What if president Sleiman was wrong?

Back in 1994, Youssef Shaaban was convicted for shooting a Jordanian diplomat in Beirut and got life sentence in prison.

In 2002, a court in Jordan found that others were responsible for the murder and convicted them! So logically speaking, Youssef Shaaban turned out to be innocent, however it was impossible to release him since the issued rulings could be overturned unless by a presidential pardon.

Three days ago, president Michael Sleiman pardoned Youssef Shaaban and he was granted freedom yesterday in Beirut.

That was in brief the story of Youssef Shaaban.

I have seen in the media how everyone was giving credits to the president for pardoning him, but I was thinking what if Youssef Shaabad was really the one behind killing the diplomat?

In a special episode of Kalam El-Nas with Marcel Ghanem last night, Shaaban himself admitted that he played a “role” in the Lebanese civil war in addition to being a member in Hamas. Remember that the reason behind the assassination of the Jordanian diplomat was because Jordan and Israel were in negtiations to sign a peace treaty, that’s a good motive for Hamas to commit the crime no?

In addition, those who are supposed to be the real murderers were executed in Jordan, and god knows how did the Jordanian police (maybe) made them admit they were responsible for the assassination. Now how can you assure that Youssef Shaaban is innocent? The Lebanese judicial council made a mistake by convicting Shaaban, so how can you assume the Jordanian rulings were flawless?

To me the crime is still a mistery. Think of it, the guy might really be the one behind the assassination.

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Obama & Sarkozy booty check

I would love to know how Obama and Sarkozy justified this video to their wives, Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni!

Via Nihil Declaro

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Hitler finds out Michael Jackson has died!

A friend of mine sent me this helarious video today. Hitlet gets pissed off to hear that Michael Jackson has died and won’t be able to perform at his birthday party!

The scene is orginally from the “Downfall” movie produced in 2004 about his final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of World War II. There are several similar movies like the above, one being about banning him from Xbox live along with his gamescore and Microsoft point! You can check it here.

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Lebanon is not a happy place!

Lebanon is not a happy place, that’s at least according to the new economics foundation (aka NEF).

Using the “Happy Planet Index” (HPI), NEF measured how happy are 143 researched countries, and Lebanon came in the 110th place!

Per their findings, we in Lebanon have a life expectency of 71.5 years, of which we live 33.7 years happily. Ya3neh we spend 37.8 years in misery (slow internet, no electricity, wars, explosions, Naser Qandil, etc…).

In addition, we scored 4.7/10 for Life satisfaction (though fi 3anna Skybar!!!), and we have an ecological footprint of 3.1.

You may download the full report containing the classification of all the researched countries in PDF from here, or in Excel from here.

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Walid Junblat partying on camera

Couldn’t but share this video with you! You don’t get to see our politicians acting like that everyday! ;)

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No, Jordan is ugly

On my way to work today, I saw this huge ad at City Mall Dora, it says “Jordan is more beautiful”. Whoever considered posting this in Lebanon should have thought of it twice, because it is both rude and ugly.

Seriously, in what exactly is Jordan better?! L7a22 3layyeh yimkin, I’m not following Amman’s nightlife news these days!!

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Laguava resort

Beach is the best destination these days, and Laguava – Rmeileh was my choice on Saturday! Checkout some of the photos I took.

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Reasons why I got addicted to Twitter

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I never imagined I would use Twitter someday! The whole idea behind it was silly to me, and I was always like what’s the big deal about broadcasting to the world what did I have on lunch?! Facebook alone was enough, and it was becoming annoying with all the apps that my friends add and start spamming me with!

Early in May, I was thinking about a way to increase the traffic on this blog, so I thought of re-activating my account on Twitter and combine with Twitter Feed to automatically generate a tweet containing a link to any post I publish. So I was thinking of it as a marketing tool!

Few days later I was surprised to find much more active Lebanese users than I expected, and they were all tweeting about interesting stuff, though it was mostly about the parliamentary elections at that time, but still I found it interesting and entertaining. So I started engaging myself in the game and suddenly got addicted to it. For many reasons!

  1. It is NOT silly. Twitter is really different than Facebook’s status update, it’s on Facebook where you share silly stuff and the more you update your status the more you entertain your friends! Do the same on Twitter and your followers count will drop, no one wants his/her front page on twitter to be full of trash messages.
  2. It’s informative! Thanks to the URL shortening services, people can tweet about interesting links. They might not always contain valuable information, but I prefer to receive them instead of Facebook’s poker chips and silly quizzes
  3. You get to meet some seriously nice people there. In terms of privacy, Twitter is totally opposite to Facebook. In Facebook you are, most of the times, concerned about protecting your personal information and keeping strangers from having access to your profile. Where as on Twitter, strange people follow you and vice versa, and you will eventually make friends with those you reply to their messages frequently.
  4. Twitter users are the “elite” users of Facebook ;)
  5. The great tweetups you attend every now and then. Twitleb is doing a great job gathering the Lebanese users, thanks to her we met at KUV Capital‘s office today!

So what are you waiting for? Go get a Twitter account and don’t forget to follow me!!

