Category Archives: Social

rakya-mounzer

Another victim of domestic violence

This time, it was the 24 years old Rakya Mounzer. Last week, in Bourj Barajneh, a suburb of Beirut, Rakya wanted a divorce. Instead, the pregnant young woman was shot an killed by her husband.

According KAFA , a Lebanese NGO involved in the fight against domestic violence, Rakya husband was arrested . The same source indicates that the medical examiner issued a brief report does not mention the bruises that were on the body of the victim . The NGO also states that the family of the young woman asked that his body be exhumed and examined again.

Rakya is a chain of live dramas that been hitting women in Lebanon. What is going to take to stop domestic violence?

motherday

Mother’s day in Lebanon

Today is the first day of spring and at the same time it is Mother’s day in Lebanon. In this occasion, I would like to bow in front of every mother who have lost a child during Lebanon’s civil war, their loss can’t be replaced. A salute to every mother who still doesn’t know the whereabouts of her child, its time to put an end to their nightmares. A  rose to every mother who was kidnapped and placed in a Syrian jail, their case should not be forgotten. An extended hand to every battered women, may the hand that rises against you be cut for ever. A yes vote for every mother who is not allowed to give its citizenship to her kids.

May this day brings you patience, hope, justice and love.

76095

Jacky Chamoun we stand with you

The lynching by many  started. Yesterday she was a hero and today for them she is a disgrace. Jacky Chamoun, the 22 years old girl, representing Lebanon in Sochi posted topless for “Ski Instructors” calendar 2014. So what? She is free to do what ever she wants. But in a hypocrite and chauvinist society  you find people who want to hang her.

Some say she made a mistake. No she didn’t. She is a woman, she is equal to man, she has the right to do what ever she wants with her body. Those hypocrites who sneak at night and do worst than that are now trying to bring her down.

She posed for a calender called ‘Ski Instructors’ shot by fellow Olympian Hubertus von Hohenlohe. The shots were risque and shot on the Faraya ski slopes outside Beirut in Lebanon. The shoot included teammate Chirine Njeim and created some negative publicity in Lebanon, though she was happy with the calendar. “It was positive for me. I don’t regret it at all. When I started my job, for example, people when they search for me on the web sometimes they can see these pictures directly so you think maybe it’s not the best thing, not the best image you can give someone of you. But, I don’t really care. I really enjoyed it and I don’t regret it. I like these photos. I have no problem with it.” (nbcolympics.com, 30 Jan 2014)

All the support to Jacky. You are young, you are beautiful and don’t let these hypocrites slow you down. YOU GO GIRL.

Elitcho Chamoroff

Help Tineke find her kidnapped son in Lebanon

This following post from Blogbaladi. Let us all spread the message:

Dear all, my name is Tineke Boerendans , I am dutch and live in Lebanon since 11 years, my son ELITCHO CHAMOROFF has been kidnapped since more than 3 ½ years by his father , aunt and grandfather..his father Georges Chamoroff is in prison for this reason since January 2013 in Lebanon , but since that date the aunt and grandfather (Bianca and Boris Chamoroff) disappeared with my son… there is an arrest warranty against them and I have full custody over my son… please share the posts on this page so it can reach as much people as possible, facebook is a very powerfull media and I am sure that if every body shares the posts we will be able to find my son and save him from growing up without a mother who loves him more than anything on earth… If you have any information about them please contact me in an inbox message…or in case you can not reach me by facebook just contact the nearest police station…I thank you all for your help !!!

I wrote about this story a couple of days ago and I got a reply from the mother of Elitcho Chamoroff thanking me and sharing further information on her kidnapped son:

I thank you very much for sharing the post about my kidnapped son, unfortunately it’s not a joke..criminal police is doing its best aswell as interpol, we know so far that he is in lebanon and hopefully by sharing this post someone recognises him and can tell us where he is. Now why I put my picture, for several reasons, I want people to know who I am and I have several different posts and it turned out that the one with my sons picture and mine gets the most attention and is shared the most…ones again thanks a lot for sharing !!! Tineke Boerendans

Knowing that the Lebanese courts have given her full custody of the child and arrested the father, the kid was taken away by his aunt and grandfather (Bianca and Boris Chamoroff shown in the below picture).

The father is in prison now since January 2013 and has to give back the child to his mother as per the paper below.

