Lebanese Parliament Is Going To Extend Its Term A 3rd Time. We Last Voted In 2009. It’s 2017. Bass Hek.

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They want you to be busy with Myriam Klink, while they ignore the fact they should have come up with an election law 8 years ago.

They want you to be busy with their attempts to make you poorer, while they ignore the fact that they are demolishing the deadlines for the parliamentary election coming up this May.

They want you to be overwhelmed with all the hurdles they throw at you, so you are too preoccupied from standing up to the neo-dictatorship they’ve turned this country into by being so incompetent, so horribly bad, and so disgustingly unfit to serve you as citizens.

They want to blind you with them ordering delivery from apps, and bicycle lanes to feign modernity.

They want to fool you with biometric passports thinking we’re going up.

They want you to be grateful they’ve maintained stability, grateful that you have them, as they take us as citizens for granted every single day.

So here’s our wake up call:

We have not voted for parliament since 2009.

The last time Lebanon went this long without elections was when we had a civil war. This time, there’s no war. There’s simply horrendous incompetence and corruption and utter disregard for the constitution and our rights.

People of my generation have never ever cast a vote for parliament. I can’t even hold my politicians accountable because they don’t let me under the guise of “fair representation.” Here’s a news alert for you, our disgusting politicians: representation will never be fair if, you know, elections are never held in the first place.

And parliament will extend its mandate for the third time in a row, because they can’t agree on an electoral law, because they don’t care about agreeing on a law in the first place, because us having the basic right to vote is the least of their concern.

But please, Lebanon, if they ever let you vote, just don’t vote for them?

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Wikipedia Saves Mauritanian From Deportation At Beirut Airport: Border Officer Didn’t Know His Country Was Arab

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At the Arab League Summit last year, the biggest scandal wasn’t how Arabs couldn’t get their business together (as usual) to set a path in solving the many problems facing their countries, but how the Lebanese delegation completely humiliated itself and the country it’s representing.

Instead of being thankful for the host country, the Lebanese delegation complained about their infrastructure, because as you know Lebanon leads the way in that regard. They were appalled how Nouakchott didn’t have 5 star hotels for them to be hosted in, devastated at how the summit was being held in a tent, and completely beyond themselves that they had to go through that, in yet another episode of the tough life of a Lebanese politician.

So to make it work, they charged the Lebanese taxpayer to host them in Morocco for the night, then have them travel to Nouakchott the following day for the Summit before leaving Mauritania. The host country then responded in a scathing news report.

But it seems that our streak with insulting Mauritania and its people continues when one of Maurtania’s top and most controversial journalists for his calls for a secular non-Islamic state in his country, Hanevy Dahah, landed in Beirut’s airport.

As our border control personnel flipped through his passport, he was asked about his entry visa, to which Hanevy replied that Mauritania is an Arab country whose citizens can enter Lebanon without a visa if they have $2000 on them as well as a round-trip ticket, emphasizing that Middle East Airlines, Lebanon’s official airlines, wouldn’t have brought him in hadn’t they made sure he fulfilled the requirements to enter Lebanese soil.

The border control officer was not satisfied with the answer, and he referred Hanevy to another officer who was not convinced that Mauritania is an Arab country to which the rules Mr. Dahah illustrated actually applied. A discussion among our airport’s border control officers ensued about whether Mauritania was, in fact, an Arab country or not, to which a senior officer decided, after being racist towards Hanevy because of the darker color of his skin, that Mauritania wasn’t Arab and wanted to deport Hanevy.

A few moments later, the second officer who had decided Mauritania wasn’t an Arab country went on Wikipedia, came back to her superior and informed him of her findings to which the superior replied: “oh right, they added it to the list of Arab countries recently.”

Hanevy was eventually permitted entry to Lebanon.

I guess a good part of Beirut’s border protection officers missed out on that 7th grade geography lession, which is then repeated yearly until graduation, that: “موريتانيا دولة عربية وعاصمتها نواكشوط.”

