Video: #طلعت_ريحتكم Lebanon is drowning in garbage, thanks dawleh.

Yesterday people of conscience protested in the Downtown district of Beirut, near the government and the parliament. I was there to take pictures and videos but to also manifest my frustration and anger over the matter.

Downtown not only hosts the useless government, but it is also the symbol of Solidere, a company that renovated the district and destroyed its heritage. Solidere and Sukleen, the company that manages the garbage of Lebanon, are, let’s say, cousin companies managed by political businessmen. That’s what happens when you mix politics and personal interests.

Naameh landfill have been legitimately and lawfully closed by protesters theJuly 17th, the contract with Sukleen were expired but the government of Lebanon didn’t find any alternative before the deadline (or forgot to search for one over other political matters).. The government did decide on something last Thursday, in the midst of the crisis, they decided to postpone the decision over the matter to next Tuesday (great job people).

Finding another landfill won’t solve the issue, though many think it’s the problem. Nobody wants a dangerous landfill near their towns and villages, and the so-called solutions have already angered the people affected to it.

A solution have already been submitted to the government by a group of green activists 1 year and a half ago. Let Paul Abi Rached, president of T.E.R.R.E Liban environment NGO explains it to you. (Video in Arabic)

Here’s the little montage of the protest I’ve made and the pictures I’ve taken.

Georges Rif: Demanding a fast execution for Tarek Yatim isn’t justice.

Georges Rif was horribly attacked by a thug following an altercation on the road. Georges Rif refused to let his car overtaken by a small Kia. The Kia aggressively overtook the car by bumping into it (the car wasn’t driven by the killer). Georges Rif and his wife crashed but their car were still functioning. They followed the Kia car to take its plate number from the Salim Slam tunnel to Saifi, Achrafieh. When they arrived at an impasse in the Saifi neighborhood, Tarek Yatim forcefully took Georges Rif from the car, hunted him down after his victim tried to run, and hit him several times with a knife and the back of his gun. His wife who were accompanying him, witnessed this attack.

Georges Rif were taken to a hospital and was declared dead few hours later. He left a wife and four children. Tarek Yatim, quickly identified, were arrested by the police. It’s imported to note that Tarek Yatim had charges against him before killing Georges Rif, including murder.

The Lebanese social media was very fast to condemn Tarek Yatim. Reactions were passionate and bloggers quickly and understandably condemned the security and state of Lebanon, calling the country a jungle. But some reactions were just taken too far.

Some quickly demanded that justice should be made by inflicting the capital punishment of Tarek Yatim. But justice isn’t demanding an execution. For example, a Facebook page was created to demand the capital punishment for Tarek Yatim and has more than 4000 “likes” today, it has pictures like this one.

The picture says: “I demand the capital punishment/execution of Tarek Yatim.” The picture has a stamp that wrongly says the “Lebanese people”

Another shocking tweet states the following:

Another persons thinks that the capital punishment isn’t enough and that Tarek Yatim should be tortured!

Tarek Yatim should be tortured according to this person.
Tarek Yatim should be tortured according to this person.

Capital Punishment in Lebanon. 

In Lebanon, the capital punishment is de facto law but it is currently put on a hiatus. No capital punishment were performed since 2004. I personally believe a country has better ethics when it abolishes capital punishment. A lot of countries have historically abandoned this practise and every year more countries do the same. Life imprisonment – putting people in prisons until their death – is present in numerous nations, and it is often the highest legal punishment of accused persons.

Supporting the capital punishment shouldn’t let their advocators to call for an immediate execution. This reaction is irrational and emotive. Even capital punishment should be done through the basis of fair trials. While the video shows exactly how the killer attacked his victim, it is not our role to demand the capital punishment. I believe that we can react and call for justice, but it is the role of judges and courts to determine Tarek Yatim punishment. It is not our role to be “vigilantes” and “do justice” on our own, as a commenter said here :

Anonymous commenter plans about vigilantism.
Anonymous commenter plans about vigilantism.

I wonder if he’s serious about “making things fair”…

Capital punishment is useless. 

Whether you think a killer “deserves” the capital punishment, the practise is proven to be useless. Some pro-capital punishment believe that executing a person “deter” homicides and therefore are useful. The execution is some kind of a lesson for future criminals. This belief is flawed. Here’s an exemple.

Murder rates in states with and without the death penalty.
source: Amnesty International USA website.

This data proves that states in USA with death penalty don’t have lower death ratios. The presence of death penalty is therefore useless in deterrence.

Lebanon shouldn’t restart the executions. We haven’t executed a single person since 2004, let’s keep it this way. The accused that are condemned to the death penalty should be given other sentences.

Malala celebrates her 18th birthday by inaugurating a school for refugees in Bekaa, Lebanon.