Let’s spread the message and help her find her son the soonest. They can’t be hiding forever and I am sure the grand father is easily recognizable with that mustache. You can submit any useful info [Here].

Lebanese Mufti issues a fatwa against civil marriage

lmaLebanon’s top Sunni Muslim authority, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani issued the fatwa branding as an apostate any Muslim politician who approves civil marriage legislation. “Any Muslim with legal or executive authority in Lebanon who supports the legalisation of civil marriage is an apostate and outside the religion of Islam,” he said on the website of Dar al-Fatwa, the official institution for fatwas. “There are predators lurking among us, trying to sow the bacteria of civil marriage in Lebanon, but they should know that the religious scholars will not hesitate to do their duty” and prevent the passage of such a bill. “[Such officials] would not be washed, would not be wrapped in a [burial] shroud, would not have prayers for their soul in line with Islamic rules, and would not be buried in a Muslim cemetery,” Qabbani added.

The issue of civil marriage gained momentum these past two days after President Michel Sleiman tweeted in support of a draft law to legalize civil marriage. Maronite Patriarch Rahi had already declared in 20112 that he endorses and the government should make it compulsory.

The first one to shoot down such law was our beloved Sunni Prime Minister who opposed such proposal because we “don’t need such controversial issues at the time being.”

So according to Sunni Grand Mufti and Prime Minister atheists in Lebanon have no right at all. Both of them are standing against the Lebanese constitution which states: “Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic republic based on respect for public liberties, especially the freedom of opinion and belief, and respect for social justice and equality of rights and duties among all citizens without discrimination.

What Mufti Qabbani failed to understand or grasp is that we do not live in an Islamic state run by Shari’a law. In addition, Muslim deputies are elected not only by Muslims but also by Christians and atheists. He raised the sword of apostate against any Sunni Muslim legislator if he vote for legalizing civil marriage in Lebanon. The verdict according to Muslim Shariaa against the apostate is death.

For the past few years, I heard many Christian Lebanese repeating like parrots what they leaders told them: “They (Sunnite Muslims) came to us”. Meaning they follow us now. How many times, I repeated that this is a false statement and Muslims will only follow their Muslim Shari’a. It is their religion, this is what they believe in and it is their right to do so. But a Mufti can’t send Lebanese Muslim lawmakers to death because these lawmakers work for their constituencies and not for Muslims only. In addition, you can’t label a Muslim lawmaker as an apostate because he is abiding by the Lebanese constitution which asks him to respect the social justice and equality of rights and duties of all citizens without discrimination.

Few week ago, when Christian political leaders and lawmakers supported a law which allow Christians to vote for their lawmakers and same for the Muslims, they were accused of driving Lebanon backwards and against the evolution and coexistence.

When many Lebanese realize that this country is based on religion and sects and ask for implementing a decentralized system or a federal system, they are accused of separation and division in the country. But these Lebanese totally understand that to be a Muslim, you have to follow your religion. A religion that controls the spiritual and social life of its followers. At least these Lebanese are not labeling others as apostate and not infringing on Lebanese rights to live equally in the country. On the contrary, it allows all Lebanese to live the way they desire to do so.

What Mufti Qabbani missed is that for around $1500, a couple can fly to Cyprus (24 minutes), get a civil marriage, return to Lebanon and their marriage is recognized in Lebanon. The proposed law states that civil marriage is optional. No one is forcing Muslims to have a civil marriage. So how the hell the Mufti saw this “optional” marriage an attack on Islam?

Crunchy numbers

Not bad for the first year and with barely had time to write. I’ll try my best to find free time to share opinion and ideas with you.

The following is from Jetpack:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.

In 2012, there were 79 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 81 posts.

The busiest day of the year was October 19th with197 views. The most popular post that day was The merchant of death.

This report only shows data since you connected Jetpack.

Attractions in 2012

These are the posts that got the most views in 2012. You can see all of the year’s most-viewed posts in your Site Stats.

Who were they?

