The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Finally Makes It To Lebanon

A couple years ago, we were being taught almost everything there is to know about neurology as part of our medical education. There are countless diseases to be feared and to hope the patients who wander our clinics don’t have, we were told. There’s one, however, that was so severe and yet had so little information known about it that it was simply brushed upon: you will rarely see this, they were told.

I saw it the following month.

I come from a family where ALS is present. I’ve had two family members die in the past few years because of it, the last of whom passed away two years ago. I saw him waste away in front of his family and children, eventually becoming unable to move. Death came upon him before he couldn’t breathe without assistance. At his funeral, his sister told me his fate was kind. Others were not as lucky. He left behind a boy at the brink of graduation and a girl at the bring of school age.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been inundated – literally and figuratively – with videos of people dumping ice water on their heads. The cataclysmic shift from complete obscurity when it comes to ALS to having the disease front and center in the spotlight has caused donations for research purposes to jump several folds. Latest estimates have donations at $4 million in July, up from $1.2 million in the same period last year.

I’ve also seen people complain about how that water can be used in Africa, going about those typical monologues that we hear so often. I’ve seen people complain about how some are doing the ice bucket challenge more for fun than for donations, but does it even matter? The more people dump ice water on themselves, the more people become aware of a disease that has been so rarely spoken about and has had so little research done about it compared to other neurological diseases. You’ve all heard of MS, which stands for multiple sclerosis. MS has J.K. Rowling in the forefront of those donating its research since her mother had it. The most famous person with something similar to ALS is Stephen Hawking.

With videos from a whole lot of celebrities, the ice bucket challenge fever is beginning to come into Lebanon. Tripoli’s Hallab were the first to undergo the challenge, in a YouTube video that they just published for everyone to see. They subsequently challenged Roadster Diner, Zaatar w Zeit, and Crepaway to undergo the same thing.

Almaza has also done their own ice bucket challenge, in a different from than what’s being thrown around:

Ice bucket challenge - Almaza

I give it a couple of days before people start complaining about those dumping ice water on their heads with the water shortage Lebanon is going through this summer, but that didn’t stop a group of Lebanese from already making fun of the lack of water this summer:

Either way, I hope this also serves as a way for Lebanese society to become more acquainted with ALS, and to become engaged – even if in a little way – in the global move to make it known and actively fought.

I hope both Hallab and Almaza donated money as well to the research process. In case you want to donate, click here.

The best ice bucket challenge you will watch, however, isn’t that of Carrie Underwood, Oprah, Tim Cook or whatever other celebrity you’ve seen around. It’s the following one. Watch it until the very end.

Fadel Shaker Wants To Fight in Syria

I find it very hard to believe this is the same man who, a few years ago, was busy churning out hits about romance and love. Looking at him now, singing about love is the furthest thing from what I’d expect.

Fadel Shaker, currently serving as Ahmad el Assir’s right-hand, wants to fight for the honor of Muslim women in Syria. Therefore, he wants your support and money. He even has an email.

I’d write a line about the need for jihad calls in Syria emanating out of Lebanon to be illegal. But that would defeat the purpose seeing as Hezbollah is fighting with one side while Sunni extremists are fighting with another. And this isn’t really about the message behind Fadel Shaker’s message as much as it is about the radicalization of this former pop-star who now sends greetings to Sunni Muslims and only Sunni Muslims on Twitter, insults the patriarch and bashes anyone who dares criticize his master Ahmad el Assir.

Lebanon’s psychologists, wouldn’t he make a fine specimen for a case study?

 

Thank you Kalim Chidiac for the tip.

The Israeli Aircrafts Invading Lebanon’s Airspace

Israeli warplanes have been invading Lebanon’s airspace ever since I can remember. Most of us are used to them and their sound. Many get angry when they see them patrolling our skies. Others have simply grown accustomed to tuning them out.

What do our governments do regarding those aircrafts? They complain to the U.N. Because that’s the only thing we can do.

Over the past few days, the frequency of the breaches of Lebanon’s airspace by our Southern enemy has been dramatically increasing. The jets have been flying at a lower altitude than usual. And still our country hasn’t done anything. I guess addressing the issue is redundant at this point.

We send out drones. They send out jets. Tit-for-tat.

I have to wonder: how many more breaches of Lebanon’s airspace should happen before our country decides to invest in some anti-aircraft weaponry? Are we waiting till we start digging into our oil and gas reserves for that?

However, I may have found the key element into getting our government up in a fit regarding the breaches. Dear Marwan Charbel, the pilot driving that airplane is gay. Are you sure you want to let him in?

Until then, perhaps we should start advertising our airspace as another touristic attraction? It sure sounds like one.

 

University Crushes Taken To A New Level: Psst App

Psst App

The LAU, USJ, AUB, USEK, NDU & UOB Crushes pages which occupied 95% of our Facebook timelines over the past few weeks have gone to the next level by finding a companion in a new app called: Psst App. Yes, the “psst” is exactly what is said to grab someone’s attention “psst, psst.”

The premise is very simple: You log in through your Facebook account and use the app to talk anonymously to anyone you want, effectively making the possibilities much more diverse than simply talking to someone you like.

So if you have a crush who happens to be a Facebook friend, you can take it to the extra level now and stop posting anonymously about them on your university’s crush or hottie page.

You can add the app via your Facebook account by clicking here or downloading the Android version here. This is gossiping, Lebanon style.

Photoshoot Woes of Lebanese Politicians

Imagine the following scenario: we have an elections date and a law on which those elections will take place. All of our politicians who want to run for parliament are trying to get their beauty sleep before their major pre-electoral photo-shoot. Then, suddenly, they wake up at night with one thought on their mind.

