Category Archives: Middle East

According To BuzzFeed: Hummus, Halloumi Cheese, Cactus Fruit, Falafel, Shawarma, Labneh, Kibbeh and Baba Ghannoush Are Israeli Delicacies

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This BuzzFeed article by ReThinkIsrael is so ridiculous and disrespectful to international cuisines that I don’t know where to start. The author could have simply stated there are things you could eat in Israel, but to claim that these are Israeli specialties is just too much. Moreover, how can you claim that a fruit is specialty?

I scanned through the list quickly and 8 of the 19 items listed are definitely not Israeli and I am sure there are others as well. One thing that caught my attention was the Krembo, which is the equivalent of Tarboosh in Lebanon. There have been talks that Tarboosh may be copied from a Swiss company’s product (Le Petit Perrier) but I am pretty sure both came before the Krembo.

As far as Hummus is concerned, here’s a proof that Hummus is Lebanese.

Lebanese Alternative Rockers Mashrou’ Leila On The Cover Of Rolling Stone – Middle East Magazine

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The issue will be released for public on April 6 for those interested. Mabrouk to [Mashrou3Leila]!

Rolling Stone Middle East has chosen the first regional artists to appear on the cover of their next magazine issue: Lebanese indie band Mashrou’ Leila. Set for public release on April 6, the issue will feature an in-depth look at a band that, since being formed six years ago, has risen to the “forefront of the alternative Arabic music scene,” according to Rolling Stone Middle East.

Front man Hamed Sinno and guitarist Firas Abou Fakher are featured in the magazine, shedding light on the origins of the band and discussing the struggles of being independent artists in the region. [AlArabiya]

Lebanese-Brazilian Driver Felipe Nasr To Drive For Williams At The Bahrain F1 GP

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Williams has confirmed today the signing of Felipe Nasr as its official reserver and test driver behind its drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteria Bottas. Nasr will partake in five free practice sessions during the 2014 seasons. Felipe Nasr is a Brazilian of Lebanese descent.

Here’s what Frank Williams had to say about him:

Added team principal Frank Williams, “Felipe has a strong record of success in his career so far, and we’ve watched closely for a while. We have a history in Williams to bring new talent and give them a chance to show what they can do on the biggest stage in the world. When driving in FP1 five sessions this season, Felipe will have the perfect opportunity to show his skills, and I am confident he will be a strong addition to our squad of pilots.”

Update: Here’s Nasr’s comments after FP1.

21 Stereotype-Exploding Facts About The Middle East, 5 From Lebanon

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It’s a fun read by BuzzFeed but the author apparently ran out of ideas towards the end.

Here are the facts where Lebanon is mentioned:

1. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Turkey, and Morocco all have their own national beers.
2- Lebanese are obsessed with plastic surgery – 1.5 million surgeries per year in a country of only 4 million!
4- In Lebanon, you can ski in the morning and visit the beach in the afternoon. And take photos of the sights along the way.
19- One of the best-preserved Roman temples in the world is in Lebanon.
20- This is Lebanon…

U.N. Refugees Chief Antonio Guterres Warns Lebanon Could Collapse Under Syrian Refugees Burden

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Picture via UNHCR

Here’s a sum up of what United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said during an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour:
- Lebanon could collapse under the weight of the massive influx of Syrian refugees
- Without economic and financial support, and an increased effort to share the burden of Syrian refugees, “Lebanon [does] not [have] the possibility to go on with the present situation.
- Twenty-five percent of the Lebanese population today is Syrian.
- We have more Syrian students in Lebanese public schools than Lebanese students.
- Lebanon has serious problems with electricity and water, and largely because of this huge increase in population.
- The health system is totally overburdened, and the security implications of the Syrian crisis to Lebanon are absolutely dramatic.

This is old news to most of us Lebanese by now, and Lebanon is in need of a substantial help to cope with this humanitarian crisis. Aside from that, and instead of requesting to expel Syrian refugees or stop receiving them like some Lebanese officials have been doing for the past couple of years, the government needs to set up an emergency plan once and for all to cope with Syrian refugees in Lebanon and organize them into camps or proper settlements. This should have been done since day1 and even if things are out of control now, it’s never too late to have a plan and put an end to this chaotic situation because the Syrian war is not ending anytime soon.

Will The Movie Noah Be Banned In Lebanon?

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UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have already banned the Hollywood film “Noah” because it contains scenes that are seen as offensive to Islam. I am not sure whether it will be banned in Lebanon as well but I highly doubt that it will get approved by the censorship bureau.

I wonder how long will it take us to realize that any form of censorship is wrong.

Update: Grand Cinemas told me on twitter that it will start showing on March 27th but they said it didn’t pass the censorship yet.

The Selfiest Cities in the World: Beirut Ranked 210

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According to Time, Makati City known as the financial center of the Philippines is the Selfie Capital of the World, or the capital where people take the most selfies. Manhattan came in second spot followed by Miami. As far as Arabic cities are concerned, Doha came first (Ranked 42 worldwide), followed by Dubai (Ranked 63 worldwide). Beirut is in the 5th spot regionally and 210th worldwide.

Here are the Arabic cities that made it to the top 100 list:
42. Doha, QA: 52 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
63. Dubai, AE: 41 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
87. Abu Dhabi, AE: 33 selfie-takers per 100,000 people
92. Sharjah, AE: 32 selfie-takers per 100,000 people

To investigate the geography of selfie-taking, TIME built a database of more than 400,000 Instagram photos tagged “selfie” that included geographic coordinates. In total, we ranked 459 cities to determine the selfiest places on earth. Fear not Manhattan and Miami, you’re up there.

Check out the original article and full map [Here].

Thanks Sam!