Your most commented on post in 2012 was “Ethnic Cleansing” of Christians in Homs

These were your 5 most active commenters:

  •  seeman 12 COMMENTS
  •  tux 4 COMMENTS
  •  Kanaan 3 COMMENTS
  •  JD DC 2 COMMENTS
  •  Kasarjian 2 COMMENTS

The influx of Syrian and Palestinian refugees

Palestinian Refugees Crossing to Lebanon (AFP)

Palestinian Refugees Crossing to Lebanon (AFP)

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres after meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mekati said that while the expectations were to have a total of 500,000 Syrian refugees to flee their war-torn country by the end of 2012, the current figure has in fact reached 700,000 refugees. The UN Higher Refugees Council said in its latest report issued On December 15, 2012 that the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has reached 156,000. Up to 115,000 refugees registered officially with the agency, while 41,000 others are waiting to be registered, according to the report. There are currently 59,020 refugees registered in north Lebanon, 45,969 in the Bekaa and 10,223 in Beirut and south Lebanon. The agency is registering around 1,500 Syrian refugees on daily basis, most of whom have fled Syrian cities of Homs, Aleppo and Damascus.
Naharnet reported that until this week, around 10,000 Palestinians had fled from Syria to Lebanon, but since the latest violence another 3,000 had crossed the border or were in the process of crossing, UNRWA deputy chief of staff Lisa Gilliam said on Wednesday. The latest battle in Yarmuk Palestinian camp in Syria is pushing Palestinians to seek refuge in Lebanon.

Lebanon is not equipped to handle this amount of refugees and these numbers will affect the country. The Lebanese economy is under strain and the refugees will add a great burden to manage. In addition, Lebanese have bad memories when it comes to refugees. The Palestinian refugees from Arabs war with Israel played a major role in igniting the Lebanese civil war. With Lebanon division between Pro and Against Assad regime and the involvement of several Lebanese groups in supporting opposite groups in the Syrian crisis, these refugees will add oil to the fire.

This is not 1975, this is 2012. The difference is that today Christian’s leaders are engaged in a bitter fight to see who will gain more deputies in next year parliamentary elections. Samir Geagea accused Aoun of favoring the government proposed law because it will bring Aoun and Hizbullah back to power (maybe in his mind he thinks that his political opposition should work for him and Saad Hariri to return to power). Michel Aoun sees March 14 move to boycott the government and the parliament as an illegal action and an attempt to keep the current election law. Michel Aoun forgot that few years ago he blessed Hizbullah boycott and closing the parliament. Amine Gemayel is trying hard to play a role similar to Jumblat but has no chance in succeeding. While his son, Sami, is busy with the “we” the resistance and hitting at Samir Geagea resistance.   Toni Sleiman Franjieh, son of Marada Leader Sleiman Franjieh, declared that he will be running in next elections. He would replace his father in a parliamentary seat in Zghorta because being a deputy is an inheritance in Lebanese politics. Their followers are no better; yesterday they have nothing to do but clash among each other in front of a university.

Historical events are occurring in the region, Lebanon demographics are changing and yet the supposed to be Christian “leaders” only care about their seats in the next elections. I can’t imagine any of this would have happened if the Lebanese Front still exists. It is the end of 2012; communities and nation suppose to advance. It turned out that: Camille Chamoun, Pierre Gemayel,  Abbot Boulos Naaman, Charles Malik, Fouad Afram Boustany, Edouard Honein (members of the Lebanese Front) were far more advance than the current Christian leaders. At the end of their famous document “The Lebanon We Want to Build”, December 23rd 1980, in which they addressed all Lebanese they wrote: “We reap according to the abundance of our heart, and our heart is full of matter and determination.  No man full in his heart as we are can be excused if he is overcome with fear or irresolution or even the frustration consequent upon failure. Unite, and you shall overcome.   And, with God’s help, we shall overcome.”  Christmas is around the corner and instead of planting love and forgiveness in the hearts of the Lebanese, Christian “leaders” are planting hatred and division in the hearts of the community. We will reap more violence, more division, more hatred and more destruction.

Lebanon and Internet Privacy

“This leaked request asks the Ministry of Information to turn over the contents of all ‘DATA Sessions,’ Meaning the Data sessions of all 3G and 2G data subscribers in Lebanon. These include log files. The log files detail access to Internet websites and IP addresses. Aside from the log files, the requests ask for usernames, phone numbers, addresses, names, passwords, and so on. The request asks for personal information including the applications that are used on the mobile phones of subscribers. The request asks for all data of this nature within the time-frame of 13/9/2012 until 10/11/2012.’”

