Tony Salamé, CEO of Aïshti.

Aishti Foundation rendering south-west view

A Contemporary art museum designed by British architect David Adjaye

The opening exhibition will be organised by Massimiliano Gioni, the artistic director of the New Museum in New York and will feature more “than 100 works by international contemporary artists including, among others: Etel Adnan, Ziad Antar, Tauba Auerbach, Agostino Bonalumi, Carol Bove, Kerstin Brätsch, Daniel Buren, Enrico Castellani, Urs Fischer, Wade Guyton, Camille Henrot, Glenn Ligon, Lucy McKenzie, Giuseppe Penone, Gianni Piacentino, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Seth Price, R.H. Quaytman, Gerhard Richter, Pamela Rosenkraz, Rayanne Tabet, Wolfgang Tillmans, Kari Upson, Andra Ursuta, Christopher Wool, Danh Vo, Charline Von Heyl, Michael Williams and Akram Zaatari among many others”. More than 4,000 square meters of exhibition space will be offered in the new building.

Aishti Foundation rendering - Interior

We definitely need more cultural and art centers in Lebanon and what Aïshti is doing is great. There are even talks about building a museum of Modern and contemporary Lebanese art in central Beirut by 2020 that Salamé is also involved in, along with Zaha Hadid (who’s on the jury) and Hans Ulrich Obrist and Julia Peyton-Jones of London’s Serpentine Galleries so let’s keep our fingers crossed!

Here are few renders of the new Aishti complex and check out this drone-filmed 360 degree aerial video.

Aishti Foundation rendering - Aerial Landscape

PS: I was told that Skybar may open on the rooftop but these are just rumors for now.

In Pictures: Yesterday’s Beirut Protest- The Aftermath

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Note: I wish to make one thing clear in regards to this post and the protests in general, as I got several replies telling me that I put too much focus on rock throwing and ignored police violence and that violence is “justified” in certain circumstances. To begin with, and even though I already said it in the post and documented it (and mocked it) in previous posts, police violence has ALWAYS been excessive against protesters since Day1 and I strongly condemn it. The argument that police officers are “given orders” is a very weak one when compared to what happened and every security officer who beat up an unarmed and innocent protester should be held responsible. Nevertheless, this excessive use of force does not imply that we need to react in the same manner and get violent. I know this may sound ideal, but we never got violent in the early protests and there’s no reason to start now. I believe the amount of frustration was much higher at first yet we were helping out fallen officers and showing them we are here to protest for their rights as well, not against them. I wasn’t there yesterday but I know a lot of people who went there and told me that the use of water cannons and tear gas was excessive and that people were fed up, but I believe the organizers should have dissolved the protest the second it got violent just like every time. We all know the police won’t let them through and even if they did, there’s nowhere to go. Going back to the protests, people have been losing interest whether we like to admit it or not because they no longer understand who’s doing what and what we’re protesting against. I said it since day1 that we should keep our focus on the garbage issue and stay away from fighting class wars and toppling regimes because you need years to achieve that and people will lose interest quickly. In all cases, I just felt I needed to clarify one again that this is not about throwing rocks but using violence as a means to achieve change. I blame the state for everything that’s happening and I’ll always support protests, but I never believed in violence and never will as long as there are other alternatives.

This is just wrong. Even if the police is using excessive force, throwing rocks at them and damaging public properties won’t get us anywhere. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone here and I’m definitely not siding with the police, but organizers should make sure that the protests stay peaceful. Police violence has to be documented, not countered with more violence.





Pictures via Jessica

Three Quick Tips To Become The Next Miss Lebanon 2015-2016

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1- First things first, try to stay calm. 2asbe, preferably eaten with Arak, can help but there are no scientific studies to back this claim.

2- Second of all, avoid placing yourself into situations where you risk embarrassment.


3- To avoid stupid answers like the one given by one of Mr Lebanon’s candidates, consult the godfather of beauty in Lebanon. He will help you find your inner and outer beauty and his office is very easy to find as it is right on the “hight way”.


The Lebanese Basketball Federation Head Should Not Resign, He Should Be Fired!

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A year go, I wrote a post against allowing 3 foreign players instead of two in the Lebanese Basketball teams and I applauded the FLB President Walid Nassar for standing against this decision, hoping that he won’t change his mind.

Not only did Nassar change his mind, but he’s now threatening to resign if his demands are not met, and one of them is allowing 3 foreign players instead of 2.

