Category Archives: Lebanon

How To Stop Celebratory Gunfire In Lebanon

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Pictures via Amr

Celebratory gunfire is dangerous as the falling bullets off walls, break through glass windows and occasionally cause injuries or tragic deaths. This is a known fact and we’ve had quite a few awareness campaigns against it but nothing has changed and the proof is what happened today. When I tweeted today that Nasrallah (or any political leader) should ask his followers to stop shooting guns in the air, I was told he has already warned against firing in the air but in vain.

If that’s really the case and our leaders are against these practices, then I recommend doing the following:

– Prohibit all party followers to fire their guns in the air as a general rule.
– Identify those who violate this rule and confiscate their guns.
– If they are not members or supporters of a certain party, coordinate with the ISF and Army to confiscate their weapons and arrest them if needed. This was already implemented on few occasions in sensitive areas in Beirut and it worked out fine.

Minister Rifi asked the state prosecutor to prosecute those who fired celebratory gunshots and RPGs (yes RPGs!) during Nasrallah’s speech tonight, but we need a more pragmatic approach and I believe Interior Minister Machnouk is more than able to do something to stop these reckless people once and for all.

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Inside O1NE Beirut By SKYBAR: Lebanon’s Hottest Night-Life Venue In Winter

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If Skybar is the place to be during summer in Lebanon, O1NE Beirut is the best place to party during winter. What started out as a huge pink round building was transformed into a true artistic landmark for Lebanon and the region. Talented graffiti artists from all over the world came to Lebanon to interpret the theme of music on the 3,000 sqm wall and the outcome is an awesome venue featuring the world’s largest privately owned graffiti wall.

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As for the interior, O1NE consists of blank white walls that come to life at night with 3D video mapping all over them. It was very difficult to visualize the interior when my friend at Skybar explained it to me, but once I was inside, the first thing that caught my attention was the beautiful interior and how it takes you from one mood to another throughout the night. The music and the 3D Mapping synced in a beautiful way that I haven’t seen anywhere in a night club before and everyone can see the mappings as they cover the full 360 degrees.

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O1NE is very spacious inside and even though I was with a group of 20 people that night, we never felt that squeezed or uncomfortable. Of course it got more and more crowded as the night progressed but it was relatively ok when compared to SKYBAR’s nights where you could barely move. Towards the end of the night, I went up to the DJ’s booth that overlooked the venue and it was pretty cool from up there. My contact at Skybar told me that there are plans to build private rooms with balconies overlooking the club in Beirut just like O1NE Abu Dhabi, which would be pretty cool but I don’t know when it will happen.

As far as the music is concerned, O1NE plays all genres of house music and has been bringing hot performers every week. Last weekend Jamie Jones was playing his sets and this week, it’s gonna get hotter with Luciano on Friday night and DJ Magnum on Saturday. Price-wise, we ended up paying around 65$ per person that night which is a very reasonable price.

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O1NE Beirut is located in Downtown Beirut right on Biel’s entrance. You can call 70 939 191 to book your table and make sure to check their Facebook page as they keep posting updates there.

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Rating: 4.5/5

The First Naturalized Foreign Citizen In China’s History Was Lebanese-American

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This is a rather old story but a fascinating one and I am surprised I’ve never heard about it until now. It’s about a Lebanese-American doctor called Georges Hatem, also known as Ma Haide or Dr. Ma, who became the first foreigner to be granted citizenship in the People’s Republic of China. He was also the first foreign member of the Chinese Communist Party and Mao Zedung’s personal doctor.

Who is Georges Hatem?
George Hatem was born into a into a Lebanese-American family in upstate New York. His father had moved from his hometown Hammana to the United States in 1902 and got married back in 1909. Soon after being married, the Hatem family moved to Buffalo, New York, where his wife Nahoum took a job at a steel mill. It was in Buffalo where their first child, George, was born on September 26, 1910. Hatem attended pre-med classes at the University of North Carolina and medicine at the American University in Beirut and the University of Geneva, and set off to Shanghai to establish a medical practice to concentrate on venereal diseases, as well as basic health care for the needy. Hatem never came back to the US and despite accusations by party members that Hatem was a foreign spy, he established a remarkable healing presence and harnessed the will of the Chinese people to eliminate venereal disease from their country. [Source]

mahaide Via Wajid el Hitti

Dr Ma was credited with helping to eliminate leprosy and received the Lasker Medical Award in 1986. He died in China in 1988 and was buried at the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery that you can see in the picture above. Hatem was honored in Hammana where a main square of the city is named after him. There’s apparently a movie about him that is broadcasted frequently in China and shows an American doctor affirming Communist ideology but I couldn’t find it.

Update: I added 3 pictures showing Dr Ma’s memorial in China, his son holding the family tree and a picture of the Embassy of Lebanon in Beijing all provided by Wajid el Hitti who visited the embassy and his son there.

Embassy of Lebanon Beijing

Hatem Family Tree held by his son Zhou You Ma

Tombstone in Babaoshan Cemetery

Here’s one of the few videos I found online of George Hatem.

[YouTube]

Thanks Wajid!