In search for leads in the assassination of General Wissam al-Hassan, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) asked the Ministry of telecommunication to hand over the content of all SMS text messages sent between September 13 and November 10 of this year, as well as usernames and passwords for services like Blackberry Messenger, Whatsapp and Facebook.

There is nothing wrong in intelligence services in the country to monitor the internet activities of certain people or group that might be a danger to the security of the country. It could be understandable if the ISF asked for all the SMS or Messages sent via different apps on specific dates and in the area of the assassination, if they don’t have any suspect. In case they have a suspect, the ISF would need a judge order to collect his data. What is shocking is this blanket request for digital communication data.

As usual, this is Lebanon and everything is politically charged. We understand the ISF eagerness to find who is behind the assassination of one its officers but that eagerness should not cross the line and steps upon the privacy of millions of Lebanese. The ISF should not label everyone as a suspect in their search of the real killer. It is illegal and must stay illegal to dig into the chats and messages of millions without a court order.

Lebanese ministers voiced their rejection of the ISF’s request for all mobile phone SMS and internet data in the two months prior to the assassination of ISF Intelligence Chief Wissam al-Hassan. Lebanese Telecommunications Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui said that his ministry will give the Internal Security Forces’ intelligence branch the SMS activity data without the content of the SMS messages. With a court order, the ISF should get the SMS activity in the area of the assassination. If a certain activity looks suspicious or might generate leads in the investigation, another court order must be provided in order to reveal the content of the data.

From his part, Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi referred to Article 104 of the Lebanese Constitution to determine the legality of the data request made by the security forces. “Article 104 of the constitution stipulates that a judicial committee should be set up to determine whether the request is legal or not.” Qortbawi said that “the judicial committee agreed that the request is illegal … The French system, which is at the base of the Lebanese Constitution, prohibits the access to nationwide information.”

Any request by any security or intelligence service in Lebanon must be inline with people personal privacy.  It is illegal to treat people millions of Lebanese as guilty of an assassination in order to find leads and those behind the assassination.

Middle East Airlines: Unprofessional Crew Members

My first encounter with Middle East Airlines (MEA) was couple of years ago. The MEA was our connecting flight between a European city and Beirut. Today, I will not talk about how Lebanese turn from civilized people waiting in line and the call for their seat numbers to board on international carriers and how they turn to uncivilized people when boarding an MEA flight.

I was excited that day for several reasons: It was my return to the homeland after couple of decades, bringing my family with me to introduce them to the land of the Cedars and taking a Lebanese Airline for the first time.

After reading so much about Lebanon and how it improved, my wife was excited to go. From my part, I tried my best to lower her expectations. Not only I failed to do so, I also forgot that these are Lebanese after all and they can shock you on every single level.

What I didn’t expect was that the first shock will be on board of an MEA. The plane was filthy. I asked the flight attendant if it is possible to clean the table trays. She gave me a dirty look as if we are asking her to jump from the plane. We had to use the hand sanitizers and tissues that we had on to clean them.

During the flight, one of the crew member started to complain about the trip to another passenger and how “Mish tay’a hal flight, w law 3rifeneh hal’ad tawileh ma jit”. In English: “I hate this flight and if I knew that this trip is this long, I wouldn’t have come”. She wasn’t whispering to her friend. Every one around her heard what she was saying.

The next encounter was few weeks ago. I had the pleasure to witness the unprofessionalism of MEA crew cabin one more time.

I took my seat and two of the crew members were standing next to me. They were having their private discussion. Few seats down, a lady was struggling to put her carry on luggage in the overhead bins. One of the crew members said to the other: “Look, she might fall with the luggage” and both cracked up laughing. None of them cared to help the lady. They left it for another passenger to do so.

During the flight, I had to stretch my legs. I walked to the end of the plane and while coming back, I noticed the flight attendant trying to give the immigration form to one of the passengers. The old lady, if I am not mistaken, was part of a group coming from Iraq. She didn’t notice that the flight attendant wants to give her a form. You should have seen what this “professional” attendant did. Her face turned red and threw the form at the lady and kept going.

This is the first thing a tourist will see during their visits to Lebanon. Is this is the first impression we want to give them?

What does it take to bring pride and professionalism to what was once the pearl of airlines in the region? All it needs is good management and training.