Picture via netftegaz.ru
I found a nice website [www.mestrategicperspectives.com] that publishes weekly reports related to Oil & Gas in Lebanon and the progress being made.
Here’s a [link] to the last report.
The song says a lot about the current situation in several countries in the Middle East.
PS: Lyrics written by Anas Arabi and Koos and the beat produced by Anas Arabi
Earlier in November, Lebanese scientists have joined with a host of officials and researchers in the region in declaring nargileh smoking a “global epidemic”. [Source]
I think we all agree that smoking is bad but the problem lies elsewhere in Lebanon. There are way too many Shisha cafes and the Arguile is cheap and accessible to everyone (No Age Restriction). Added to that, there’s no control on the cleanliness of the Arguile and its pipes and Hookah deliveries are allowed. What I believe should be done is restricting the number of Shisha cafes, or at least banning new Shisha lounges from opening, increasing the price of an Arguile drastically (200%) and fining restaurants who offer them to minors.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – Ruler of Dubai
If we go back ten years or more, Lebanese used to go to Dubai and the Gulf countries in general because of the higher salaries and the better job opportunities. Most people I know weren’t very fond of living there and wanted to work for few years in Dubai, make a few bucks and go back to Lebanon. They wouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit Beirut, whether on weekends or on holidays as that’s where family is and all the fun is.
However, Lebanon has been going backwards for years now while GCC countries have been achieving outstanding progress on all aspects, and have turned in less than 30 years into highly developed countries providing some of the highest living standards in the region, if not worldwide. Of course oil wealth played a crucial role in transforming the UAE’s economy into what it is today, but it takes more than money to win people’s hearts and keep them happy and proud of their city.
Having said that, I’ve never been to Dubai but I was happy to know a couple of days ago that they won the rights to host the World Expo 2020. I even posted about it as it’s an incredible achievement and Dubai will be the first city in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia to host this event. Of course a lot of Lebanese rejoiced over this win, specially the ones residing in Dubai, but some of them took it as far as trashing Lebanon and praising the Dubai ruler as their true leader.
Honestly speaking, I don’t think we’re still in a position to compare ourselves to Dubai or any of the UAE because they are far ahead of us in all aspects. We could have had an F1 GP years before the Bahrain and Abu Dhabi ones but we wasted the opportunity due to corruption and political bickering, we could have had a Beirut Media City but our infrastructure was deplorable (it still is), Arabs used to visit Lebanon for its nightlife but that’s not the case anymore (MP Mohammad Raad is happy to hear that), MEA Airlines are now the worst-ranked airlines in the region, we could have hosted the Asian Football Cup here if it wasn’t for the shaky security situation (While Qatar won the rights to host the World Cup), we used to have the best universities in the region but not anymore, we had one of the best Football teams and could have qualified to the World Cup but match-fixing and corruption among players ruined our chances and the list goes on and on. The only common thing we have with Dubai nowadays is the high cost of living, with the only difference being that their salaries are 5 to 10 times as much as ours.
Forum De Beyrouth exhibition hall burned with envy yesterday upon hearing Dubai’s Expo2020 win
Lebanon has lost its competitive advantage over the Gulf countries in almost every aspect, but that doesn’t mean we should trash it and praise others, or envy others and blame them for our problems (or criticize them when they don’t help us). We’re going through some rough times, there’s a neighboring country at war, there are more than 1 million refugees on Lebanese soil, we have a huge debt and the most corrupt political class in the world.
Hopefully we will get past these obstacles but until then, let’s stop envying others out of hatred and jealousy, and let’s remember Lebanon is our country whether we like it or not (I love it!), and unless you choose to leave and become an expat, try to make the best out of it and stop cheering and voting for the same people screwing it up. Let’s spread some positive energy and some love instead of looking for reasons to fight.
Dubai may not be a democracy, yet its ruler is more humble and wise than most of our politicians and has managed to gain everyone’s admiration without seeking their votes or bribing them. Dubai is now a second home to a lot of Lebanese because there’s so much positive energy in this city that you can’t not love it, even if you’ve never been there.
So Congrats to Dubai and the UAE and best of luck for Expo2020!
Fireworks light up Burj Khalifa as Dubai wins Expo 2020
Dubai, the second-richest member of the UAE won its bid for Expo2020 by an overwhelming number of votes. This is a huge achievement for Dubai as it will be the first time the World Expo is ever held in the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia. The theme Dubai chose is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
If you are still wondering the importance of holding such an expo, “the World Expo 2010, hosted by Shanghai, helped transform the city into a thriving commercial super-district, supporting the economy to the tune of several billion dollars and income of $150 million”. Read more [Here].
Meanwhile, corruption has hit a new high in Lebanon.
The Great Exhibition, held in London in 1851, inaugurated World Expos as the hallmark events of a world aspiring to strengthen its connections, celebrate its cultural diversity and marvel at its technological wonders.
Today, World Expos remain a key meeting point for the global community to share innovations and make progress on issues of international importance such as the global economy, sustainable development and improved quality of life for the world’s population.
Every five years, World Expos attract millions of visitors who explore and discover pavilions, exhibitions and cultural events staged by hundreds of participants including nations, international organisations and businesses.
Each World Expo is a catalyst for economic, cultural and social transformation and generates important legacies for the host city and nation. For instance, Shanghai 2010 World Expo helped transform a heavily industrial city-centre area into a thriving cultural and commercial district while also bringing its theme “Better City, Better Life” to the attention of 73 million people.
The next World Expo takes place in Milan, Italy, in 2015. The focus: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. [Source]
HH Sheikh Mohammed celebrating Dubai’s victory
Picture from Lebanondebate
An employee at the Lebanese Restaurant Baalbeck in Riyadh, has reportedly threatened two customers for offensive remarks on Hezbollah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah. After the news spread, Saudis were angered by the story and a campaign was launched in the KSA (And a hashtag too #مقاطعة_مطعم_بعلبك_بالرياض) to boycott the restaurant. The restaurant’s management apologized for the employee’s behavior and promised to take the necessary measures.
I don’t know what got into this employee’s mind to pull something like that, but he surely picked the wrong place at the wrong time. They are already posting names of other Lebanese restaurants to boycott in KSA and Kuwait as well, just check out the tweets on the hashtag being used.
Most of the Arab countries have a higher happiness index than Lebanon except Iraq, Palestinian Territories and Syria. I can’t say I am surprised specially after everything we’ve been through in the past 3 years.
Here’s the complete ranking list for Arab countries:
33- Saudi Arabia
113- Palestian Territories (vs Israel in 11th spot worldwide)
Check out the full report [Here].
The happiest people in the world apparently reside in northern Europe, according to a 156-nation survey published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Released Monday, the 2013 World Happiness Report ranks the happiest countries around the globe, with Denmark, Norway and Switzerland leading the pack. Among North American countries, Canada took sixth place, while Mexico (16) slightly outranked the U.S. (17). [HuffPost]
The yellow line indicates the period between 2005 and 2007 while the blue line indicates the period between 2010 and 2012.