How many of us really care about the presidential election ?

(Photo: Bilal Jawiche)

Did you wake up  and say : Today’s the Lebanese Presidential Election, I shall look forward to the candidates and see who will lead our country ?

How many of us really care about today’s election ? How many of us think that our president represent us ?

Personally, I never felt proud of our Lebanese president, I never identified to him. Lahoud and Sleiman are the only presidents that I am aware of, but I always felt that they were very distant, not close to us, the people.

I don’t care about Aoun and Geagea, I don’t want any actors of the civil war to play leaders, that’s not what we need. I want to vote for my president, and I want to vote for a president, regardless of his religion, because guess what, in my Lebanese Utopia, none of the candidates would declare their religions, just their plans to make a better country. Have I heard about programs from the candidates ? I sincerely can’t tell the difference between them, except their political affiliations. NO I don’t care about the elections.

I want to see new faces. I want to see new INDEPENDENT faces, ones that are not playing at war with others, ones that will take Lebanon further. I’ll be proud of that president.

[polldaddy poll=7990862]

 

 

Green Beirut ?

We have it on our flag, we are proud of it. The Cedar, the great tree of Lebanon, yet the true verdure of our country is almost lost, we live in a grey capital.

There is today 0,8m2 of green space per citizen in Beirut, the World Health Organization suggests 40m2 for each citizen. We are far below this number.

I have never heard an “important” statement from any of the deputies that belong to powerful political parties. It seems that the problem isn’t interesting.

Horsh Beirut, is quite a big park for Beirut area, and it accounts for 72% of Beirut green space, though it is closed to the public, only foreigners and “Wasta-People” can get it. Our city municipality thinks that public access could destroy the park. Most people, even in Beirut, haven’t heard of it, closed since 1990, Horsh Beirut has evaporated from our memory.

Nahnoo is an organization that called for the reopening of Horsh Beirut. Nahnoo ( that means “us” in Arabic )  have found out that the Municipality of Beirut does not own  Horsh Beirut, so closing it is illegal and a violation of the Lebanese citizens rights.

Good news, Horsh Beirut might reopen this year. But it’s too little, too late.

Courtesy of Now Lebanon

Beirut Green Project is awesome too, it created a map, the Beirut Green Guide. You can discovery the very few green spaces of Beirut, with information about them, like the number of benches and if it has WiFi or not. You can also add a space that you discovered. In their blog you can find a lot of tips, events and initiatives that help the citizen to get “greener”.

NGO’s do a lot of effort, it compensates the lack of interest of the government. And it’s very dangerous of them. By not speaking about the environmental causes, the citizen forgets about it. He forgets that it is one of his basic rights. The citizen will think of Syria, Hezbollah weapons, presidential vote, etc. They are important, but having enough green spaces for everyone is very important too.

The government does not look into them, yet I’ve just discovered on the internet that a green party does exist in Lebanon ! It’s the Green Party of Lebanon. It is not present in the government nor in the parliament. It will at least  plan (and plant) green spaces.

The government and the main political parties must themselves respect the nature and give example. Gebran Tawk, a former Lebanese deputy, destroyed a big area in Bcharee ancient cedar forrest for his wedding son. The government has arrested the project, but it was too late, Cedar trees will take dozens of year to grow back. Oh and the land was part of the World heritage site…

Get greener, put some flowers in your balconies, the grey Beirut needs to be green again.

Courtesy of Archileb

 

 

 

 

Lycée Abdel Kader, one hundred years old school in Beirut, might be relocated. OPINION

http://www.thetechbug.com/2011/12/16/what-will-you-do-when-you-grow-up/#more-36
Picture of ex Lycée Abdel Kader Students in 1977.
Photos from the blog : The Tech Blog. belongs to Rabih Sukkar

You might haven’t heard of Lycée Abdel Kader. It is a school, it teaches from Maternelle (kindergarten) to Lycée (high school) and prepares its students for the French and the Lebanese Baccalaureate.

It is located in Zarif, at the end of the Mar Elias Road in Beirut, Lebanon.

Lycée Abdel Kader is more than 100 year old, its walls have seen the best years of Beirut, and the worst, and its 2000 students know how much history it witnessed.

Its walls have seen old cars and buses take children from the school and to the school, children who will be parents, parents who intend to have their own children go to the same school they attended.

