Lady Gaga Coming to Lebanon for Byblos 2012 Festival Concert?

The newest rumor circulating around is that Lady Gaga has decided to take the whole “Lebanon” references of her songs to the next level and actually show up in the country for a concert at the Byblos 2012 Festival, as part of The Born This Way Ball.

I can already hear the shrieks of the little monster echoing all the way to New York (or wherever she may be).

The Byblos 2012 Festival has hosted many internationally recognized artists like Scorpions and 30 Seconds to Mars. But perhaps the most “in” artist it will host, if this turns out true, is Lady Gaga.

Will the arena be big enough for all the people who want to go? I don’t think so. Prepare for some serious black market prices if you cannot snatch your tickets early.

Will you be going? Or are you, like me, not tempted by the whole thing?


Earth Hour in Lebanon


Observing Earth Hour in Lebanon begs the question: what’s the point?
And if you think about it, there isn’t any. How so?

Well for starters, half of the country will forcibly go dark at Earth Hour. Yes, electricity shortages will hit. It defeats the purpose of voluntarily switching off your lights for an hour when you’re involuntarily going through the process every day. And not just for one hour.

We also have a gas prices crisis so you know people aren’t going around like they used to. It’s just so expensive to go that kilometer by car nowadays. So we walk instead. It’s greener, healthier and we get to enjoy the beauty of our urbanized mountains.

Moreover, we’ve had the rotten meat fiasco lately. So many people have drastically decreased their intake of the substance, thereby going greener – literally. And you know “green” food is more eco-friendly than cows and goats.

So for all matters and purposes, our carbon footprint has been rendered so meaningless that it would register as a statistical error in studies. Everyday in Lebanon is Earth Day. We should receive a medal for it.
I, for one, am not turning off my lights for the hour of grid-connection I get. I have them turned off for the other 23.

A New “Fatwa”: Women Can Masturbate!

Insane religious zealots – the gift that keeps giving and giving. Hilarious stuff that is. My friend Agnès shared this with me yesterday:

All the way from Morocco, sheikh Abdel Bary Al Zamzami has allowed women to masturbate using carrots, bottles & sexual objects (dildos). The sheikh in question is also premissive towards nechrophilia.

The reasoning behind his latest declaration? Apparently scientists back in the days allowed women who were late for marriage to masturbate using carrots and bottles to satisfy their need without damaging their honor, making their sexual need akin to hunger.

Crazy people are crazy. Al Zamzami is the head of the Moroccan committee for the study of religious text. Who put him in charge, I have no clue.

But yes, women should be overly happy that they can now shove a carrot up their vagina. That should keep their “honor” intact.

AUB Students Flashmob for Syria

Leave it to AUB students to support something creatively.

A group of students calling themselves Students for a Free Syria (SFS) gathered in front of West Hall and held slogans while they enacted some of the atrocities the Syrian regime is committing.

The most poignant slogan, in my opinion, is a quote by Elias Khoury.

“Beirut knows that being silent to a crime is being partner to that crime. And in spite of that, it is silent. People are getting killed by bullets and faces are getting stomped by shoes in the Sham where an entire people is standing up for its pride, freedom and right for life. Sham isn’t far from Beirut. But Beirut is getting farther from itself.”

On a relevant note, you might want to check out this post that a Syrian friend of mine anonymously sent me on the anniversary of the uprising, two weeks ago. “Syria – that painting that had dust settle on its stones, so meticulously built one top of the other, for years is now dusting it off… finally.”

Meet Katniss – No, Not From The Hunger Games

Katniss is my cat. Yes, I got a pet.

A few months back, I was taking a break from the morbidity of an anatomy lab session and a friend and I were discussing pets. He told me he had two persian cats with the female being pregnant. He offered to give me one of the kittens in due time. I gladly accepted.

So until I actually got the kitten, I had to mentally prepare my mother to the idea that we will be having a cat wandering around the house and sleeping in. You see, the major reason why we didn’t have a pet growing up is because my mom, like many other Lebanese moms out there, is a germaphobe. And for years, that reflected on me. I wouldn’t get anywhere near animals.

However, when I went to AUB and got inundated with a torrent of cats everywhere I went, I started to get used to the idea of animals being around. Then my little brother found a white blue-eyed Turkish angora cat, which we named Minet. Minet was deaf. It did nothing but sleep and eat all day. Around february 2008, however, Minet disappears. It transpires that someone had poisoned her. A sad day, indeed.

This is Minet. RIP.

This time, however, I cached in the “little brother abroad” card with my mom to let me keep Katniss, the cat my friend gave me, inside. I actually went for the first time ever to buy cat food and litter. The little fur ball didn’t like tuna and sardines. Even the cat is worried about rotten food, apparently.

I’ve spent the last few days training Katniss to use the litter box and get acquainted with her food.  It’s a work in progress. But Katniss is now following me wherever I go, so that must mean I’m doing something right. Right?

And over the course of these past 4 days, guess who’s the person that has gotten the most entertained by Katniss? Yes, you guessed it. My mom. She called me the other day to let me know Katniss used the litter box all by herself. A proud moment, apparently.

So since I don’t want to keep you waiting any longer, here’s Katniss.

My brother chose the name and I found it appropriate. Sorry to disappoint you Hunger Games fans.



Lebanon: A State of Sectarianophobia

Two Lebanese go out together to have dinner. They had never met before. They know nothing about each other.
The first looks at the second and asks: “what’s your name?”
The second glares and replies: “why do you want to know? You want to know my sect, don’t you?”
The first is perplexed. Wasn’t someone’s name part of the natural process of knowing that someone? Or asking about their hometown?
How can you know someone if you don’t know a minimum of their basic information?
Well for many Lebanese, if you ask these questions then you’re automatically labeled as sectarian filth.

Our society has gotten so afraid of the idea of sects that we tend to see sects everywhere and cower away from them. No, when someone asks you their name, they don’t always seek out to know know your sect. When someone asks you where you come from, their intention is not to always know your sect. Get over yourself.

Our fear from sects doesn’t stop at that. We also have our stereotypes that we associate with every person, depending on their answer to the previously mentioned questions. A Maroun from Mount Lebanon? He must be one of those people who think France should have stayed here. A Hussein from the South? Hezbollah galore right there. A Omar from Tripoli? Saad, Saad, Saad, Saad, Saad.

We ask ourselves not to be limited by our sects and yet, when it comes to it, we limit each other immediately based on our preconceptions. Have you ever tried to have a heated political debate with a Lebanese who drastically disagrees with you and somehow they ended up blaming your sect for your opinion? It has actually happened to me more than once. Somehow, for many people, the idea of thoughts and a mind independent of your sect does not exist. How could it, right? Sects are to blame for everything in the country.

There’s traffic? Blame the sectarian system. There’s electricity outages? Blame the sectarian system. There’s water shortage? The sects must be overly drinking. We are so hell-bent on finding a scapegoat to blame for everything that we have managed to turn sects into monsters hurting our society like nothing else has.

Perhaps our main problem as a society is that we are so afraid of the idea of sects that we see it a monstrous thing that needs to be abolished.
At the end of the day, if me asking for your name makes me sectarian, then yes I am.
If me asking for your last name makes me sectarian, then yes I am.
If me asking for your hometown makes me sectarian, then yes I am.
If me not thinking sects are monsters makes me sectarian, then yes I am.
If having political ideas that fit with your sectarian stereotype makes me sectarian, then yes I am.
If me not panicking about the mere mention of sects makes me sectarian, then yes I am.
If my ideology being too extreme for you makes me sectarian, then yes I am.

Yes, I am sectarian. But I’ve got news for you… so are you.