It’s unacceptable for a citizen of any country, let alone those of which we are ignorant about, to have to go through what Hanevy did. Mr. Dahah was lucky enough one of the officers doubted her pre-conceptions enough to search for the information online. But shouldn’t there be a database for our border officers to check the requirements of entry for a country’s citizens based on who issued their passports? This is gross incompetence, and reflects badly on the Lebanese government and the state of Beirut’s airport.

At a time when our officers would have no issue whatsoever letting Westerners in without any ounce of vetting, it’s horrible that some people from countries that many Lebanese would view themselves as being superior to have to go through what Hanevy Dahah did.

How can we, as Lebanese, be up in arms that our own citizens might face discrimination and ignorance in American and European airports when some of our officers are doing worse to citizens who have the full legal right to enter our country?

But thanks Wikipedia, saving people from deportation and helping people graduate from college since 2001.

Ibrahim Maalouf’s Sexual Misconduct With A 14 Year Old Girl Should Outrage Us More Than Myriam Klink’s Song

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What if I told you that there’s more than Myriam Klink and Jad Khalife’s music video that should have earned your outrage over the past few days?

Right at the heel of his César win for Best Original Score, Lebanese trumpeter and composter Ibrahim Maalouf has found himself in quite the trouble as news about “sexual interference” with a 14 year old girl, dating from a couple of years ago, surfaced.

The difference between sexual “interference” and “assault” is that the former involves the minor’s consent whereas the latter does not. In the details of Ibrahim Maalouf’s horrible sexual misconduct with the 14 year old teenager is that, while the girl was shadowing Maalouf through one of his album prep sessions, the pair exchanged a kiss. After the girl went home, Maalouf texted her asking for a nude, which she did not provide.

Maalouf calls it one of his biggest regrets, but that means nothing for the 14 year old girl who’s currently in a “complicated psychological state” especially given her admiration for Maalouf and how he took advantage of that.

And yet, despite how sickening Ibrahim Maalouf’s act was, almost no one in Lebanon gave his wrong-doing the scrutiny they’ve handed Klink, despite his behavior being much more dangerous: while she pranced around in a music video, she technically did not hurt anyone. He actually inappropriately sexually took advantage of a 14 year old girl.

Isn’t that, though, how we – as a country – have become used to handling sex? We blame women and forget that men have as much a role. We never realize how lenient we are towards the sexual behavior of men, and, conversely, the level of scrutiny we subject our women to.

This hasn’t been as clear as when you compare how Lebanon handled the two “sex scandals” that have affected two of its current figures: the model Myriam Klink and the musician Ibrahim Maalouf.

I’ve made it a conscious effort, in my blog posts about Klink’s video, to mention her name in conjunction with Jad Khalife’s because they’re both as involved in that “song” especially that few on my social media timelines were doing that. The discussion, elsewhere, even in the search engine terms, was that it was just Myriam Klink. In fact, it’s ironic that a song written by a man, composed by a man who stole it from another man, and directed in a music video by another man, as well as featuring a male singer, would have none of those people face any legal repercussions. But it’s Myriam Klink who was summoned for a meeting with authorities today, as her co-star did the press circuit announcing his goal from “Goal” was to get people talking about him.

On the other hand, the extent of attention given to Maalouf’s case was an article in L’Orient-Le Jour that didn’t even take a stance regarding what he did, merely ending up as a news article reported with the help of AFP. In fact, the moral outrage of many towards Klink was that she had a child in her music video. Ibrahim Maalouf literally did more to a child than just have them appear in a music video, and yet here we are.

Let’s not pretend it’s because his case didn’t receive the media attention it requires that we’re not giving it the focus it deserves. Media attention stems from our culture as society, and we are geared culturally towards always finding excuses for men for their behavior while crucifying women. How many, reading that Maalouf’s sexual misconduct took place two years ago, started to come up with all possible conspiracy theories as to why he was being investigated now, after his César win? Or with all kinds of excuses ranging from the girl giving consent to the kiss to 14 year olds acting older than they are, etc? But she’s still 14 and he’s 36 and nothing can excuse that. 

