Adeela & Why The Fans Of Nancy Ajram, Elissa, Other Divas Need To Be Less Butthurt With Jokes

Picture this, a sarcastic joke making fun of a Lebanese pop star ends up threatening one of the biggest and funniest pages to grace Lebanese and Arab Facebook.

Over the past few months, and in lightning-speed time, the sarcastic page calling itself “Adeela,” referring to the world’s biggest pop star Adele, was as famous in these parts of the world as the character it’s based on.

What started of as jokes placing a hypothetical Adele in an Arab setting soon became a scathing, sometimes over the top but often always spot on, critique of the state of the Arab pop scene. When Ahlam decided Lebanese were beneath her, Adeela was the first at the guillotines. When Beirut Madinati was running for elections, Adeela was voting for them in full force. The examples are endless.

However, with the evolution of Adeela from an Adele-sarcastic character to an all-seeing basher of Lebanese and Arab female singers, unless they’re called Julia Boutros, the amount of people that started to take offense at Adeela’s jokes started to rise exponentially.

It wasn’t that the jokes attacked their mother or father or religion – gasp – or family.

It wasn’t that the jokes were offensive in themselves to those people’s character.

No. Those people were so butthurt by a joke… about their favorite singing Diva, and at their forefront is the legions of fans of Nancy Ajram, Elissa and Maya Diab who almost managed to get Facebook to shut down Adeela’s page earlier today.

The sad part is that it’s more than likely their respective “Goddesses” couldn’t care less about being joked about. In these parts of the world, any publicity is good publicity. It’s not like Adeela making fun of a singer on Facebook is a Kim-Kardashian-Exposing-Taylor-Swift moment. And yet, the amount of offense that some people take at creative, and yet ultimately useless, jokes is beyond unacceptable.

Some of the jokes are as follows, as you can see few are those about whom there were no jokes:

Isn’t that the Arab way of doing things, though, so when someone “offends” you, your reflex to deal with that person is to silence them? It must be engrained in Arab DNA.

The picture that threatened the existence of Adeela’s page yesterday was the following:

Adeela Nancy Ajram Chicco

There’s really nothing to it. It makes fun of how Nancy Ajram seems to find her way as a spokesperson for everything in the Middle East. It was reported to Facebook as “offensive content and propagating pedophilia.” The extent some people go to is unbelievable.

So to the “fanzet” who think that jokes are something worth getting up in a fit about:

How about you make chill pills part of your daily routine? Why don’t you do some mental exercises to somehow boost your mental capacities to someone who doesn’t take personal offense at a joke targeting someone who will never be affected by it and who doesn’t relate to you in any way other than you fangirling over them releasing a song after Eid el Fitr?

The fact of the matter is we need pages like Adeela in these parts of the world, not only to serve as a much-needed comic relief that never borders on the cliche, but also to maybe, just maybe, shake some sense into our over-botoxed, over-stretched, over-faked scene. Who knows, maybe the next Arab revolution is not about changing political systems but reducing lip fillers?

Let’s Help 56 Year Old Rozine Moughalian Get The Liver Transplant That Would Save Her Life

Rozine Moughalian is a 56 year old mother of two from Bourj Hammoud and if she doesn’t get a liver transplant within a month, Rozine will be no more. This is as simple as that statement could be formulated.

Over the past three months, Mrs. Moughalian developed subacute liver failure. Doctors have not yet been able to identify a cause but her condition has deteriorated so fast that the only cure for her is a liver transplant operation, one that no hospitals in Lebanon can do.

As such, in order to save her life, Rozine’s Moughalian’s daughter, Catherine, turned to the only entity that she knew had the power to save her mother: us. This is not the time to disappoint.

We have less than 10 days to raise the required hefty amount to ensure that Mrs. Moughalian is covered for the operation and all its associated expenses. I believe we can do this. A couple of years ago, we all got together and pitched in to give my friend Simon a fighting chance at beating his leukemia. Let’s do the same for Rozine, a psychologist and a mother, who still has plenty to give to her family, her country and herself.

