Lebanon’s Government Wants To Ban “Wonder Woman” Because Lead Actress Gal Gadot Is Israeli

Oh look, just when you thought we couldn’t regress further as a country, some entity decides to take up the challenge. The latest is Lebanon’s Ministry of Economy deciding, at the very last minute, to start the procedure to ban this summer’s blockbuster movie “Wonder Woman” because its lead actress Gal Gadot is Israeli.

As per a source, Wonder Woman has already passed all forms of regulations for it to get a screen date in Lebanon, which is this coming Thursday, including a very strict censorship bureau and other apparatuses who are more than willing to ax movies than to let them through. And yet, as in typical Lebanese fashion and because we definitely have our priorities in order, Lebanon’s government decided to rise up from its slumber and resist, even though the movie has been announced for over 3 years now.

Resist what? A movie about an iconic superhero who’s been part of pop culture for over 70 years. A movie in which the lead actress happens to be Israeli or has served in the IDF or who is part of an apartheid state, but who’s not portraying ANYTHING related to her “country” in any way whatsoever. A movie that has absolutely nothing to do with Israel in any way, where Israel is not even mentioned or alluded to, and in which the lead actress does nothing to even propagate the idea of her homeland. And yet, her mere existence has some people triggered beyond belief.

You’d think if they want their ban to make the least of sense, they’d have done it a year ago when the movie’s first trailer was released, not in the week of its release after it’s been given a green light, handling massive financial losses to the Lebanese company that won its distribution rights.

In a statement issued today (link in Arabic), Lebanon’s Ministry of Economy – I don’t even know how it’s their job to decide some movies should be censored – said the following:

  • The ministry of Economy has already taken the necessary measures to make sure Gal Gadot’s previous movie, Batman v Superman, was not shown in Lebanese cinemas through a request to the General Directorate of Security dating 13/03/2016.
  • The ministry has also sent a request to the BDS office in Damascus to add Gal Gadot’s name to a blacklist for boycott.
  • On 21/04/2016, the Arab League issued a decree to ban any movie featuring Gal Gadot.
  • On 29/05/2017, the ministry has issued a decree to the General Directorate of Security to start the necessary procedures to ban the movie’s screening.

I don’t know where the people governing us have been living, but Batman v Superman was not banned. In fact, I watched it on a big fat Lebanese screen and many applauded when Gal Gadot’s character came on screen because her character, which also happens to be Wonder Woman in that movie, is badass and worthy of the applause.

Gal Gadot’s was also featured in the Fast and Furious series, multiple times, all of which were not banned as well. Probably because more than a few government official as well as some of those turned up about banning Wonder Woman wanted to see Vin Diesel make those cars roar.

Who knows, maybe their problem isn’t with Gal Gadot being Israeli and having served in the IDF, both of which have no bearing on the movie in question, but rather because the movie features strong independent female characters which our patriarchy cannot propagate?

And let’s not begin with even listening to what the Arab League deems appropriate or not. If we went by anything that lot wanted, we’d be living in the darker ages they’re all enjoying so happily.

What’s next, though? Banning every single movie that dares to be associated in any way with Israel? Banning every actor or actress who’s set foot in Israel? Deciding not to show any feature film that has any entity that remotely agrees with anything Israel does? Why don’t we just ban ourselves from everything commercial in the world and be done with it?

Natalie Portman was born in Israel. No one has a problem with her movies. I’m willing to be those same people calling for Wonder Woman’s ban were more than excited to see Portman in the Star Wars reboot, way back when.

The fact of the matter is that if you have a problem with the content of a movie, the actor or actress leading it or anything pertaining to it, having it banned for everyone else is what’s wrong, not the fact that the actress in it happens to come from an enemy country whose existence we don’t acknowledge. Simply don’t go watch it. Don’t give it the word of mouth it needs. Don’t give it your hard-earned money, call for a boycott, but you sure as hell have no right in making sure no one else gets to watch it too.