“Invest in books, not bullets” advocated Malala during her speech for the inauguration of a girls school in Bekaa, Lebanon. Malala is a Pakistani young adult, she won the Nobel peace prize in 2014, making her the youngest winner ever.

Lebanon has witnessed the huge influx of Syrian refugees since 2011. Days ago, UNHCR announced that the number of Syrian refugees attained 4 millions persons. Lebanon has today among its population about 1.2M refugees. It has also the highest ratio of refugees in the world, Lebanon has a population of 4 Millions.

Malala Yousafzai is today not only the symbolical young face of peace but she’s also a face of resistance against patriarchal societies.

The Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, not far from the Syrian inland, has today more than 400,000 of refugees. Roughly half of them are toddlers, children or teenagers.

A young Syrian girl in a refugee camp in Bekaa, Lebanon

The UN agency that managed the refugees, the UNHCR has very low funds to help those in need.

When Malala says “Invest in Books, not in Bullets” it may sound simplistic and symbolical. But she has all the reasons to claim that. Just 8 days of global military spending could fund 12 years of free, quality education for every child on the planet. A year of global military spending could fund roughly 547.2 years of free quality education! Picture the huge amount of money that goes towards war and destruction.


The war in Syria, which is now in its 4th year, is depriving the young Syrians of school.  A single school brings much needed hope.

The children of Gaza shaken by three wars.

You don’t have to be the most compassionate and altruistic human being to understand the injustice in Palestine in general and the despair and plight of those who live in Gaza in particular.

The Data here doesn’t explain the political context of the war, but it does reveal one component of the zionist ideology : Ethnic cleansing and psychological war.

A child who is 7 years old today has lived through three wars, and every war was worse than the previous one. The last one killed more than 550 children and has put hundred of thousands under heavy traumatic stress. In Israel, a child was killed by the unguided rockets of the resistance in Gaza.

Save the Children, an NGO, brought up the data in a report: 70% of children in Gaza have nightmares, 89% of the parents reported that their children leave in a constant fear, 75% of children usually wet their beds.

30% of children feel listlessness and a lack of motivation, 50% have a fear of attending school, and 20% of children isolate and withdraw themselves.

Malcolm X on Lebanese women and on his lecture at AUB.

Malcolm X was a man that fiercely advocated for human rights of the African Americans who were badly segregated in the south of the USA and badly discriminated against in the North.

In 1964, after his iconic hajj pilgrim, he visited Beirut to give a speech in AUB. He took a walk in the streets of Beirut from the Palm Beach Hotel. In the streets, his “attention was struck by the mannerisms and attire of the Lebanese women.”

He then compares the Arabian Women of Saudi Arabia (he had just made his pilgrim) to the Lebanese woman.

“In the Holy Land, there had been the very modest, very feminine Arabian women-and there was this sudden contrast of the half-French, half-Arab Lebanese women who projected in their dress and street manners more liberty, more boldness. I saw clearly the obvious European influence upon the Lebanese culture.”

In the 60’s, the French mandate influence was still strong, the French language, I believe, must have been spoken much more than today. Malcolm X is right, Lebanon culture has clearly an European influence. His views were though restrained because he had only visited Beirut. The capital must have had much more European influence than all the other provinces of Lebanon.

He then continues with thoughts on moral strength.

“It showed me how any country’s moral strength, or its moral weakness, is quickly measurable by the street attire and attitude of its women-especially its oung women. Wherever the spiritual values have been submerged, if not destroyed, by an emphasis upon the material things, invariably, the women reflect it.” He then makes an analogy with America’s women. ” Witness the women, both young and old, in America-where scarily any moral values are left. There seems in most countries to be either one extreme or the other. Truly a paradise could exist wherever material progress and spiritual values could be properly balanced.”

Malcolm X might have judged fast Lebanon’s moral strength by only its women. These are his thoughts, and one can even argue with Malcolm X, a great man. He was certainly right about “the boldness” of the Lebanese women of Beirut compared to other Arab countries. I’m a bit disappointed about how he remembered Beirut, (but that’s just because I’m Lebanese.)

Malcolm X on Lebanese woman and his speech at AUB.

Though how he remembered AUB comforted me.

He recalled very well his speech at AUB for two reasons. First, he heard later “with astonishment” that the American press accused his speech of causing a riot in Beirut.

“What kind of a riot” he asked rhetorically, “I don’t know how any reporter, in good conscience, could have cabled that across the ocean. The Beirut Daily Star front-page report of my speech mentioned no “riot”-because there was none.” (Thank you the Daily Star for truthful reporting).

The second reason is that he was touched by the reactions of students of African heritage. “When I was done, the African students all but besieged me for autographs; some of them even hugged me. Never have even American Negro audiences accepted me as I have been accepted time and again by the less inhibited, more down-to-earth Africans. ”

Malcolm X was murdered in 1965 by three members of the Nation of Islam, his old religious movement. He was excommunicated from it.