Category Archives: Middle East

Arab-American Sulome Anderson’s #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies Selfie Gone Viral

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jews He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn’t speak the language of occupation #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies via @SulomeAnderson

Sulome Anderson is an Arab-American journalist who writes for the Atlantic, Foreign Policy, NY Mag & VICE. She’s half Lebanese and tweeted the other day a selfie with her Jewish bf kissing with a message that said #JewsandArabsRefuseToBeEnemies. The photo quickly has gone viral and became a symbol of peace. Sulome Anderson is the daughter of former AP Middle East bureau chief Terry Anderson, who was kidnapped in Lebanon three months before she was born in 1985 by a Shiite militia and was held for seven years.

I think these messages are important, because even though they won’t help resolve the conflict, it brings people, mainly Jews and Arabs, together as this conflict isn’t just about politics but about people and human values. It is unacceptable that children and innocent civilians get murdered that way and no one’s able to stop these massacres from happening.

My boyfriend is Jewish, raised in an orthodox family, and I’m half Lebanese. Last week we were on vacation and, at the suggestion of a journalist friend, added a photo of us together in support of what was then a little-known initiative called Jews and Arabs Refuse to be Enemies. I wrote those words on a piece of paper, kissed my boyfriend, snapped a picture, and posted it on the group’s Facebook page. I also tweeted it to my modest following and added this caption: “He calls me neshama, I call him habibi. Love doesn’t speak the language of occupation.”

Mercer Consulting 2014 Report: Beirut Is The Most Expensive City In The Middle East For Expats

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Two African cities, Luanda in Angola and N’Djamena in Chad, topped the Mercer Consulting list of the most expensive cities for expatriates according to Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey. They were followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich, Geneva, Tokyo, Bern, Moscow and Shanghai.

As for the Middle East, Beirut was ranked the most expensive city in the Middle East for expatriates and the 63rd world wide, followed by Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Jeddah. I don’t think that’s something we should be proud of as it doesn’t reflect the reality at all and we can’t be compared to cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

#LB4Gaza: A Unified Lebanese NewsCast In Solidarity With Gaza

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LBCI, Tele Liban, MTV, Al-Manar, Al-Jadeed, NBN, Future TV and OTV all broadcasted the same report tonight to voice solidarity with Gaza against the Israeli offensive. The Israeli war on Gaza is still ongoing and almost 600 Palestinians were killed so far. What’s happening is quite sickening as a lot of innocent civilians in Gaza are being targeted.

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92% Of Lebanese Find It Unacceptable For The US To Monitor Communications Of Citizens

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The American government has reportedly been monitoring communications, such as emails and phone calls, in the U.S and other countries. Pew conducted a survey asking people from around the world whether they find it acceptable or not for the US to monitor communications from citizens, American citizens, suspected terrorists and country leaders.

Here’s what the Lebanese had to say about that:
- 92% found is unacceptable for the American government to monitor communications of Lebanese citizens.
- 76% found it acceptable for the American government to monitor communications of suspected terrorists.
- 77% found it unacceptable for the American government to monitor communications of US citizens.
- 87% found it unacceptable for the American government to monitor communications of Lebanese leaders.

You can find other Pew polls [Here]. One interesting survey on the rise of Islamic Extremism in the Middle East revealed that 92% of Lebanese (the highest %) were very concerned about Islamic Extremism in their country.

Thanks Mark!

Lebanese Emilie Houwat Wins The First Edition Of ‘I am NatGeo Photographer’

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emiliehouwat via LorientLeJour

I Am a NatGeo Photographer is a reality show broadcasted on National Geographic Abu Dhabi. It features eight asipiring photographer from across the region competing in a series of challenges all over the UAE. “Their goal is to find that perfect photo until, in time-honoured reality-TV fashion, only one remains to be crowned the winner and see their work in the pages of the ­magazine”.

The first edition of this show has come to an end and it was a Lebanese photographer called Emilie Houwat who won. I haven’t seem the picture she took as I couldn’t find it anywhere, but I will update the post once I do.

Congrats to Emilie! You can check out her website [Here].

Between The World Cup And Israel’s Military Offensive Against Gaza

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Ever since Israel started its offensive against Gaza few days ago, a lot of people have been showing their support for the Palestinian people while some of them have been bashing football fans for not caring enough about Gaza and cheering for their teams. “How could you watch the World Cup while children are dying?” and “Shame on you for ignoring the massacres on Palestine” are some of the messages I got and I couldn’t but laugh at them.

We all condemn what’s happening in Gaza and what’s been happening for the past 30 years, as we condemn the hundreds of innocent civilians killed in the Syrian conflict everyday, and in Iraq and Yemen and anywhere there’s a conflict. However, as much as some Lebanese and Arabs feel concerned with what’s happening in neighboring countries, there’s nothing we can do to help even if we wanted to, and the truth is we need help in Lebanon more than any other country (except Palestine maybe). Moreover, if you truly wish to help Palestinians, do so on a daily basis and don’t just remember them during wars and start spreading pictures of dead babies and burned bodies on Facebook.

Going back few months from now, innocent people were dying in Tripoli (In Lebanon of course) due to sectarian fights yet a lot of people who are sharing Gaza posts and pictures all over the internet didn’t feel that concerned with what’s happening. A lot of Lebanese as well don’t feel concerned with the suicide bombings in Dahieh and Beirut’s suburbs, without forgetting the 1 Million+ Syrian refugees suffering in Lebanon.

To sum things up, stop pretending to care about Gaza children if you’ve just realized that they are suffering, stop telling people not to watch the World Cup because people are dying in Palestine and stop sharing graphic images to get people’s attention. If anything, start caring about your country more and let people enjoy their lives the way they see it appropriate.