Homosexuality is not a trend nor an illness and people don’t choose to become gay. Blaming People for Being Gay is Like Blaming Them for Being Left-Handed.
IDAHOT (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) is a long day event organized and hosted by Proud Lebanon. During this day, various activities will take place in order to address the issues related to this cause. Your participation is highly appreciated and required, so you can contribute to promote our cause and fight against Homophobia.
As if the situation wasn’t bad enough for domestic workers in Lebanon, the Lebanese authorities are in the process of passing a law that prohibits workers from having any type of relationships in Lebanon or marrying a non-Lebanese here. If they do so, the tenant can report them and have them deported as mentioned in the Legal-Agenda article and on Kafa’s Facebook page.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
خلال شهر تشرين الاول من العام 2014، تلقى كتاب العدل من وزارة العدل تعميما بشأن التعهد الذي يفترض بصاحب العمل توقيعه لديهم في اطار الحصول على اقامة للعاملة أو تجديدها. وبموجبه، يطلب من صاحب العمل أن يتعهد تجاه المديرية العامة بعدم وجود “أي علاقة زواج أو ارتباط من أي نوع كان تربط العاملة (…) باي شخص عربي او أجنبي مقيم على الاراضي اللبنانية”. كما يتعهد أنه “في حال تبين لاحقا وجود اي علاقة زواج حصلت بعددخول العاملة مراجعة الامن العام بعد تأمين تذكرة سفر بغية ترحيلها الى بلدها”
This is the first time I hear about this law and I can’t really confirm it yet. If it’s true, I don’t know what they are trying to achieve by implementing it as it’s against the most basic human rights and is wrong. We should be working on changing this rotten Kafala system instead of passing laws that enslave the workers even further.
The minimum wage in Lebanon was increased three years ago from 500,000 ($330) to 675,000 ($450), yet a lot of people here still think it’s not enough and that it should be drastically increased. There’s no doubt that you can barely live with $450 in Lebanon given how expensive things are now, but that’s not a reason to increase the minimum wage as this could lead to serious economic problems (there are other ways to improve living standards).
I will not dig into this issue as it’s a very complicated one, but I was reading yesterday a chart published by the OECD, Organization For Economic Cooperation and Development, showing the minimum wages in 34 different countries and I thought it would be a nice idea to see where Lebanon stands on that chart. Since the chart is showing the cost per hour after taxes, we need to compute the cost of 1 working hour in Lebanon according to the Labor Law.
As mentioned above, the minimum wage is now 657,000 LL or $450 and most people work 5 days a week and 8 hours a day, which amounts to 168 hours in May for example. If we take Saturdays into consideration the total number of hours would be 188, so the cost of 1 working hour is between $2.4 and $2.7. This means that Lebanon ranks somewhere in the bottom between Hungary and Estonia. Australia and Luxembourg top the list with wages over $9 an hour each, while the US stands in 11th position with $7.25 per hour. As far as Arab countries are concerned, there’s no data available for Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia’s minimum wage is of $720 per month for the public sector while it’s $268 per month in Jordan, $175 in Egypt and between $176–$266 in Syria,
The new traffic law is still the hottest topic in Lebanon right now and is even being mentioned in foreign media outlets. The Financial Times shared an article on the traffic law (classified under “Syria crisis” for some reason) last week and The National shared a story entitled “Lebanon attempts to impose order on its traffic jungle” on the same topic today .
I got interviewed by Josh Wood from the National and here are the key points I mentioned regarding the new traffic law:
– All previous attempts of implementing the traffic law started almost identically and all failed.
– People are driving more slowly and carefully at night and wearing their seat belts because the fines are huge, or simply because there are fines just like in previous attempts.
– Policemen are still breaking the law and should be punished more severely when they do so as they are role models for others to follow.
– I’m worried about bribes and recommend we automate the whole process by setting up a platform like this [one].
– The idea from the new traffic law should be to help people become aware of the traffic law and care about their own safety, not just fine them and send the money elsewhere.
– Lebanese should know that the fines they are paying are going somewhere to improve the infrastructure.
