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الثورة المحترمة [Guest Post] #طلعت_ريحتكم #YouStink

August 25, 2015

…give it a second to load it’s a GIF…

#طلعت_ريحتكم #YouStink

Comic credit to Myra Al Mir As the situation escalates, the real problem starts to surface and thankfully it started now. Marginalizing people is what the government does. And since we are aware of it, it is our duty to address it better. Lebanon is for all of us.

Day 3 [English] #طلعت_ريحتكم #YouStink – Aug24

August 25, 2015

The street has spoken: “We refuse to back down”
As the “leaders” claim their slices of the trash pile, the people refuse the primary protestors’ call to delay the protest to next saturday. The landscape in the protest zone was terrifying. Walls, armed vehicles on every corner, and last nights leftovers.

I passed by briefly in the afternoon and realized my work attire was not fit for combat (cause the crackdown looked ready). As I returned home to change. I emotionally broke down. I felt defeated, ravished, tired and weak. I even wrote a lengthy blog post. But retracted from publishing it, it was still 11pm and i was negotiating with myself cowardly to go to the protest. I didn’t.

I missed it.

But as the media and still-brainwashed populace bashed yesterday’s riots. I was praying for a slither of hope to confirm my late night sentiments [last nights post].

We as a country are as weak as the weakest citizen that lives amongst us.

And like a miracle it did.

Every soldier is Lebanese further and foremost, Every protestor is Lebanese further and foremost and every

Every soldier is Lebanese further and foremost, Every protestor is Lebanese further and foremost and every “Hooligan” is a sub product of the system.

I Am Not Naked

We are collectively as weak as our weakest citizen.

If we unite, they will fear us even more and try separate us even more.
They will aggressively hate us. and we should aggressively love each other!

P.S. this guy rocks! ❤

Tomorrow, 6pm. We’ll be back.

Day 2 [English] #طلعت_ريحتكم #YouStink – Aug23

August 24, 2015

Day 2:
The crowds were excited, children, families, elderly, people across religions, from across Lebanon, all gathered. The numbers were bigger than yesterday even. I teared as my heart loathed a police officer on a traffic light with conflicting emotions between hating them all for betraying us yesterday or remembering that these are the proud men and women that keep us together.

 

Emotions of love, passion and freedom shone on every face. Almost. 2 minutes walking into the protest we spotted a group of young men sitting on stairs nearby, none of them looked peaceful, hopeful or civil. Topless, inked (I have tattoos, this is not a criticism of tattooed people), hazy eyes, and the ugliness of their intentions oozing out of every physical facet. I became wary and nervous. I took pictures of them as they joined the ranks of protestors, shoving, pushing and rioting from the start.

 

They had sect specific tattoos on their bodies and were carrying an Amal movement flag. It was trouble. I tweeted that Nabih berri needs to remove his hooligans from the protest. Until i met two young men who were as annoyed as everyone else from these men’s ugly behavior who approached me and said: We are Amal movement supporters and these guys don’t represent us, so please stop saying that. I was ashamed by these young men’s respectful and passionate behavior. I was wrong.

This will be the first time i mention this. I am a Shiite by registry and always feel i need to criticize my “identity”‘s sect harsher than i should others (that’s the way i am with myself anyway, my own harshest critic). I even contemplated scratching my sect from my status record, but never did. I have long disowned religion and therefore don’t believe that a scratch of ink on paper represents me. However looking around me I know many Shiites that worship this country, that are holding on and building it’s every corner. Scratching the sect would be letting the sectarian regime win! I will not be judged by ink on paper.

For every hooligan with shiite tattoo there are a hundred who disown this behavior. For every Tarik al jdeede gangster there 100 who disown this behavior. For every sectarian “Phoenician” (not arab) on TV there are hundreds of disown this behavior. People cannot be judged by their birth granted sects, colors, race or genders.

When the hooligans started getting into fights with the police, and the protest organizers asked people to step away from Riad Alsolh to Martyr’s Square, we decided it’s time for a short break while people regrouped. We stepped into a nearby alley that I’m familiar with. As we sat down and gathered our energy we hard bombs, and ambulances go crazy. within 30minutes we were back. But this was no longer the same protest we left.

Motorcycles zooming in and out of every alleyway, gas bombs, gun shots, sirens everywhere, people screaming and running, windows breaking. It was a demotivating, angry and ugly. Organizers had ordered people to leave as hooligans escalated their clashes and called off the protest. But he 100s that were marching in and out of Riad Alsolh, chanting and screaming were going nowhere. Some were too young to be there, some were fainting as they run, some were being hospitalized. Sirens, screams, chants, bombs, Sirens, screams, chants, bombs, Sirens, screams, chants, bombs. It was devastating.