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Michael Jackson tribute – Beirut mass Moonwalk

I know I’m a bit late for publishing this post but I had a hectic weekend! Anyway, a mass moonwalk was held in Gemmayze street, on Friday 26th of June, as a tribute to Michael Jackson. The whole thing started on Twitter and I honestly expected it to be more like a small gathering, however thanks to Blogging Beirut‘s author and other active users on Twitter it turned into an impromptu concert celebrating Michael Jackson’s life and songs in the heart of Gemmayze facing Saint-Nicolas stairs.

I was there with my camera and got these photos to share with you.

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Moonwalkers orignally wanted to do their dance in the middle of the street near Torino, and started by lighting candles…

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But policemen had a problem with it since moonwalkers were blocking the traffic!

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After solving things out, moonwalkers headed to Saint Nicolas stairs.

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A boy who sells chiclets also participated!

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Tweetup at Gemmayze

I recently joined Twitter and was surprised to encounter a lot of nice Lebanese people there, and to be honest it’s much cooler than Facebook, especially that the latter became really boring with people spamming you with games request and/or spend their times uploading photos documenting their lives minute by minute.

Anyway, so I attended my first tweetup (i.r. twitter meetup) on Wednesday in Gemmayze, which was originally the idea of SamerKaram and Lnlne, and was really glad to meet some really nice people there.

Among those who attended the tweetup was an english journalist working for the Daily Star, Josie Ensor, check out the article she wrote about the tweetup.

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Growing social phenomenon unites Beirut strangers at Gemmayzeh sushi bar
By Josie Ensor

BEIRUT: Have you ever been to a dinner party where you don’t know a single person? The scenario sounds terrifying, and frankly not too likely, but it is becoming a regular occurrence in Beirut. I went to my first Lebanese ‘tweetup’ last night at a sushi bar in Gemmayzeh and found myself in just this situation.

A ‘tweetup’ is essentially a real world meet up of people who know each other through the online micro-blogging, social networking site Twitter. It can be said to be a bit like speed dating without the romantic overtones and it is happening more and more around the country as the site grows in popularity.

Around the table when I arrived at Soto on Gemmayzeh’s main street were a seemingly disparate crowd of people: Company CEOs, AUB undergraduates, Western journalists, web designers, Fed Ex employees and photographers, who were all engrossed in a conversation about the growing importance of Twitter in the Arab world. They have been brought together at this restaurant at the particular time by their interest in Lebanon and their desire to share it with others who will listen on Twitter.

I recognize some of them from their profile pictures, for some I need an introduction. I know what many of them were doing last night, where they work and what most of them think about Iran’s post-election protests but I couldn’t identify them in the street quite as easily.

Yesterday’s meet up all started two days ago when Lynn, an AUB architecture student who tweets under the name ‘Lnlne’ asked if anyone wanted sushi on her Twitter profile. Samer Karam, a web developer who tweets under his name, then picked it up and re-tweeted the message on his own profile and from there an impromptu tweetup was arranged.

“No one knows more than three people here – it is a unique situation that only Twitter can make happen. I think it is only going to get bigger and bigger in Beirut,” according to Karam.

The site has a social aspect but its primary role is to share interesting information and to enable global debates and conversations. Lynn says Twitter has come to replace other popular sites she used to rely on: “I find I spend so little time on Facebook now – what’s the point – you want to connect with people you don’t know who can share information with you. Facebook is redundant.”

Facebook doesn’t encourage its users to reach out to the world in the same way Twitter does. Facebook is about letting your friends see your profile while blocking people you do not know, while Twitter is the precise opposite. People you do not know most often offer the most.

The Lebanese Twitter community were particularly active during the June 7 elections, with tweets coming in from around Lebanon about people’s own experience of the day: “I hear a lot of gunshooting from Basta,” read one post from tweetup guest ‘Plus961’s’ account, “I voted a white paper in this election, and I am excited to see it in the stats today!” read another.

Fearing pre-election violence, ‘Zaher’ tweeted “a guy was just shot near my house.maktab intikhabi 4 Jean. Called police & it’s like one hour and nobody showed up.”

For most Lebanese tweeters the most important thing is engaging with a community, being heard by as many people as possible, which can be difficult if the posts are in Arabic. Most of the urbane, bilingual tweeters around this Gemmayzeh table write in English but for many others it is not as easy.

One Lebanese entrepreneur and tweeter Habib Haddad, who tweets under the name ‘habibh,’ created a website called Yamli.com which can be used to automatically change tweets written in Arabic to English to enable Arabic speakers to connect with the wider world. He made the World Economic Forum’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2009 list for “empowering the Arabic language and users on the web.”

Samer Karam, whose website bloggingbeirut.com has its own gravitas on Lebanon’s digital scene, says of the technology: “You can’t underestimate programs like this – it bridges the Western world with the Arab world, and it is all in the spirit of Twitter when writing can be made more accessible.”

Twitter is still quite a novel thing in Lebanon; many only became aware of it after the Mumbai bombings last year. Twitter really came into its own after the terror attacks, as moments after the first shots were fired, Twitter users in India were providing instant eyewitness accounts of the unfolding drama. A few months later Twitter broke news again when the first pictures of the Hudson river plane crash in New York appeared on the site after someone on a nearby ferry took photos and uploaded them onto Twitter using his phone.

Twitter is now helping people in Iran give a voice to protesters during a time when they have been silenced and censored in most other ways. And for as long as there is an internet connection the world can see what is happening through Twitter.

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