We should not let Rozine be the victim of the Lebanese condition, where only those who are rich enough can access healthcare while those who can’t pay up wait for their souls to be reaped. This is not how things should be and we should not allow it. Minister Wael Faour, if you or your people happen to read this, it is your duty as a minister of health to make sure that citizens like Rozine, who at times like these need governmental assistance the most, to get it and have a fighting chance at life. This is as important as ensuring coverage for those above 64 years of age.

Donate here.

The following is a statement from Catherine Moughalian, Rozine’s daughter:

My mom, Rozine Moughalian, is a 56 year-old psychologist and mother of two. She lives in Bourj Hammoud, an area that has been recently piled with garbage and darkened by black smoke from burning trash. In the last three months, my mom developed subacute liver failure, which doctors were unable to diagnose and suspect possible drug or toxin exposure. The condition developed quickly, and mom went from working three jobs two months ago to being hospitalized with a terminal condition today. She is currently in need of a liver transplant without delay (within the next two weeks).

It is an extremely difficult process to find donors and secure funds in such a short period of time. So, due to bureaucratic procedures and time constraints, she can’t receive a liver transplant in Lebanon and it was recommended by doctors that she be transferred abroad for proper assessment and treatment. We are currently aiming for transferring her to Iran or India, these being the cheapest options. France was also an option earlier but it costs double what the surgery would cost in Iran or India.

Mom does not have the money for such a surgery, and she doesn’t have access to free quality healthcare. We need to raise at least 200,000 USD by the end of the month to be able to fund her surgery or it will be too late.

I find it absurd that my mom won’t get to live out the month because we can’t afford the money or a donor. She has the right to access free medical care, she has the right to get appointments with doctors without wasta, and the right to be admitted into the hospital at the expense of the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) without having to wait a day in the ER while we make the “right calls to the right people.”

In a country where our basic rights are not available, or only available to a select few, sticking together is more of a basic need than duty. If you feel you can donate, any amount will bring us closer to the goal of keeping my mom alive.

I understand if you can’t donate, but please share this message with people who you think can help, either financially or by pointing us to people who have had a similar experience and can help with procedures and logistics.

I urge you to gather your resources as I am gathering mine. Thank you for reading this.

In solidarity,

Catherine Moughalian

If you have means of helping other than donations please contact me:

catherine.moughalian@gmail.com 961 3 098 817

Three Men Raped A 16 Year Old Girl From Tripoli… But They Won’t Go To Jail

Welcome to the land of where the value of women is contingent upon the flap of skin resting at the precipice of their vagina, where their rights are fluctuating based on the mood of the men that enable them and where our girls are taught, from the moment they open their eyes, that them being the second sex does not invoke otherness but rather rank.

A few days ago, in the Northern city that I love, a 16 year old girl was a victim of the Lebanese condition three times.

She was the victim of this sex but no sex country, where the level of repression we instill in our people is so high that some find the only way to release is to violate other people’s sanctity. That girl was violated by three men in one of Tripoli’s suburban areas.

Her ordeal did not end there, however. Following the breaking of the news, Lebanon’s media saw it best not only to discuss her ordeal at length, but to give out her full name for everyone to read, to diffuse and to memorize. Not only was this helpless, violated woman a victim of the barbaric horny men who saw her body as nothing more than a piece of meat, she was also victimized by a media system that saw her horror as nothing more than an opportunity for them to title their articles and news reports with: “in names, in pictures and in video.”

And then she became the victim of a judicial and political system that will now see the men that violated her go out of jail, with the only thing about them harmed being their ego that has been bruised, not that would matter because, at the end of the day, they will remain men with penises that can fuck whichever vagina they please and she will remain a girl who has lost that flap of skin and as such is relegated to another level of human worth.

The father of the girl in question dropped the charges under the pretext that his daughter had consensual sex with the aforementioned men. Yes, because the story that she was actually raped is just so hard to believe so it’s spun, under pressure from all kinds of kinds, into a story in which she wanted to have three men take turns on her, not that it matters because one marriage proposal would’ve fixed this in the eyes of the law anyway.

Yes, it’s easier to believe that the girl whose rights are being violated the same way her body was willingly had sex with three men than to believe the three men that had her are being backed by a certain political side in Tripoli to make sure they get out of this unharmed.

