Hekmeh Is Back!

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[YouTube]

Sagesse was going through difficult times in the past few month and the prestigious Beiruti team was on the verge of a very dangerous fallout. Fortunately though, an agreement was finally reached tonight between the various parties in the presence of Bishop Boulos Matar (Sagesse belongs to the Maronite Bishopric in Beirut).

Based on the LBC Report above and this article, Nadim Hakim will be Sagesse’s president, Jean Hemmam will resign and Joseph Abdel Massih will be the new secretary general. Elie Mechantaf is still in the management and will handle the Basketball Committee for Sagesse.

This is great news for the players and the Hekmeh fans!

RIyadi

Even Riyadi fans expressed their joy over the agreement reached. Speaking of which, Riyadi (Sporting Beirut) just won the Houssameddine el Hariri tournament by beating Mouttahed in the final game.

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Marijuana Trade Thriving In Lebanon

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A Lebanese farmer harvests cannabis plan
Picture from HuffingtonPost

Lebanon’s instability and the war raging in Syria are blessings in disguise for drug dealers and Hashish growers in the Bekaa. According to this article, 40 grams sell for $20 in Lebanon, $100 in Syria and up to $500 in Turkey.

Lebanese marijuana grower Abu Sami is practically rubbing his hands together with glee: the Syrian conflict has paralysed authorities at home and left the nearby border virtually uncontrolled.

“This year, the harvest was abundant, and the authorities have left us alone because they are otherwise occupied,” he tells AFP in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa region.

In the past, the Lebanese army would descend annually to destroy some of the illicit crop, but this year the harvest has gone untouched.

The area shares a long, porous border with Syria and is a stronghold of the Shiite Lebanese movement Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the Syrian regime against a 32-month-old uprising. [HuffingtonPost]

Should Lebanese Celebrate Dubai’s Expo 2020 win?

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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.

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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!

Weird Car Crash At Beirut’s Entrance

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Pic from SawtLebnan

I missed this huge car crash by 10 minutes luckily today but I couldn’t help but wonder how it happened. Traffic is at its peak at this point which is next to the Forum De Beyrouth so you can’t possibly speed there. Someone also tweeted a picture of one of the cars involved in the crash and it looks like it hit something at high speed.

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via Tarek

Update: Here are more pictures of the crash shared by Wael

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Dog Shot At Close Range In Dbayyeh

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BETA Lebanon uploaded today a video showing a man in Dbayyeh shooting a dog at close range. I refrained from posting the video as it’s too graphic but you can watch it [Here] if you want. The dog (Brad) was shot in his mouth and his shoulder, had to undergo 2 surgeries and is now recovering. As you can see from the picture, he’s doing better now.

These sick and barbaric people who enjoy abusing and killing animals should and will get their punishment one day. Until then, I will keep spreading awareness on that matter and exposing these assholes if needed.

BETA rescued the dog and took care of him but Brad needs now a foster home. If you can help anyhow, send an email to contact@betalebanon.org. You can also contribute to their rescue fund [Here].