PayPal launched in Egypt last year and Lebanon was supposedly next on the list. However, and as per their reply to Jad from the JRExpress, “there are no reasons per se why PayPal is not launching Lebanon, it’s just a matter of priorities”.
My name is Laurent Wakim and I am in charge of PayPal’s business in the MENA region.
As my colleague explained to you, when we announced the launch of PayPal services in Egypt in May, there was a misinterpretation about Lebanon’s launch. In 2012, PayPal decided to have a dedicated team focusing on the MENA region. As part of the priorities, expanding our geographic footprint is among the most important ones. That’s why we launched our business in Egypt.
Lebanon is an important market to us (and to me being Lebanese) however when PayPal looks at new opportunities, we need to prioritize them and they compete against other initiatives whether new products, new geographies, …etc. So while enabling Lebanon remains a priority for us, we don’t have any timeline that we can share. There are no reasons per se why PayPal is not launching Lebanon, it is a matter of priorities.
My best regards.
Khouloud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish and Lebanon’s first civil marriage
Just like every year, L’Orient-Le Jour reveals the list of the top 30 Lebanese who made the headlines whether for a good or bad thing, throughout the year. Here’s the [full list] for 2013:
1- Darwiche / Succariyé
2- Michel Sleiman
3- Rabih Kayrouz
4- Wajdi Mouawad
5- Ziad Rahbani
6- Hassan Nasrallah
7- Janane Mallat
8- Karen Chekerdjian
9- Riad Salamé
10- Joe Kodeih
11- Salim Eddé
12- Karim Edgard Chaya
13- Nayla Audi
14- Amin Dora
15- Gasnier Duparc / Harati
16- Akram Zaatari
17- Lisa Asseily
18- Anthony Touma
19- Kamakian / Maacaron
20- Michèle Ghanem
21- May Joumblatt
22- Sandra Mansour
23- Rasha Kahil
24- Ayman Mhanna
25- Fadl Chaker
26- Vénus Khoury-Ghata
27- Élias Murr
28- Mireille Nassif
29- Élie Ferzli
30- Baha Laham
I can think of a name or two to add to that list, such as Marwan Charbel or Hind Hobeika, the Lebanese entrepreneur behind Instabeat.
PS: I beg L’Orient-Le Jour to change their horrible website in 2014.
I’ve been meaning to write about this online campaign yesterday but unfortunately another explosion took place yesterday killing more innocent people this time in Dahieh. The #NotAMartyr campaign followed the unfortunate death of 16 year old Mohammad Chaar who was taking a selfie with some friends when the car behind them exploded.
Mohammad Chaar, just like Malak Zahwi and her mother and all the innocent civilians who died in previous bombings, are not martyrs but victims. They just wanted to have fun with their friends, go to school and get an education, or just live a peaceful life. They definitely didn’t want to die in a car bomb and then be exploited politically in their funeral.
Unfortunately though, there’s nothing this online campaign can do to prevent these bombings at the moment, but at least more and more people and specially the upcoming Lebanese generations are realizing the disastrous scenario Lebanese officials are dragging us into and hopefully will make them pay for it in the ballots.
This bloodbath must stop but I don’t see it happening anytime soon and I have no idea what we should all do to avoid getting killed by mistake by a suicide bomber or a booby-trapped car. Are we supposed to stop going to schools and universities, or quit our jobs and stay home?
Personally speaking, I am not changing my daily routine but I will try to go out less often in the upcoming weeks or months.
Mohammad Chatah’s family lighting a candle for Mohammad Chaar
I really have no idea why this 86-year old French singer was censored on Serge Gainsbourg’s cd. If anything, it was Gainsbourg who sang something that has to do with Israel (Blasphemy!).
Juliette Gréco was born in Montpellier to a Corsican father and a mother who became active in the Résistance, in the Hérault département of southern France. She was raised by her maternal grandparents. Gréco also became involved in the Résistance, and was caught but not deported because of her young age. She moved to Saint-Germain-des-Prés in 1946 after her mother left the country for Indochina
Gréco became a devotee of the bohemian fashion of some intellectuals of post-war France. Jean-Paul Sartre said of Gréco that she had “millions of poems in her voice”. She was known to many of the writers and artists working in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Boris Vian.
Gréco spent the post liberation years frequenting the Saint Germain cafes, immersing herself in political and philosophical Bohemian culture. As a regular figure at music and poetry venues like Le Tabou on Rue Dauphine, Greco became acquainted with Miles Davis and Jean Cocteau, even being given a role in Cocteau’s film Orphée in 1949. That same year, she began a new singing career with a number of well-known French writers writing lyrics; Raymond Queneau’s “Si tu t’imagines” was one of her earliest songs to become popular.
Here’s a [link] to the blasphemous song “La Javanaise”.
Picture taken from Vice
Vice interviewed one of Roumieh’s ex-inmates and asked him how it felt like to spend 6 months in the prison and get released after. The revelations are quite shocking to say the least.
Read the full interview [Here].
Roumieh, Lebanon’s most notorious prison, is not somewhere you want to find yourself. The facility regularly holds up to 5,500 inmates, including some of the country’s most high-profile criminals—among them, former Israeli agents and Salafists linked with insurrections against the Lebanese state. The prison is yet to meet the minimum standards stipulated by the UN. Those who officiate the prison have also faced numerous accusations of corruption; high-security prisoners have escaped, reportedly without authorities even realizing, and prison guards and doctors have been charged with trafficking drugs inside its walls.
How rampant was the drug abuse?
I’d say 90 percent, or higher, of the inmates were using. It stretched from prescription drugs, like benzocaine and Tramol, to hashish, cocaine, and heroin. Everything is available: benzocaine being the cheapest, with heroin and cocaine the most expensive. There is no chance of rehabilitation. I remember one inmate saying to me, “The only thing they have imprisoned here is my dick.”
Some people had [homosexual] relationships, but they wouldn’t show it. Late at night or early in the morning, when most people were asleep or high, they would go to the bathroom. Two guys would pay the janitor a couple grams of hashish in order not to let anyone in for ten to 15 minutes. They wouldn’t be abused or ostracised, but if the sharwishe found out then they would be beaten up.
A Hezbollah member holds a rifle at the site of an explosion in Beirut’s southern suburbs.(Reuters)
We ended 2013 with a deadly explosion and we started the year 2014 in Beirut with a new explosion that killed 6 and injured tens. Unlike Mohammad Chatah’s assassination, there were no booby-trapped cars but a suicide bomber this time and the target were innocent civilians.
One of the victims whose pictures got spread on social media networks is a young girl called Malak Zahwi who unfortunately got killed along with her mother Iman in the bombing.
The situation is more and more worrying to be honest. Suicide bombers are the worst thing that could hit us or any country. It’s almost impossible to detect them and even if you do, it’s probably too late.
May all the victims R.I.P.
Picture via Reuters
Picture via Reuters
Picture via Reuters
I’ve never heard of anyone called Arabia. Is she some singer or something?
50$ of free fuel is a great way to start the year!
PS: Fuel prices went up 200 Liras today in Lebanon.
Breath-taking and record-breaking fireworks for Dubai at the start of 2014. Palm Jumeirah Island Fireworks were also impressive.
According to the UN, more than half of 2.2 million Syrian refugees are children, with around 400,000 Syrian Children living in Lebanon. The Children are facing a catastrophic life in exile as they’re missing out on education, food, medical attention and are forced to work to provide for their families.
Here’s what two of the kids wished in this video:
“I hope that things go back to normal and that we can eat and drink, and that we can play with our friends.”
“We are under siege: I want meat. It’s been a year since we had any meat”