Review: Ghadi The Movie

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In a traditional neighborhood of a small Lebanese coastal town, Leba (Georges Khabbaz) is a music instructor. Social pressure leads him to get married and have children. To the dismay of his family, neighbors, and friends, he has a first girl and then a second one. His beloved wife Lara, a French literature teacher, is pregnant for the third time and yes, it’s a BOY! However, medical tests show that the boy will have special needs. Will Leba and Nay keep the baby? Will he become a burden on the family; or its pride and joy? Expect strange phenomenon to affect the behavior, and beliefs of that little town’s population. Written by Georges Khabbaz

Before saying anything, I must admit that I loved Ghadi even though I was never a Georges Khabbaz fan. I didn’t like the trailer much and thought it would be a disappointment but the movie exceeded all my expectations and I can easily say it’s one of the best Lebanese movies ever made!

Ghadi is the story of a music instructor called Leba who was pressured by society into getting marrying and having children. After his wife gave birth to two girls, he “finally” got a boy but medical tests showed the boy will be mentally ill. As the boy starts to grow up, the family begins to struggle as the town’s population becomes unaccepting of their special kid, and the father decides to resort to all sorts of means to keep Ghadi with his family. I will leave the rest of the plot for all of you to figure out once the movie comes out later on this week.

What I loved most about this movie is that it’s a very positive one, it’s highly entertaining and well-paced and it tackled brilliantly very sensitive topics in our Lebanese society, whether it’s abortion, religion, racism, mental illness etc. Ghadi shows how a family was able to turn their child’s disability into a blessing and how they were able to surpass all the obstacles, encourage town residents to accept each other and live happily in their community. Added to that, the setup in a traditional village was perfect, the cinematography is great, presenting the town as it really is, the actors were brilliant (Ghadi’s mother was my favorite) and you could easily connect with every character in the movie. There are few things I didn’t appreciate, specially some over-dramatized scenes with Khabbaz, but they are not worth the mention.

All in all, it’s a brilliant movie and definitely the best Lebanese movie I’ve seen since Nadine Labaki’s “Halla2 La Wen”. I give it an 8.5/10.

The 10 Silliest Acts Of Censorship In Lebanon

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Here’s a nice compilation of the ten silliest acts of censorship in Lebanon written by Matt Nash from NowLebanon. The Steven Spielberg “Tintin movie” censorship which we posted first about made it to the list.

1- The Untouchable Sayyed
2- Jews?? Ban!
3- Fayrouz banned from local radio for six months back in 1969
4- Honest Abes all
5- Censorsing a play about censorship
6- Help The Movie
7- Director Steven Spielberg and The Tintin movie
8- Spray Painting for some, not all
9- Legendary Singer Marcel Khalife
10- Flip-flop fiasco

As noted above, most politicians respond to criticism and mockery with individually targeted lawsuits which likely prompt authors/artists/etc. to self-censor in the future while leaving the “offensive” content in the public domain. But one of Lebanon’s “bosses” is simply beyond reproach: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is in a class by himself. Riots over a 2006 television show mocking him served as notice: leave the Sayyad alone

Check out the full article [Here].

Why do Arabs say “What’s the news” (Chou el Akhbar) ?

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Chou el Akhbar? Chou Akhbarak? are common Arabic greetings that we hear a lot in Lebanon. Here’s a possible explanation from ArabGlot as to where this greeting originated from and why it is used so commonly in the Arab world.

“Meanwhile the old man had made coffee and set out dates for us to eat. Hamad said, ‘He is the Christian.’ The old man asked, ‘Is he the Christian who travelled last year with bin al Kamam and the Rashid to the Hadhramaut?’ and after Hamad had assented he turned wo me and said, ‘A thousand welcomes.’ It had not taken long for this news to arrive, although here we wear near the Persian Gulf, far from the Hadhramaut; but I was not surprised. I knew how interested Bedu always were in ‘the news’, how concerned to get the latest information about their kinsmin, about raids and tribal movements and grazing. I knew from experience how far they would go out of their way to ask for news. I had realised that it was the chance of getting this as much as the craving for milk that had tantalized my companions during the past days when we had seen and avoided distant tents. The hated traveling through inhabited country without knowing exactly what was happening around them.

