Getting Used To Assassinations In Lebanon

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Every time a political assassination or a terrorist act takes place in Beirut, we get the same cliché reactions from most parties. TV stations making up stories and spreading lies and propaganda, politicians condemning and blaming their opponents, few sides accusing Israel or Syria by default, some people expressing their anger and frustration on TVs and social media channels, others burning tires and blocking roads etc …

Personally speaking, I try to stay away from spreading rumors and sharing sectarian comments and do my best by focusing on the human and tragic side of the story. The two stories that I shared yesterday left me speechless for few minutes when I found out about them, and the interview with Mohammad Chatah’s wife and his son yesterday night was a very emotional one.

Mohammad Chatah was a role model himself for a lot of Lebanese irrespective of his political affiliations. The man was a brilliant economist, a humble and decent man and a moderate thinker. He was one of the very few people I enjoyed listening to in Lebanon.

Here’s what Qifa Nabki posted about him. [Mohamad Chatah (1951-2013)]

However, and even though we’ve unfortunately become immune to bombings and assassinations in Lebanon, this is not an excuse not to handle a crime scene seriously and take the proper measures to preserve the evidence and seal the bomb site right away. Security Forces might not be able to prevent bombings, even though I am sure they can do a better job than the one being done right now, but it’s no longer acceptable to see journalists, cameramen and random people walking all over the bomb site, politicians showing up with tens of supporters to make a statement on site, TV stations and random individuals recklessly rushing to film dead bodies and closeups on the cars, crowds gathered around the bombed cars and dead bodies etc …

It is our responsibility as Lebanese citizens to behave in a decent and respectful matter when it comes to an assassination like that and security forces should be the ones leading by example. A couple of pictures (see below) were circulating online showing Interior Minister Marwan Charbel visiting the bomb site with a group of 20 people and another showing the ISF Information Branch seemingly getting into an argument with the Lebanese Army Intelligence (not confirmed though).

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I am not interested in the details of what happened, but what I want is for the Interior Ministry and Lebanese Army to form a joint unit that handles strictly these crimes and deals with them professionally. We have the necessary units and equipment, all that is needed is a transparent and genuine collaboration between them. Moreover, I ask everyone to read how someone should react to an explosion or terrorist attack and spread it. Even if some people rush to help victims, they might be harming themselves, the victims and the investigation by doing so most of the time.

On a last note, I was told Gemmayze and Mar Mikhail were packed yesterday despite the bombing that took place earlier in the morning, and I am not sure if it’s a good or bad thing anymore. It’s one thing to get used to such tragic events and learn to move on and enjoy life, and another to view the death of political figures and innocent people as a normal thing. We should handle these matters the same way we express our love for life by acting responsibly and leading by example. This applies to every single detail in our everyday life not just bombings and assassinations. Let’s be the voices of moderation and reason Chatah was for a lot of Sunnites and Lebanese and keep people around us and younger generations away from extremism and sectarianism.

If we don’t do that, we’ll be digging ourselves a deeper hole.

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Picture via IBTimes

Beirut Starco Bombing Victims’ Names

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APTOPIX Mideast Lebanon
(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The last yet not official casualty toll of the Bombing that shook Beirut today stood at 6 dead and 71 injured.

The names of the victims as shared by MTV and LBC are as follows:
– Mohammed Nasser Mansour
– Saddam al-Khanshouri (Syrian)
– Kevork Takajian
– Ex-Finance Minister Mohammad Shatah
– Chatah’s bodyguard Tareq Bader

The 6th person is still unidentified.

[YouTube]

A video showing how powerful the blast was from inside Future TV studios.

Tragic Stories From Today’s Beirut Bombing

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These Lebanese teenagers were hanging out in Beirut and took the picture shown above right before the explosion took place today. Fortunately, none of them died but from what I heard, one of them was seriously wounded. Let’s hope that he recovers quickly and rejoins his friends.

[YouTube]

The other tragic story that got circulated today was that of the mother of Mohamad Chatah’s bodyguard (Mohammad Tarek Badr) who was running from one hospital to the other to see where her son’s body is but could not find him anywhere.

In Pictures: Huge Explosion Rocks DownTown Beirut

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At least five were confirmed dead so far and tens were injured after a huge explosion targeted the convoy of former Minister of Finance and Saad Hariri Senior Advisor Mohamad Chatah. The blast took place in the Starco Area in DownTown Beirut.

Mohammad Chatah had also a [blog] and was active on [Twitter].

This is depressing news to end the year. May all the victims R.I.P.

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Picture via Bassem Mroue

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via Naomi

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via BBC

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via Farah

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via KShaheen

10 Meter Long Buche De Noel at Al Baba Sweets

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Al Baba Sweets (The Best Knefe In Lebanon!) brought together 40 children from Ajialouna and gave them the opportunity to decorate the biggest Buche De Noel ever baked in Lebanon. The activity lasted for two days and the children were obviously happy and delighted to take part in decorating this huge Christmas Buche.

Here are few heart-warming pictures from the event:

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Santa’s Park On Sunday 29th at Saint Nicolas’s Garden, Achrafieh

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For the second year in a row, Santa’s Park is coming to Achrafieh this Sunday and will take place at the St. Nicolas garden on Charles Malek’s avenue.

Here’s the full program for this year:
– Building a go green Christmas tree
– Visit Santa in his house
– Laser Room
– Kermesse
– Workshop Cabanas: Arts and craft, Ginger bread cooking
– Face Painting and Balloon Twisting
– Mime, Clown
– Kids Sumo Fight
– Photo-booth with Santa
– Food Court

Added to that, there’s a:
– Science Show at 12h and 16h
– Hip hop Elf Dancer at 16:30
– Parade at 17:30

Lebanese Businessman Sam Rafic Ghanem Arrested in Virginia By The FBI

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Picture via CDN

It says in the article that an unnamed member of the Lebanese government asked Ghanem for two guns. I wonder who that member might be.

Federal authorities have arrested a Virginia businessman for allegedly trying to ship dozens of weapons and high-tech devices to Lebanon, where terrorist groups such as Hezbollah operate and a civil war in neighboring Syria has sparked further violence.
Sam Rafic Ghanem, owner of an international shipping company with offices in the Washington suburbs, was arrested Saturday after an FBI sting.
The intended recipient of the weapons is not clear, but at one point Ghanem claimed he was recently asked to obtain two guns for an unnamed member of the Lebanese government, according to court documents filed in the case.
Over the past few months, Ghanem and a former employee of his company, Washington Movers International, devised a scheme to send weapons to Lebanon by hiding them inside automobile parts shipped by the company, court documents allege. [ABC]