The fact that, in the week of Wonder Woman’s release worldwide, the Lebanese media cycle is about the possibility of banning the movie as our government remembers that this movie features an actress we don’t approve of, is sad. Where do we draw the line at what should be banned in this country because of its association with Israel? Or are we going to keep on cherry picking at battles without knowing how to pick them?

Even if they ban Wonder Woman, our government and those who support its decision seem to have forgotten that in the age of the internet, no movie is further than a couple of clicks away. I’m not surprised that they’re not even aware how futile their censorship attempts will be at preventing the propagation of whatever it is they don’t want to propagate.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be making sure to watch Wonder Woman (if they keep her, and even if they don’t). Gal Gadot may be a shitty person and actress, but both are still not enough arguments to ban the movie. Just let me know, when you’re done with the hoopla, if you’ve freed Palestine by banning an irrelevant movie featuring an irrelevant actress with an irrelevant background to an irrelevant story, while Lebanon maintains its oppression of the Palestinians living here.

Advertisements

Joe Semaan: The Fraud Faking Being Lebanese Police To Abuse Foreign Maids

Meet Joe Semaan, another entity for us to add to the growing list of filth associated with Lebanon and whose mere existence is a waste of space, and an abomination to every single inch of advancement we’re trying to make in the many transgressions against human rights in this country.

I was told about Joe yesterday by a couple of activists who are trying to advance migrant worker rights in Lebanon, and highlighting the many transgressions against them as well as the immense repercussions that the abuse our law permits has on their well-being. It’s only yesterday that an Ethiopian maid committed suicide by jumping off the balcony of the 7th floor apartment where she was working. In fact, the rates of suicide and deaths of migrant workers in the country are worse than that and will be talking about them in a future post.

Returning to Joe, it seems that our macho man was utterly bored at his meaningless existence which led him to disguise himself as a police officer, which is a crime as far as I know, and persecute migrant workers whose unfortunate paths cross his, leading him to harass them about where they’re working, where the money they have is from, and eventually raping them.

This kind of filth has had many victims, with one filipino worker’s message resonating with many others who have fallen prey to his crimes.

The post, on This Is Lebanon, reads as follows:

I would like to share about a Lebanese man that is pretending to be a policeman and catching foreigners like Filipinos, Ethiopians, Sri Lankans and Bangladeshi, especially those who don’t have documents. He has a white colored jeep but I don’t have the plate number. His name is Joe Semaan and you can find him on Facebook.

This is what happened to me. I was going home from work and was at Makallis Roundabout near to May Supermarket. A jeep stopped and the driver asked me for my residency permit. Unfortunately, I don’t have one so he forced me to get in his car and because I was afraid of him, I got in.

He asked me what was in my bag and I told him nothing. He asked me if I had alcohol or drugs and he checked inside. My bag is small and I had a little wallet inside which had $200 in it. He asked me angrily where I had got the money from and I told him it was from my salary. He asked me where I worked and who my sponsor was. He said he’d take me to my sponsor’s place so he could talk to him so I said ok, but when he was driving I noticed that he was going the wrong way (we were on the road to Monsourieh). I told him he was going in the wrong direction and that we were near my work place.

He told me he’d decided to take me to the police station. I begged him not to take me to the police as I needed to work to support my children in the Filippines. He told me it was my lucky day but I needed to do him a favour. I asked him what it was and he told me, “You are the one who knows what I want.” I told him I didn’t know what he wanted and he told me I had to sleep with him. I said, “Aren’t you afraid I might have HIV?” and he said he had a condom. I begged him for mercy and he said, “If you don’t want to sleep with me, give me a blow job”; I told him I’d rather go to the police station.

He drove me far above Monsourieh to where there were no houses. I told him I wouldn’t sleep with him and he should take me to the police. I asked him if I could call my boyfriend to tell him that I’d been caught and was being taken to the police but he wouldn’t let me call. Thank God, he let me go and dropped me at Abu Khalil Supermarket near Makallis. Before he dropped me off, he told me, “Next time I see you, you must get in my car quickly without me even talking to you.” I asked him his name and he told me it was Elie Haddad.

