Jounieh car-free day

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All the coastal roads in Jounieh were closed on Sunday for the Jounieh on bike “Green Day”. It’s good to see that the event attracted a lot of people and I hope it will become a monthly event not just take place during the festivals. The same goes to the car-free days being organized in Achrafieh.

Six Lebanese Army Soldiers killed in Saida Clashes

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George Saab
Lieutenant George Elien bou Saab

Two army officers, a sergeant and three soldiers were martyred in the Abra clashes that took place today with Ahmad Al-Assir supporters. Here are the names as officially released by the Lebanese Army:

- Captain Ali Adnan al-Masri
- First Lieutenant Samer Geryes Tanios
- Lieutenant George Elien bou Saab
- First Class Private Rami Ali Khabbaz
- Private Bilal Ali Saleh
- Private Elie Nicolas Rahme

I was able to find online the pictures of Lieutenant George Elien bou Saab and First Lieutenant Samer Geryes Tanios. If you have the pictures of the other army men mentioned, please do share them.

Speaking of the events that took place today and have been occurring lately, I hope that the army and its commander remain determined to confront all outlaws without any exception and without listening to anyone. As far as the rest of us are concerned, the only thing we should be doing is show our unconditional support to the Lebanese Army in ways that don’t involve closing down roads or using weapons of any kind.

Sincere condolences to the families of these brave young men.

First Lieutenant Samer Geryes Tanios

Update: Pictures of all the martyrs (Source: LebaneseArmy)

‘Letter to a Refusing Pilot’ by Akram Zaatari

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That’s the first time I hear about this story. I hope we will see the movie in Lebanese theaters.

During the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982, a rumor circulated throughout Akram Zaatari’s hometown, Saida. It was said that an Israeli fighter pilot was ordered to bomb a school there but refused and instead dumped his bombs into the sea.

Mr. Zaatari, 47, an artist who now lives in Beirut, first heard this story when he was 16 years old. His father was the founder of the school, which was eventually bombed by another pilot and severely damaged.

Over the years, Mr. Zaatari heard versions of the same tale, with varying explanations for the actions of the pilot, and he came to regard it as a legend of sorts. He once referred to the story during a lecture that was transcribed and published in a book, and came to discover that it was no rumor and that the pilot did exist. His name was Hagai Tamir.

When Mr. Zaatari was selected to represent Lebanon at the 55th Venice Biennale, which runs until Nov. 24, he chose to focus on this Israeli pilot’s act of conscientious objection with a quiet, evocative, film, “Letter to a Refusing Pilot.” [NYTimes]

Russell Brand cancels Lebanon show over threats

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Russell Brand’s ‘Messiah Complex’ Tour was cancelled in The Middle East after organizers told him they could not guarantee his safety. He was coming to Abu Dhabi and Lebanon.

Russell has been pounding the pavement pretty hard to promote his upcoming “Messiah Complex” tour. Sadly, news just came down the pike that Rusty has had to cancel some dates in the Middle East (primarily Abu Dhabi and Lebanon) because he’s had some credible theats upon his life; and the venues have informed him that the could not guarantee his safety in the event that these threats were taken to fruition. Rusty believes his tour poster might have something to do with the threats, but who knows. It’s difficult to make sense out of people who make death threats.

The tour focuses on icons including Che Guevara, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Jesus, and examines “the importance of heroes in this age of atheistic disposability.

In case you missed it, check out this latest video of Russell Brand mocking the media:

Baalbeck International Festival to move to an alternative venue

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Picture from Baalbeck Festival FB Page

The festival’s headline act, American soprano Renee Fleming, is no longer coming to Baalbeck as well. The organizers are not yet decided which venue to choose to replace Baalbeck. Unfortunately, the problem is not just the setting itself but eventually getting there after the latest problems in Arssal and Laboué.

Assi el Hellani, who was apparently denied visa to the US in the past few weeks, will be performing at Baalbeck along with Marcel Khalife and others. You can check out the full program [Here].

It would be interesting to know what was the reason for the visa refusal.

Lebanon’s renowned Baalbek International Festival, normally held in the town’s spectacular Roman ruins, is to move to an alternative venue in the face of a spillover of violence from neighbouring Syria, organisers said on Friday. “As as result of the security situation, we cannot organise the festival in the temple this year,” the festival’s press office said. “We are holding meetings with authorities to find another location, aware that it is very difficult to find a similarly wonderful setting.” [Link]