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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 11th 2016

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week for a little bit of everything for everyone!

  1. ‘The Moment’ by Milad Hadchiti – The Rerun
  2. Escape Games Beirut – The new smart fun activity!
  3. Johar… Up in the air- A Theatre play in Roumieh Prison May 2016
  4. 3azimetna Theatre Play
  5. Hike For CHARITY with Wild Adventures
  6. Beirut Vocal point presents The Beatles at Blue Note Cafe
  7. Postcards in Concert
  8. NAWF – New Arab Women Forum 2016
  9. Iceland: Aurora & landscape photography exhibition
  10. Rabih and the playmates at The Back door
  11. Celebrating Colors 2016

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

 

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Beirut Madinati – Some Things Are Easier Said Than Done

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Beirut municipal elections will take place this weekend and I’m definitely voting for Beirut Madinati against the traditional coalition of ruling political parties that has been winning since 1998 and did absolutely nothing significant for the city.

I honestly didn’t care much about Beirut Madinati’s campaign at the beginning and didn’t even feel curious to know their candidates assuming they’re a bunch of attention seeking activists, but later noticed how wrong I was after they unveiled their list and showed how serious they are about their agenda.

However, that doesn’t mean I see them as perfect as some people portray them on social media, not due to anything they did wrong, but simply because some points in their electoral program don’t make much sense to me.

Affordable Housing

With the skyrocketing prices nowadays, it’s no longer easy to buy an apartment in Beirut. I’m an authentic Beiruti, I was born and raised in this city and never imagined that I will be living anywhere else, but I was unfortunately forced to move to Aramoun when I got married due to the prices increase after 2006. So talking about affordable housing in Beirut definitely relates to my problem and thousands others like me. Beirut Madinati is addressing this issue by promising affordable apartments.

Now let’s get real for a moment, the real estate market in Lebanon is a free one and the set prices follow the rules of supply and demand. It’s quite simple, there’s a huge demand for apartments in this city and little supply of constructed units so it only makes sense for the prices to be high. The only way for the municipality to provide these affordable apartments is by financing their construction itself and sell them at cost price, and in order to satisfy half of the demand the municipality will eventually have to turn into one giant construction company.

I simply don’t see it feasible to do. Apartments are also so expensive in many other cities around the world and you don’t see neither municipalities nor governments intervening, on the other hand the transportation system is enhanced so that people can adapt to living in surrounding areas. And this brings us to the next point…

Transportation

Beirut Madinati wants to enhance the transportation system around the capital by introducing new bus lines and reorganizing the already operating buses, micros buses, and taxis.

This is seriously much needed in Beirut, and I would give up using my car during weekdays if there was a reliable system to get me in and out of the city. But I highly doubt the Beirut Madinati people have previously tried using public transportation and know how the buses around Beirut work because they apparently think their plan is going to be easy to implement.

Truth is that the transportation system in and out of Beirut is actually ruled by mafias. Those who use it know better about the clashes that happen between drivers over a certain line, and how the departure time of each bus is set deliberately by designated agents on the road in order to maximize the number of passengers. Needless to say, these mafias are backed by political parties, and everything that works the same way is very hard to fix. The ongoing case of illegal internet is the biggest example about that.

Do you seriously think the “van ra2em 4” gang is going to abide by any new system? Dream on.

Green Areas and Parking Spaces

This is not exclusive to Beirut Madinati, actually every candidate is promising more green areas and parking spaces around Beirut. Beirut Madinati is going the extra mile of promising a green space for each neighborhood in Beirut.

I seriously would like to know how on earth are we going to create a new green space in Tarik El-Jadida, Mar Elias, Ras El Nabeh, Basta, and other neighborhoods where there are barely any lot left that is large enough to accommodate a 150m2 apartment building. It would be good to support these promises with a map showing the locations of the parks to be.

As for parking spaces, I think it would be enough to just claim back the hijacked spaces from valet parking thugs in several areas of Beirut. That alone would be a major achievement for the new municipality.

I’m still voting for Beirut Madinati

Yes I do have some reservations over their electoral program, hell I even disliked some of their candidates, but I’m voting for them because I’m bored of the same party ruling the city for 18 years now with no significant achievements.

I’m voting for Beirut Madinati neither for an affordable apartment in Beirut, nor a better transportation system, I actually lost hope that things would get better in this corrupt country, I just want them to come in power because we have the right to try someone new and see how they are going to manage the available resources and proceed with new projects for the better of our city.