Its walls have seen the bullets, the missiles, the blood during the Lebanese Civil War, yet it still stands, education beats war.

But Business might beat Education, and when we speak of a 100 years old school, we also speak of History. The Lycée Abdel Kader might be relocated within 5 years, and the whole area will be destroyed. The school is a part of MLF (Mission Laïque Française  ), AEFE ( L’Agence pour l’enseignement français à l’étranger) and the Rafic Hariri Foundation. 

The latter sent a message to the Lycée Abdel Kader, it was posted on the Facebook Page LAK Forever, a group that reunited professors, students, ex-students and parents to protest the idea of the probable relocation. It has now more than 1600 members.

Here’s the message in French.

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Roughly,

“Fondation Rafic Hariri is studying the project of relocating Lycée Abdel Kader in a Beirut Suburb, within the delay of 5 years, to answer needs of development and modernization of the establishment. No decision have been made yet. AEFE stays Fondation Hariri Partner, whether the decision of relocation is taken or maintaining the school in its current location.”

Why Mrs Salwa Sinionra didn’t think of renovating the school instead of destroying/relocating it ?

The school was established in 1909, Rafic Hariri Foundation began to manage it in 1985. Legally, you have every right to relocate, even bomb it, morally, it’s another story.

Some rumors say a mall will be constructed at this place…

Here’s what I read in Hariri foundation website :

The Hariri Foundation for Sustainable Human Development greatly values the rich cultural legacy Lebanon has inherited from past civilizations with five World Heritage Sites designated by UNESCO and considers safeguarding this distinguished culture among its top priorities.

Don’t destroy the cultural Legacy of Lebanon. Lycée Abdel Kader is a cultural legacy. And it’s a part of the history of Beirut.

And oh how ironic, Solidere is a part of this empire, and Solidere was criticized with the “development” and “modernization” of post-civil war Beirut’s Down Town.

Why are we allowing corporations to destroy our patrimony ? I always hear how proud are we, how we’ve known so much different civilizations, yet we don’t do a single thing to stop this massacre. We have so much beautiful ruins that are being destroyed for soulless modern buildings. Don’t get me wrong, I am with modernization, but I believe that preservation is a part of it.

Lycée Abdel Kader is not more important than the other schools, all the other schools that might one day get relocated, must fight this war. It’s Education Versus Business.

See also the report from LBCI on the matter. Click on this Link

 

Bonus : Some pics of Lycée Abdel Kader classes and court are seen on the very popular movie West Beirut made by Ziyad Doueiri.

One of the first seen depicts the Bus massacre of 13th April 1975, official date of the Lebanese Civil War. The Massacre did not happen near the school, but in Ain el-Rammaneh.

Lycée Abdel Kader Well known Chateau seen in this shot.
Lycée Abdel Kader Well known Chateau seen in this shot.
a Lycée Abdel Kader Corridor
a Lycée Abdel Kader Corridor
Lycée Abdel Kader Class
Lycée Abdel Kader Class
Lycée Abdel Kader court.
Lycée Abdel Kader court.

 

 

 

 

 

Tripoli Wars – Satire

“Tripoli is so different from other Lebanese cities, maybe it should not be in Lebanon.

They annoy us with their clashes, I mean c’mon grow up like in Beirut, we have clashes from time to time but we stay cool, you just kill each other like it was the middle ages…

Have you seen their beards ? Can’t they just buy a razor or something ?

Why don’t we let them kill each other, they will finish their bullets and everybody can party again with a clean conscience.

This is not the image we want to give to the tourists ! Lebanon is about partying, about living, who cares about the clashes in the North.

Beirut is a great city, we don’t have any problems, I mean just look at the life in Gemmayzeh, if I were Syrian I’d be jealous. We’re the only Arabs that have so much nightclubs and I’m very proud of that.  We have the only real democracy in the Middle East.

So please stop hating each other and put an end to these clashes !

Maybe they should have a Gemmayzeh street in Tripoli ?”

The West hypocritical relations with Saudi Arabia.

Obama-Saudi

I have always found the relations between the United States, its allies with Saudi Arabia  highly hypocritical.

United States is the master when it speaks for freedom, equality, rights. It is the first country to condemn violations of human rights etc. It’s beautiful words, addressed only to those who are not benefiting the United States.

Let’s take a look at Saudi Arabia regime and give a few examples.