Boutros Harb

  • Boutros Harb: Do I have any white hair? DO I?

Antoine Zahra

  • Antoine Zahra: Damn it, I have to smile. I’ll look constipated one more time.

Gebran Bassil -

  • Gebran Bassil: How do I turn this into a press conference?
  • Whoever’s running with Gebran Bassil: [sleep apnea]

Samer Saadeh

  • Samer Saade: Conservative for Tripoli? Or more liberal pose for Batroun?

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati talks at the Grand Serail, the government headquarters in Beirut

  • Najib Mikati: to point or not to point at all the money that I’m going to use?

Michel Aoun

  • Michel Aoun: WHOEVER’S GOING TO TAKE MY PICTURE WANTS TO ASSASSINATE ME.

Samir-Geagea

  • Samir Geagea: flower or deflower, flower or deflower, flower or deflower? Deflower! Certainly, certainly, certainly.

gilberte-zouein

  • Gilberte Zouein: They’re blowing me, right? My hair, I mean.

Naamtallah Abi Nasr

  • Neamtallah Abi Nasr: I should kiss up to Michel Aoun in my picture right? Bring me his shoes!

Saad Hariri

  • Saad Hariri: Hmm, Paris Eiffel in the background?

Samy Gemayel

  • Samy Gemayel: I need to make my poster better representative of minorities. Is there any unheard of minority in this country?

Ahmad el Assir

  • Ahmad el Assir: I must connect to the non-extremists. I should probably weave my beard.

M

  • Myriam Klink: Antawwww. *chuckles*

sethrida-geagea-

  • Sethrida Geagea: I’m hot.

walid-jumblatt

  • Walid Jumblat: Aley and Chouf are mine. Mine. MINE!

Ziad Baroud

  • Ziad Baroud: Good thing the picture is a portrait.

Oh look at all those people I just offended. But wait – one more politician:

Amir Fakhreddine

Santa Muerte Shrine To Open in Lebanon

Following the outrage of some Lebanese that other Lebanese were outraged at a possible shirtgate involving demonizing a Virgin Mary icon are not aware of well-rooted Mexican folklore, the Mexican embassy, in collaboration with the Lebanese government, will be building a Santa Muerte shrine in the village of DeirBella.

Issuing a brief statement on the matter, the Mexican embassy noted the “overwhelming support” their not-recognized saint has gotten over the past few hours in Lebanon. They were “absolutely dumbfounded” by the well-rooted knowledge of Santa Muerte among the Lebanese populace whereby everyone seems to be quite the expert. “We didn’t know Santa Muerte had so many fans in Lebanon,” they said, “this makes us quite excited about possible culture fusion between the countries.” The embassy was also quite “enthusiastic” about the culture fusion prospect in Lebanese society, à la St. Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving.

“It shouldn’t be exclusive to the Irish and the Americans, now should it?” They said.

A date to celebrate the Day of the Dead is still being debated. They’re not sure if it fits with all the Halloween parties that will take place on October 31st.

The Lebanese government, on the other hand, sees this step as another confirmation of the deep ties between Lebanon and Mexico where a sizable expat population could be found. They find the building of the Santa Muerte shrine will strengthen the relation between the two countries, giving both expats and Lebanese residents a taste of Mexican lore. The government noted the choice of location as somewhere that has a Spanish flare in its name so Santa Muerte feels right at home.

Seeing as Santa Muerte is not recognized by both the Catholic Church and the Mexican Catholic Church, both governments have teamed up with country-gone-pop singer Taylor Swift in order to record an anthem taking a jab at the inadequacy of the Catholic Church and the ignorance of those who don’t know Santa Muerte outside of its natural habitat. The initial leaked lyrics read the following:

I remember when Pope Francis was elected, last month
We said this is it, now’s our shot
Cause like he wasn’t wearing a fancy robe
When he waved his one Argentinian hand
Then he came around again and said
Minions, Santa Muerte will not be recognized ever
And all of you have to deal with it
God Bless those who don’t know it exists.

Oh, Santa Muerte called me up last night and said
The Catholic Church and I are never ever ever getting together
We are never ever ever getting together
They can talk to their minions, talk to their friends, talk to me
But the Catholic Church and I are never ever ever getting together
Like, ever!

We are not entirely sure about the hit potential of the above song but rumor has it Najwa Karam was enlisted to write the accomagnying Arabic version. Her latest tweets have all been of the anthem’s possible lyrics: “Albi fata7, seret shouf, Santa Muerte ejet.”

Meanwhile, research is underway at the American University of Beirut between psychologist Thomas Renecamp and philosopher Patrick Henderson. This rare collaboration between these often-diverging sciences is centered around the peculiar reaction that was observed following ShirtGate whereby Lebanese people established a duality of freedom of expression. They are trying to understand the dynamics behind calling other people ignorant and condescending because of a simple disagreement of opinion. “Freedom of expression seems to go only one way only in Lebanon,” Henderson said. “If your opinion isn’t that of the cool people, then your opinion is automatically relegated to something subpar compared to the other self-proclaimed wise men and women.”

They are also working on a hierarchy of ignorance whereby different levels of the entity will be categorized as they have found the term to be thrown around very loosely.
“Not sure if an English word or a prostitute,” professor Renecamp was heard saying in typical German candidness.

If you feel like participating in their research, you can email TR8656@aub.edu.lb and PH7.13@aub.edu.lb.

The Maronite and Catholic Churches in Lebanon have yet to take any measures due to the Patriarch being on a European road trip for the next month and a half.
The shrine in question is set to open on April 31st, 2013.