Remembering Samir Kassir: Ten Years Already

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The 2015 Beirut Spring Festival was concluded yesterday with a stunning performance entitled “Beirut, the timeless city” “بيروت كانت وتكون” to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Samir Kassir’s assassination. The open air unique performance took place at Martyrs’ Square where attendees experienced art in all its forms, from dance to music to poetry to light and image projections. Ivan Caracalla, Reza Aligholi, Talal Haidar, Beirut Symphony Orchestra, actors Gabriel Yammine, Rafaat Tarabay, Jihad Al Andary, Alecco Daoud, Khaled Al Sayyed, Fadi Rifai, Ali el Zein, Romeo El Hachem, singers Hadi Khalil, Yasmine Hadj Nasser, Tania Saleh, Faten Sidawi, Marc Reaidi, local bands and musicians Who Killed Bruce Lee, Fareeq Al Atrach, Saad Saab & The Oud Family, dancers from Totem Contemporary Dance Company and composer pianist Rami Khalife all made this commemoration “an artistic travel in time through the eyes of Samir Kassir and scenes taken and inspired by Samir’s book “Beirut”.

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When I think about Samir Kassir, I remember Gebran Tueni and how these two were the most inspiring and daring journalists during Lebanon’s darkest years. Samir Kassir was the first journalist I ever sat down with back in 2002 to discuss local and regional issues. I met with him right before the lecture and we sat outside the AUB cafeteria and talked for like an hour. I was already a big fan of his article and books and he never ceased to amaze me by the amount of knowledge he had and the way he was able to connect things. He was a calm and modest person but also charismatic and captivating in his lectures and speeches. You can never get bored listening to Samir and he’d always listen back and take you seriously.

Beirut misses Samir Kassir and the freedom of press and expression that he represented. Quoting European Union Ambassador to Lebanon Angelina Eichhorst “Amid the absence of the freedom of media, there’s no presence for press, but for systematic propaganda”, and this is where Lebanon is headed unfortunately.

Here are few pictures from yesterday’s performance and there are videos being shared on the Facebook page [here].

samir via Jad Ghorayeb

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[YouTube]

Champions League Final (Juventus vs. Barcelona) GiveAway: The Winning Team’s Jersey From Football Shop Hamra

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Update: Congrats to Sami Hert for winning the jersey and guessing the right score!

Football is a very popular sport in Lebanon but there aren’t that many shops that are purely dedicated to football where you can find everything from jerseys, shoes, scarfs, mugs, balls, figurines, DVDs, flags etc. In fact, the only place I know in Lebanon is Football Shop in Hamra and what I love about this shop is that its owners are hardcore football fans and take part in almost every football-related event in Lebanon. They are always sponsoring and supporting fan clubs and one of the guys who works there (Tarek) is a good friend (even though he’s a Manchester United fanatic :P) and is very active on Twitter.

I passed by the shop today to pick up a couple of things for tonight’s finale and found an awesome Retro Juventus 1970 jersey, as well as an awesome Maradona shirt back from his Napoli years. I even found a Spurs jersey. I ended up buying the Juventus Retro jersey and a tiny German jersey for my future kid :)

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The shop is organized according to leagues (EPL, Serie A, Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1) and there’s a small section for the national teams as well. In the middle there’s a whole section of cool tshirts, figurines, DVDs and other gadgets. There are also huge posters and flags and the best part is that you can print your name instantly there and don’t have to wait for the second day like other shops. Needless to say, everything is authentic.

Moving on to the giveaway, and since the Champions League final is tonight, I thought I’d prepare a small competition for the football fans and Football Shop agreed to give away the jersey of the winning team to one lucky reader. All you have to do is the following:

– Follow me and the Football Shop on Instagram.
– Guess who’s gonna win the finale tonight to enter the draw. There’s no need to mention the score but whomever gets it right will get a extra special gift.

You need to leave a comment on the blog post and I will draw the winner’s name as soon as the game ends. I’m personally cheering for Juventus but it’s gonna be very hard to defeat Barcelona tonight.

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For more info regarding Football Shop, check their [Facebook page], their [website], their [instagram] and their [Twitter] account.

NB: You need to put your proper email in the email field while commenting since winner will be contacted by email. You can only comment once, anyone caught commenting more than once will get disqualified.

What Happens When The Education Minister Visits Public Schools During Official Exams

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This picture was caught yesterday while Elias Bou Saab, Lebanon’s Education Minister, was visiting public schools to inspect the students who are undergoing official exams. It looks like the student was handing a pen, not a small piece of paper, to the other student but it’s still funny.

I blurred the girl’s face because I don’t want her to get in trouble, even though she might end up getting an 2ifedé if the teachers go on strike once more lol!

Update: Minister Elias Bou Saab just posted on his Facebook page that the girl was handing a tipex and was not cheating haha!

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The Lykan HyperSport Joins Abu Dhabi’s Police Fleet

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The Abu Dhabi Police has apparently decided to add Lykan HyperSport to its fleet as part of “its efforts to reach out to residents, especially the youth, on traffic safety”. I’m not really sure how buying a 3.8-liter twin-turbo flat-six engine with a 770 horsepower super-car and displaying it at touristic locations and malls will help promote road safety but it’s worth a try if they can afford (which they can) paying $3.4 million for the car.

Just to give you an idea on how exclusive the Lykan HyperSport, a supercar made by W-Motors a Lebanese-based company by the way, it is the first Middle Eastern supercar and one of the world’s fastest. Moreover, the super-car is one of only seven in the world and features “diamond-encrusted headlights and an interior straight out of Star Trek”. It was featured in the latest Fast & Furious 7 movie “flying” from one skyscraper to the other.