  • The World knows that Saudi Arabia bans driving for Woman, one was sentenced to 10 lashes because she did not respect the ban.

Every Woman has a male guardian, she cannot, without the permission of this male guardian, travel, work, go to school or get medical treatment, it also bans them from sport. It even installed a system that alerted the male guardian with an sms when the woman “under his control” left the country.

Did the United said something about it ? Did it condemn it ? No.

  • To give you another crazy story.

In 2013 a “cleric” has raped and tortured his 5 year-old daughter because he has doubted her virginity… he was imprisoned..and released few days ago.

Al-Ghamdi, however, has now been released as “blood money and the time the defendant had served in prison since Lama’s death suffices as punishment” a judge ruled, according to Albawaba News.

  • Another one, this one is recent and funny.

The very serious Saudi Interior Ministry have released a statement to back the chaos and the terrorist threat, it banned very dangerous names !

Some names on the list are allegedly banned by the interior ministry because they are considered “blasphemous,” non-Arabic or non-Islamic, or contradictory to the kingdom’s culture or religion, Gulf News has reported.

The ban was also allegedly justified by the ministry because some of the names were deemed foreign or “inappropriate”.

This is the friend of the United States in the Middle East.

  • Let’s get back to more serious cases.

Bahrain has known popular uprising since 2011, back when “the Arab Spring” began. The protests were severely reprimanded, and human crimes happened. The Bahrain government used systematic torture (page 219) and other forms of physical and psychological abuse on detainees. Remind you of another regime highly condemned by the West ? No ? Syria!The Bahrain government called the “help” of 1000 Saudi troops. Faint condemnations from the West.

  • Finally, controversies happen within the kingdom itself.

The “king” himself is imprisoning his daughters in a house, really shocking story. And it’s not rumors, his ex-wife said that she did not see her children for over 10 years.

The list is exhaustive, endless, the previous examples are a fragment of the atrocities, the repressions that happen in Saudi Arabia. I have not talked about SA involvement in terrorism with Syria.

No real condemnation from the United States, from the EU, how can you criticize your oil provider ? (watch Palmes d’or Fahrenheit 9/11)

Well known non-government organizations like Amnesty International and Humans Right Watch condemns the kingdom.

To end the story,  Prince Charles visited Saudi Arabia few weeks ago, he participated in the traditional Saudi Arabian Sword dance. How does SA apply the capital punishment ? Beheading by sword, in public.

Discrimination Against Palestinians in Lebanon – Opinion

I have always felt that it is weird that one of our main political force in Lebanon is Pro-Palestine, and with the right of their Return, which is guaranteed by the fourth Geneva convention.  Yet Palestinians in Lebanon live in Ghettos, have zero access to good work, because they are…Palestinians. Why this restriction on Palestinians ? Why this constant conscious impoverishment by the Lebanese Authorities ? Why can’t they access to more than 70 professions ? Because they are…Palestinians.

Palestinian Labor force in Lebanon. Restricted Professions. Courtesy of Visualize Palestine

Here’s a sentence from an excellent Electronic Intifada article written by Moe Ali Nayel and with infographics by Visualizing Palestine .

Palestinians, alienated by the Lebanese political and official discourse, are treated either as a burden, a threat, or potential agents provocateurs plotting to ruin Lebanon from inside their sunless refugee camps.

This is sadly true. I have often heard that Palestinians are the cause of the civil war, that “they’re bad people” and provocateurs.

But are we keeping them in ghettos because they acted in the very complicated civil war ? Who did not fight in the Lebanese Civil War ? No one! But we are not confining this sect or this sect in a ghetto.

I have often heard that we are keeping them without jobs so that “they can’t get too much happy here so that they can return to Palestine”. I am deeply sure that Palestinians, if they had the possibility to return tomorrow, they would ! A good job here, or a decent life won’t make them stay,  it is very hypocrite to claim that. But maybe Lebanese people are comparing themselves to Palestinians. We have 12 Millions Lebanese living abroad, installed in many countries like in Brazil, and they won’t come back. But who wants to come back in a country like Lebanon ??

Armenians here in Lebanon, have their rights, nationalities, jobs.  Yet they are still engaged to Armenia, claiming their rights, like the recognition of the genocide. They speak their language, their culture is still attached to them. They live here, not because they don’t want to return to Armenia, because a lot of them can’t return because of poverty.  Yet there are Armenians, fully installed here, with jobs, good income, that go back to Armenia.

