LBC Blogs News is Monologue, Contribute & Create the Dialogue. Thu, 14 Feb 2013 11:06:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 OneBillionRising on VDay! From Beirut with love Thu, 14 Feb 2013 09:49:55 +0000 lbcblog As the world celebrates the “happy unimaginative, consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary, manipulative and shallow interpretation of romance day,” also known as Valentine’s, another movement is taking place, away from the commodification and manipulation of women’s emotions and media fed needs.

This movement like many others of its sort is choosing to empower women rather than play the usual “romance” fiddle, replacing the February 14 date with a much more constructive notion.

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Pope Benedict’s mission comes to an end Mon, 11 Feb 2013 11:47:23 +0000 lbcblog So we’ve all heard the big news and yes it has been confirmed that Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28, 2013.

“After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths due to an advanced age are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry,” he told the cardinals. “I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only by words and deeds but no less with prayer and suffering.

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Civil Marriage…the debate continues Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:09:32 +0000 lbcblog Our last blog covered the story of Kholoud and Nidal Darwiche, the couple who reignited the civil marriage debate, in a country plagued by myriad of problems, by signing their very own tailored civil marriage contract in Lebanon; the first of its kind.

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Kholoud and Nidal, Lebanon’s civil marriage pioneers Fri, 18 Jan 2013 12:41:25 +0000 lbcblog  

Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish signing their civil marriage contract
Photo courtesy of NOW

Safeguarding the rights of others is the most noble and beautiful end of a human being. -Khalil Gibran

Although the image of progressiveness is usually affiliated with a modern, intellectual, somewhat bohemian, funky-styled girl; Kholoud broke all the rules in terms of image and stereotypes.

A veiled Muslim, Kholoud has become the first female adventurer climbing the steep slopes of Lebanon’s administrative and religious conventions.

Although civil marriage is not yet legal in Lebanon, both Kholoud and now husband Nidal based their marital contract on Decree No. 60 L.R. – a numeration of decrees adopted by the High Commissioner [during the French Mandate in Lebanon] – of 1936, which organizes and recognizes sects and grants them rights, said Lawyer Talal Husseini, who authored the draft.

But first they had to remove the reference of their sects from their respective IDs to prove before the law that they are not affiliated with a sect that forces them to marry before a religious court, thus obtaining the right to hold a civil marriage according to the aforementioned article.

After a few snags in obtaining the necessary paperwork, Kholoud and Nidal signed their civil marriage contract on November 10, 2012, thus making them the first Lebanese couple to be wedded by civil marriage in Lebanon. The request is now in the hands of the Consultations Committee at the Ministry of the Interior pending its official announcement,”-NOW.

A link to the article will give you insight on the sort of reaction this move is now attracting. While many are congratulating the bold move on the part of this couple, others are slandering them with demeaning remarks, especially on the part of Kholoud.

It is by no chance that the negative comments depicting the now VERY MARRIED LADY come within the context of bewitching her with expressions ranging from “abnormal”, to “infidel”, to even being affiliated with the Assad regime for an alleged familial support for the Baath party…the latter being the MOST ridiculous.

For my part I bow down to this woman for being a pioneer in both civil and women’s rights in Lebanon.

Congratulations to both Nidal and Kholoud, from a daughter of a civil marriage [who also plans on having one] …and should ever a history book be agreed upon depicting Lebanon’s modern history post 1943, Nidal and Kholoud should have a chapter written in their honor.


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Lonely planet leaves Lebanon awfully lonely… Wed, 16 Jan 2013 16:55:24 +0000 lbcblog Tanx, tanx tanx dawle!

Just in case ya’ll haven’t heard, our year round rambles paid off, albeit not in the way we would’ve liked them to.

Road blocks, sporadic eruptions of violence, various security incidents portrayed through increasing thefts, kidnappings and the ever so flagrant political rhetoric did not go unnoticed.

Instead the world travel guide “Lonely Planet” has dubbed Lebanon as an unsafe destination for 2013.

How’s that for a booster?

Lebanese politics, gotta love’em. Guess JLo’s flag hoisting stunt did nothing for us!

For the full list of destinations [of places you would like to emigrate to] feel free to click on the article below.



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The Rise of Beirut: Break on through to the other side Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:20:40 +0000 lbcblog Sure it’s been tough, tougher than it’s ever been.

I remember roaming the streets of Hamra, or Gemayze probably around some seven years ago living off half the salary I earn today, thinking that it can only get better…but, and this may be the pessimist in me, it didn’t (save for the increase in salary which has proven pointless in an ever inflating economy).

The small town starry eyed girl can now see all that Beirut has to offer; the little to no hope presented through its news bulletin on a daily basis, and the sheer desperation of its youth exemplified by an increase in immigration.

Needless to say, things got harder, and now I can only attribute the glee of those years to the rose colored glasses I had on during that time.

