Rare Beirut Pictures From The UNEF’s Diary (1965-1966)

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UNEF (United Nations Emergency Force) Captain Gord Jenkins stayed in Beirut between 1965 and 1966 and kept a diary of his stay with his wife Jan which includes a lot of awesome and rare pictures. Here’s what he said about Lebanon:

Beirut Lebanon had become increasingly important for 115 ATU and -instead of Cairo- Beirut became the main closest supply base for parts ,equipment and food- if you had the money in those days you could buy anything in Beirut. There also was a rest camp in the cool Lebanese hills behind Beirut fot UNEF 1 troops.

Beirut in 1965 and 1966 was quiet and bustling crossroads city – fascinating place to be in – and my wife Jan and I were there – and stayed there for an extended posting.

I selected 10 of the 100+ pictures found in his archives.

WestBeirutTheSportingClub Sporting Club – Beirut


BeirutIrport-waitingForElArishCrribou Beirut Airport

StreetSceneMartyrsSquare2 Martyrs Square


Beirut1965Corniche Beirut Corniche 1965

WelcomeToLebanon Beirut Airport

Carlton The old Carlton Hotel

#Lebanon Ranked Second on Numbeo’s 2016 Pollution Index

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Numbeo’s Pollution Index is an estimation of the overall pollution in the city. “The biggest weight is given to air pollution, than to water pollution/accessibility, two main pollution factors. Small weight is given to other pollution types. The rankings are based on surveys from visitors of this website. Questions for this surveys are similar to many similar scientific and government surveys”.

Lebanon ranked second after Egypt. Jordan was the next Arab country in the 14th spot, followed by Bahrain (#16), Qatar (#18), Saudi Arabia (#30) and UAE (#52). Numbeo is a crowd-sourced global database of reported consumer prices, perceived crime rates, quality of health care, other statistics.


Al-Manar Anchor’s Twisted Logic

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A Lebanese TV Anchor called Diaa Bou Taam tweeted yesterday that he wants to boycott restaurants that open during fasting hours and that he is going to shame them in public. He went on by saying that these restaurants are being disrespectful towards fasting Muslims by placing tables and chairs outside. He later on apologized and said that his tweets were just a joke but he’s not fooling anyone with that excuse.

I have no idea what is going through this guy’s head and I’m glad he apologized because as far as I know, non-Muslims and Muslims who don’t fast don’t need to adjust their life during Ramadan and those who feel offended by a couple of chairs and a table outside a restaurant, or someone eating in front of them, clearly got this whole Ramadan fasting wrong.

#PekingParis2016: Team Lebanon Off to a Great Start, Currently Ranked 2nd in Their Class!

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pekin paris

The Peking-Paris began on June 12 and #TeamLebanon has been doing great so far! Charbel Habib and Walid Samaha just crossed Mongolia yesterday after 8 days of off-road driving in one of the most adventurous and difficult routes of the Peking-Paris race. It took some time for the team to get used to the GPS system and they got lost on the second day but were able to get back on track and avoid penalties. Day 3 was one of the toughest for the Lebanese team as their GPS system broke down twice and they had to drive all the way back to the mechanics to fix it but since then, they’ve been scoring great times and are currently ranked #2 in their class and #34 overall.

Team Lebanon has already covered an incredible 3,684 KM through China and Mongolia and are performing very well despite having one of the smallest cars in the race. Here are few selected pictures that will walk you through their stunning journey since Day 1 and show you how challenging this race is:

start2 Ready to go!

camping2 Camping on Day2

drive Hello Mongolia!

fixing roof Fixing damaged roof stack

teamlebanon4 Camping …

teamlebanon3 and taking a short coffee break

team lebanon2 Rough terrain

peking paris3 In the middle of nowhere.

drive Stunning landscapes


#TeamLebanon will spend the next 13 days driving over 5000 KM across Russia. I will make sure to keep you posted with their updates.

Best of luck to Charbel & Walid!



#WorldRefugeeDay: What does The Word Refugee Mean to You?

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refugee via Médecins Sans Frontières

World Refugee Day is observed on June 20 by the UN every year and is dedicated to raising awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. Lebanon is officially the country with the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world with 257 refugees per 1,000 inhabitants, and the situation for refugees, mainly Syrian refugees, in our country is only getting worse.

The government is still not allowing the UN to set up formal camps and the situation in several camps is quickly deteriorating due to the lack of food, hygiene, water and electricity among others. Here are few numbers related to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon that were released earlier this year by Ipsos:

– More than 40% of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon come from Aleppo and Homs.
– 45% of Syrians are below the age of 15.
– 54% within schooling age don’t go to school.
– 20% of households earn no income.
– 24% of Syrian households have at least one patient with a chronic disease.

The majority of refugees is relying on aid as there are no employment opportunities and extremely low wages. The lack of access to education for almost half the Syrian children is a tragedy and will affect all of us. As I’ve already said it on several occasions, the authorities need to manage properly the Syrian refugees crisis for our own sake, because things are getting out of hands and the poor Lebanese population is suffering even more now and being neglected.


