Meen Cheyef 7allak? ( Who do you think you are!? )
A common phrase is Lebanon is: شو وقفت علييّ؟ which sort of transliterates to: I’m not the only one doing it?
Pre: Cheyef 7allak is an initiative that was launched collaboratively between LBC (Lebanese Broadcast Channel) & Impact BBDO. It aims to “Track, capture and report irresponsible citizens who pride themselves on disrespecting the rules and regulations. If attention is what they’re looking for, why let them go unnoticed?” according to their facebook page. The campaign was such a success that it was case studied in international communities and adopted by some governments abroad, but ofcourse not by the Lebanese Government, God forbid!
A website, a mobile app, twitter, facebook, videos are all used to report law breaking in the country, equally by all parties. Ofcourse it’s crazy popular.
Step by step:
Parking in Lebanon. We are now in the middle of a “Security month” aka. you-will-get-fined-for-breathing-this-month-cause-it-makes-money-before-elections time, and the traffic police is more around than usually, especially with the deployment of the new female officers (which i still think are redundant walking around in MarElias, a shopping street, in packs and accompanied by the same number of male officers, so you have to see 25 police officers while you shopping in one God-damn lane!!) . To start with, there is no place to park your car anywhere in Beirut! Most side parking are paid, and most “parking zones” are privately kept and managed. Nevertheless, there are times when you have to park upon park upon park in a valet parking and still over-pay for the simple basic luxury of owning a car. It’s usually not the people’s fault they get parking fines in this place where there is no place to park to start with.
So dear police officer, next time you want to place a fine on my car, please ask first, “if i were this person, where would have i parked instead?”, if you find yourself parking in the same place as my car, then you can’t just fine me for your problem! [you can always get a "Parking Ticket Here" by Maya Zankoul, it would be a gentle reminder]
Red Lights. Has anyone noticed the traffic officer at the traffic light, over managing the traffic according to the red.green.yellow? Besides the fact that that in it self is redundant, when a speeding car crosses a red light and the traffic officer shakes his head angrily at the passing car, does he not know that he can take down the plate number and fine him? or stop him and fine him? or report him at the next police stop (since there are many in this “Holy” month”? – talk about law and order. Does he even know that this is illegal?
Driving altogether. I often get in cabs where the driver would cuss and curse and zig-zagging cars and other mad drivers, especially female drivers, while he himself (or she, i’ve been seeing quite a few female “servees” drivers around! touchey!) would be driving freestyle as well.
Not give them an excuse, but how many people do you personally know that actually went to driving school? Know what traffic signs mean? Know traffic laws in Lebanon? Know the limits of their car, maintenance basics, and safety measure for driving in scorching summer heat & slippery ice winters? A shocking minority! So before cursing others for the way they drive, take a second and look at your own “Ninja”hood. You can’t blame people for NOT knowing.
Pedestrians. Oh the pedestrians! so we expect cars to not run us over at the Red Light, but refuse to stay at the sidewalk until the pedestrian sign turns green? Really? The system is one, universal and simple. Red = Stop, (if) Yellow = Slow down/ Alert, Green = Go! tada! I realize there are no “real” pedestrian crossings, but some sensibility, like not crossing the highway!, wouldn’t hurt.
Motorcycles. Anyone tell you that you have engine, therefore car laws apply to you as well. Dear Citizen with a 10-year-old son on a motorcycle, that’s not funny! your son could kill someone and it’s not their fault, it’s yours! Dear government, any plans on upgrading the traffic law to include motorcycles any time soon? Dear Traffic officer, could you stop the damn motorcycles at the traffic lights? it would save a few brakes, lives and neurons!
Seat Belts were invested to protect you. Wear them.
Traffic Lights were invented to manage traffic. Follow them.
Steering wheels have two handles. Use them!
Speed Limits aren’t a challenge.
And Driving Licenses are not just identification cards.
oh, and don’t tweet & drive! nor BBM, iM, Whatsapp, facebook, ramble ramble ramble!
Dear Street, Cheyef 7allak? عزيزي الشارع، شايف منظرك؟
P.S. anyone keeping track of how many banks got robbed in this “Security Month”? Wil3aneh! No?