Lebanon’s Hidden Beach & Falls – By Jennifer Atieh

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image1 Picture By Mounir Arab

I stumbled upon this amazing list of hidden beaches and waterfalls that you can visit in Lebanon and I thought I’d share it with you guys. Summer is here, even though it rained a bit today, and it’s the best time to go on road trips with your friends and family and discover these hidden gems instead of heading to the same old commercial beach resorts and sit by the pool all day. The best part about this list is that most of these places are for free.

Some of the places and activities mentioned include:

1- Kite surfing or renting a voilier at Eau Glacée
2- Snorkeling in Anfeh… with big turtles
3- Caving & Cliff- jumping in Amchit
4- Picnic & Jumping the falls of Sir Jbeil
5- Swimming or rowing your boat down the Chouwen river
6- Swimming in Mokhtara, berkit el 3arous

You can check out the full list with tons of awesome pictures [Here].

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Is It Ok To Brag About Steve Kerr Being The First Lebanese-Born Coach To Win An NBA Title?

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kerr5 via NYPost

I always knew Steve Kerr was born in Beirut, ever since he won back to back championships with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Kerr was the son of Malcom Kerr, a former president of the American University of Beirut in Beirut who was murdered by a terrorist back in 1984. Steve Kerr spent much of his childhood in Lebanon and Cairo before moving back to the US. He became the head coach of the Golden State Warriors this year and won the NBA title after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals. That was a major achievement for Kerr and the Warriors as their last NBA title was back in 1975!

Moreover, that makes Steve Kerr the first Lebanese-born coach to win an NBA title, and what’s even more interesting is that the Cavs’ head coach David Blatt also has Middle Eastern origins, as he’s a dual American-Israeli citizen and a former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier. He was being cheered by Israelis and he even addressed them after his loss stating that “When I got seven million people waking up and then feeling bad all day because we didn’t win, you know that’s a heck of a thing to carry around all day.”

I’m quite surprised no one turned Kerr’s win into a victory over Israel yet but it will come. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve always admired Kerr as a player and as a coach and it doesn’t hurt to point out he was born in Beirut. He’s a great coach and he totally deserved to win the title this year!

Here’s one of the most memorable moments in Kerr’s career, where Michael Jordan passed him the ball in Game 6 of the NBA Finals in 1997.

[YouTube]

Dog Poop Is A Serious Problem In Achrafieh

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Back when bombings were unfortunately common in Beirut, I jokingly told my friend once that I’m more worried about dog poop than car bombs in Achrafieh. They are everywhere and you can’t walk around anywhere without looking down and making sure you are not stepping on dog poop. It’s gross and disgusting and Achrafieh residents are mostly to blame for that, specially those who are too disgusted to pick up their dog’s poop but don’t mind polluting the street and their neighborhood.

I’m glad Achrafieh2020 and Sukleen have teamed up to clean Achrafieh streets from dog poop and I love their slogan but I doubt that it will change anything. I honestly believe people who don’t pick up their dog’s poop should be fined just like everywhere else in the world, or even better, someone should track them down pick up their dog’s poop and put it on their front door.

Until then, let’s support this campaign by reporting any poop spotted on the streets, and let’s hope it will be followed by an awareness campaign aimed at dog owners.

Art Prevails Where Our Government Failed: MARCH Lebanon Uniting Bab el Tebbeneh & Jabal Mohsen In A Beautiful Play

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march1

Whenever clashes renew between Jabal Mohsen and Bab al-Tabbaneh, all the TVs rush to cover the fights, interview locals and politicians and host talk shows to discuss the clashes and their repercussions, but no one ever bothered investigating the roots of these clashes which date back to the 1970s and the reason why there’s so much hatred between these two communities. All the media is too busy hosting stupid and pointless talk shows and inviting clueless people to analyze the situation, while innocent young men and women from Jabal Mohsen and Bab el Tebbaneh are dying because of these same rotten politicians and so-called religions leaders.

These two communities don’t hate each other, they’re just paying the price of poverty and corruption, and we’ve seen how things got back to normal in no time a year ago once a political agreement was reached and the heads of armed gangs were “allowed to run away”, even though these people should have been arrested in my opinion. We are all glad that violence has stopped between the residents of the two neightbourhoods, at least for now, but we need initiatives to bring these people together, to break these sectarian lines set by politicians and to unite young men and women from both sides and this is what MARCH Lebanon did.