I look back to yesterday’s protest and think; we were almost run over by foot and batons with riot police with barely much to provoke them. Today they seem disperse, less iron-fisted, their numbers are dramatically less. But the gas bombs were plenty at hand (of-course since they are a donation from France ;)) and rubber bullets hitting many more. The mob was getting out of control trashing public property everywhere. The mob was angrier with every injury.

I look at them and think… who has raised these people to have no respect for human life, their own life. What has made them stoop this low. And I shed a tear for how low we have come as people; made ignorant by poverty and fed trash politics by those that steal from our government to “pretend feed-us”.

I cannot blame many people for being affiliated with political parties. Amal and Hizbullah has built so much of south Lebanon out or looted government money. Hariri has fed, medicated and educated many from looted government money. And they all continue to do. We may be aware of this catch 22 situation, but where will it lead us? How long until we can break the cycle?

And then what i feared happened. 14 march supporters and media hooligans took over to break and assert that this is an 8 march movement and that they are “better” than them. Ignoring Khaled Al Daher’s call to attack the army, their covering of Ahmad Al Asseer’s militias, Nadim Koteich’s call to attack the Serial (or that whole day, were the protestors turned out to be not Lebanese even).

By the time chaos broke, there were people of many sects, and political parties joining the rights, angry men, fed up, tired, and raging! Some i knew by face, name and others had different sectarian symbols and body marks identifying them. I could not take pictures without a flash and did not want to provoke people. We were running and giving aid to who ever we can, passing onion and tissues, finding red cross and bringing them to injure. But people didn’t want to leave.

Neither did the government.

I lay down with tears in my eyes. at the youth that have been deprived from their potentials and driven to madness with drugs, ignorance and hate, the men of a country i take pride in calling my home. at their lives that mean nothing to the bastards that shrine in the serail as people suffocate from smoke, and ache of bullets. As we die from pollution and trash. As we suffer from shortages in all basic rights. As we linger on a tourist and remittances. As we pray to and not break. These bastards stay in their ivory towers claiming salvation!

There’s a special place in hell for every one of your decaying carcasses. When you rot, we will not pray for you. We should not even allow you a ceremony. You should be thrown and battered, just like you have shattered and raped our lives.

Every soldier is Lebanese further and foremost, Every protestor is Lebanese further and foremost and every Hooligan is a sub product of the system. Let us not forget we are not down to hurt each other. We are protesting against the insensitive devils hijacking our country!

Tomorrow, 6pm. We’ll be back.

[EN] ‫#‏طلعت_ريحتكم Aug22

August 23, 2015

I have not been to a protest in a very long time, since the last #AntiSectarian one in Saida put a nail in the secular movement’s coffin.
Historically the secular movement has been badly organized, shattered and distracted. It still is. It is not united under “a leader” nor a “black room”. It is not united under “a God” or a manifesto that no one reads (like all political parties in Lebanon).
Because simply, it is a movement of national passion, of love, of determination, of people from across all walks of life, religions, social statuses, ages, education levels, careers and lack of them.

Two days ago, a few protestors went down to Riad Al Solh, the trash situation was being shelved (again). The protestor where attacked, beaten and arrested! I boiled as I sat in my chair at home, I stirred, I cried. I got dressed, but they released the protestors and the crowd dispersed before i got out.

Today I woke up with a pounding heart and pride that I haven’t felt in a long time. I brewed my passion all day, as the time ticked away slowly to 6pm. I passed through downtown twice earlier today and each time the scene looked even more horrific.

Army with Batons? the Army … facing civilians?! Is this Lebanon! I prayed that today would be safe. But It seems there were many praying against it.

I was proud of every child, mother, elderly, suit, man and scuba diving gear i saw greeting the way! We danced, drummed and chanted. There was no other flag but the red, white and cedar proudly reaching for the skies. We got beaten, battered, sprayed and gassed.

by Gino Riady

Never in the past 5 years has this violence been used against armed militias in Lebanon, let alone unarmed civilians. Never has anything like this happened before.

What did we do wrong this time? Who did we piss off? Is trash collection really such a goldmine of corruption, robbery and below-the-table-contracts, that you are willing to kill civilians for it!

