Dear Lebanon: An Open Letter By HMA TomFletcher

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Tom Fletcher is probably the only outsider we Lebanese should listen to. Read the full letter [Here].

First and most important, start ignoring advice from outsiders, including me: this is your country.

The thing is, Lebanon, do you still believe in that idea? This is a question only you can answer. Without doubt, it has been a bumpy seven decades, with troublesome teenage years and plenty of midlife crises, to put it mildly. You now face another tough year, and rising anxiety that regional rifts can drive you apart once again. We have been reminded this week that there are plenty of people who want that to happen.

I hope that you’ll forgive a bit of feedback, from one of your admirers.

You’re so much better than you admit. Look back at those seventy years. Your writers, musicians, thinkers and businesspeople have conquered the world again and again. Your mountains, valleys and coasts are the envy of all of us. You have an extraordinary unquenchable spirit. You have found a way to move on from a devastating civil war, almost as though it never happened. You are the world’s best networkers, in a century that will be run by networks. You are also the most exceptional hosts, not just to ambassadors but also to the hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have arrived in the last two years. Whatever your religion, there are few more beautiful sounds than the intermingling of the call to prayer and church bells. Every day I meet extraordinary Lebanese people doing great things against the odds.

So, let’s be clear, I’m a fan.

But I’m also frustrated, and I know that many of you are.

Your politics are dynamic on the surface. Yet broken and paralysed beneath it. You talk of unity. Yet often say things like ‘Lebanon would be wonderful if it wasn’t for the Lebanese’, ‘it will always be like this – this is Lebanon’, or ‘they (insert different group) are just too different’. You have an impressive ability to absorb hardships such as power cuts. Yet you rarely confront the causes of them. You invest more than any country in the education of your youth. Yet they feel excluded from changing the country for the better. You have been a beacon for women’s rights. Yet only elect a tiny handful to parliament. You were the first country in the region to stand up against dictatorship and tyranny in the 21st century Middle East. Yet your voice in calling for your own rights and those of others seems to have fallen silent, and in too many cases been silenced.

Lebanon’s Roadie Tuner: A Great Tool For Guitarists

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Roadie Tuner is a device created by Lebanese entrepreneurs (Bassam Jalgha and Hassane Slaibi) and manufactured in China. The device is fixed on a guitar’s tuning knob and using bluetooth technology, the guitarist can read on his smartphone the sound as a string is plucked. According to Jalgha, “it is three times more accurate than what the human ear can distinguish in terms of frequency.”

The Roadie Tuner app is already available on iOS and the device will sell for $79 on their Kickstarter platform, and $69 for earlybirds, and should be delivered in six months.

If you are interested in reading more about it, check it out [Here].

Best of luck to both Bassam and Hassane!

Designed for guitars, or any similar stringed instrument, the handheld tuner works by fixing to a guitar’s tuning knob. Using Bluetooth technology, a user’s smartphone reads the sound as a string is plucked and the device’s motor turns the knob to the right tuning, which, Jalgha explains, is “three times more accurate than what the human ear can distinguish in terms of frequency.

The team will spend the next few months in the U.S. demonstrating the product at tradeshows – including CES in Las Vegas and The NAMM Show – and pitching in Silicon Valley, before returning to build their company between Lebanon and China. They are also currently securing new distribution channels and retail partners in the U.S.


Thanks Abir!

Why Wasn’t The Iran-Lebanon Football Game Postponed Today?

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The two explosions that rocked the area of Jnah in Beirut today were directed against the Iranian embassy and ended up killing 25 people and injuring hundreds, but that wasn’t enough to postpone the planned game between Iran and Lebanon as part of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. In fact, the game was played without fans and Lebanon lost by 4 goals to 1 against the Iranian team.

How can one keep a football game ongoing after a tragedy like the one we’ve witnessed today? It’s one thing not to over-react and freak out after a bombing since we unfortunately “got used” to them, but asking the Lebanese and Iranian teams to play an Asian qualifier a couple of hours after the explosion is immoral and unacceptable!

Iran’s head coach Carlos Queiroz said the atmosphere was not suitable for the match and said it should be canceled.