As soon as I got out, I ran home. When I got home I checked my wallet and found the $200 had gone. I cried a lot. He told me before he let me go that I would never forget this day. I told my friend what had happened and my friend said, “I know that man. I was also picked up by him in Bikfaya. I saw him on Facebook under the name of Joe Semaan. That was 3 years ago. He does it all the time.”

When I searched for him on Facebook, I found him. His profile pic was of the same man that picked me up. He works for an insurance company and lives in Antelias. When I saw him on Facebook, I saved his picture and created a group on Facebook to warn other Filipinos about him. Within an hour many, many people responded to the post saying that they also were victims. Not only Filipinos but also Ethiopians said they’d been picked up by him. We are asking for help from different organisations so that his man will be stopped. I am scared to testify but all his victims should unite and testify against him.

Such filth cannot run unchecked anymore. Lebanon’s ISF needs to get on top of it and arrest him, as well as make sure he cannot harm any other person anymore.

Beirut Filled With Pride Flags, Despite The Cultural Terrorism That Lebanon’s Government Allows

Pictures via Helem.

In Lebanon, religious extremism and cultural terrorism are more accepted than basic human rights. We’ve known this for a while, but got another reminder this week when a fringe religiously extreme group with so much political clout managed to get the Lebanese government to force the cancellation of two scheduled events as part of Beirut’s pride week.

The latest event was organized by the Arab World’s first ever LGBT advocacy NGO Helem, and was aimed at raising awareness through actual facts and expert opinion about the LGBT community in Lebanon. It was supposed to be one of the last events to take place during Beirut’s Pride Week schedule, until Lebanon’s security forces “couldn’t ensure the security of the event” anymore, as was relayed to the location that was hosting it. When Metro El Madina, the location hosting the event, resisted, the pressure from official sides in Lebanon’s governance also rose leading to the event’s cancellation.

As I said before, religious extreme group in Lebanon are a cancer in our society, regardless of which religion they practice. They come in all forms and have been given so much power by our political system that they can literally walk all over our personal liberties and the only thing we can do is sit by and watch as they do so, under the guise of various dimwitted slogans that they permeate, mostly about how anything their religious beliefs don’t conform with is a western ploy to destroy our societies and a sin aimed at fragmenting the fabrics of Lebanon’s holy society.

Except it’s exactly their religious extremism that’s the main threat behind everything Lebanon stands for, when it comes to its societal fabric and construct. The fact that they are allowed to perpetuate their sickening beliefs and force them onto everyone else, especially when the people they’re trying to oppress are acting within their legal and constitutional rights, is horrifying. And this won’t change any time soon.

Shame on Lebanon’s government. They’re the side to blame about both cancellations here. They’re the ones who couldn’t put an irrelevant religiously extreme group in its place and allow an event that was planned within the framework of Lebanon’s guaranteed freedom of expression from going through unscathed. They’re the ones who have allowed our rights as Lebanese to be entirely dependent on whether they abide by the moral code of some religious group somewhere. They’re the ones who don’t have the spine to stand up for the citizens they’re bound to protect.

If Lebanon’s government thinks that massive PR overhaul the country needs will only come through articles in American or European media about how beautiful the country is to visit, they’re massively mistaken. It will come through events such as Pride Week that show the world that this country in the Middle East is grossly different than all of its surroundings and that minds are more open and tolerant here, and that maybe it’d be worth looking at Lebanon with consideration.

And yet, despite all of the religious extremism and cultural terrorism that’s permitted by our political system, Beirut’s Mar Mikhael neighborhood has its bars filled with the LGBT pride flag, also known as the rainbow flag, in order to celebrate the end of the Arab world’s first ever pride week.

As you can see from the above picture gallery, with pictures taken off Helem’s Facebook page, more than a dozen bars around the area sported the flag on one of their busiest nights of the week as a sign of solidarity. This shows that, against all odds, Lebanon’s youth is coming together to advance rights in the country for everyone. Maybe there is light at the end of that tunnel after all?

It’s truly a beautiful sight to see Beirut, against all odds and all threats, wear those flags in such a high profile area and literally not give a fuck about the police or the government behind the police or the extremists who run our government behind the scenes. Perhaps it bodes for a better future. Perhaps one might be foolish in being hopeful, but for such flags to fly high in the Middle East is, well, unheard of. Beirut literally did that.