I don’t want a revolution in the streets. I want a revolution at the ballots! There are citizens among us that have far more integrity than every minister and MP occupying the government and those they report to!
I would rather have a fresh grad be president than the “options” at hand (a dinosaur & a murderer)
I would rather quit my job and run for elections than hear, but there are no alternatives!

When I was 5, I wanted to join the army and fight to defend my country. Every-time i see a soldier my heart swells with pride. Today I’m confused beyond possibilities. How could the my favorite people in the world stab us.

We invited them to join us, they tried to kill us. This is what the Lebanese army has bullets for; civilians not ISIS.

I can never pass by a soldier with pride every again. I will not protect you from angry protestors ever again. You are cowards!

To add to all this the Interior Minister had the nerve to say “The people in the straight do NOT represent public opinion, they are just a bunch of angry of people” “I will resign if i find it appropriate, but i will not do it to please my political opponents” “they (other MPs) are accountable as well, so stop blaming only me” << the NERVE!

We demand his resignation. Sign the petition

 

غداًيومٌ أفضل – Tomorrow’s a brighter day #Aug22 #طلعت_ريحتكم

August 21, 2015

Why i’m protesting tomorrow. 

#طلعت_ريحتكم https://www.facebook.com/events/1028809990465441/
I’m sick of being a citizen whose basic human rights (electricity, water, trash collection & treatment, civil rights) are not a priority to the parliament’s agenda… if not this… then what?!
The excuse that a electricity generator broke down that’s why we have shortages has been disgustingly overused!

The excuse that recycling and trash treatment is not a national priority in “Green Lebanon” IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! 

The fact that a parliament member is 82 and in seat since 50 years is NOT ACCEPTABLE! More so, since the rate of unemployed youth exceeds 20% in Lebanon

riot police that only shows up when unarmed civilians protest

riot police that only shows up when unarmed civilians protest

 
The extended parliament that has not regard to the population is being paid through our hard earned tax money, from which we barely see any benefits! 
It is not acceptable to watch militia’s roam the streets in utter freedom while unarmed civil protestors get beaten with batons, watwr sprayed and arrested! This is not why we pay taxes! This is not why we vote! 

I would like to wake up one day in my life and not have the same nauseating raping my country’s resources with nothing to show!  

I don’t want to die from a stray bullet during the speech of some war-lords’ useless speech

I don’t want to die from a car swerving because a newly discovered grotto (pothole the size of a car) on an unlit mountain highway. 

I would like to visit Tripoli without checking the news to confirm that it’s safe. 

I would like to visit my Baalbeck without doing the same! 

I want to walk in downtown Beirut and not cringe thinking how disgustingly empty and none-Lebanese-welcoming Nejmeh square is

I would like to reclaim my right to swim in the sea, a resource that embraces my beloved country

I want to be able to explain my addiction (why i left dubai to live here) to this country to people without… err-s 

I’m going down because there’s no place like home! 

 

#livelovelebanon

#livelovelebanon

 
*Disclaimer: this post was typed, drafted and published on a mobile phone, in a super emotional (aka Lebanon Loving) spurr. 

The greatest sin

July 14, 2015

It’s Ramadan, a season my social timelines get flooded with prayers, and devotion. “A Blessed Month”, where (some) people fast during the day from food and water, yet almost no one fasts from sin.

The past few days have been personally very aggravating. I look around and everything about humanity appalls me. The timelines full of ad-hoc worshippers, fake compassion, every form of -ism possible, criticism of everything and anything with pulse, just all of it.

The greatest sin, is not what the “books” dictate, ban or taboo. It’s an attitude that has managed to become the norm of society, lurks among all ranks (financial, educative and otherwise). It really is all the “seven deadly sins”:
To treat you body, soul, mind, resources and environment (natural and social) like there is no other but you.

To waste resources, because you can steal electricity
To waste water because your building has a well
To waste petrol because your dad’s company pays for it
To waste food, because you will not eat it reheated
To waste time because you can
To waste your youth because you can
To lose your soul because you’re busy on whatsapp with your 7th “significant other” (just in case the first 6 don’t fulfill)
To waste your brain on chatter, gossip and spinning lies
To waste people’s blood because we can’t stop to think before we act.
The list is endless.

Waste

Today I saw a young man, spill a full bottle of water on the floor (not the plant pot next to him) because a beggar would not leave the sidewalk of the mosque he was at (guarding it outside ofcourse, not praying in it). He spilled it with a yell and smirk as the woman felt insulted. A woman old enough to be his grandma. A boy not worthy of a drop of the water he spilled.