Yes, it’s easier for three men to rape a woman in Lebanon, leave her bruised, with traumatic memories to last her a life time, than it is for me to name the politician in question in this piece, or in the hypothetical scenario of tweeting something bad about that fictional Lebanese president of ours. We sure have our priorities sorted out people.

It’s easier for people in our country to believe that this woman had consensual sex than to believe she was raped. It’s easier for people to make up all kinds of excuses than to look at what happened right in the face and try to advance our society a little bit forward. It’s not what she’s wearing. It’s not how she’s acting. It’s not related to anything about her except that she did not want to have sex, and yet she was forced to.

Welcome to the country where the husband of Manal Assi, who murdered her in cold blood in domestic abuse, gets less jail time than someone caught smoking pot. I have no words. I hope one day the girl in question finds a state of mind in which she can sleep at night.

Lebanon Panics As It Faces Wave of Pokémon Refugees

Pokemon Go

With the advent of “Pokemon Go,” Google and Nintendo’s latest advent into the mobile gaming industry, Lebanese were dumbfounded to find their home country becoming, overnight, a playground for creatures they had thought were long gone from their memory by now.

Home to around 4 million people, this small Mediterranean country now houses over 2 million refugees. As its boundaries are overtaken by Pokemon, security officials are scrambling to make sense of the situation, while calls to strengthen border control remain ever present. Lebanese minister of foreign affairs was overheard saying, according to sources, that the situation has become “unbearable” and that “heida yalli ken ba3d na2esna, ya ma7la yalli ablon.”

The sentiment is echoed in Lebanese streets. An Achrafieh resident who preferred to remain anonymous angrily breathed into my recorder saying “enough is enough! We dealt with those Syrians and Palestinians thinking that was it. But those colored things? What is this? Do they think we’re Japan? Thank God that Vogue reporter was here before those creatures arrived!”

Numbers indicate that most of the Pokemon in question have taken up residence in the area stretching from Downtown Beirut, up to around Jbeil, or what is referred to in Lebanese colloquial terms as “Jabal Lebnen, ard l soumoud wel 3onfouwen.”

“When will MTV or LBC or any other Christian outlet discuss this horrifying rampage?” Joseph, a resident of the Keserwani city of Jounieh, was heard saying. “The threat to our Christian areas is increasing by the moment. ISIS is at our border. You’ve seen what they just did in Nice! The Syrians are here and those leftists hang you if you say anything. But now those Pokemon are among us, and next thing you know those Pikachu will be taking our jobs in electricity, among other things. Is this acceptable? We fought all kinds of barbaric invaders to stay here, it’s like they want us to leave!”

His friend Georges agreed, further saying: “How will we keep our lands now? It’s been horrible enough to try and prevent sales to others. The Lebanese government needs to intervene, this is a matter of national security.”

Pokemon Go is an app whereby, using augmented reality, the real world becomes filled with those Pokemons we grew up watching. In order to catch them all, you need to walk around your neighborhoods and city, wait until those creatures contact you, and try to capture them. The goal is to become the master of all those Pokemon and to hold as many gyms for your team as you can.

“If Sheikh Saad wants us to host these Pokemon, then we will.” Omar from Tarik El Jdide commented. “Bass beine w beinak, l wad3 ma ba2a ye7mol.”

Beirut’s leftists, on the other hand, are having a field day trying to quench the Lebanese desire to assault the Pokemons and establish curfews. “Municipalities want to register them, enforce curfews upon them, and we’ve also received intel that some municipality officers have lined up those Pokemon for illegal questioning. Pokemon rights need to be respected above all. This kind of hateful attitude towards these creatures seeking refuge in our country is unacceptable,” Alaa Sabhani, a prominent activist went on record saying.

Alaa’s colleague, Ramez, further added to the aforementioned point saying: “We have to grasp and appropriate the level of horror that these minorities are withstanding in our communities. What have we become other than soulless creatures roaming around this capitalist corrupt imperialistic-designed piece of land they call a country?”

Further South, Hussein Nasrallah was adamant about Hezbollah’s readiness to fight this invasion: “If we need to go all the way to Japan to stop them from coming here, we will.”