Now let’s wait for those religiously extreme people’s minds to blow.

Dear Lebanese Homophobes

Make sure you download this blog’s iOS app to stay up to date! (Link). 

Over the past week or so, I’ve had the honor to write about two major advances for the LGBTQI+ community in Lebanon. The first was them being represented in an ad for a major company, which you could check out here, and the second was to proclaim how Beirut is the first Arab city ever to celebrate Pride Week, despite Islamists threatening one of its events eventually leading to that one event’s cancellation (link).

Nevertheless, they persisted.

On those posts, be it in the comment section or on my Facebook page, the amount of vitriol homophobic – or more globally LGBTQI+ vomit although homosexuality takes the cake in aversion – was just too ignorant and insurmountable to be addressed in Facebook comments that could, sooner or later, degenerate into shouting rows and manifestations of immaturity that one can’t come back from.

So I decided to write this instead, coupled with a great documentary by HELEM about some key facts regarding the LGBTQI+ community in Lebanon, which you can watch at the end of this post. It’s worth the 22 minutes of your time.

Without further ado, here I address some of the more recurrent “opinions.”

Opinion #1: Homosexuality is against nature:

This is factually incorrect. If you’re going to use the nature argument, you can’t disregard the fact that all species on Earth exhibit homosexual behavior. From penguins to dolphins to a ton of species in between them, almost all species walking the Earth exhibit homosexuality. And yet, the only species that has homophobia is humans. Food for thought.

Opinion #2: Anal sex is the root of all STDs:

This is factually incorrect as well. I mean, if you’re going to talk medicine, you should really back up your claim with hard medical data not what your local priest or sheikh told you once upon a time.

It is statistically significant that HIV has a higher rate of transmission through anal sex compared to vaginal sex, yes, but that doesn’t mean that anal sex created HIV or other STDs for that matter or that “doing it from behind” (as one comment said) is “scientifically proven” to be the root of all sexual diseases. You see, there are more STDs than HIV, and the key to combatting all of them – regardless of the genitals you’re sleeping with – is to practice safe and clean sexual habits.

If you’re straight, bisexual, gay, trans or intersex, regardless of whoever you sleep with if that person is not a long term partner whom you are aware is healthy, safe sex is a key towards prevention of all major STDs.

Opinion #3: If homosexuality is okay, then why do they have a high prevalence of HIV?

While anal sex is proven to have a higher risk of transmissibility compared to vaginal sex, due to the type of cells in the anal mucosa and the viral load in penile secretions, that is not the full story. The reason why HIV has a higher prevalence among homosexual and bisexual men is because of the stigma that their community faced over the years, leading them not to have access to healthcare or needed awareness that is needed.

It’s almost ironic that an argument whose answer is discrimination is used to defend one’s bigoted views about that which you’re discriminating against. Instead of fostering a world of non-judgemental healthcare, you are discriminating against someone based on the disease they contracted. This is not okay in any day and age. To quote a dear friend: Epidemiology ALWAYS has social reasons. Now that is a fact.

Opinion #4: Kids brought up by same-sex parents will grow up to be gay:

No, this is incorrect. All psychologic studies to this date have not shown this to be accurate. Being gay is not a matter of upbringing. It’s a complex interaction between genetics, hormones, environmental factors, etc… Science has not even fully understood why homosexuality exists as the issue is that complex, but I’m glad you can reduce it to someone’s upbringing. It sure saves every scientist a lot of effort and future accolades into the study of human sexuality.

And yet, despite all of this, the science is clear. Not only are children brought up by same-sex parents not at an increased “risk” of not being straight, but they’re also not at a disadvantage when it comes to life (link).

Opinion #5: Same-sex couples have higher divorce rates:

Literally incorrect. The biggest study on the matter surveyed 150,000 married same-sex couples and found their divorce rate to be at 1%/year, whereas it is 2% for opposite-sex couples.