But regardless of the mounting challenges romping and stomping each and every one of us, all the while sucking what’s left of the lives we merely boast as portrayals of happiness; we rise.

I’m speaking of the intelligent fragment of Lebanese society of course, so if you’re over here by mistake or mere coincidence in search of the latest fashion trends, political Neanderthalism or celebrity gossip turn back with no regrets. However, if you’re like me, scavenging through social media outlets in hopes of making a connection to whomever out there is in search of a glimpse of hope in these licentious, talentless, politically oversaturated times, then you’ve come to the right place.

Crossing Beirut’s once war torn, weary streets from east to west and west to east one can easily be fooled with the newly constructed, monumental structures depicting in my opinion what is grade-A self-denial. Tall, shiny, cold – lacking any sort of connection to what I like to think of is our inherent sense of creativity, authenticity, and not to mention simplicity.

In contrast, it seems there is an innate need within my generation to connect with a past, long lost before our parents eyes…destroyed, shredded, withered. A glimpse from an old black and white or even colored movie depicting pre-war Lebanon, even photos of the era…anything that can help us form an identity as close to our truest self as possible, away from what the money driven media has to offer. Away from the Haifa, Nancy, Elyssa Syndrome et al. Away from it all.


And so the  youths have taken charge, fishing out an Odysseus like nostalgia like no other and bringing it to the forefront via music, paintings and an ever so nihilistic sense of existence.

This neo-hippie or what I like to call the “rebellious bunch” have taken the capital by storm. Spray painting support walls, singing around street corners, forming intricate relations based on a mutual yet unspoken understanding away from society’s preconceived notions of “la2 ya emme”, “3ayb”, “skette ente bent” and “khalik rekez ya sabbeh”…and guess what? There’s something for everybody!

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CONTRIBUTION: Has Lebanon Sold Out? The Explosive Detector Scam saga continues Tue, 08 Jan 2013 11:53:58 +0000 lbcblog Money Over Lives

The Explosive Detector Scams

The ‘antenna’ shaped dowsing rods are sold in Lebanon as explosive detectors. These devices were the topic of scandals in the international security field.

Today, these products have invaded the Lebanese and Middle Eastern markets under different names: Mole, Sniffex, Alpha 6, Quadro Tracker, ADE series… etc.

How to Identify Them 

Every time a brand was nailed down, a new one rose. For which reason I have a particular appreciation for the US National Institute for Justice report as it gives the public an easy method to detect whether the explosive detector is a scam:

“Many of these devices require no power to operate (most real technology requires power). Suspect any device that uses a swinging rod that is held nearly level, pivots freely and “indicates” the material being sought by pointing at it.

Any device that uses a pendulum that swings in different shaped paths to indicate its response should also arouse suspicion. Advertisements that feature several testimonials by “satisfied users,” and statements about pending tests by scientific and regulatory agencies (but have just not happened yet) may be indications that the device has not been proven to work.

Statements that the device must be held by a human to operate usually indicate dowsing devices. Statements that the device requires extensive training by the factory, the device is difficult to use, and not everyone can use the device, are often made to allow the manufacturer a way of blaming the operator for the device’s failure to work.”

International Reports Attest 

The NIJ report on explosive detectors only features half a page about these products… and the title starts with “WARNING”.

Based on the US Navy and the US government related SANDIA laboratory reports, this equipment can’t even detect a highly relevant amount of explosives even if it were right next to it!

On the other hand, the United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal had a similar conclusion: “The handheld SNIFFEX explosives detector does not work.”

In Lebanon  

I was quite revolted reading this claim found on a Lebanese based company’s website (I refrain from mentioning its name for ethical purposes):

“The range of detection is around 50 meters with obstacles and up to 650 meters in outdoor parking lots, the unit can also detect explosives submerged in water or buried underground. Detection from a hovering helicopter is also possible.”

When will the time come for Lebanese authorities and companies to hold their share of responsibility and accountability in this matter?

Especially given that real explosive detectors do exist.

While the Syndicate of Safety and Security Professionals in Lebanon were clear in their stance against this product, and tried their best to put an end to it; the government took no action against it.

…and the public remains blatantly unaware regarding the dangers they face.

Youmna Zod is a blogger and LBC Blogs contributor. She received her Masters in Marketing at Grenoble Ecole de Management. She currently works at Zod Security. You can find her musing on marketing on her blog


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Let’s name the storm, shall we? Mon, 07 Jan 2013 09:50:10 +0000 lbcblog All around the world, whenever a storm strikes a name is given…It helps identify or dub the otherwise hostile phenomenon to something endearing or amicable. For instance Sandy or Katrina were names given to the latest super-storms that hit the US. But in Lebanon, as always, we turn “tragedy” to comedy…So let’s join forces and think of a name for this storm!

But first some pics, random tweets and comments:

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