Vaccinate Your Children Against Polio Starting Tomorrow

The Lebanese ministry of Public Health is starting a massive polio vaccination campaign tomorrow. As I’m currently rotating in pediatrics, I’ve seen a lot of parents who are unaware of the vaccine, who are having second thoughts about giving it to their children and who have not given the vaccine much thought to begin with.

Why You Should Care:

With the increasing influx of Syrian refugees, Lebanon is at an increased risk of a resurgence of diseases that we thought had long died off in the country, second to successful campaigns, such as polio.
Because the Syrian refugees in the country are uncontrolled, we cannot ascertain the disease load they’re bringing with them as as such we have to be extra careful with our children’s well being.

Poliomyelitis is a viral infection that can leave your kid paralyzed. Why take the risk?

Why You Should Spread The Word:

Polio vaccines are in two forms: an oral form and an inactivated injectable form. Both have 100% efficiency. The latter has no side effects while the former has a side effect that happens at about 1 in 2.4 million. The form that will most probably be employed in the campaign is the oral form and this provides the country with something that is called herd immunity and is actually able to help the children that have not be vaccinated.

How?

Herd immunity is basically the following: when people in a setting are all incapable of catching a disease and therefore spreading it, those who are not vaccinated will be protected by default. In case of the oral polio vaccine, the vaccine gets excreted by the child and can be transferred to other children. Therefore, the more you spread the word and the more children get vaccinated, the more the country will be protected.

Consult Your Pediatrician:

Your doctors are there to help you. Many of you have most probably had their children take the polio vaccine already but if you have any doubt on the matter, consult your pediatrician and ask them what to do. They will be more than helpful given that they are active components of the campaign set forth by the ministry of health.

I know this isn’t the regular stuff you’d expect from this blog but I find this matter of utmost importance and I hope you find that is the case as well.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 Begins Oscar Campaign

Well, not officially. I’m pretty sure that’s going on behind the scenes. But fans over at Potterish have come up with this awesome poster in preparation for the Oscar season, which the final movie of the Harry Potter series is part of, featuring the Oscar statuette holding the Elder wand.

You know, the year is almost up and I know most award-worthy movies are still waiting to be released but nothing has come close to how great Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 has been. You can read my review here.

In the meantime, check the fanmade poster in support for Harry Potter’s best picture quest:

Well, accio oscar!

AUB Purposefully Losing Its Identity

Whenever you recite the following Bible verse: “that they may have life and have it abundantly” in Lebanon, the first thing that comes to a person’s mind is the country’s most prestigious educational facility: the American University Of Beirut.

The moment you walk into AUB’s campus, you are striken by how different it is from the city in which it is found. It’s a piece of land inside Beirut where buildings are, unlike their Beiruti counterparts, being preserved, where trees grow freely (and where cats roam without being disturbed). College Hall, the building that first welcomes you when you enter through AUB’s Main Gate was totally destroyed in a bombing that targeted it in the 1990s. However, the university rebuilt it exactly as it was. AUB was an example of cherishing legacy in a country that is running away from its past as fast as it could do so.

Next to College Hall is a building that looks like a chapel. It has the Protestant architecture of a chapel. It even has an Organ inside. And to make its original purpose even less inconspicuous, it has a Cross on its roof. However, what used to be a church was transformed into what is today AUB’s Assembly Hall – a place where students gather for commencement, concerts, etc…

The change that “Assembly Hall” faced was considered as the ultimate change in the face of AUB, previously known as the Syrian Protestant College, which was founded in 1866 by American missionaries Daniel Bliss and Henry Jesup.

AUB today is a secular campus in a country that is striving to attain a secular situation. It is a place where people from all sects and religions can attend and expect to obtain the best level of education that Lebanon has to offer – and that is a great amount. However, no one expected the decision taken by the AUB administration to change the university’s most famous slogan into one that does not have any religious affiliation.

Yes, the verse “that they may have life and have it more abundantly” will apparently be changed into some other phrase, as part of the university’s new marketing campaign – to “better the university image”.

The questions beg themselves. Does the AUB administration think the current reputation AUB has cannot withstand the fact that its founders chose a very poignant Bible verse to anoint the university with? Do they really think AUB benefits from anything that takes away of its 150 years of history, let alone a meaningless campaign to attract more students, one that will be forgotten in a few months? And do they really think that the current AUB image is improved by changing the verse that is written on its Main Gate as a way to tell all the ultimate purpose of attending the university?

