Category Archives: Mags & Books

The Lebanese diaspora: A tale of two traders

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Good education, adaptability and networks helped Lebanese succeed outside their country. That’s a positive thing that came out of our “wasta” system for a change. Check out the full article [Here].

ON A recent flight from Beirut to Addis Ababa, Lebanese businessmen were swapping stories. “Business is excellent in Angola,” declared one. “I hear it’s good in Ghana?” inquired another. Flights out of Lebanon buzz with optimism. For Lebanese business “good education, adaptability and networks” are the keys to their success.folk, the juiciest opportunities are abroad.

More people of Lebanese origin live outside Lebanon than in it (perhaps 15m-20m, compared with 4.3m). Many have done well. Carlos Slim, a Lebanese-Mexican telecoms tycoon, is the richest man in the world. Carlos Ghosn, a French-Lebanese-Brazilian, is the boss of both Renault (a French carmaker) and Nissan (a Japanese one). Nick Hayek, a Swiss-Lebanese, runs Swatch, the biggest maker of Swiss watches.

Lebanese people have long had wanderlust. Ancient Phoenician merchants roamed the Mediterranean, setting up cities such as Carthage and Cadiz. In the past century and a half, waves of Lebanese have left for the Americas and west Africa. Lebanon’s long civil war prompted many more to pack. Some 7m Lebanese and their descendants now live in Brazil, 3m in the United States and at least 250,000 in west Africa. They do everything from running restaurants to dealing in diamonds. By and large, they find business easier elsewhere than back in their fragile motherland.

Via Mustapha

I’m reading “Superman is an Arab” by Joumana Haddad

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I only became aware of Joumana Haddad in 2010 after the controversy her first book ‘I Killed Scheherazade: Confessions of an Angry Arab Woman’ (Which by the way got translated into 13 languages and was universally acclaimed) caused in Lebanon, a book in which she challenges “prevalent notions of Arab womanhood and, in the process, shatters the centuries-old stereotype of Scheherazade, the virgin heroine of The Arabian Nights who won the king’s affections.” [Source]

I haven’t had time to read the book yet but I’ve been following up on her for some time and got her second book Superman is an Arab as a gift. For those of you who don’t know, Joumana works as a cultural editor of An Nahar and is a renowned Lebanese poet, translator, journalist and women rights activist. Joumana is a ferocious critic of sexism in Lebanon and the way women are perceived and she expresses her opinions in an unexpected, captivating and daring way. Her unique take on the state of women in Lebanon and the Arab world has earned her a lot of plaudit and rewards but also a good share of death threats.

In “Superman is an Arab”, Haddad turns her attention to men, decrying the ‘Superman’ of the title, a man whose “muscles are just a facade for his insecurities”, who “confuses manhood with machismo, faith with fanaticism, ethics with stale tradition, love with possession and strength with despotism.” [Executive-Magazine]

JH by Giorgio Pace- 2008
Picture from JasadMag, a glossy quarterly magazine dedicated to the body founded and run by Joumana.

The threats of murder, rape and acid attack are not scaring or slowing down Joumana, and her latest two articles are a clear proof of that. In case you missed them, [Dear Allah] and [What Women do not want] are awesome reads.

To be honest, I don’t know how she does it, but she’s more courageous than most women and men I know. I could go on and on talking about her but I think it’s enough that you read her articles to know what I’m talking about. She reminds me in a way of Gebran Tueni, a good friend of hers, who crossed all the “red” lines through his editorials and was one of the bravest, if not the bravest, newspaperman the Middle East has known.

In an interview with the Guardian, Joumana Haddad said that “she lives in a country that hates her”. Well BlogBaladi loves you and will do whatever it can to silence the haters.

Here’s a small brief on Joumana’s biography and achievements [Link].

Diagnostic Symptoms of Lebanese Mama Syndrome (LMS)

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With Mother’s Day approaching, I thought I share this hilarious article from last year by RAGMAG’s Sarah Hourany:

Diagnostic Symptoms of Lebanese Mama Syndrome (LMS)

1. Replacing the son’s first name with the word “Yo2borné”.
2. Obsessive tendency to call Yo2borné every hour to check if he’s eaten and rested.
3. Correlation between her bedtime and Yo2borné’s even if this means going to sleep at 6am (when he gets back home after a wild party), or not sleeping at all.
4. Underestimation of every girl Yo2borné dates, beginning with her looks (even if she looks like Megan Fox) to her level of intelligence (even if she is a PhD candidate or a CEO of a reputable company).
5. Unfounded suspicions that Yo2borné’s wife is not feeding him. (Even if he has developed a big Kerech since he got married)
6. Irrational feeling of anxiety if Yo2borné is 10 minutes late, accompanied by dramatic imaginings of potential accident scenarios.
7. Intense and spontaneous outbursts of weeping in the following situations:
• When Yo2borné catches the flu (even if his 5 sisters are sick as well).
• If Yo2borné travels for a few short days (even if this is the case every month, and has been the case for the past 5 years).
8. Unexplained competitive behavior with his girlfriend or wife in the following fields: cooking, washing, ironing and cleaning.
9. Deep belief that human beings can reproduce themselves without a partner. (This symptom usually manifests after Yo2borné begins having cute children of his own who only have HIS geneschu nsito enno l 2ered bi 3eyn 2emmo ghazel?)
10. Permanent attempts to please Yo2borné and create a perfect world for him, ignoring the rest of the family, and normally associating “Yes” as a chronic answer to all of his demands.