‘What is “the news”?’ It is the question which follows every encounter in the desert even between strangers. Given a chance the bedu will gossip for hours, as they had done last night, and nothing is too trivial for them to recount. There is no reticence in the desert. If a man distinguishes himself he knows that his fame will be widespread; if he disgraces himself he knows that the story of his shame will inevitably be heard in every encampment. It is this fear of public opinion which enforces at all times the rigid conventions of the desert.” [Source]

Eva Ghazal, 13 years old, Kidnapped and Forced in to Marriage in Bekaa

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The Sheikh who approved the marriage should be put in prison, as well as the sick man who took the girl from her family. Let’s see if the authorities will work on freeing the girl unless we need to seek foreign help for these issues too.

Mystery has been surrounding the marriage of the 13-year-old Eva Ghazal to Hussein Msheik despite her father’s objection. Eva Ghazal was reportedly kidnapped by people who had financial issues with her father, but the kidnappers surprised Eva’s parents by informing them that their daughter has become married to their relative.

However, their marriage is null according to Sheikh Hussein Abdallah and attorney Soha Ismail who stressed that such an act is also considered a crime and its perpetrators could be punished by the law.

While Eva is still in custody of her kidnappers; her family is calling on the authorities to take the necessary measures in this regard. [LBC]

Zahlé First Arab City to be designated as a UNESCO Creative City

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Zahlé joined the network in the gastronomy category.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Brazzaville (Republic of Congo), Zahlé (Lebanon), Kraków (Poland) and Fabriano (Italy) as new members of its network of “creative hubs” promoting socio-economic and cultural development worldwide through creative industries.

Brazzaville, designated “City of Music”, is the first African member of the Creative Cities Network, which was launched by UNESCO in 2004 to develop international cooperation among cities that have recognized creativity as a driver for sustainable development.

Zahlé, Kraków and Fabriano join the Network in the categories of Gastronomy, Literature, Crafts and Folks Arts, respectively. [UN]

Buying Polaroids In Lebanon

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Test is a website that sells polaroid cameras in Lebanon.

Here are the models available for sale:
– The legendary SX-70
– The Impulse series
– The supercolor 635 CL series

For the lovers of Analog Instant Photography, InstaLeb is happy to introduce
the vintage polaroid line of cameras alongside the newly developed Impossible Film to Lebanon.
Created by the visionary Dr. Edwin Land, and used by various artists such as Andy Warhol,
Helmut Newton and André Kertész, the integral line is still considered by many as a timeless invention.
So why don’t you give it a try and capture a moment to remember?

Thanks Chehimi!

Ghadi Darwish: The First Lebanese Baby Born Without A Sect

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Nidal Darwiche and Kholoud Succariyeh had a baby boy over the weekend, the first Lebanese baby registered with the sect field left blank. President Sleiman congratulated the couple and the Lebanese people as a whole.

Next step is setting up a proper law for civil marriages so we have many more Ghadis.

The first child in a civil marriage wedding in Lebanon was born last month, his parents announced over the weekend.
Nidal Darwiche and Kholoud Succariyeh posted a photo of their son Ghaddi’s registration form Saturday, with the “sect” field left blank, on their Facebook pages. He was born on September 30.
President Michel Sleiman congratulated the couple in a message posted on Twitter late Sunday. “Congratulations to Nidal and Kholoud and to the Lebanese people for the birth of Ghaddi, the first newborn to be registered without a sect,” Sleiman wrote. [DailyStar]

#BreakingBarriersLebanon: Michael Haddad Did It!

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Mike has walked 19 kilometers between the Cedars of Bcharre and the Cedars of Tannourine and completed his challenge! This is awesome news and to make things even better, a cedar will be planted for every step Mike took.

For those of you who missed the original story, Mike lost control of 75% of his body after a jet-ski accident 26 years ago and stays standing up with his two crutches and a 15-kilogram steel exoskeleton.


Both pictures were taken by Charbel Bouez who was with him the whole trip.

Here is LBCI’s report on Michael Haddad’s achievement: