Mabrouk To Ely Dagher: Winner Of The Palme D’or For His Short Movie Waves’98 At The Cannes Film Festival

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ElyDagherPalmeDo

I was watching Yasmine Hamdan, another highly talented Lebanese artist, when I read about Ely Dagher winning the Palme D’or at the 69th Cannes Film Festival for his short movie Waves ’98. Ely is the first Lebanese to make it to the official selection since Maroun Baghdadi’s film in 1982 and the 29-year old has become the first Lebanese to receive the Palme d’Or since Baghdadi.

Ely’s 14-minute long film is “about Omar, a high-school kid living in the northern suburb of Beirut, struggling in his social bubble”. I couldn’t find yet the full movie online but I will share it as soon as I do.

Congrats to Ely and I’m sure this is just the start for our young and talented director.

Summer Season Is Looking Good So Far For Lebanon

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The number of passengers during the first four months of 2015 reached a record high of 1,969,222 passengers and showed an increase of almost 10% when compared to the same period last year. Similarly, Lebanon’s hotels (four and five stars) witnessed an increase in occupancy from 42% last year to almost 54% this year according to an Ernst & Young study. Doha, Madina, Abu Dhabi and Dubai all ranked higher with an occupancy rate of over 75%. As far as room rates are concerned, the average room rate in Beirut rose from $163 in 2014 to $173 this year, vs $303 in Dubai and $227 in Abu Dhabi. I wish they added a breakdown by nationalities to see if we are getting more Arab tourists this year or not.

In all cases, summer is looking good so let’s keep our fingers crossed that everything will stay calm inside Lebanon and on the borders.

Bankaudi

Check out the full report [here].

Families, Neighbors And Friends Should Protect Lebanese Women From Abusive Husbands

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wifej

Every time I hear about a husband beating or abusing his wife in Lebanon, I keep asking myself why don’t the victim’s parents and friends do anything about it. I understand that some women are too afraid to speak up, but Sara al-Amin is not one of them and was filing a lawsuit against her husband for allegedly beating her over two decades! Unfortunately, Ali al-Zein shot his wife Sara al-Amin dead using an assault riffle after hearing that she’s pressing charges and fled the house. He was later on caught by the police.

11329798_10153276136174337_2179348084723932233_n via Kafa

Needless to say, this is a horrendous crime and everyone wants justice and is asking for the husband to be sentenced to death, but this is not enough and won’t get us anywhere. Even having a law that protects women from abusive husbands is not enough if society doesn’t step in to protect the victim. I am not here to judge the victim’s family or neighbors or friends, but to encourage them to take proper action next time they witness domestic violence and do whatever it takes to keep the victim safe and help her speak up. If you watch the below report, Sarah’s neighbor was trying to reconcile the couple and convinced her to go back to her husband, and Sarah’s father stated he wouldn’t have let her come back to her husband if he knew he had a gun. Both of them were obviously trying to help Sarah but should have called the cops or some local NGO like KAFA to ensure Sarah’s safety, even if it’s against her will because she was obviously more worried about her children than herself.

10502013_10153276444024337_7772738399627689090_n Men who still think like this guy should be thrown in jail – via Kafa

A man who beats his wife or his children for 20 years won’t stop anytime soon unless he’s jailed or severely punished. I know a guy who went and beat the hell out of his sister’s husband because he was hitting her and it worked but that’s not the right way. Friends, family and neighbors should be pressuring the authorities to arrest an abusive husband before he commits his crime not after, and the cops should put under arrest a man beating his wife before he kills her not after. This whole “Keeping it in the family” thing should stop because the victims always end up being the highest price.

Having said that, please do report any case of domestic violence you witness and try to help the victim while keeping her safe. Sarah was brave enough to file a lawsuit against her husband, but there are hundreds if not thousands of other Lebanese women too afraid to speak up. As far as the ISF is concerned, Kafa has already trained over 100 ISF members on how to handle domestic abuse cases but further action is needed to make the victims feel safe and able to go back home and not be threatened by their abusive husbands.

Kafa’s hotline is 03018019 and the ISF can be reached on 112.

[YouTube]

Six Lebanese Cities (Including Jbeil??) Among 64 Cities At “Extreme Risk” Of A Terror Attack

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lol

I am going to label this post under “Humor” because this is an absolutely ridiculous list that makes no sense whatsoever and I’m quite surprised that the Telegraph and Time decided to share it without double checking some of its findings. Out of the 64 cities categorized as “extreme risk” in Verisk Maplecroft’s new Global Alerts Dashboard (GAD), there are 6 Lebanese cities: Beirut, Byblos, Aley, Baabda, Jounieh and Zahlé.

Noting that the rankings are based on “an online mapping and data portal that logs and analyses every reported terrorism incident down to levels of 100m² worldwide”, and that is based on the “intensity and frequency of attacks in the 12 months following February 2014, combined with the number and severity of incidents in the previous five years”, I am not sure how cities like Byblos, Aley, Baabda, Jounieh and Zahlé made the list while Tripoli wasn’t even mentioned. When was the last time you heard about an attack in Jounieh, Byblos or Baabda? The areas aren’t even close to conflict areas like Zahle is. Moreover, how is Beirut more at risk of a terror attack than Damascus?

Funnily enough, I was just praising Jbeil yesterday for winning the Arab Tourism Capital Title for 2016 and now it’s on some world’s deadliest cities list.

Update: I am going to email the Telegraph and Time and ask them to revise this article.

What Is This Arab Tourism Award Jbeil (Byblos) Just Won?

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byblos via Bank Audi FB page

I’m really happy that Byblos won the Arab Tourism Capital Title for 2016 but I am really confused about this award as I can’t find anything about it. There’s no doubt that Jbeil deserves to win such an award but who are we competing against and who’s coming up with these awards? What exactly is the Arab Council of Tourism?

I tried to look up the Arab Council of Tourism online and found a website called [arab-tourismorg.org] which didn’t help much. In fact, I realized Jbeil wasn’t the only winner as the Saudi city Abha also won the same award for the year 2016 and 2017. If this is true, then Jbeil won the award for two years not just one (yay?).

Jbeil was also chosen as the best Arab Tourist City by the World Tourism Organization in 2013 but I could barely find anything related to it as well. Don’t get me wrong as I am not trying to question the awards but if we are only hearing about them in Beirut then what’s the point?

I honestly think our primary focus should be on promoting tours and activities in Jbeil because these awards won’t help much if tourists don’t know how to get to Byblos. I just had a quick look at Livelovelebanon (where it’s still winter) and destinationlebanon where I found a very helpful pdf but not so user-friendly.

Otherwise, congrats to Jbeil which is one of my favorite cities in Lebanon and I’m going to dedicate a post very soon to Jbeil, how to get there, things to do, places to go, restaurants to visit etc …

cities

An Amazing HQ Lebanon Video From The 1960s

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old airport

If you are like old pictures and videos of Lebanon, then Kheireddine El-Ahdab is the man to follow. He always shares the most amazing old videos and pictures of Beirut and Lebanon and his latest is this amazing 5-minute high quality video shot in Beirut and Lebanon in the 1960s. The video is from the AP archives and was taken from the movie 24 hours to kill.

You can easily spot the old Beirut airport, Phoenicia hotel, Excelsior and St George hotel, the Casino du Liban and other landmarks. Check out the video [here].

Phoenicia Phoenicia hotel.

ST george Fashion trends back then.

stgeorge1 The famous St Georges hotel and bay

jj Berdwani in Zahle

swin and ski Swim and ski in the same day.

souks Jewelry souks

jagalna Wearing sunglasses at nightclubs is still a trend

Casino Casino du Liban

BlogBaladi Earning The Top Spot In Communicate Levant’s Book of Tens (Top Social Media Influencers)

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Communicate Levant just released their book of tens 2015 which includes comprehensive lists of everything that happened in Lebanon last year from viral campaigns, YouTube hits, epic media mistakes, promising local startups, bad outdoor ads, only-in-Lebanon images, ten hilarious people to follow in Facebook, ten hashtags that should be banned, ten most popular local TV shows as well as the top ten social influencers where I am featured in the top spot.

Communicate Levant asked Lebanese brands from various industries – be it F&B, Fashion, technology and others to come up with that list and it’s quite awesome to be on that list along with my fellow bloggers Gino from Gino’s Blog, Anthony from NGNO, Lana from L’armoire De Lana and Rami from +961. I’m glad British Ambassador Tom Fletcher made the list because he’s been more influential than most of our politicians in the past years and deserves to be on top for all the work he’s accomplished.

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The Book of Tens came in a huge box that had balloons inside and a challenge, the #communichallenge where we need to do one of the following:

– Do something creative with the box (wear it, paint it, glue it, fold it or ship* an unloved one to a remote area across the Atlantic).
– Fit a colleague inside the box.

I already have something in mind and my younger brother won’t like the idea. Stay tuned :)