Yet again, if you’re literally telling someone they can’t love another person because of that person’s gender, I would assume it’s unfathomable for you to believe that two people who love together can stay together.

Opinion #6: If you like homosexuality, why don’t you approve of beastiality or pedophilia?

It’s actually quite simple. The whole point behind Lebanon’s Pride Week is to advance the mantra of “live and let live,” which is to say it’s none of anyone’s business who people love and why they love them.

How the hell is sex between two consenting adults, regardless of their gender, the same as when someone forces oneself on a helpless animal who doesn’t possess the agency nor the mental capacity to give consent to what they’re being forced into?

Or even worse, how is a sexual relation between two consenting adults the same as when one adult forces themselves on a child who doesn’t possess the agency or legality to give sexual consent?

The only resemblance between beastiality, pedophilia, and homosexuality is, you know, the fact that both involve sex, which – gasp – also applies to heterosexuality.

Opinion #7: It’s a Western ploy to ruin our societies:

You’d be surprised to know that Arab society was much more open to homosexuality and other manifestations of human sexuality than it is today. Abu Nawwas, the famous Arab poet whose works on love and wine and even sex are taught in schools and universities today, was an open bisexual. He was embraced by society, because his “behavior” was more accepted back then.

In fact, homosexual behavior can be traced back to earlier civilizations that existed in these parts of the world and our neighboring countries and regions. There’s literally nothing Western about it. If anything, our regions “exported” it to the West when we started emigrating from our own countries to the New World.

Regardless of what politicians want to tell you or what your own “we’re better than the West” mantra, human behavior is very similar across the Earth. This is why we can find common ground between two individuals who are worlds apart. And yet, it sure is telling that anything that Arabs find to be at odds with what they know gets attributed to the “West.” It’s a major shortcoming of our own societies, if anything.

Opinion #8: I don’t know any gay people:

Yes, you do. 10% of the population falls among the LGBTQI+ spectrum at the most conservative of estimates. Your class of 20 people in Brevet had at least 2 people among your classmates, and maybe even your friends, are LGBTQI+. That 300+ biology course you took in university has around 30 LGBTQI+ people, maybe even that person sitting next to you. Your family and extended family has a couple people or more who are too afraid to be who they are because of you.

Don’t live in denial. Embrace others and be open to the people you love for them to find a beacon of safety in you.

Opinion #9: Medicine says it’s an illness:

This is not true at all. Psychiatry has declassified homosexuality as a disease for over 50 years now. The Lebanese Psychiatric Association declared it not an illness more than 4 years ago. The Lebanese Order of Physicians has restricted its physicians from practicing any anti-LGBT medical practices and, if a physician was found doing such illegal practices, their license could be revoked.

So if you find a “doctor” who’s giving a “lecture” about why homosexuality is bad, know that that doctor is a fraud who is not practicing medicine. Hocus pocus would apply more in that case.

Opinion #10: When will we have straight pride week?

Straight people in Lebanon are not being persecuted, discriminated against, put in jails, and subjected to all kinds of human rights violations against their bodies just because they happened to have that particular sexual orientation.

No one’s walking around the street telling people they like vagina or penis or whatever other body part you seem to have a problem with people liking. The point is them asking you not to point your finger at them and judge them and call for them to be shamed and persecuted because they like to sleep with people who have that body part.

Bonus opinion We have other issues to worry about:

Yes, we do. Electricity, internet, water, ISIS, Hezbollah, elections… We can name them for months. But that doesn’t mean we can’t focus on other things, too.

Bonus opinion 2.o: Fuck you, faggot lovers.

It may be hard to fathom, but there are people in this world – such as me – who will always stand with human decency, and support a person’s right to be who they are, love whoever they love and be comfortable in their own skin without worrying about simply existing.

I leave you with Helem’s documentary:

 

Lebanon’s Cancerous Islamists & Other Religious Extremists Didn’t Win: Beirut Celebrates LGBT Pride Week

One step forward, a bunch of steps backwards thanks to cancerous religious extremists whose political reach is always overreaching; this is the story of modern Lebanon.