The sentence “there are kids in Africa that don’t have food” may be overused. But, it is true! More so, There are people in Africa, Asia, Europe, Americas and Australia that don’t have food, water or electricity to get them through the day. They did not choose their life. But we can choose our actions. There are Refugees (Syrian and otherwise) in camps dying of hunger. There many Lebanese that are slaving in their own country trying and grasping to make ends meet.

Ofcourse these are registered refugees, not reflective of the real numbers

Ofcourse these are registered refugees, not reflective of the real numbers

Recycling, preserving, optimizing and minimizing, are all not too difficult to implement. They are a conscious decision to be present.

Media

The Ramadan prank shows of this year have revealed new lows that TV stations care willing to go for ratings. Yet alot of the people criticizing them continue to watch, everyday, criticize and watch. Has anyone stopped to think that that is the whole point! They don’t give a crap if you like the show or not, as long as your sets and eyeballs are glued, THAT is the only metric that sells!

Have you ever stopped to think, should i watch that video of the journalist being decapitated. What would the 5 minutes i waste on that show be better spent on? Your job, kids, saving what little respect for human life we still have in our souls, friends, errands? Anything! ISIS is a media conglomerate, we consume every video, every picture without a thought!

I have never played, shared or posted ISIS generated media out of a very deep conscious decision to not support their virality by adding my view counts, every one of those millions of views is one of you, us, humans, individual souls that refuse to think!

article-2661007-1EE6FA3F00000578-287_634x786

It’s a media game. Wouldn’t your MBs be better spent somewhere else?

BDS

If I had a penny for everytime someone mocked BDS in life or online, we’d have enough money to end apartheid. The repulsive idea that a cup of coffee is more important than a human soul, regardless of where that soul may be, is utterly disgusting!
Here’s the common (nauseating) debate: You still have Intel chips in your computer, use Google (they have Israeli HQ) and others!
Well here’s the difference.
You don’t NEED soda or sparkling water that supports hate, you can (and should for health reasons) give them up. They are NOT a necessity and the alternatives are EVERYWHERE.

It takes the same amount of time for you to look at the price tag and nutritional info on a product to decide: Is this product good for me, can i afford it, has it been tested on animals, will it’s $$$ be used to kill.

That three seconds more that you may waste on candy crush, is all it takes. Don’t pick up arms. Don’t post it on instagram, don’t snapchat it to the world. You don’t even need to jeopardize your “coolness” by telling anyone. Just do it.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 2.36.03 AM

A little thought goes a long way.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 2.35.31 AM

BDS is not a joke. It never was.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 2.34.20 AM

If it requires a reaction, it is a significant action to start with!

Those that pretend to live in “peace”
Your life is NOT isolated from the world! (regardless of how thick-skinned your bubble is)
Every cent you spend is part of an intricate network on money that rules the world.
Every drop you waste is part of that 70% that exist on the earth.
Every action you do, trickles…
People may lose jobs, but others will gain them.
Artists may be hated. But that will show your children that humans are not just boobs, abs and a show.
Being Good is a real. Everyone is responsible for making the world a little better everyday.

A smile, a gesture of good will, a breath before you yell at an elderly, a moment of silence. A meal for the hungry. Kind words when financial support is tough.

A good deed, not for God, not for Karma, just for you, as a chromosome on this planet.
So please, instead of filling my timeline (alone) with your prayers, make yourself, the conscious one, a part of your existence on this planet without the need of an after-life to justify it.

If you want to sin, go ahead. Just don’t make utter apathy your greatest sin.

P.S. Accepting others and respecting their opinions is one of the most beautiful things you can give. Especially in today’s opinionated discriminative jungle.

نحن والقمر جيران – Nehna wel Amar wel Jiran Festival

July 7, 2015

Summer is the season of life in Lebanon. A staple of Music festivals, dazzling art shows and performances, food, sun, sand, beach, mountain and pure awakening of senses.

Yet, we crave for more to fill our narrow alleys and wide hearts with colors.

Collectif Kahraba

“is a performing arts company comprised of artists from different backgrounds that are engaged in the artistic scene in Lebanon. Our network of actors, writers, film and stage directors, photographers, puppeteers and dancers has progressively formed around the shared needs to exchange tools and art practices, to meet the audience, and to continue questioning the world in which we grow”

… is planning a concert 28-30 August on the Vendome Stairs in Mar Mikhael. You have the chance to make this happen here:

نحن والقمر جيران