How many in Lebanon, and in Arab society as a whole, are more willing to give successful men, like Maalouf, a break or even come up with an excuse for their behavior, but wouldn’t afford the same prerogative to the second sex? This isn’t to say that such behaviors need excuses. On the contrary, what we should do more is hold everyone as accountable and not put some people – like Maalouf – on a pedestal, while we walk all over others who happen to be women because it’s easier, and because it’s the “in” thing to do.

Our women deserve more than this.

A Separate State of Mind Now Has an iOS App!

It makes me so happy to announce that my friend @TawaNicolas has made an iOS app for this blog.

Download it at this link (click).

The stateofmind13 iOS app is basically a reader for the blogposts that I write, with enabled post-replies and likes. 

You’ll also be getting push notifications whenever I publish a post, to keep you updated – if you want to of course.

Subsequent updates will, hopefully, feature more Facebook integration to allow you to “like” posts and share them easier.

The app is also 1.3MB only, so ideal for Lebanese internet downloads. ✌🏻

I would like to thank my awesome friend Tawa for his awesome work with this app. I couldn’t have imagined a better or easier app for this blog and I’m so glad he took the time and effort to do it.

Myriam Klink and Jad Khalife Stole Their “Goal” – Moans, Music, Everything – From An Albanian Song

It seems even when they want to get trashy, Lebanese “artists” still can’t be creative enough. That “goal” song which consists of Klink moaning and Khalife trying to have his way with her, all next to a child who’s apparently the daughter of Klink’s friends – is stolen from an Albanian song. Even the moans.

While we can’t legally share Myriam Klink and Jad Khalife’s song, just go to youtube and type out their names in the search bar and you’ll find it there. I mean, Lebanese authorities really think they have jurisdiction over everyone who’s going to share that video? It’s their right to be concerned for the well-being of the child involved, but their attempts to delete the video off the face of the Earth won’t work. Have the director, Klink, Khalife and the child’s parents brought in for questioning. Press charges if you have to. That would teach parents not to involve their children in pornography light.

This is however the Albanian song that Myriam Klink and Jad Khalife stole:

They ripped off everything: the moans, the tune, even some of the prancing the women in that video did. I have no idea what the lyrics of that song say, and I won’t bother looking them up. I guess you can categorize this under the category of “massively pitiful.”

To make it even worse, the infamous “Goal” song doesn’t even credit the original “composer.” This is who the now-deleted video from Jad Khalife’s YouTube page credits:

screen-shot-2017-03-05-at-10-40-01-am

And these are the people behind the original Albanian song they stole:

  • Music: Irkenc Hyka
  • Lyrics: Petro Xhori

I see no Husseins or Mustafa’s there, and let it be known that Petro and Irkenc isn’t the Albanian version of those names.

I’m all for stopping silly attention-whoring people from being famous, but I believe the fact that Klink and Khalife committed such gross creative property theft in their attempt to be talk of the town should be legally prosecuted. It’s disgraceful that these two “artists” and whoever’s behind that song think that the public is ignorant enough not to find out their “inspiration” wasn’t in their constant need for attention.

In an interview with NewTV, Jad Khalife made his intentions behind his “goal” completely clear. He says that the whole “pornographic” aspect was intentional to show that our society likes such things, and to remind people that “a person like Jad Khalife exists in the music scene.” Just pitiful.

What Khalife doesn’t seem to know, and which Myriam Klink completely doesn’t care about, is that not all attention is good attention and that, in reminding people that he exists through such a silly song, the only thing he’s doing is forever being that guy who once became famous for 15 minutes because he said he wanted to sleep with Myriam Klink in a video that’s only controversial because they exposed an underage child to their attempt for relevance.