The image up North is entirely different, however. While the majority of Pokemon decided to take up residence in Mount Lebanon and the Greater Beirut area, crossing the Madfoun towards Batroun and Tripoli reveals nothing more than a perfectly deserted land.

“Honestly, who gives a shit,” Ismail – from Tripoli – went on record saying. “But at least now people in the country are more worried about that than Tripoli’s municipal council not having any Christians.”

Indeed, similar to their real-life counterpart, North of the Madfoun is an area devoid of Pokemon or facilities in which those Pokemon could train, eat or do what it is that those Pokemon do. When Niantic, the Google subsidiary responsible for the app was contacted, their reply was as follows: “What is Lebanon and why are you concerned about its North?”

Foreign journalists are flocking into the country to report on the matter as well. “I’m so glad to be given new material,” Justin Jones, a reporter for the New York Times was overheard saying at one of the overpriced pubs he was paid to visit in Beirut. “This Lebanese joie de vivre cannot be more correlated and exquisitely manifested than with these wonderful new additions to their country.” Rumors say he was romantically involved with a Jigglypuff.

Of course, the Lebanese joie de vivre is best exemplified by the lala-landers of the country who couldn’t remotely care. “Ben oui, j’pense que they aghe totally adoghable! Main’ant I have captured a Squirtle. J’aime squirting. C’est tres in!”

How will Lebanon handle the continuing influx of Pokemon into its land? Time will tell.

Those Bomb Detectors Still Used In Lebanese Malls Didn’t Save 280 People In Iraq

Bomb detector fraud Lebanon

Security at Lebanese malls is like the ups and downs of alternative electrical currents. Whenever the situation in the country or around us becomes worse, if that’s even possible, you see them create all kinds of new methods to make sure your car doesn’t have explosives.

The common fixture, among all Lebanese malls, is those handheld detectors they keep on using. We’ve been saying for years that those detectors don’t work, and the horrifying tragedy of Iraq last year was proof enough: 280 people have lost their lives at a mall because those detectors didn’t capture an explosives-ridden vehicle.

And yet, Lebanese malls still use them like scripture.

The same detectors we are using have been the same ones failing to detect bombs all over Iraq for years. Vanity Fair reports that it was as early as 2009 when those pesky devices proved their uselessness as they failed to detect a van carrying 1800 kilograms of explosives, killing around 150 people next to a governmental building.

Those bomb detectors bought by Iraqi government, as well as security personnel from a dozen government around the world, were devised by American and British con-artists who made millions off of their sales. The gadgets started off as a game, and have been modified to look more security-appropriate, and given fancy names.

And yet, they still never worked. The device remained absurd and useless. Yet, it was bought like candy.

The list of apparatuses that bought the device include:

  • The Lebanese Army,
  • Mexican Army,
  • Belgian police,
  • Mövenpick Hotel group in Bahrain,
  • Romanian government,
  • Georgian government,
  • Various countries such as Jordan, Qatar, KSA, Syria, UAE, Iran, Kenya, Tunisia, etc…

The device was tested by the F.B.I, as well as British intelligence. Both declared it a fraud, and governments still bought it. The person that made them was convicted for fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison. And yet, the devices he sold have proven to be extremely difficult to remove out of the market.

Was it piece of mind they gave? Perhaps people felt at ease thinking that their cars being “scanned” by an antenna that moved by gravity?

Despite of the mounting evidence against them, including an attack in Karachi just last year, those same devices, which have failed to save thousands of lives they pretend they should have saved, are still used en masse at Lebanese malls.

You go to ABC, and you go through a metal detector before you are met with that antenna. You go to LeMall, and it’s the same thing all over again. City Centre, CityMall, the list goes on.

I’ve also gotten the same security measures when I visited Amman around 8 months ago. It’s probably a Middle Eastern thing.

You go to those malls believing their measures will keep you as safe as you can be in a place as crowded, in a country as teetering on the age of a Middle Eastern political volcano. Few of us think we are endangering our lives by counting on those devices, and yet here we are.

Today, two hundred and eighty people in Iraq were in our shoes last week. They didn’t think going to a mall to buy gifts and clothes for Eid would get them killed, that it would be the last thing they did especially that they got searched, and their cars scanned, and everything that should have prevented that bomb from killing them actually took place.

