Back in April, I posted that someone has been smashing kittens with stones and killing them in AUB and that 5 dead kittens were found on campus. Few days ago, that same person apparently battered to death three kittens on the campus of the American University of Beirut. The attack occurred on Friday before 5pm and was witnessed by a member of AUB’s Cat Club. Here’s the story as reported in the Daily Star:
The attack Friday occurred after the kittens had been treated for fleas prior to offering them for adoption as part of our efforts to reduce the AUB cat population and improve its overall health. Throughout the process, a young man wearing blue jogging pants and a dark blue shirt with stripes sat on a window ledge some 30 meters away, observing in silence. When a volunteer returned to check on the kittens barely 10 minutes later, she saw the young man beating one of the 11 with a stick. On being challenged, he ran away, jumped down a steep wall, and disappeared in the direction of the clock tower.
The kitten he had been beating lay dead. Judging by the welts on its body, a second had been killed in similar fashion. A third appeared to have been trampled to death: the bottom half of its body was crushed and its intestines were spilling out of its anus. All three had been seen in perfect health at our midday inspection check of the site only a few hours earlier.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with this guy but AUB and the police should have arrested this sick bastard by now and I hope they do soon.
9 year old child Mahmoud Mohamad Khodr al-Assi was found murdered in Bchamoun – via MTV
Mahmoud Mohammad Khodr al-Assi is a 9 year old boy who went missing on Friday afternoon and was later on found dead at a construction site in Bchamoun and his body covered with sheets and dirt. This is probably one of the most shocking crimes I’ve heard of in Lebanon, not just because of the way the crime was perpetrated but because the killer is only 15 years of age.
Assi’s friend was arrested later on, and he confessed to killing Mahmoud over a dispute. Some reports are saying Mahmoud was sexually assaulted by his friend and wanted to tell his parents but this is not confirmed yet. Assi’s family has reacted to the incident by calling for the death penalty levied against the 15-year-old killer, which is quite harsh if you ask me.
Just to make myself clear here, I’ve always been against the death penalty as a punishment but what I’m debating right now is whether juveniles who commit crimes should get the same sentences as adults would. I’m not sure how the Lebanese law works but I know for a fact that some countries treat juveniles differently from adults as they consider that a juvenile’s brain is not fully developed, and that young people have less responsibility for their actions than adults and greater prospects for reform. I know it’s quite disturbing to think that a 15 year old is capable of such a thing, but at the same time asking for the death penalty also implies killing this 15 year old who’s just a kid, and two wrongs don’t make a right.
If anyone has any information on how the Lebanese law treats murderers under 18 years of age, please do share.
It’s the summer and rooftops are the best place to enjoy an afternoon drink and watch the sunset with friends. I usually prefer going to rooftops in Beirut after work in order to avoid going back home (Jounieh) during rush hour but I always thought we need nice rooftops overlooking the Jounieh Bay. There was a rooftop on ATCL but I think it closed down and there’s another in the old Jounieh souks but it’s not on the beach. UBay on the other hand is the perfect rooftop for me in Jounieh, as it’s located right on the beach in the middle of the souks and you can enjoy the mountain view as well. We were planning on going there to watch the Jounieh fireworks last week but we headed to the hospital instead for my wife to deliver that same night
Ubay is located in the old souks above Table Fine and is a rooftop lounge that offers drinks, serves Japanese food, offers a relaxing experience and plays a chill-out music while overlooking the Jounieh bay. Anywhere you sit at Ubay, you will enjoy a sea and mountain view. The staff is quite friendly, the cocktails are pretty good, the portions and the food are decent. I ordered Edamame, popcorn shrimps, smoked salmon roll, steamed shrimp dumplings and ubay rolls. The only thing I didn’t appreciate were the Ubay rolls as they were a bit too salty.
Price-wise, you will end up paying around 40-50$ per person if you have a couple of cocktails and a couple of dishes which is pretty decent. Here are some of the pictures I took of the place.
You can check out more info on their Facebook page [here].
CNN featured Beirut’s old buildings as 1 of the 25 magnificent structures on the verge of extinction. Here’s what they said:
As if decades of civil war and bombardments weren’t enough, the remaining old buildings of Beirut are now under threat by property developers who are looking to create new luxury blocks on real estate currently occupied by traditional structures. Many have been hastily deemed unfit for living, pushing residents away: less than 350 heritage buildings remain.
