Roadster Diner, Deek Duke and Zaatar W Zeit 2000LL Delivery Charges

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Zaatar W Zeit started charging delivery charges few months back, then Roadster Diner and Deek Duke followed. The charge is 2000 Lebanese Lira regardless of the distance and was set to maintain the quality of the delivery service, as I was told by all three restaurants.

Honestly, Zaatar W Zeit is the only one of these three that needed an improvement in the delivery service and I haven’t seen any major improvements ever since the charges were implemented. Roadster and Deek Duke have a perfect delivery system so the delivery charges are unjustified to me. In fact, it is letting customers tip the delivery guy less because they’re being charged for the service, so unless the charges are going to these guys or they got some raise, they won’t be too happy about it and quality will eventually drop.

Lebanese-Swedish Football Player Zackarias Faour Joins Manchester City

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Zacharias Faour is only 15 years old and has already been dubbed as the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Chelsea, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Juventus were interested in him but he ended up signing with Manchester City. If you are not a Football fan and don’t know who Ibrahimovic is, he’s one of the most talented Football players in the world and some of his goals are unbelievable, specially this one against England.

According to Lebanese Blogger Figo29 who originally posted about this young talent, Zacharias Faour has Lebanese Origins (His Father is Lebanese) and can play for either Lebanon or Sweden.

ManCity ranked Faour as one of the world’s best players who were born in 1998, so let’s wish him the best of luck and hope he becomes as good or even better than Ibra.

What Can Arguileh (Hookah) Do To Your Health?

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[YouTube]

Earlier in November, Lebanese scientists have joined with a host of officials and researchers in the region in declaring nargileh smoking a “global epidemic”. [Source]

I think we all agree that smoking is bad but the problem lies elsewhere in Lebanon. There are way too many Shisha cafes and the Arguile is cheap and accessible to everyone (No Age Restriction). Added to that, there’s no control on the cleanliness of the Arguile and its pipes and Hookah deliveries are allowed. What I believe should be done is restricting the number of Shisha cafes, or at least banning new Shisha lounges from opening, increasing the price of an Arguile drastically (200%) and fining restaurants who offer them to minors.

New Signs To Be Deployed in Tripoli

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Via @MhdDankar

The heads of the armed groups in Tripoli (Aka قادة المحاور) held a meeting earlier this morning and agreed to install new signs across Tripoli to keep civilians away from the dangerous zones. This agreement was praised by all militiamen and specially snipers who won’t be responsible anymore for shooting innocent civilians if these civilians were trespassing on sniper property. One of the militiamen expressed his joy by donating a huge banner to alert the citizens of snipers before the sign is placed.

The Lebanese Authorities hailed this agreement and asked Tripoli residents to respect the new signs and stop blaming the armed groups for endangering their lives. They also promised to finance part of their installation.

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Censorship In Lebanon: Ekhirta ra7 to2ta3 … (Eventually it will pass)

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The article below was my contribution to MARCH‘s monthly newsletter that was distributed all across Lebanon few weeks back. MARCH has been pulling an amazing job in raising awareness on the importance of freedom of expression as a catalyst for tolerance and acceptance of the other and in fighting all sorts of cultural terrorism.

I strongly believe we should be given the right to choose what to watch, read and listen to and I am offended by the fact that some people get to choose for us.

Here’s the article:

When The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons were published back in 2005, angry and violent protests were sparked around the world, and several western Embassies were attacked and damaged. Even though the cartoons were meant to “contribute to the debate about criticism of Islam and self-censorship”, The Muslim World took offense in them and reacted aggressively. One of the Danish Islamists who helped fuel the uproar over the caricatures and led the demonstrations against the drawings in Denmark is a Lebanese-born called Ahmad Akkari. He was so infuriated by these cartoons that he took the hassle of traveling to several countries and fuel Muslim crowds against the Danish government.