So where do we go now? Public awareness is key. Those detectors are not protecting you. They are not detecting cars with explosives entering those malls you are visiting. The only thing they’re doing is take up your time for utterly useless reasons.

Lebanese malls, it’s time to invest in measures that actually work if you actually care about protecting your customers. Get on it.

 

Victims, Not Threats: The Massacred In Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, Yemen Are Not Terrorists For Hateful Rhetoric

Meet Adel Al-Jaf. He also calls himself Adel Euro, so you might know him by that. He was a rapper, a dancer and a man who tried to do the best that he could with what he had in his country. Last year, Adel said he was lucky enough to narrowly escape an explosion in Baghdad so he could dance again. This time, Adel was not as lucky.

Adel Euro Adel Al-Jaf

He is one of the 200 people in Iraq who, instead of buying Eid gifts these days as Eid el Fitr comes tomorrow, are buying coffins for their loved ones.

In the blink of an eye, an explosives-ridden van detonated itself through a busy shopping mall in Baghdad. Two hundred families, as a result, lay shattered, maimed, beyond repair, beyond the ability to heal.

It’s become way too easy to dismiss the deaths of those two hundred innocent people as just another thing that happens in *those* parts of the world, in a country (like Iraq) where suicide bombs are an every day occurrence.

But it’s not. And even if it is, the normalization of their tragedy makes the brutality of reality even more horrific. These were people, just like a regular American or European – because we all know your worth is higher the whiter your skin is – who could have been going to the Mall to buy their children and loved ones Christmas gifts.

And yet today, the Eiffel tower didn’t light up to remember them as it did yesterday to commemorate France’s victory in a football game. Even Burj el Arab, which remembered the victims of Brussels and Paris, while failing to remember the massacred of Beirut and Istanbul, couldn’t care less about the brutality of what took place less than 2 hours away. I guess keeping up with the westernized value of human lives is more befit of the image Dubai wants to give itself, so who are we to judge?

Today, those two hundred people that were brutally massacred as they went about their daily lives in Iraq are considered terrorists to be by many. The forty that died in Beirut almost 8 months ago are also considered as such. The hundreds of thousands that died and are dying in Syria are nothing but pests who have, thankfully, not encroached on the holiness of Western values, and so are the people of Yemen.

Good riddance, Donald Trump and his supporters would say. They had it coming, the far right across the world would point its finger and blurt out. And to those people, at the wake of my region being burned once again partly because of the repercussions of the actions of their people, I can’t but say: the only terrorist is you.

Sarah Sadaka, an Arab living in the United States, was going to a Best Buy store today. She went into that store speaking on her phone in Arabic, only to be circled by a woman who made it clear that her presence, her skin, her language made her uncomfortable. No one came to Sarah’s defense: she was just another sand nigger, breathing that free American air on the fourth of July. She did not deserve to have her right as a human being not to be violated that way taken away, she is, after all, only Arab.

Sarah, today, is the living embodiment of what it is to be the victim of terrorism in the United States, except this time it’s the brand championed by the likes of Donald Trump and the people with whom his rhetoric resonates.

When Omar Mateen went to a gay night club in Orlando and killed fifty people, mainstream American media only saw his name Omar as enough reason to justify his actions. He was just another Muslim. He was just another Middle Eastern offended by “our” way of life. Except Omar Mateen did not do so in the name of Islam, he did it in the name of his own insecurities, the insecurities of a man who is afraid of his own sexuality and who is so deluded in his own belief that he’d support two politically opposed factions in Hezbollah and ISIS as vindications for his action.

Omar Mateen’s characterization, and the repercussions that follow it, are a direct result of the kind of terrorism that Arabs and Muslims have to endure at the hands of people like Donald Trump, the Far Right across the world, and the minds that listen to them.

My mother tongue has become synonymous in people’s minds with death. If I speak it on a plane, I become an automatic threat, forced to undergo security checks, apprehended by officials because the words I utter from lips only resonate with fear, even if it’s to say: peace be upon you.