Myriam Klink & Jad Khalife’s “Goal:” A New Low In Lebanese Cultural Trash… But It Shouldn’t Be Censored

I was informed of a little piece of trivia information yesterday that Myriam Klink is the first Lebanese woman – ever – to have a presidential vote cast in her favor. Imagine, that out of all of the great women in Lebanon, our politicians in parliament think that honor is best given to someone whose only rise to fame is through a song about her vagina.

Yesterday, Myriam Klink delivered again with a song about her playing football, or – if you’re too old for such useless similes – about her getting laid, with a has-been singer named Jad Khalife. According to Google, he used to sing decent songs once. But don’t you think it’s the witty, catchy sexy song in the vein of, say, Haifa Wehbe. No, Myriam Klink and Jad Khalife do what they do best: be as trashy as possible in the hope of getting the attention that gives their existence purpose.

You might say it’s best not to talk about such a person, but I believe that not talking about her, or him for that matter, does them a disservice. Not all attention is good attention, and it is our duty as a society to speak up against such an abomination to our intellect and our taste. It doesn’t matter if you’re liberal, or conservative, religious or atheist, I think we can all agree that that “football-themed” “music video” is distasteful.

Here are the “song’s” lyrics… or whatever they are:

*moans.*

Klink:

Goal, fawwatet l goal.
Goal, fawwatet l goal.
7ettayto fiyi w 3abbayto – brief gasp – fawwat l goal.

Khalife:

Goal, fawwatet l goal.
Goal, fawwatet l goal.
7ettayto fiki w 3abbayto, fawwat l goal. Y WASSA3!
Fetna 3al mal3ab nel3ab, ma3 Barcelona,
Fawwatna goal mrattab, eja b 3youna,
Wa2ti l asli 3addayto,
Tani goal 7attayto,
Ta jann jnouna

Klink:

Addi, ana mesh addi,
Ana 2belt l ta7addi,
Addi, ana mesh addi,
Ana 2belt l ta7addi,

Together:

Klink… Jad (with a moan),
*another moan*
*another moan*

To the backdrop of such a masterpiece is Myriam Klink prancing around in lingerie in front of a child, while Jad Khalife rides her – literally – and tries to have his way with her.

Of course, it is within Myriam’s right to do whatever it is she pleases. I’m not here for a dose of sexism and misogyny that some Lebanese outlets will spew out in the next few days when they decide to jump on the video bandwagon for some attention. In fact, I find it horrifying that, when the video features her and a man, she’s the one who’s taking the most criticism and getting called all kinds of names, as if Jad Khalife has nothing to do with the sexual innuendos taking place in their “work.”

I’m all for more sexual liberation in Lebanese culture, and generally the Arab world. Anyone would tell you that more sexual freedom would go a long way in helping advance our societies, but don’t those who are eternally horrified at the degradation of “our values.” But at some point, one wonders: is a music video where a woman just moans as if she’s having intercourse the best way to advance such an agenda?

The answer is no.

The Western pop music scene is filled with music with sexual innuendos, and there’s nothing wrong with it. From Ariana Grande to Beyonce to Bruno Mars to the Weeknd, and many more artists, songs have been released over the past few years purely about sex. And yet, all of those artists combined have not reached the level of trashiness that Myriam Klink and Jad Khalife gave the world in the space of 90 seconds.

My problem with Myriam Klink’s video isn’t that it’s sexual. It’s that it is trashy and does a disservice to all the leaps forward we’ve made in trying to advance the liberation of our societies. And to think that a few years ago, the extent of “sex” that was deemed controversial was Haifa Wehbe’s wawa or Ruby running on a treadmill?

Despite all of this, entities like Myriam Klink and Jad Khalife should not be censored. Today, Lebanese authorities have decided to fine anyone who posts their video to the amount of about $30,000 and to call on those who have posted the video to delete it. But what good will that do? I received the video through a WhatsApp message. Those who have seen it have probably already downloaded a copy.