AUB is slowly eating away at what makes it a special beacon in Lebanon and the Middle East. AUB used to be a revolutionary facility where scholastic evolution merged with a sense of historical belonging. It looks like the strings of this sense of belonging are being slowly chipped away by the lure of more dollars flowing in to an already overflown treasury.

You’d think what has already taken place at AUB regarding the separation of religion from the university is enough. The steps taking place today can be described as a form of administrative theophobia.

The improvement of AUB’s image does not start by removing the phrase that would make any AUB student proud to hear. It starts by improving the university programs to a point where they can compete better with universities abroad. It starts with giving us better labs, where we can stretch our wings a little outside the tiny boxes in which we are bound by professors whose knowledge in their courses has been hampered by their sense of megalomania and it starts by getting down from the high-horse this administration has fabricated around itself and realizing that, if AUB continues on the path it’s on, the only way to go is down.

Dear Hezbollah, I Am Not Israeli

While going back to my hometown today, I was surprised to see counter ads to the ones spread by the March 14 forces.

This is a picture I found online of one of those ads:

For those who can’t read Arabic, this reads as:

[The people want our arms surrendered]

And Israel wants our arms surrendered as well

The Islamic Resistance

The apparent meaning of this is quite clear: They want to make people notice that Lebanon’s mortal enemy *gasp* is supportive of the agenda that the protest on Sunday is adopting.

But if you think a little deeper about it, this is Hezbollah’s way of inferring that Israel might be behind this movement.

I hate to break Hezbollah’s bubble again, but Lebanese people wanting its arms to be surrendered sometimes goes beyond Israel’s existent wishes. Sure, Hezbollah being weaponless is inside Israel’s wishing scope, but the Lebanese people have gotten fed up with Hezbollah flaunting its arms left and right. This is a case of: If you got it, DO NOT flaunt it.

In addition to that, Hezbollah is also launching a counter-campaign on Facebook titled: “Mbala”, which is Lebanese for “Yes”. Yes for what? Let us see.

According to Hezbollah, we’re supposed to go down to the streets to support it and say yes to its arms because these arms have:

- returned our pride and glory,

- have liberated our land,

- have protected our families and us.

I would have gladly given those three points to them without even thinking twice about it had the date been March 11th 2001, a few months after South Lebanon was liberated from Israeli forces. However, 10 years later, where do we stand from this?

- Because of Hezbollah’s arms, I had to stay home for two weeks in 2008 because they decided to go into a near-civil strife rampage in Beirut, just because they felt like it.

- Because of Hezbollah, my family’s vote in the last parliamentary elections, against it and its allies, has basically been equated with junk. Why’s that? Because they decided on one Tuesday to send out its personnel, dressed out in black to the streets of Beirut, reminding everyone of the aforementioned point, basically telling everyone that we can do whatever we want whenever we want and there’s nothing you can do about it.

- Because of Hezbollah, our economic boom that started in late 2005 got reversed into a severe economic breakdown when Hezbollah iniated the 2006 war against Israel. Yes, Hezbollah was the main cause of that war and hiding from this fact will not change it.

So how did you, dear Hezbollah, protect me and my family since 2001? Against a war that you initiated? It was your obligation after all. Did you return my pride when you paraded around my university campus with your allies killing people left and right just because those people you killed decided to oppose you? And what land did you liberate since 2001? And do you honestly think you could have even liberated South Lebanon if Israel hadn’t been pushed into implementing U.N. Resolution 425?

As far as I’m concerned, all of this boils down to you and your arms becoming more or less useless. It’s the harsh truth, but it needs to be said. And you want people to come down on March 20th to support you? Is this your way of retaliating to those whose only reason of going down to the streets in 2 days is you attempting to suppress their voices?

Yes, we are going on March 13th. And if I hadn’t been 100% convinced, I am more than convinced now. Why’s that? Because the amount of hypocrisy in this country has become unsupportable and Hezbollah wears the hypocritical mantle with the best possible fashion.

They equate you with being a traitor or an Israeli-supporter whenever they feel threatened. And they’re a bunch of tyrants as much as Israel is. So to them we say, we are not Israelis. We are pure Lebanese, whose minds are only for Lebanon.

So on March 13th, let us all go down as a testimony of our belief that Lebanon will never prosper under a mandate of unlawful arms is unacceptable. Martyr’s Square will be our testimony on Sunday

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