MARCH brought together for the first time in recent history “young men and women from the opposite sides of the front line to create and prepare for a comedy play inspired by their lives”. The same people who were engaged in street violence, sat down, talk to each other and “created a play that highlights their new-found friendships risen from the ashes of years of fear and intolerance towards each other”, a play that proved to be “a lesson in citizenship, friendship and tolerance and in the power of art”, as stated by Joumana Haddad.

Love and war on a rooftop is a major achievement for MARCH Lebanon and an inspiring story for all of us Lebanese. It shows that we can break barriers between different sects and communities in the easiest way possible, and that these divisions are only in our heads. We need more initiatives to bring the young generations together, to show them that our differences should only make us better and stronger, and that unity is so easily achievable by the easiest of ways. Even if that’s just a play, the mere fact that these young people worked hand in hand to make this play happen has already changed the perception they have of each other and helped break many barriers.

Thumbs up to MARCH Lebanon, to Lucien Bou Rjeily who wrote and directed the play, and to these inspiring young actors from Jabal Mohsen and Bab el Tebbenah. For those who missed the play, there’s a documentary that is coming out soon and I’ll definitely be sharing it on the blog.

PS: All pictures from MARCH Lebanon

[YouTube]

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BlogBaladi Featured By LiveLoveBeirut on 7ki Jeliss

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I didn’t expect to hear positive things about my blog and my work on 7ki Jeliss especially that I tend to criticize them a lot, but LiveLoveBeirut were their guests last week and they mentioned the picture that I took in Achrafieh that went viral and helped initiate a beautiful campaign aimed at helping children in need.

I’m sharing this small report on LiveLoveBeirut because I’ve been supporting this initiative since day1 and I love the work that they are doing for Lebanon and its youth and the community that they built. A picture is truly worth a thousand words sometimes and LLB has been working day and night to leave a positive impact on the community and show a better image of Lebanon.

They’ve recently launched their website [Livelovebracelet] where they are helping young people achieve their dreams by funding their projects and ideas. Make sure to check it out!

Thank you Eddy and LLB team for the mention :)

[YouTube]

PS: BlogBaladi is mentioned around Minute 14

Jounieh Bay Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

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jounieh

The video was shot by 961FastCam. The Jounieh bay is one of the most beautiful in Lebanon but it’s unfortunately ruined by the illegal beaches and the lack of decent beach resorts. This region has so much potential but no one is willing to fix things up.

We should be competing with Greece and Aiya Nappa instead of begging tourists (and locals) to visit Keserwan and the Jounieh bay.

Enjoy the video!

[YouTube]

#EcoFriendlyABC: The Largest Private Photovoltaic Plant In Lebanon On ABC Achrafieh’s Rooftop

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ABC Achrafieh, the most beautiful mall in Beirut, is turning into the most eco-friendly one by installing the largest private photovoltaic plant in Lebanon on ABC’s rooftop. The installation will cover up to 4,000 m2 and will provide a capacity of 0.45 MW that is enough to power ABC department store, the equivalent of feeding up to 500 houses. By doing so, ABC will reduce its need for electricity and secure free renewable energy for up to 20 years. I love the initiative and I hope others malls will follow-suit in implementing eco-friendly solutions.

What is Photovolatic system?
Photovoltaic_Cells

A photovoltaic system (photo means light and voltaic means voltage), uses photovoltaic (solar) cells to directly convert the energy of light into electricity. This system is mainly used to reduce the need for electricity and replace the traditional polluting power generation options. While the initial cost of setting up such a system may prove to be high, even though it’s been decreasing year after year, “the operational costs associated with the conventional fuel mix (coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas) used for generating electricity are not substantially less than the “full” costs associated with photovoltaic systems and, in many cases, exceed the costs of PVs”. More importantly, there are hidden costs to using conventional energy sources such as damaging the environment and increasing pollution that are crucial and need to be taken into consideration. [Read More]

That’s why more and more companies and corporations worldwide are investing in renewable energies as such solutions will pay off on the long run financially and environmentally. Speaking of smart eco-friendly solutions in Lebanon, The Beirut River Solar Snake is a similar project to ABC’s plant and consists of a photovoltaic farm set on top of Beirut’s river and aimed at generating 1.08 MWp to light up around 1000 houses. I’m not sure though if the farm is already operational or not, but we definitely need more government-drive initiatives such as the BRSS.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made up of at least 2 semi-conductor layers. One layer containing a positive charge, the other a negative charge. Sunlight consists of little particles of solar energy called photons. As a PV cell is exposed to this sunlight, many of the photons are reflected, pass right through, or absorbed by the solar cell.

When enough photons are absorbed by the negative layer of the photovoltaic cell, electrons are freed from the negative semiconductor material. Due to the manufacturing process of the positive layer, these freed electrons naturally migrate to the positive layer creating a voltage differential, similar to a household battery.