On a last note, we have to stay optimistic every time someone tries to implement traffic laws and the current minister of interior is a rather pragmatic person so let’s hope for the best! You can check out the full article [here].
I was actually surprised to see all parties sitting on one table to protest against the Zouk power plant on April 25 but I soon realized it was all nonsense when they started talking about forming committees. I know it’s too early to judge but no one had a serious proposal to end the Zouk Power Plant problem and it doesn’t look like we will get rid of it that soon.
What’s even worse is that the posters that they hung on every street and road are all still there and one of them almost fell on my car on the highway. So now the posters against the pollution in Keserwan are effectively polluting the city as well, noting that most of the area’s municipalities were involved in the protest. Cheghel ndeef wou 3al lebnené!
As you all probably heard by now, UAE citizens will no longer require a visa to travel to Schengen Zone Countries, after the European Parliament approved their proposal back in June last year. Needless to say, the Lebanese weren’t very fond of this decision and filed an official complaint to the EU claiming that they deserve this more than other Arab countries, specially after a study proved that Lebanon is indeed the centre of the universe, and given that Beirut was once known as the “Paris of the Middle East”.
In order to calm things down, and given how crucial Lebanon’s economy and tourists are to the European Union, the EU held an emergency meeting and agreed to grant Lebanese a visa-free access to Schengen Zone Countries if its citizens agree to abide by the following 10 conditions:
1- Lebanese will stand in line while boarding an airplane.
2- Lebanese will not fake bank statements or 5 star hotel reservations in their Schengen application.
3- Lebanese will not attempt to bribe the security guard at embassies.
4- Lebanese will not apply to a different country than the one they are going to.
5- Lebanese will not change seats on the airplane and confuse the hostesses.
6- Lebanese will not attempt to carry a 50kg luggage into the airplane as a carry-on
7- Lebanese will no longer clap when the plane lands.
8- Lebanese will not play loud Arabic music (or sing a mouwwel) on the airplane.
9- Lebanese will not attempt to smuggle keshek or basterma.
10- Lebanese will not schedule five different appointments on the same day to avoid waiting in line.
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of plays and the ones I’ve seen in Lebanon so far were truly disappointing, but I finally managed to convince a group of friends to join me in watching Venus after repeatedly hearing positive feedback about it and I’m glad I did! Venus is an absolutely brilliant play and it was extended for 10 more days due to an overwhelming popular demand.
Here’s my review, and please bare with me as it’s the first time I review a play:
The Lebanese adaptation by Lina Khoury and Grabriel Yammine of David Ives’ broadway success “Venus in Fur” – the play is in colloquial Lebanese Arabic – turned out to be a hit under the direction of Jacques Maroun. Rita Hayek and Badih Abou Chakra – the only two actors in the play – mesmerized the audience with their impeccable acting. Although some conservative minds might be offended by the audacity of the actors and their indecent exposure, this is what exactly goes to show that they offered themselves unconditionally. The play itself includes direct references to the novel “Venus in Furs” by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. Just like the term sadism was coined after the notorious Marquis de Sade, the term masochism was named after Sacher-Masoch. Although the theme is not superficial, the play is filled with humor which provoked many bursts of laughter by the audience throughout the one hour and a half performance.
If you’re open minded and you would like to try to understand the psychological need of being dominated or dominating – or even dominating while acting like you are dominated –, then you should definitely go watch this play. You will definitely enjoy watching reality and fantasy as they intertwine. On a last note, I want to applaud Jacques Maroun and everyone who took part in this play for being brave enough to come up with such a play in Lebanon, and for placing the woman in a dominant power role in an attempt to defy society’s gender stereotypes.
14 teams will participate in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, out of which 7 automatically qualified and the 7 remaining will be determined after four regional qualification tournaments. Lebanon is playing in the Middle East/Africa region and needs to defeat South Africa to qualify. The Cedars team has already beaten Malta easily and is performing strongly at the moment.
We’ve already missed out on the last two World Cups but Lebanon seems well placed this year to make it to qualify so let’s keep our fingers crossed! Lebanon will play South Africa on 30 October 2015 in Dubai.
For Rugby fans, you can check out their game against Malta [here].