Category Archives: Middle East

40 Maps That Explain The Middle East

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phoenician_800_bc [High-Res]

Check out these 40 maps done by Max Fisher for understanding the Middle East — its history, its present, and some of the most important stories in the region today. I found the above map interesting, showing how ancient Phoenicians spread from Lebanon across the Mediterranean. There’s also a map showing the Israeli and Hezbollah strikes in the 2006 Lebanon War.

The Phoenicians, who lived in present-day Lebanon and coastal Syria, were pretty awesome. From about 1500 to 300 BC, they ran some of the Mediterranean’s first big trading networks, shown in red, and dominated the sea along with the Greeks, who are shown in brown. Some sailed as far as the British Isles, and many of them set up colonies in North Africa, Spain, Sicily, and Sardinia. This was one of the first of many close cultural links between the Middle East and North Africa – and why Libya’s capital, Tripoli, still bears the name of the ancient Phoenician colony that established it.

Maronite Patriarch Rai To Visit The Holy Land

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JER-Film-Stills-Sunset-Dustin-Farrell via JTA

The Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara el Rai has decided to visit Jerusalem as part of a papal delegation in May. According to Al-Akhbar, he will be the first Lebanese Patriarch to ever visit the Holy Land. Former Maronite Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir had refused to accompany Pope John Paul II on his journey to the Holy Land because “there is a domestic situation that we must take into account. We have bishops that travel between Lebanon and Palestine, but taking into consideration the domestic situation, we preferred not to do it.”

I am not sure if the Patriarch needs any special permit to visit the Holy Land specially that the Maronite Church has a bishop there, so I guess we will have to wait and see how this goes. In all cases, I think it’s a bold move and I hope it works out.

Freedom of the Press 2014: Lebanon Still Partly Free

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Lebanon’s score hasn’t changed for the past 3 years and is still 53, which is a bad thing of course. Nevertheless, it remains the best country in the Middle East followed by Kuwait with a score of 59.

You can check out the full report [Here].

The Freedom of the Press report measures the level of media independence in 197 countries and territories. Each country receives a numerical score from 0 (the most free) to 100 (the least free) on the basis of combined scores from three subcategories: the legal environment (A), the political environment (B), and the economic environment (C). For each category, a lower number of points is allotted for a more free situation, while a higher number of points is allotted for a less free environment.


The Forgotten Armenian Genocide: 99 Years Already

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1902964_786914124660968_5745650839158745349_n Picture from yesterday’s demonstration in Martyrs Square – Beirut (via ArmeniansInLebanon)

April 24th may seem like another day for most people, but for Armenians in Lebanon and all over the world, it is a day of remembrance of their 1.5 million countrymen who were murdered by the Ottoman government during WWI. Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan offered his condolences yesterday “over the massacre of Armenians”, which is a first, but that’s not enough as Turkey MUST recognize the genocide and compensate for the families of the victims.

Last year, a new national stamp in Lebanon was launched in honor of the Armenian Genocide victims.

Here are few useful links on the Armenian Genocide for those interested:
[Armenian Genocide of 1915: An Overview]

What Every Arab Country Is Worst at …

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The above list was compiled by a website called Raseef22, and Lebanon is featured as being the Arab country where politicians are the least trustworthy.

This is indeed correct and was mentioned in the 2013 Global Competitiveness Report that I posted about back in October. There are a lot of indicators that rank Lebanon and other Arab countries that you can check [Here] (Go To Page 403).

Haifa Wehbe’s Movie Pulled From UAE And Egypt Cinemas

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Apparently the movie has caused an uproar in Egypt because of the sexually provocative scenes as well as a young boy’s infatuation with the character played by Wehbi. As for the UAE, Halawet Al Rooh’ was the third most-watched film in UAE cinemas before it was removed from cinemas on Thursday morning.

Has anyone seen the movie yet in Lebanon? Any feedback?

Answering ReThinkIsrael’s BuzzFeed Article: The 13 Delicacies That Are Israeli .. Aren’t Israeli

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Picture from Al-Abraaj

ThHank you Rumzz for writing this. Read the full article [Here].

Cultural appropriation is at least inappropriate. Israel has colonized Palestinian indigenous land and displaced and dispossessed Palestinians. Now it is claiming Palestinian traditions as its own. A buzzfeed article claimed that ‘in Israel hummus flows almost as freely as water’… unfortunately, Israel has ensured that water doesn’t flow freely to Palestinians, now they’re appropriating food too! Many of the dishes that Israelis claim as their own are from the Mediterranean region common to all Arabs as well as Turks, Greeks, Cypriots, Armenians, and Persians. Everyone should enjoy the food the world has to offer, just don’t colonize and appropriate it.

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.