A few days after Crepaway’s left field ad which featured a same sex couple cuddling by the shore (link), Beirut was in full gear to celebrate its own version of Pride Week, as part of the Lebanese International Day Against Homophobia.

Multiple LGBT NGOs have scheduled multiple events throughout the week for the occasion, from storytelling nights featuring Mashrou’ Leila’s lead singer Hamed Sinno, to a conference on Saturday by HELEM about fighting homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in Lebanon.

Yesterday, however, Lebanon’s establishment dealt a setback to the organization Proud Lebanon which had planned an event this week as part of Beirut Pride Week. The reason was that a Lebanese Islamist organization – hay2at al 3oulama2 al muslimin – decided that such an event was in violation of their own fragile self and what they believe in, which led them to pressure the ministry of interior which prompted the hotel to cancel the event under the guise of them “not being able to keep the participants safe.”

It’s intriguing, isn’t it, that a conference about basic human rights in 2017 cannot be kept safe somehow by security officers. You’d think that they’d be capable of doing the most mundane of their jobs: assign a few officers to the hotel in question, in order to guarantee the well-being of Lebanese citizens who are expressing their constitutionally given right of freedom of expression, but no.

It’s not that they can’t guarantee the participants’ safety, it’s that they don’t want to. Our system is too afraid of irrelevant snowflake Islamists whose entire existence these days is about making sure nothing about this country moves forward in any way that threatens their power. Our system is too terrified of the advances that Lebanon’s LGBT community is making, be it in fighting homophobia to court victories to Lebanon further being the lead Arab country in such issues.

It should come as no surprise that those same Islamists wanted a Coca-Cola poster taken down in Tripoli because it was too “obscene” for their taste. Spoiler alert: it featured two people standing very close to each other. Those same Islamists also objected to a lingerie ad in Beirut under the guise of it being too close to a Mosque. That same ad had been approved previously by the same authorities that were forced to remove it.

The problem is that we have authorities that keep listening to such pests. When will this country stop listening to such cancerous infestations that are hell-bent in keeping everyone in their own dark ages? I guess we’ll never know.

However, those Islamists and other religious extremists who have terrorized the country with their horrendous thought don’t know that the years of struggle that Lebanon’s LGBT community has and is enduring has made them resilient to the hate and discrimination that infests their being.

As such, Beirut’s Pride Week is still underway, and if there’s anything to be proud of, it’s the fact that Beirut is the only Arab city to have such celebrations, in spite of Islamists and religious extremists, and in such an open way. L’Orient Le Jour published an article earlier saying that obscurantism had won. It may have prevented one event from taking place, but that hasn’t stopped the rest of what was planned from still being underway.

Lebanon’s extremists did not win. Their hate won’t win, and it sure as hell won’t find ground this year.

You can check out some of the events at this link. I will be updating this post if any other events are brought to my attention.

Lebanon Should Participate In Eurovision 2018

Make sure you download this blog’s iOS app to stay up to date! (Link). 

The Eurovision is quite the global thing. More than 200 million people tune in each year to watch the show, not just from the 42 countries which happen to be members of the European Broadcasting Union that have the right to participate, which is why you see countries such as Israel or Australia or even Azerbaijan participating.

The 2017 version of the Eurovision concluded yesterday with Portugal getting crowed the winner after votes from the people in those 42 member countries and their juries allocated points. They succeed Ukraine, which was voted the winner in 2016 in an obvious political jab at Russia.

The Eurovision, apart from being a celebration of (bad?) music, isn’t only about the music but about the politics behind all the ways these countries interact with one another. Regardless, it’s still interesting to watch and pretend to be surprised that Cyprus, for instance, voted for Greece. I’m shocked. Can you even fathom it?

In 2005, Lebanon was supposed to participate through Tele-Liban and Aline Lahoud in that year’s version of the Eurovision. Except, as is always the case, Israel happened. You see, Israel also happens to be a member of the European Broadcasting Union and has been since the 1950s, which means they’ve been participating for over 4 decades in the Eurovision contest and have actually won 3 times.