The reason I mentioned this story is because the same Ahmad Akkari who organized demonstrations that resulted in the death of over 200 people, and had a big part in turning the issue into an international crisis, has come out a month ago to declare that he regrets taking part in these protests and apologized to the Danish Cartoonist Kurt Westergaard and to the entire nation of Denmark. He even went as far as saying that he didn’t mind publishing the cartoons anymore, which were reposted in the papers throughout Europe almost every year after 2005, knowing that he’s still a practicing Muslim.
Now some may argue that the Danish cartoons were indeed offensive to Islam and the Prophet (I personally thought they were), and should not have been published, but as long as they didn’t violate any laws in Denmark, nothing justifies the violent reactions that we witnessed back then. In fact, the outcome of those riots was more harmful to Islam than the cartoons themselves.

Going back to Lebanon, The General Security Censorship Bureau decided last month to ban a play about censorship written/directed by Lucien Bourjeily and produced by MARCH from public performance. Moreover, the head of the censorship bureau was highly offended by this play and based on what MARCH reported, “was shouting and saying the play was not unacceptable as we were making fun of the censorship bureau, and, according to him portraying a wrong image of them and that he will not allow it.”

Even though the first topic mentioned was of religious nature while the other was a play directed towards a governmental bureau, the common point is that both were artistic works aimed at promoting freedom of speech and self-censorship, and in both cases the reaction was impulsive and violent causing more harm than the work presented.
Having said that, I ask the head of the Censorship bureau to look at the bigger image, follow the Ahmad Akkari example, by reevaluating the bureau’s censorship standards and understanding the sacred values of our society and the importance of freedom of speech and accepting criticism. In fact, if there’s anything that history has taught us, is that the censorship of works of art never prevails and harms the censoring party rather than the artist himself.

That being said, let the Lebanese decide what is rubbish or not, what to watch or not, and don’t deprive them of their most basic right, the freedom of choice. Let the bureau be an example to follow by other institutions and its head a role model for the upcoming generations. Let the Lucien Bourjeily play pass and be the first one to attend it.
The greatest statesmen in history were the ones who accepted criticism and took it well. Winston Churchill himself stated that “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

So I Watched Bébé

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I didn’t like the trailer and I wasn’t planning to watch the movie but I ended up going after I read that over 20,000 have seen the movie in its first 4 days. I also went through the movie’s Facebook page and saw that a lot of Lebanese actors gave the movie a positive feedback.

However from the moment the movie started till the last minute, I couldn’t understand what the hell I was watching or what was this movie’s purpose. Moreover, I couldn’t believe people actually thought some scenes were funny and were laughing out loud. The plot made no sense, some of the actors were horrible (Specially Bébé’s brother), most of the jokes lame and let’s not talk about the ending.

Mirva was hot though.

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PS: The movie will start showing in Dubai on the 5th of December 2013.

TransFocus: Lebanon’s First Transgender Festival

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Picture from NowLebanon

According to the Lebanese Law now, you are either male or female.

TransFocus is the first festival in Lebanon that explores the sub-culture, the challenges, and the hopes of the transgender community of the country. Yesterday at Minus 1, a new art space perched right in the middle of Ashrafieh, two movies – TransAmerica and Tomboy – were screened and a series of heated debates and workshops were organized with AUB’s Faysal al-Kak. What came out of an otherwise rich and successful afternoon was a portrait of a difficult situation for a minority too often abused and pushed to the margins of society.

The topic is complex, so before divulging more details, a few clarifications on terminology are needed. Bekhsoos, a “feminist and queer Arab magazine,” offers a useful dictionary:

Sex: Assigned at birth, either male or female (“the binary system”), based on bodily characteristics like chromosomes, hormones, and internal and external reproductive organs.

Gender (gender identity): The sex that one identifies with internally. Transgender individuals usually are of a different bodily sex.

Sexual orientation: An individual’s attraction (physical, emotional, romantic, spiritual) to another. Gender identity and sexual orientation are separate; a male-to-female or female-to-male person could be gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

Transgender: Umbrella term for individuals whose gender identity differs from that assigned to them at birth. It spans from transsexuals to cross-dressers, bi-genders, and other gender-variant people. Transgender individuals may or may not choose to surgically and/or hormonally alter their bodies.

Transsexual: This is not an umbrella term, and usually refers to individuals who plan to transition, or are in the process of transitioning, through surgery or hormone therapy. [NowLebanon]