Censorship has never solved anything, and it will never solve anything as long as we’re not permitted to have a discussion about what it is that the government wants censored. It doesn’t matter if Klink and Khalife’s video is pornographic. The moment we allow authorities to dictate what we are allowed to be exposed to, we give them the ability to interfere into way more than that. The government has no business in dictating the kind of media that should be allowed or not, especially a system of governance such as ours where anything that exists beyond what’s considered the Lebanese acceptable norm is frowned upon.

In a way, it’s a good thing Myriam Klink and Jad Khalifeh released such a video because they might let the country have a discussion about the kind of music and art that we deserve. By refusing “goal,” we send a message that such garbage has no place on our airwaves. So let’s refuse it massively, but more importantly, let’s be civil about the way we reject it.

Lebanon Has The Arab World’s First Ever Ordained Female Pastor: Rola Sleiman In Tripoli Is Pioneering

A blog reader sent my way a Huffington Post article that was published yesterday about how Lebanon has the Arab world’s first ever female pastor: Rola Sleiman, who heads the Presbyterian Church in Tripoli, up North.

Rola was ordained as Reverend Rola Sleiman on February 26th, 2017 in a 23-1 vote that makes her, historically, the first Arab woman to ever be the head of a church. In fact, Reverend Sleiman was actually heading the church for the past few years as a pastor, but without being ordained she was unable to perform Communions or Baptisms, and needed to have a male priest oversee her work.

She is now the spiritual leader of her congregation, a job she’s been technically doing since 2008 – except right now, she doesn’t need any men of the cloth to supervise her anymore. Rola Sleiman thinks “it’s not a big deal” that such an event occurred. She says “I was serving my Church and will continue serving.”

But this is a big deal. The fact that a Presbyterian Parish in Tripoli ordained a woman to be their spiritual leader speaks volume about the strides forward that some parts of Lebanese society are doing. Rev. Sleiman is the first woman – ever – in the entire Arab world’s Christian population be be ordained as a priest. In other words, she’s the first woman to break into a calling that’s only been reserved exclusively for men.

That small congregation in Tripoli will now have the honor to be headed by Rev. Rola Sleiman for the following years to come. She’s a woman who is now championing equality in facets of Lebanese – and Arab – societies that we never thought could be broken into. It’s fitting that this occurs at the start of the international month for women empowerment.

Rola Sleiman’s ordainment is of vital importance in the climate of the world today where far-right groups are taking power and throwing minorities and women rights to the back of any tangible importance. As she told Huffington Post: “If the Church discriminates against women, what should we expect of the state? Christ is love, and love does not distinguish between men and women.” She is breaking tradition, ancient rules and cultural sensitivities.

In fact, she may be breaking some of the strongest traditions in the country and the region. For many, their highest form of authority is the priest who has always been a man. This time, it’s a woman. I hope Rev. Sleiman becomes the champion that her position permits her to be.

Of course, this will not change the status quo of the fight for equality between the sexes in Lebanon or the Arab world in general, but it can change some of its dynamics. To have a woman be ordained as a priest for a congregation – even if it’s small – and have that congregation not be opposed to it (as is obvious through that 23-1 vote) speaks volumes about how far we’ve come as a society, and it makes me proud.

In a country and a region where woman, despite being a demographic majority, are vastly under-represented be it in religious affairs, politics, business, etc… Rola Sleiman’s ordainment speaks volumes.

There will be people in this country, Christians and otherwise, who will have a problem having their Church headed by a woman. Catholics and Maronites don’t even allow it. But in a landscape filled by men, a change of perspective and, therefore, a change in direction is what is needed. Rev. Rola Sleiman can be that catalyst towards change in the heart of the Lebanese Church and the face of Arab Christianity.

Here’s to many more years to come in joyous and prosperous service of your altar and congregation, Rev. Sleiman.