Victims, not threats. The more we are silent towards our murder, our decimation, and our characterization as people who do not deserve to live, the more we perpetuate the notion that people who think of Muslims, Arabs, Middle Easterners and those that live in the area are worth nothing is true. The more we are subdued in not demanding our deaths be remembered, be proclaimed, be cared for, the more our inherent value slips even further, even less than it already is, down an abyss in which the least valuable lives on this planet are Arab lives.

I should not be living in a world where I need to convince a friend of mine not to name his son Abdul Rahman because the name is “too Muslim.” I should not be living in a world where I have to defend myself at my own funeral. I should not be living in a world where the deaths of two hundred Iraqis is considered as just another bleb on the evening news, as they are just a waste of space.

We are people too, and we are worthy of life, one in which two hundred of us do not die at a mall buying new clothes for their children. We are victims, not threats.

 

 

The People Of Al Qaa Were Victims Of Terrorism… While The Government Didn’t Provide Electricity

Qaa Beqaa Lebanon terrorism

The town of Al Qaa in the Beqaa was the scene of a true horror show yesterday as 8 suicide bombers took to its streets to wreck havoc and spread fear among its people.

The town is home for around 2500 Lebanese, mostly Christians, and currently inhabits around 25,000 Syrians who came there seeking refuge from the war taking place in their homes. A few days ago, many didn’t know what Qaa was. Today, it is forever etched in our collective memory as the kind of mayhem that we can easily slip through.

 

Five people died in Qaa yesterday. Learn their names. Look at their faces.

Faysal Aad.

Georges Fares.

Joseph Louis.

Boulos Al Ahmarm.

Majed Wehbe.

Over and over again, the need to see these people as victims and not martyrs couldn’t be higher. These are men who had families they wanted to be there for. None of them wanted to die. The only cause they were partaking in was to live, let live and provide for their families in a town that is forgotten by the government, and by fellow Lebanese, at the outskirts of a country whose Northern border many believe is Kaslik.

Calling them martyrs absolves us of any guilt in their deaths, but we’re all guilty. We’re guilty of accepting areas like the North and the Beqaa to be as deprived as they are, and not bat an eye. We’re guilty of not demanding equality for every Lebanese, no matter how far from Beirut they are. We’re guilty of not demanding our own government take the security of its own people more seriously. We should do more than hashtag Je Suis Qaa or Je Suis Blom Bank and call it a day.

In a land of perpetual ironies, the biggest of those is definitely that Al Qaa was hit with terrorist attacks at night yesterday, four of them to be exact two of which were targeting the Church where many had gathered to plan the funeral of the victims, while the city was cut off the electrical grid.

Picture this: thousands of people in a small town that, a few hours prior, was witnessing the worst suicide bombing since the Civil War, not being able to see where the terrorists were coming from, who they were targeting or where they were fleeing to.

Picture this: thousands of innocent Lebanese, gathering in a town targeted by suicide bombers, who were not even given the prerogative of having their night of horror actually have a lamp light.

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise from a governmental system that has failed over and over again and keeps excelling at failing, but let me ask this: if Qaa’s day had been in Beirut or Jounieh or any other “more important” place for the Lebanese collective, would that place go the night without electricity?

How do we go from here? We need to demand more out of our government. The Lebanese army is not supposed to use flare guns at night in order to see where the terrorists were coming from or fleeing to. Our people are not supposed to beg for light in order not to die in pitch darkness. The fact that after the day it had yesterday, the town of Al Qaa still had no electricity is disgraceful. The fact that after being the victim of 4 terrorist suicide attacks, and security officials asking the people of Al Qaa to remain indoors and vigilant, our government did not think that something might happen after sunset is horrifying.

This is not the time for hateful rhetoric. We should not, as a country, sink to the level they want us to, start pointing hands at people whose only fault was being a victim. This is not the refugees fault. They are not those to blame. This is not their attempt to “turn Lebanon Muslim” as I’ve seen many parade around. This is also not your chance to “bring the Crusaders back” as many seem intent on doing. This is precisely the kind of talk we should avoid.

Don’t blame the refugees. Blame those that made them as such. Blame those that maintain the status quo keeping them refugees. Blame those that made our country part of the Syrian war equation. Blame the government that can’t protect its own people.