Communicate Magazine Top 10 Lebanese Blogs

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Picture via Joe

BlogBaladi was among Communicate Magazine’s Top 10 Lebanese Blogs in their “2013 book of tens”. The supplement includes Top 10 of viral campaigns, copycats, local videos, blogs and other social-media related topics.

Other blogs mentioned (in no specific order) include:
Beirut Spring
A Separate state of mind
Plus961
Marketing in Lebanon
Gino’s Blog
Toom Extra
Joe’s Box
Broffessional Review
Beirut NTSC

Communicate magazine can be found in most libraries.

Salon Du Livre Beirut 2012

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I passed by the “Salon du Livre Francophone de Beyrouth” yesterday and I was glad to see so many people attending the event. In fact, Biel was packed with visitors from all age groups and some of the exhibitors were very interesting. The “Salon du Livre” still has 2 days until it ends, so hurry up because you are missing out a lot.

In addition to the exhibitors, the scheduled conferences and featured guest speakers are very interesting. You can check out all the needed information on Le Salon Du Livre’s website [Here].

Here are few random pictures I took from the event:


365 jours pour rester positif au Liban, an Agenda featuring BlogBaladi on one of its pages


I always end up buying a Bande Dessinée


Kids playing with Lego at the Samir Kassir Foundation stand.


Tintin & CIE stand, tons of awesome figurines


Some of the stuff I bought

Salon Du Livre Francophone de Beyrouth 2012

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I am going tomorrow to the 20th edition of the Salon du Livre Francophone and I invite all book enthusiasts to go there because this event is the third largest cultural event in the francophone world after Paris and Montreal and one of the most important cultural events in the region. The largest number of participating publishers will be Lebanese, so you will also have the chance to meet them and show some support. [TimeOut] [LorientLeJour]

Le Salon du livre francophone de Beyrouth will take place at Biel from October 26 till November 4 2012.

10 reasons why I love RAGMAG magazine

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1- RAGMAG tackles all sorts of topics (art, theater, film, nightlife, music, cuisine, fashion, health etc …)
2- Their exclusive interviews are always a pleasure to read even if you don’t like the interviewee.
3- Their [website] looks very nice, is easy to browse and is always updated.
4- The Ragged highlights have some really cool sections, my favorites being “Hayda Lebnen ya 3ayne” and “FML
5- They are very active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and don’t just post stuff but interact all the time with their readers/followers.
6- RAGMAG organizes giveaways/competitions all the time for its readers and fans and the prizes are really cool!
7- They have a refined taste in restaurants/hotels/pubs etc …
8- I got featured once in the magazine in the “Mon Amour, Mon Ami” section.
9- The people behind RAGMAG are hardworking, intelligent and very friendly. ( @Gina @Fida @Youmna @Danielle )
10- All of the above.

Boobs, Botox and the Babes of Beirut

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I think this article is offensive, over-generalizing and pointless. [Article]

For a largely Arab country it’s a bizarre thing that in Lebanon (Beirut specifically), women care more about their appearance than men. Males lead a rather sullied existence, priming their closely cut mini-beards and, from my own observations, eating rather a lot. The formula in Lebanon’s capital for women is fashion-forward, from their choice of cloth to the decisions they make surgically. [Link]

Via Rita

Navigating Relationships in Lebanon

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Some Lebanese take pride in how our society is a conservative one and still has values while in reality it’s asking guys to have Superman-like skills to navigate a relationship and make it endure.

I never thought I would be writing an article on relationships in Lebanon but somehow I ended up writing one that got published in RAGMAG’s July issue which is awesome. You can read the full article [Here].

Let me know what you think.

PS: Special thanks to RAGMAG’s team and Fida.

Amin Maalouf à l’Académie française

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AP Photo/Jacques Brinon

What a great honour for Amin Maalouf and Lebanon!

France on Thursday granted one of its top honours, membership in the prestigious Academie Francaise, to Franco-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf, whose books seek to build bridges between East and West. Maalouf became the first Lebanese inducted as an one of the academy’s “immortals” — the 40 lifelong members tasked as guardians of the French language. [DailyStar]

Amin Maalouf was born in Beirut, but moved to Paris with his family in 1975 after the civil war broke out. His most famous novel is “Sakhrit Tanios”, or “The Rock of Tanios“, for which he received France’s premier literary award, the Prix Goncourt.

Many foreign, mainly French papers, wrote about this achievement, including LeMonde.fr, LaPresse.ca, LeFigaro.fr and TheNational.ae among others.

Amin Maalouf was featured in CNN’s Inside the Middle East January edition as one of few people in the region “who are leading the fight to protect, promote, and adapt their heritage.” [CNN]