A Reminder To Lebanon’s Young Generation of Just How Bad Things Were In 2006

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I was surprised to see so many Lebanese excited about the possibility of a new war between Lebanon and Israel yesterday. Taking aside politics and the fact that Israel admitted defeat in its 2006 adventure into Lebanon, there’s nothing good about war and we shouldn’t get too excited about the prospects of a new one. I refuse to live in a basement not because I am afraid of Israel but because I want to have a normal peaceful life and I assume and hope most Lebanese want the same.

In all cases, here’s a reminder to Lebanon’s young generation and to those who forgot already of what we had to endure back in 2006:

– Nearly 1,200 Lebanese were killed in the 34-day Israeli war on Lebanon, out of which 37 soldiers only. More than 5000 were wounded as well.
– Approximately 1 million Lebanese (30% of the total population) were displaced.
– Israel fired at least 3 million cluster bombs old munitions supplied by the US with a failure rate as high as 50 per cent, in the last 3 days of fighting.
– Israel destroyed bridges along Lebanon’s main north-south coastal road, including the Mudeirej bridge which took more than 6 years to fix.
– Al-Manar TV and Al-Nour radio compounds were bombed. Rafic Hariri Airport runways and fuel depots were also bombed and the airport was closed of course.
– Most of Dahieh was bombarded and destroyed.
– Lebanon faced an acute fuel-crisis that threatened to shut hospitals down.
– The Jiyeh power station bombing resulted in the leak of an estimated 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes (more than 4 million gallons) of oil into the eastern Mediterranean. This environmental disaster increased the risk of diseases and cancer and endangered the habitat of fish and sea turtles. Israel has to pay us $64 million in damages as pet the UN.

All of Lebanon was targeted by Israel and we still weren’t able to recover economically from the 2006 war. Moreover, the death toll from the land mines and unexploded Israeli cluster bombs is still rising. Between 2006 and 2008 nearly 40 people were killed and over 270 injured by cluster bombs. No one ever wins in a war, and civilians always end up paying the heaviest price (Look at Syria) so let’s do our best to keep Lebanon away from a new war, or at least work to prevent a new round of violence instead of getting excited about it.

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Teaching Lebanese News Portals How To Verify A Picture

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I’ve spotted at least 3 or 4 old or fake pictures being shared by various Lebanese TVs and news portals ever since the Hezbollah attack on the Israeli convoy. Here’s one of them showing a picture of a destroyed US combat vehicle in a 2013 article.

These pictures reminded me of an old post I wrote two years ago where I explained how you can verify if a picture is fake or not using Google. I hope they make good use of it and avoid the embarrassment.

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Update: As stated by Mustapha in the comment below, Ta3biriyya means the photo is not related to the event, but this term was added after they had posted the picture as you can see from the edit history.

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Fired Casino Employee Spotted Asking For Casino Du Liban Directions To Protest

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So first we have people demonstrating against 24-hour electricity in Zahle and now we have employees protesting after they got fired for not showing up to work. The title is of course a joke but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them didn’t know where the Casino du Liban is. According to LBCI, some of them used to get paid up as high as $11,000 without any attendance … while others were residing outside Lebanon.

Of course if some of these 191 fired employees never skipped work or weren’t among the corrupt ones, then it’s their right to protest but those who used to get paid and never showed up to work should be fined not just fired.

tweet via Ghassan

Casino du Liban was plunged into a major crisis on Tuesday after the board of directors sacked 191 contract employees in a step it described as a “salvation” move, which prompted the laid off workers to shut down the vital tourist attraction. “Due to your lack of discipline and your irregular attendance at work, hence your lack of productivity at the Casino du Liban company, it has been decided to consider you dismissed from work at your full responsibility as of the evening of Friday, January 30, 2015,” the company said in a dismissal letter sent to the employees. [Link]

Catchy Headlines To Make A Pointless And Useless Story Go Viral

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I am sure you’ve all clicked on such titles only to find out the story is lame and stupid. I wouldn’t go as far as to say “Journalism is dying” in Lebanon but the amount of pointless and stupid online stories that are being published is increasing dramatically and we are to blame as well as the journalists.

PS: The above titles were all made up so don’t go looking for them :)

Miss Lebanon National Costume From 2011 Till 2014 At Miss Universe

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It won’t be easy for Miss Lebanon to win Miss Universe anytime soon but since we have all these world renowned Lebanese fashion designers, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a nicer national costume and have a chance at winning the Best National Costume award.

Sally Jreij’s costume was way too simple when compared to the [extravagant costumes] other Misses wore. Maybe we should let Madonna design the national costume for next year lol!

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2012

Here’s a sample of what other national costumes looked like:

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How Much Does A Ski Trip Cost In Lebanon?

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I was preparing a post on the cost of a ski trip in Lebanon but LBCI’s Lea Fayad beat me to it so I will make use of her report as a reference to my post as it has the Laklouk pricing which I didn’t know. As you can see below, the highest ski ticket during the weekend is at Mzaar (around 47$), followed by the Cedars (40$) and Zaarour (40$) then Laklouk (23$).

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As far as ski rental equipment is concerned, it’s around $30-40 including skis, boots, ski goggles and gloves. If you include food and gas expenses as well, a ski trip during week days costs around 75$ and at least 90$ during the weekend. These prices don’t include the fees of a ski instructor which is based on the LBCI report around 30$ an hour but I think you can easily find cheaper prices than that specially when you are a group. There’s also a Facebook group called Skiing Society that gives up to 30% discounts on ski tickets, rental equipment and other stuff.

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