Lebanon’s architectural heritage is one of a kind but it’s slowly disappearing and Beirut is quickly losing its traditional character as old houses, beautiful villas and Ottoman-style mansions are increasingly being destroyed and replaced with modern skyscrapers. I love Beirut’s old houses and I always feature them on Instagram because I know they won’t last long. There are around 350 heritage buildings right now in Beirut but a lot of them need some serious renovation and the authorities aren’t doing anything to maintain them. Moreover, not all owners are wealthy enough to maintain and renovate their houses as it’s quite costly and the law obliges them to pay higher taxes if I’m not mistaken.
The ideal scenario is for the government and the concerned ministries (Tourism & Culture) to protect this heritage but most of them are short-sighted and corrupt and would rather strike deals with real estate companies to make few bucks than preserve our heritage. Of course there are many organizations and NGOs working on preserving this heritage but the property developers they are up against are way too powerful and well connected. One of the initiatives that caught my attention a while ago was one by French Designer Benedicte de Vanssay de Blavous Moubarak and her husband Raja who “are collecting discarded old wrought iron balustrades, railings and window frames from all authentic Lebanese houses and turning them into design pieces, in an attempt to preserve Lebanon’s disappearing architectural heritage”.
Check out CNN’s full list [here]. It’s quite sad to see Al Khazneh in Petra on that list as it’s one of the most amazing structures you could ever visit.
Ever since #TweetLikeLebaneseMedia trended on Twitter, I’ve been thinking about coming up with “awards” for Lebanese Media tweets and headlines because they’ve been outdoing themselves lately. The latest was the above headline by Al Jadeed.
As you all know, going to a beach resort in Lebanon is a unique experience where you can find almost everything except people swimming. The sight of a couple or an individual swimming in a pool at a beach resort is so rare that it might become punishable by law one day. Who has time to enjoy the sea and swim by the pool when there’s a party happening at the bar, an arguile and a bottle of vin rosé right by your side and a housekeeper (who’s not allowed to swim of course) to take care of the kids?
In all cases, Lebanese media has been following up closely on this phenomenon and Al Jadeed published a ground breaking story yesterday on their social media channels, a Lebanese celebrity wearing a swimsuit at the beach!! I kid you not, Elissa was spotted wearing a “maillot” at the beach but it appears that she was so ashamed of herself that she cropped the swimsuit out of her Instagram picture. The story outraged other Lebanese media channels who promised to follow up closely on this story and reveal soon if she was wearing a “2 piece” or “1 piece”. They even lashed out at Al Jadeed for unprofessionally covering one part of the story and not revealing the whole truth.
Stay tuned as I reveal the full story as soon as it’s out.
If you thought the video of the Islamists who got tortured and beaten in Roumieh prison was outrageous, wait till you hear this story.
PS: The original story was published in French in L’Orient Le Jour
On June 9 2015, Omar was driving with his friend Samer to his house in the South when they were stopped at a checkpoint. Omar handed over his ID and other legal papers to one officer while another policeman was looking for illegal substances inside the car and found half a gram of weed with Samer. At this point, the officer confiscated and handcuffed Samer, and both men were taken to the police station for further investigation and ended up spending the night there.
The next day, Samer and his friend were dragged to an anti-drugs bureau in the South where they got humiliated and called all sorts of names. Then they were asked to perform a drug test which turned out to be negative. At this point, both men thought that the worst part was over, but one of the officers was looking through Samer’s phone conversations and all hell broke loose when he found someone called “Habibi”. Thinking that Samer was gay because he had a contact by the name of “Habibi”, he started throwing accusations and then two other officers brought Omar out of his cell, started beating him violently and torturing him by putting his head back and forth in cold water. Samer got his share of the torture and both were even electrocuted and forced to spill out names of homosexuals and drug dealers in Lebanon. After hours of torture, they called Omar and Samer’s parents and told them that their sons are gay. When Omar’s parents arrived at the bureau, the inspector refused to show them their son and re-assured them that he wasn’t tortured or beaten. “Walaw Madame, akid la2. Chou wen mfakra ne7na 3aysheen?” is what the officer said.
Both men spent the next 6 days in the South, where they got tortured on a daily basis and forced to reveal names of the gay community in Lebanon. They were later on transferred to Hobeiche police station in Beirut where they also got interrogated and detained for 5 days in a 20sqm cell that contained more than 20 prisoners. Afterwards, both were sent back to Saida and spent 8 additional days in prison with over 200 prisoners. The officer in charge there made sure to tell all the prisoners that Omar and Samer were gay. Omar’s nightmare ended 3 weeks later when he was allowed to see a judge for 2 minutes, and then signed a paper, paid a fee and got released. Samer on the other hand is still detained.