I don’t know what made him change his mind but I would have fired this guy and anyone in favor of this decision if that was their plan to save the game in Lebanon. All those who are thinking that way are arguing that Lebanese basketball players are overpriced and that they’d rather overpay one additional foreign player than invest in Lebanese. I’ve already said it and I say it again: This is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard and it will destroy the game if implemented. If anything, the teams should allow only one foreign player and the federation can always bring down the salaries for Lebanese players if they find them outrageous and high (which they are not). Moreover, if the teams are suffering financially, it’s because they’ve been spending massively on foreign players (instead of spending on young talents) in the past years in order to clinch the title, and I am sure they will do the same as soon as their financial situation improves and spend even more on foreign players since they will be allowed three. Every year, some politician or business man spends a couple of millions on a team hoping to win the title, then he dumps it the year later. This is totally unacceptable and will definitely kill the game on the long run.


On another note, no one is apparently willing to take the blame for the unpreparedness of our National Team for the Asian Cup, the absence of Fadi el Khatib, the lack of a center in the team and other issues. If the president, the director or the minister can’t take responsibility for anything, then maybe they are in the wrong place. Moreover, if they are unable to do their job because of other members, then let them expose them.

Every year, those in charge manage to screw things up and ruin our chances of achieving better results with the national team. The players and the fans are the victims as always, and to be honest, there’s nothing that can be done as long as politics are involved and incompetent people are running the game.

Austrian David Lama First To Climb the Magical Balou3 Balaa In Tannourine

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Austrian Sport Climber and Mountaineer David Lama chose Lebanon as the location for his latest adventure and decided to climb Tannourine’s famous sink hole to become the first ever climber to do so. Lama was helped by Lebanese Jad Khoury and described the Baatara gorge as one of the most difficult climbs he’s ever done. They named the gorge “Avaatara”, a combination of ‘Avatar’ and Baatara in reference to its surreal settings.

And reality surpassed the image. “When I walked in for the very first time, I almost thought this can’t be real. The sinkhole is a magical place: Waterfalls dropping in there almost a hundred metres, three, beautiful, natural arches, the blue and orange rock, a perfect contrast – simply beautiful. In combination with the lush green plants, it immediately made me think of the surreal landscape in the movie ‘Avatar’,” David Lama says, “it’s not very common that you get to such a stunning location and there’s nobody who’s ever climbed it.” [Source]

The video is quite amazing! Check it out:



Aliens Aren’t Coming…They’re Already Here In Beirut

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So I got a couple of videos yesterday on whatsapp and a friend of mine posted another on Facebook showing an unidentified flying object over Beirut. I thought it was a huge drone at first but I’ve never seen one that big. It could also some alien-themed wedding proposal where the groom lands in a UFO with his Martian friends or maybe it’s just Matt Damon coming to town.

Has anyone else seen these videos? Check out this [one].


Shocking News: Lebanese Politicians No Longer The Least Trustworthy In The World

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I was going through the 2015-2016 Global Competitiveness report and comparing Lebanon’s ratings with the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 reports. Surprisingly enough, Lebanese politicians are no longer the least trustworthy in the world after staying on top for three years in a row. In fact they managed somehow to improve by 13 spots, which means that there’s either a glitch in the report or there are far worse politicians than the ones we have here.

Jokes aside, here are few key indicators where Lebanon is still badly ranked (Out of 140):

Intellectual property protection: 139/140.
Diversion of public funds: 137/140
Public trust in politicians: 127/140
Irregular payments and bribes: 127/140
Wastefulness of government spending: 139/140
Transparency of government policy making: 130/140
Reliability of police services: 130/140
Quality of overall infrastructure: 138/140
Quality of electricity supply: 137/140
General government debt, % GDP: 137/140
Women in labor force, ratio to men: 134/140
Gov’t procurement of advanced tech products: 132/140

On the other hand, here are some positive indicators:

HIV prevalence, % adult pop: 1/140
Individuals using Internet, %: 33/140
Infant mortality, deaths/1,000 live births: 49/140
Quality of primary education: 19/140
Quality of math and science education: 6/140
Quality of the education system: 28/140
Soundness of banks: 23/140
Availability of scientists and engineers: 27/140

I expect the ratings to get much worse in next year’s report especially after the garbage crisis, the presidency void, the demonstrations and the chaotic situation.


Beirut Shawarma Place Kicks Off A Cool Initiative To Feed The Hungry

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Al Soussa snack in Tarik el Jdeede has kicked off an initiative to feed the hungry by encouraging customers to buy and donate an extra Shawarma sandwich. Whenever you place an order, you can ask for an extra sandwich, the receipt will be placed on the “Shawarma wall” and if a hungry person is passing by, he can use one of them to claim his sandwich.

I think it’s a pretty cool initiative but the extra sandwiches should be at half the price in my opinion, that way the owner would be helping as well.