And you also have nothing to lose, it isn’t like the previous council did wonders to you, so give other people a chance and vote for Beirut Madinati.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – May 4th 2016

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The weather promises to remain good over the next few days for some outdoor activities like Marche aux Fleurs in Bikfaya or a trip to discover Baskinta, so make the most of it!

  1. IMPOSSIBLE “Be Part of the Magic” Show in Lebanon
  2. Venezia Cinema Beirut 2016 at Empire Sofil
  3. Marché aux Fleurs – Bikfaya 2016
  4. Recycling at Makan
  5. German Spring Market 2016
  6. Beirut International Tango Festival 2016
  7. CENTRICO – Grand Opening
  8. Baskinta Literary Trail with Adventures in Lebanon
  9. Let’s be confused on the fact we are not together but have official emotions for each other
  10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, DVD
  11. Exhibition for a Cause
  12. Culinary Heaven – Horeca Night at the Titanic Piano Bar

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

 

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 27th 2016

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Yet another round of cool outing ideas from Lebtivity! We’re in for a long weekend so here my picks for you to inspire your plans.

  1. Spring Family Lunch Buffet & Easter Egg Hunt at Beit Wadih
  2. Escape Games Beirut – The new smart fun activity!
  3. Spring at the Roof Market – Citymall
  4. Cannes Coup de Coeur
  5. Easter at CityMall
  6. Nemr Abou Nassar New Stand up Comedy Show LIVE at BIEL
  7. Meen the Band Live at Publicity
  8. Jeane Manson en Concert au Casino du Liban
  9. SPRING Festival 2016 | Beirut
  10. Startup Grind Beirut hosts Majed Al Tamer (WSI)
  11. Arthur Satyan 4-day Jazz Master Class
  12. BIPOD 2016
  13. The Beirut International Jazz Day 2016

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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Review – Beirut Fawq Al Shajara بيروت فوق الشجرة

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I recently watched “Beirut Fawq Al Shajara” written by Yehya Jaber and starring Ziad Itani, the same duo who brought us “Beirut Tarik Jdideh” a couple of years ago. And while the latter featured stories inspired from the day to day lives of people living in Tarik Jdideh, the new play focused on events that took place around other areas in Beirut. It might sound redundant at first, but trust me it isn’t. Ziad Itani delivered once again a solid performance without feeling fake on stage, and never failed to crack the audience up at the stories he was illustrating.

Beirut Fawk al Shajara follows the story of Fouad, a Beiruti influenced by his Turkish grandmother as a child, who manages to engage into relationships with many women of different nationalities as he ages while working as tailor. With each relationship we get introduced to some event that took place at a certain time in Beirut’s recent history in a humorous way.

What makes it all interesting is that despite the whole story being fictitious, the events Ziad Itani tells are all pretty accurate. So you’ll be laughing your heart our over the play duration but still learn a good deal from the recent history of the city. You are also guaranteed to be leaving the theater and for some reason humming “Oh lali 3ala Oh lala”!

All in all, and as a side note, I’m really satisfied about the plays Lebanese artists have performed over the last few years such as Venus, Ka3eb 3aleh, and Injazat 7ayat to name a few that do not speak to the audience in a dumb way the same way Lebanese movies and drama series mostly do.

Beirut Fawq Al Shajara is showing at Teatro Verdun (Dunes Center) on Mondays and Thursdays, with tickets selling for 35,000L.L. Needless to say, I highly recommend you go watch it!

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 20th 2016

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The annual heartbeat concert is happening this weekend and I highly recommend you book your ticket to help children suffering from heart diseases.

This year’s concert will feature 100 singers, dancers, musicians and comedians, performing live on stage, with decors, costumes, screen projections and lighting effects inspired from several countries. And if you’re unable to attend but still want to donate to heartbeat, you can do so through their website.