I honestly have nothing to say here. These men were jailed, tortured and humiliated for 3 weeks just because one of them had half a gram of weed and some dumbass officer thought they were gay because of a “habibi” contact. I heard Minister Machnouk is following up on this story and will punish those involved but this is not enough. This story is messed up beyond repair and the only thing Minister Machnouk can do issue a decree that forbids any ISF officer from arresting people for being homosexual and kick them out of the force if they do. It is no longer admissible to treat homosexuals as criminals and torture in Lebanese prisons needs to stop once and for all!
The Jounieh fireworks were as impressive as every year yesterday and the traffic to Jounieh in the evening was even worse than last year unfortunately. I was enjoying last year’s fireworks from a prime location, on the rooftop of Monte Cassino but I couldn’t watch them this year so I regrouped some of the best pictures I saw online and on the Jounieh International Festival Facebook page.
I will keep updating the post with new pictures and videos once they come out. If you have any cool pics or vids, I will be more than glad to feature them. Here’s the full schedule for the Jounieh 2015 festivals that kicked off last night with 7 minutes of Synchronized Fireworks along the coastal of Jounieh bay.
Saturday July 4
Magida El Roumi Concert at Fouad Chehab Stadium
Monday July 6
The Voice Tour Concert at Fouad Chehab Stadium
Wednesday July 8
Jamel Debbouze Stand Up Comedy Show at Fouad Chehab Stadium
Thursday July 9
Johnny Hallyday Concert at Fouad Chehab Stadium
Friday July 10, Saturday July 11 & Sunday July 12
Kids & Family Day
• Street Show Parade, kids playground and special entertainment, bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, for all the family and youth along the coastal area of the city
Wednesday July 15
Jessy J Concert at Fouad Chehab Stadium
People rush to Donner Sang Compter when they need blood for a friend or relative but they seem to forget that such a service comes with a financial tag. Donner Sang Compter is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that links volunteer donors to patients in need of blood since 2010. DSC was able to recruit more than 15,000 blood donors, 250+ committed volunteers and was able to save more 50,000 lives in the past 5 years, which is quite remarkable!
DSC introduced the mobile blood bank in 2014, a bus equipped with world-class technologies and specialized in receiving people who want to donate blood. The bus teams up with a medical team from one of Lebanon’s hospitals and goes around different areas, universities and companies to encourage people to donate in a safe, healthy, confidential and comfortable way. That way, hospitals meet their blood demands until it is their turn again to take the bus.
The bus that DSC is using is old and needs a lot of rehabilitation from the inside such as new donation chairs, new equipment, maintenance, electricity, lighting and other stuff. For this purpose, Donner Sang Compter are crowdfunding the renovation of the mobile blood bank to organize more drives and eliminate blood shortage in hospitals!
DSC are in need of $30,000 and they’ve collected so far $5000. They still have 32 days left to crowdfund the remaining amount and need everyone’s support. If you can’t support with money, share the news on all social media networks and reach out to your friends and family for help. If you know any organizations or corporations that are willing to donate the whole amount or donate a bus, please let me know and I will hook them up with Donner Sang Compter.
DSC is one of the very few NGOs in Lebanon that’s doing things right and making a change. They are always there when we need them so let’s show some support this time and make this happen!
My wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 9:17am this morning weighing 2.87 kilos. I’m not sure I can describe how it felt to see the baby popping out but it was an intense and amazing feeling. Having a child was always on the top of my list and as cliché as this may sound, holding our baby Brian today was the happiest (and scariest) moment of my life. People told me some guys cry when they see their baby for the first time but I didn’t, probably because I watched the whole operation and was still a bit shocked from what I saw.
I know a baby is a huge responsibility and that life will change for me now but I don’t know in what sense. People said the same thing when I got married but things got much better for me back then so I’m hoping the same will happen. Things will get busier I’m sure, and I will have less time to do things but you can always manage. Funnily enough, the long post I wrote on Fiber Optics in Lebanon was between 10pm and 3am while waiting for the contractions to come so I might end up blogging more during these long sleepless nights.
Many thanks to everyone for their wishes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Rest assured I won’t be flooding your timeline with baby pictures because I don’t like people who do that and I think too much of anything is bad.
Thank you Joelle for this most useful gift
Thank you Roy, Jenny, Rachel, Nadine, Cynthia, Nadim, Wajid, Nicola, my colleagues at work and all the friends and family who showed up yesterday or sent flowers.