The problem for us, therefore, becomes in the fact that we pretend they don’t exist and have laws that forbid us from even acknowledging their existence, which was why we had to withdraw in 2005, be banned from participating for 3 years and pay a penalty: Tele-Liban didn’t show Israel on the official poster of the event. When they were confronted about it, they replaced the poster with a generic one about Eurovision. They were then told they’d have to broadcast the Israeli contestant’s song, which they couldn’t legally do, leading them to withdraw.

Israel, however, will not be participating in the 2018 Eurovision, as they announced live on air yesterday as they allocated their points. Their announcer said:

“This is IBA, Channel 1 calling from Jerusalem. For the past 44 years, Israel has participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, winning three times. But tonight, is our final night, shortly IBA will shut down its broadcasting forever, so on behalf of all of us here in IBA, let me say thank you Europe for all the magical moments and the beautiful years. And hopefully we shall meet again in the future.”

For how long Israel won’t be participating in Eurovision remains to be seen, but I believe this gives Lebanon an opportunity to finally participate and avoid all the drama we went through in 2005. And why wouldn’t we? We have good singers, as long as we don’t send Star Academy grads. And we can deliver a good show, if we invest enough.

I believe that private TV stations such as MTV and LBC would and should jump at such an opportunity. They’d get the ratings, the ad money and the international exposure they always crave. It’s also a good medium for the country to have exposure on such a scale, in a setting that doesn’t involve talking about the Syrian crisis or some other issue that plagues the region.

So dear MTV or LBC or some other private media company with similar resources, connect with the organizers of next year’s Eurovision and check what we need to do in order for us to participate. It should be fun.

No, this isn’t a Phoenician attempt at building bridges with European BFFs It’s not a political move, even if the competition can have political undertones, at distancing Lebanon from its Arab history. It’s just a medium for fun, healthy artistic competitions and we need such things in this country.

I vote to send Hiba Tawaji. Who’d your pick be?

These Are Lebanon’s Upcoming New DSL Plans

Yesterday, head of Ogero Imad Kreidieh announced on his Twitter page (link) the upcoming DSL plans which are still awaiting our government to ratify in order for them to be operational. We’ve actually been waiting for over 40 days as Mr. Kreidieh had previously imagined the plans to be functional starting April 1st.

However, as it is with Lebanese governance, anything that could serve to improve our quality of life in such a way got delayed, as our politicians bicker over that new electoral law which they won’t be able to come up with. At this point, figuring out the existence of parallel worlds is easier.

In a series of tweets, Imad Kreidieh said that most of the new plans won’t feature any speed limits which means you get the speed that your line can handle.

This is a double-edged sword: while it’s good to know that some of us might be getting more than the 2Mbps we currently get, any future problems we might face could then be blamed on the quality of our copper lines.

However, as I’ve asked Mr. Kreidieh on Twitter back when the “Unleash The Speed” campaign was underway in different areas of Beirut, the speed that your line got on that day is the speed you’d get under normal conditions once the new plans are implemented. I personally got 12Mbps back then and would be happy to get that much on a daily basis.

Because of our dying infrastructure, however, the speed that you’ll get is highly dependent on how far you are from the exchange site. A few weeks ago, LBC did a report on the issue from which the following figure was obtained:

Hopefully our government will ratify the new plans soon. Here they are:

  • 2 Mbps, Unlimited: 60,000LL.
  • 4 Mbps, 40GB: 24,000LL.
  • Open speed, 50GB: 30,000LL.
  • Open speed, 100GB: 45,000LL.
  • Open speed, 150GB: 60,000LL.
  • Open speed 200GB: 75,000LL.
  • HDSL 100 gb: 100,000LL.

Extra consumption will also be made cheaper: the first 50GB are priced at 1,500LL each, with each GB after those priced at 1,000LL.

I think the new plans are fair. They’re much better than what we previously had, but a far cry from what we truly need. For instance, I have no idea if the new quotas will be enough with the new speeds we’d be getting. Can you imagine how many GBs you’d race through when YouTube decides to automatically load in HD?

I hope that these plans are, therefore, a stepping stone and that we won’t need to wait another 3 years before they get updated again.