When the 2 layers are connected to an external load, the electrons flow through the circuit creating electricity. Each individual solar energy cell produces only 1-2 watts. To increase power output, cells are combined in a weather-tight package called a solar module. These modules (from one to several thousand) are then wired up in serial and/or parallel with one another, into what’s called a solar array, to create the desired voltage and amperage output required by the given project. [Source]

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I was able to visit the roof last week before anyone else and took a couple of pictures that I’m sharing here. The official reveal will take place tonight at ABC so see you all there!

Photo 8-04-2015 6 49 35 pm Here’s another shot showing ABC from the top taken by Joseph Saba

5 Year Old Mounir Is In Coma After Being Hit By A Stray Bullet

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ll

A 5 year old kid was hit and injured by a stray bullet from a funeral gunfire in Beirut’s southern suburbs. Mounir Hazini was shot in the head and is still in coma while two others were slightly wounded. Of course the story didn’t get much attention because 1) the boy is a Syrian kid living in a camp, 2) we got used to assholes emptying their machine guns and RPGs in the air and 3) because the authorities can’t or don’t want to do anything about it.

Every time I tweet or post about the dangers of stray bullets and the need to ban celebratory gunfire in Lebanon once and for all, I get replies from people telling me that all party leaders, specially the heavily armed ones, have already asked their followers to stop shooting guns in the air, BUT they can’t control them unfortunately. If that’s really the case, which I doubt, inform the authorities about these guys and let them be arrested. How hard can it be to spot a guy emptying his machine gun in the street or on the roof? Why doesn’t anyone film them and sends them to Tony Khalife or Joe Maalouf? Why aren’t TVs doing anything to investigate further on such incidents?

Celebratory gunfire is stupid and dangerous and whomever does it is unintentionally trying to kill innocent people and should be labeled as a criminal. Mounir could have been anyone’s kid and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. We cannot and should not get used to such incidents and the Lebanese Army and ISF should take stricter measures when these things happen.

There’s nothing stopping them from doing so (not that I know of) and I am quite sure not a single party in Lebanon would want to cover for brainless members accidentally killing and injuring innocent people.

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[YouTube]

I Used My “Wasta” Unintentionally This Weekend

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wast1

I hate wasta, I never used it to finish any paperwork or get things done in Lebanon and I still refuse to do so. I’m one of those people who wouldn’t mind waiting for hours if that’s the right way to do things and I’m proud of that. Moreover, I’ve never bribed anyone in my life and I don’t intend to do so anytime soon. I still feel bad that I somehow ended up using my “wasta” on Saturday but it was unintentional.

Here’s what happened:

I needed a certain document from the notary public and I didn’t know any in Keserwan so I asked around and I was given the name of one so I headed there on a Saturday morning. Once I got there, it was chaotic just like you’d expect it to be and I couldn’t really tell whose turn is next so I just waited till the lady in front of me finished hoping that no one would cut me off.

I told the officer there what I needed and he asked for our IDs then our home address. When I gave him my new address, he told me that I need to go there and do the paper as it’s illegal to do it here, so I turned to my wife and told her it’s weird because my “wasta” which I won’t name told me we can do it here and he’s done it before. At that moment, the officer overheard me and he was like “Oh you’re related to Mr X” and I’m like “Yes why?”.

Everything changed at this moment, as if I used a secret code or something. He started smiling at me, told me to sit down and relax and the paper will be done in no time. He even took us to his private office and closed the door. I wasn’t really comfortable with the way things were going so I told the guy that I don’t want to proceed with it if it’s illegal, but as it turns out, it’s not but it’s preferable to do it in the town you’re living in. I eventually got my document in 5 minutes and got a discount on the fees as well. How can you give discounts on preset fees? He even offered me coffee lol!

What’s funny and sad about this story is that the lady who was there before me had to wait for an hour to get the same exact paper done, only because she didn’t have a wasta. Of course I’m glad I didn’t waste half a day for some stupid paper, but the last thing I wanted to do is use a wasta to get things done quickly.

Why Roger Feghali Is The Best Rally Driver In Lebanon

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Roger-Feghali-Falougha-Hillclimb-2015 via Biser3a

Roger Feghali clocked a 2:00.42 on his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI to beat his brother Abdo Feghali, who clocked a 2:01.35, by less than a second. Jalopnik described Feghali’s hill climb about a good as driving gets and shared his run in the same event last year.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen while watching both videos. For all rally fans, watch both videos, make sure you’ve got your volume up and enjoy one of the finest hill climbs ever!

[YouTube]

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