I can understand people that say, “if we give them nationalities, Israel will win, because they will claim that they have not the right to come back because Palestinians are attached to the Lebanese authorities, and they are now under the responsibility of Lebanon and only Lebanon and no more considered as real refugees”

Alright, let’s say no nationality, but no rights at all ?

Imagine yourself dear Lebanese people, Israel expels you out of the country, or force you to leave because of massacres and fear. You installed yourself in Syria ( which is not very good with the Palestinians refugees either ), after generations, you still cannot return to Lebanon, so what will you do instinctively ? Expand, have a good job and a good home, you will want to live with decency, with dignity. Not in a ghetto.

And please, tell me not that us Lebanese have enough problems to deal with others. I am not very proud that my state act shamefully with Arabs, people that asked for nothing expect dignity.

Me, young Lebanese adult, advice the Lebanon authorities to reform the laws against the freedom of profession for Palestinians in Lebanon. More jobs, more competition will do good for our bad economy.

And for our morality.

Palestinian Labor Force in Lebanon. Courtesy of Visualize Palestine

George W. Bush Talked to Chirac about Biblical Prophecies.

The other day I have found an amazing story on the internet, a story that was highly over-looked by main media.

I’m writing this post to show the immense stupidity of war. The War in Question ? USA invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Georges W Bush, before invading Iraq , called the former French President Jacques Chirac and said :

“Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East. . . . The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled. . . . This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.”

Who are Gog and Magog ?  Figures, monsters, mentioned in the Ancient Testament, the New Testament, and the Quran, nothing wrong or bizarre about that in monotheist religions with the same God.  Gog and Magog in the Ancient Testament of Ezekiel are two mysterious and destructing forces that will menace Israel. In the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, Gog and Magog will be fought by a gathering of nations,  “and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Chirac says he was boggled by Bush’s call, and “wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs”.

And I completely understand Chirac, the leader of the so-called only superpower in the World, in order to convince and gather nations to invade Iraq, spoke about biblical prophecies ? Now I wonder if Bush called his English friend Tony and spoke about this.  Did Tony Blair say :”Bloody Hell…Bush must be right, Gog and Magog are obviously plotting against Israel in the Middle East, we must fight this war.”

Maybe Bush was really thinking that France was going to be convinced when he talked about prophecies ? The question is, did Bush really think that biblical prophecies were being accomplished ? Or it’s just to disguise his attack against Iraq, or both ? My heart go to both of the allegations.

Maybe entire families of US troops were destroyed because some biblical prophecies.

Maybe approximately a million men woman and children were killed because of some biblical prophecies.

Image

STOP Hunting Crimes in Lebanon

With pride, they smile and take photos of their victims.

I support the idea of hunting for food, and just for food, not for the game or “the art” to do so.

Hunting should be regulated, controlled by the government, or entire species can disappear, not only birds, but terrestrial animals too.

And when the government doesn’t work to spread to arrest this outrage, Non-governmental organizations take their places to do so.

STOP Hunting Crimes in Lebanon is a Facebook Page that show delirious massacres of hunting. Again, a sad trend in Lebanon. Support it, spread the message.

And Dear non-existent government, apply the Law, regulate hunting.

 

Friday December the 27th 2013, Beirut, Lebanon.

This morning, as I was having a calm breakfast with my family, I heard a blast, something that seems like a thunder. But it was sunny for a thunder.

It must be a earthquake I said, because one happened in 3:AM the same day.

“This is not an earthquake, this is an explosion and it’s not very far” said my Mother. As if she was too used to this sound.

I walked to the balcony, and here it was, the smoke of an explosion, the same one that I saw over Beirut Suburb when Bir el Abed and Rouweiss bombings happened,  and I thought : “this is the same smoke, and it’s weird because in this smoke, it was not only cars burning, but people burning” and this idea gave me a strange feeling. “we are breathing an air filled with death and particles of dead people … literally, my 9 years old young brother is breathing the same air”

What do you do after this kind of event ? You do what every human being will do, with fear, you will ask all of his beloved persons, your family if they are okay. And you think about these families that have lost someone they love…and you think about their anger and distress.

I don’t want to “analyze” now who is behind this explosion.

I just want to condemn the perpetrators, and give a thought for all this innocent people that have lost their lives.

Be united.