The Lykan is definitly not the first supercar to join Abu Dhabi’s police fleet as the Rolls-Royce Phantom was recently acquired. Dubai’s police fleet is as impressive and includes a Lexus RCF, a McLaren MP4-12C, Aston Martin One-77, Audi R8, Bugatti Veyron, Mercedes SLS, BMW M6, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari FF, and a Bentley Continental GT.

[YouTube]

Thanks Bouli!

How Captain Saadeddine Dabbous Became MEA’s First Ever Lebanese Pilot In 1952

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mea via LiveLoveBeirut

The above picture was shared yesterday by LiveLoveBeirut and includes Captain Saadeddine Dabbous who is Middle East Airlines’ first ever 6pilot, as well as his sons and two grandsons who also work for MEA Airlines. Two of them are captains and the two others are first officers.

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The Dabbous family has three proud generations of pilots, which is quite amazing but what’s even more amazing is how Captain Saadeddine Dabbous became the MEA’s first pilot Lebanese ever. Saad always dreamt of flying a plane but he joined the Middle East back in 1947 as an accountant and used to earn 150 Lebanese Liras per month. Two years into the job, he decided to apply for a pilot training session. Saad passed the medical tests, then the first round so MEA transferred him to Cairo for a year and a half to complete his training. He graduated on top of his class and then traveled to London for another 6-month training.

After 4 years of training, studying and flying as a co-pilot, Saad became officially the first Lebanese MEA pilot in 1952 when he drove a Dakota DC3 plane from Cairo to Beirut. Saad’s first ever trip was covered by the Lebanese media and the Prime Minister at the time Saeb Salam was waiting for the plane to land at Beirut’s airport. Captain Saad was honored during a ceremony the next day and officially proclaimed as MEA’s first official pilot. Saad worked as a proud MEA pilot until 1985 when he retired after doing a final trip from Cairo to Beirut just like his first ever flight. His two sons Tarek and Hisham later on became pilots as well and their respective sons Saad and Wassim are on their way to become pilots.

Captain Saad flew over 25,000 hours in his career and was honored by the Lebanese President.

PS: I got the story details from [CedarWings].

7774686 via studentguidemag

Flying Over Gorgeous Lebanese Landscapes

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I found this cool YouTube channel yesterday called HighCamFly which uploads the most awesome aerial videos from all over Lebanon. The latest one was during the Armenian Genocide March on April 24, and my favorite is the video below that shows beautiful Lebanese landscapes in different regions. The Dhour Choueir in the snow video is also worth watching.

Speaking of aerial filming, does anyone know if it’s legal to fly a drone anywhere in Lebanon or do you need a special permission to do so? I’ve been thinking about getting one for some time but if it’s a hassle it’s not worth it.

[YouTube]

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The Best Chocolate Bars You Can Buy For 500 Lebanese Pounds Or Less

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kol

I found this funny video of Shant and Elie trying out chocolate bars that cost 500 Lebanese Pounds or less and it made me crave a Tutti Frutti bar. I love how you can’t really tell what’s the flavor inside the Tutti Frutti bar but it’s amazing!

Here are some of the chocolate bars they tasted and my take on them:
– Tutti Frutti (My favorite)
– Pick One is indeed a fake Kitkat
– Metro sucks
– Apello (I never heard of that one) but it looks like the Halo. I never liked it.
– Break is ok.
– Flute & Kinder are quite amazing but we can’t really put them in the same category as others.
– Unica is awesome but I loved their description (layers of biscuit with a chocolate smell hahaha).
– Addicto is everything but addicto.

I would add Nouba, which I love, to the list, as a well as a coconut bar (fake bounty) but I can’t remember its name, and the Pick up as well which is not that bad.

[YouTube]

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Roger Feghali Has Just Won The 50th Edition Of The Antibes Côte D’Azur Rally 2015!

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Lebanese Rally driver Roger Feghali has become the first Arab driver to win the famous Antibes Côte D’Azur in France after beating Jean-marie Cuoq, the Championship leader, in the final classification. Roger competed last year and was going strong before he had to retire, but he came back this year and dominated the event in his Ford Focus WRC.

Feghali and Matar beat Citroen C4 WRC driver Jean-Marie Cuoq by more than 2 minutes, which is a very comfortable margin. This marks Roger’s fourth rally victory of 2015, after dominant wins in Jordan and in Lebanon (31st Spring Rally and 4th Jezzine Rally). Feghali won’t score points from this rally as he’s Lebanese but it’s still quite an achievement to beat talented international rally drivers in a entry list that included 135 drivers.

Congrats to Roger on this amazing achievement!

Roger-Feghali-Antibes-Rally-2015-pic-750x400 via BiSer3a

Here’s a small footage showing Roger’s car and there are over videos on [biser3a.com] and [lequipe.fr] for those interested.

[YouTube]

A Huge Graffiti Tribute To The Lebanese Diva #Sabah (Sabbou7a) By ASHEKMAN

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Ashekman brothers have been working for the past couple of days on a huge graffiti mural as a tribute to the legendary Lebanese singer Sabah (also known as Sabbou7a). The huge mural was completed yesterday and is set up facing the Grandizer one in Achrafieh on the way up to Sassine before ABC Mall.

The Ashekman brothers have already done tributes to Feyrouz and Wadih El Safi and recently repainted their “To Be Free Or Not” mural in Achrafieh after it was removed by mistake by Beirut’s municipality.

Thumbs up to Ashekman and every talented Lebanese graffiti artists (Ali Rafei and Yazan Halwani to name few) that are using their talent to cover and replace the city’s ugly political slogans with beautiful graffiti murals and powerful drawings.

sab77 Sketch of the final outcome

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