Works Already Underway at Ramlet el Baida: Beirut’s Only Public Beach

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Ramleh Baida2 via Sara Bou Kamel

Works are already underway at Ramleh el Baida, whereas excavators were spotted destroying one of the entrances to Beirut’s legendary coastline. It’s only a matter of time before Beirut’s last public beach no longer becomes accessible to the public.

A year ago, Public Works Minister Ghazi Zeaiter vowed to prevent the closure of Beirut’s only public beach but privatization is already underway and Beirut Municipality and the government are the ones to blame.

This beach belongs to the people and should remain public instead of being turned into luxury projects that cater to the wealthy.


Best Father’s Day Ads From Lebanon [2016]

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kababji Kababji is my favorite this year

Here’s a roundup of the best Father’s Day ads I spotted this year. If there are ads that I might have missed, please forward them to me.

Happy Father’s Day!

exotica When dad breaks the rules – Exotica

touch A son’s first hero. A daughter’s first love – Touch Lebanon

almaza Awwal kar3a min wara daher 2emme – via Almaza

Jeep I will always look up to you – Jeep Lebanon

Fakhry Haha! via Fakhry

Dodge This should be used to promote road safety – Brilliant one by Dodge Lebanon

dewards1 Cherish these moments with your fathers as long as they are here – Dewars

Sultan Ibrahim To more generations to come – Sultan Ibrahim

Pepsi leb via Pepsi Lebanon

volvo-fathers-day-3 via Volvo Lebanon

KHoury Game of Thrones-inspired ad – Khoury Home

deek duke Being a dad is the greatest – Deek Duke

BMW Lebanon My hero – BMW Lebanon

Bank Audi It’s all about the trust indeed – Bank Audi

Bank of Beirut These little things that made a big difference – Bank of Beirut

Spinneys1 Lol! – via Rizk Group

kronfol El Dene 2em wou bay – Kronfol

Krikita via Krikita

papaya Haha!

zifaf via Zifaf

shawarmanji Via Shawarmanji

Toyota via Toyota Lebanon

stoli Stoli

A Fatherless Father’s Day

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Tomorrow is Father’s Day in Lebanon but this year Dad won’t be around to celebrate it with us. It’s been a month and we miss him terribly. I miss his morning calls, his laughs, his jokes, his advice, his visits…I miss it all, every bit of it. Not an hour goes by when I don’t think of him, think of calling him to just say hello, just talk like we used to. I cannot see how I will ever get over his sudden passing from us. They say time heals all wounds, but this one may just be too deep.

I read a powerful quote this weekend that pretty much sums up what I’m feeling right now:

Losing your father is much more than a sudden emotional blow. It is the slow crumbling of any solid ground to stand on, a virus that dines on your confidence as you age. It is a perpetual state of wondering whether you can live up to his legacy while feeling like you are burying it in the dirt. You lack access to his institutional knowledge, and so you attempt to move forward praying you are not the black stain on his branch of the family tree.

Every now and then, I ask myself or my brothers: Why Dad? What are we going to do now? What can we possibly do to comfort our mom? How can we accept this new “normal” that was imposed on us against our will?

There are no simple answers to these questions. I know this is the time to step up, be more responsible and try to gain some control on life. I am feeling more determined and driven, but at the same time a part of me feels more vulnerable. Words cannot really explain how one’s spirit attempts to muster strength to keep going when bent by tragic life events. Bent…not broken though, and for that, once again, I have to thank you Dad. You taught me everything I know about life, and today, all your teachings and wise words are like whispers in my ear, helping me cope with your loss.

This year of “firsts” won’t be easy. Our first Father’s day without Dad, my brothers’ birthdays, Brian’s first birthday without his grandpa, our first Christmas, first New Year etc.

Father’s Day ads are everywhere this week, a constant reminder that we are fatherless this year. I was shopping for Brian the other day and saw a bib that said “I <3 Jeddo" but I couldn't get myself to buy it. I probably should have and will do so on Thursday, because I want to celebrate every day with Dad even if he's not physically there. bob1

I will keep doing the things he loves most, and keep his memory alive among us forever. I will try to be as nice, friendly and helpful as he was. I will work even harder to support and shoulder the family, be a stepping stone for all as he was for us. I will be resilient and determined and make him proud every single moment of every day. I will celebrate him through the gifts he gave me throughout the years. I will honor him by following his advice as I make my way in this harsh world. I also hope that maybe I can smile no matter how tough life gets, as a tribute to the always smiling husband, father, family man, friend, colleague and extraordinary human being Dad was.

No one ever fully recovers from a parent’s death. I will be grieving tomorrow but I will also celebrate the father that taught me to smile at life and be strong. Tomorrow is an empty Father’s day for me, but it holds a legacy full of happiness, strength, hard work and and unconditional love. I am my father’s son – forever.

Happy Father’s Day to you all!