  1. The Moment (Sar wa2ta) with Milad Hadchiti
  2. Startups Success Stories: A Hands-on Experience from IE & Friends
  3. Stress Management workshop at Skillz
  4. Heartbeat Concert 2016
  5. Curro De Candela
  6. TEDxNDULouaize – Main Event 2016 – Unknown Variables
  7. The Voice Kids Tour 2016 in Lebanon
  8. The Happiness Program With The Art of Living Foundation
  9. Walk with Al Younbouh 2016
  10. The French Macaron – Cooking class with Lamina’s Kitchen
  11. Carina Live at Zico House
  12. Live Concert at l’appartement
  13. Braderie du Livre à la Maison des Jeunes et de la Culture a Zouk Mikael
  14. Rupture à Domicile – Comédie

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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Lebanon Has The Highest Number of Billionaires Per Capita

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Forbes Middle East released their list of the world’s richest Arabs in 2016 headed by Prine AlWaleed Bin Talal (17.3 Billion) and 7 unsurprising names from Lebanese made it to the list this year.

12. Najib Mikati, 2.5 Billion
12. Taha Mikati, 2.5 Billion
15. Bahaa Hariri, 2.2 Billion
23. Robert Mouawad & family, 1.5 Billion
25. Saad Hariri, 1.4 Billion
31. Ayman Hariri, 1.2 Billion
32. Fahd Hariri, 1.2 Billion

With these figures, Lebanon turned out to be the country with highest number of billionaires per capita in the Arab world.

But for some reason I always have a hard time believing that these lists report the exact number of billionaires in Lebanon and the other countries simply because we lack transparency here in our region. The Mubarak family of Egypt for example never made it to any “Richest Arabs” list, and we only knew about their billions after they were overthrown.

In our case, we have politicians who have been active for more than 30 and 40 years now like Berri and Joumblat, and I highly doubt these two have not been able to make a couple billions throughout their long years of “serving” the nation.. so yeah there’s definitely more to add to that Forbes list.

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Kawalis Al-Madina – The Real Story Of Al-Madina Bank Scandal

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I’m not really a fan of Lebanese drama series, but I have lately found Kawalees Al-Madina which recently started airing from Wednesday to Saturday on Al-Jadeed TV quite interesting.

The series is written by Ghada Eid (presenter of Al-Fassad show), and even though the crew denies it but it is mostly based on the true story of Al-Madina Bank collapse between 2002 and 2003 which was mind boggling at that time. Other corruption stories of the kind that went public but never got settled down legally the proper way are mentioned as well, such as the drug ring that was uncovered among AUB students during the same period. I remember the media suddenly stopped talking about that ring because the son of some politician turned out to be involved in it.

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The reason I see Kawalis Al Madina so relevant right now is because several scandals were unveiled over the last few months from garbage, to illegal internet, and finally the manipulation of health care bills by corrupt ISF officers, but unfortunately they’re all on the way of being covered up without holding any of the key suspects accountable for their wrongdoings. The biggest proof about that being how incapable is the ongoing investigation about illegal internet in identifying the nature of a stupid fiber optic cable in Nahr El Kalb!

Disregard the lousy acting we always complain about in Lebanese series, but as long as we are unable to punish the corrupt people in authority, I think it is just fair to irritate them by exposing them on TV and let the public know about their sleazy jobs.

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Things to Do This Week in Lebanon – April 13th 2016

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Here are my picks from Lebtivity for this week. The 5th edition of Beirut International Platform of Dance is taking place this week and Souk El Akel lands is landing in Zouk Mikael!

  1. Rupture à Domicile – Comédie
  2. BIPOD 2016
  3. Celebrate Spring in Zouk Mikael with Souk El Akel
  4. AUB Job Fair 2016
  5. Avo Demirdjian live in Concert
  6. Beirut Corporate Games 2016
  7. Clue Club – Save the world
  8. Low calorie desserts workshop
  9. Kirtan, Calming Chants in a Chaotic World
  10. Stress Management workshop at Skillz
  11. “After School: What’s Up?” Fair

Make sure to check Lebtivity.com for much more options.

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Remembering the Lebanese Civil War Day by Day

Today marks the 41st anniversary of the Lebanese civil war which lasted 15 years from 1975 to 1990 resulting in 150,000 people killed and thousands of disappeared.

On this occasion I thought it would be good to share with you an interesting group on Facebook called “La guerre du Liban au jour le jour” where Georges Boustany and Kheireddine El-Ahdab share on a daily basis old videos, images, and news articles from war time to recollect both major and tiny events that happened during those 15 years.

I highly recommend you join the group not only to learn more about the Lebanese civil war but also because Georges and Kheireddine sometimes shares rare videos that were not shown in the released war documentaries so far. I once saw a video showing the neighborhood we used to live in during the 1980s, so you never know what’s in it for you!

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