Every year on the 30th of August, which happens to be the U.N.’s International Day of the Disappeared, we remember the 17,000+ Lebanese who disappeared during the war in Lebanon and its aftermath. The families of the disappeared have been protesting for years in Beirut yet the government has done nothing to clarify the fate of their loved ones.
The committee of families, with the support of Human Rights Watch, has drafted “a bill to create a national commission to investigate those cases, but no government action has been taken”, and I don’t expect them to do anything anytime soon even though enforced disappearances are described by HRW “among the gravest crimes in international law and may constitute a crime against humanity if part of a bigger attack against the civilian population.”
There’s also an ACT for the disappeared in Lebanon and several initiatives to help out the families but nothing can be really done without the government’s help and Syria’s ongoing war is not helping.
There’s one initiative that is feasible and consists of building The Memorial, an urban act to draw attention to the 17,000+ missing and disappeared in Lebanon and keep their cause alive. Check it out [here].
PS: Title is a quote by Nadim Houry, HRW’s deputy Middle East director.
My friend was telling me yesterday about a tragic incident in an amusement park in Aley and then I saw the report at night on MTV. A young kid has apparently died after falling off the roller coaster, while his cousin got some serious injuries. According to the amusement park management, the kid was asked to sit down twice which he didn’t do but that’s utter nonsense. The person who was managing that ride should have stopped it immediately if he thought someone is violating basic safety rules and regulations. Something doesn’t add up here and a thorough investigations needs to be performed.
The worst part is that both the municipality and the Ministry of Tourism denied any responsibility and stated that it’s not their job to perform safety inspections. If that’s the case then who is making sure amusement parks are safe in Lebanon?
To be honest, I never really felt safe in any of Lebanon’s amusement parks and I always wondered if there are security checks being performed as safety should be the #1 priority in any amusement park. Of course accidents are bound to happen and injuries may occur when guests don’t follow safety guidelines but there are many ways to ensure guests, especially young children, are kept safe.
There aren’t that many amusement parks in Lebanon and most of them are really old so I hope that this tragic accident will push the authorities to properly inspect them and make sure they are abiding by the rules and regulations (if there are any).
After a “Jon Snow is Alive” poster appeared at the #YouStink protest, the above was posted two days ago on Arya Stark’s Facebook page. Of course it’s a fictional page but it’s quite funny to see pictures of the #YouStink protest there.
Speaking of funny posters and after my post from last week, I got around 5-6 hilarious new posters that I’m sharing here:
Mustapha put together a website that gathers #YouStink news from Twitter, YouTube, Instagram & Lebaneseblogs. It’s an easy way to track all updates related to the #YouStink (#طلعت_ريحتكم) movement and an extra reason for everyone to stick to that hashtag and stop coming up with new ones.
I couldn’t find any cool song for the #YouStink protest but a friend of mine shared this old song from 2013 that applies perfectly to the current situation and is pretty awesome! I hope they are panicking 😀
#YouStink is a peaceful movement and should remain that way. Security forces are mainly to blame for the violence during the first protest while infiltrators turned the second protest into a nightmare. What’s important is that civilized and peaceful demonstrators stay away from these infiltrators and from clashing with the police. Let’s keep in mind that security forces are given orders that they need to follow and most of them want the same demands we do and don’t want to clash with the people. Needless to say, some of them are violating basic human rights and need to punished severely but I believe the best way to counter any violent act by the police or army is by documenting it and exposing it.
Aside from the use of violence during the demonstrations, a lot of protesters were wrongfully arrested and tortured. There are a lot of testimonies online stating how people were jailed for days, interrogated and tortured, and forced to do drug tests. Lebanese authorities and the Interior Minister should take immediate action to ensure there is no repeat of these actions in future protests. Human Rights Watch documented the violence in the early protests. You can read the report [here].
2- Damaged Public Property:
Riad el Solh statue was sabotaged, traffic lights were destroyed, shops and billboards were vandalized and even Hariri’s grave got its share of the riots during the second day of protest. I blame it all on the infiltrators but it is every one’s responsibility tomorrow not to damage public property and to report or stop those who are doing so.
A lot of parties are trying to take advantage of this movement. I’m not sure how the organizers are planning to keep them away from the protest but they should do so in order not to jeopardize its credibility. The fact that so many movements popped up during this week is definitely not comforting and a headache for the #YouReek guys.
4- More movements and hashtags: #مستمرون #طلعت_ريحتكم #بدنا_نحاسب #حلوا_عنا #عالشارع #بدنا_رئيس
I don’t know what happened this past week but every one decided to come up with a new hashtag and call it a movement. A hashtag is a not a movement and there’s already one hashtag that we can help trend. Stop coming up with new hashtags/movements for God’s sake!
All in all, I hope that today’s protest goes smoothly and achieves positive things. Stay safe everyone!
I passed by ABC Achrafieh last week and noticed that they had kicked off a recycling campaign and replaced their old bins with new ones that separate recyclable from non-recyclable items. Moreover, I learned that ABC Lebanon signed a Zero Waste Act, which is an initiative aimed “at minimizing solid waste haphazard disposal and diverting the waste stream away from landfills”. ABC is expected to reduce waste by 80% in all its malls. Needless to say, businesses should have started recycling long time ago in Lebanon but it’s better late than never. I’m glad that ABC took this initiative and started recycling and I hope others malls and businesses will follow-suit and join the cycle.
It is worth noting that the Lebanese population has generated more than 2,040,000 tons of solid waste in 2014 . This is not the first environmentally friendly initiative ABC has taken this year as they turned they installed the largest private photovoltaic plant in Lebanon on ABC’s rooftop two months ago.
We should all join the cycle! We should all recycle!
PS: I proudly took part in their online campaign and I’m willing to take part in any campaign that supports recycling.
Update: His name is Maroun Nachef and is known as The Seller of Songs. Here’s an old article with more details about Maroun. Thank you Alexis!
I was once told about an old man who sits on Sassine Square and plays the Oud but I never really met him until today. He was sitting in the middle of the square with a hat in front of him to collect tips and a banner on his right that basically says that he’s unemployed, he’s playing the Oud and singing to earn few bucks and he’s willing to attend parties and events. I think this is the first time I meet a street musician in Beirut and I thought of a way to help him out:
– If anyone is getting married or planning an outdoor event this summer, invite this old man to play at the event and earn few bucks. It’s a pretty cool and original idea and it would help him earn few bucks. I will share this post with all the agencies that I usually work with and I hope they will consider my request.
Until then, make sure you leave a good tip if you spot him on Sassine Square.
Someone photoshopped Martyrs Square statue to make one of the statues look like they’re disgusted from the smell (or maybe suffocating from the tear gas canisters) and joined the #YouStink protest. I think it’s pretty funny but I really hope that we won’t be having any martyrs in the upcoming protests.
There’s a big demonstration planned in Beirut on Saturday and we’ve witnessed the birth of 4 or 5 new movements this week which is not necessarily a good thing. It’s like everyone wants to start his own thing now and create a new hashtag because it’s cool and trending. I hope things will be organized and coordinated properly on Saturday to avoid more violence.
At the same time, there’s a protest taking place in New York on Saturday in solidarity with the Lebanese Youth “who have taken to the streets demanding their rights and ours in a modern, clean, and just Lebanese Republic”.