Huge Land Sold In Sabbah, Jezzine to a Khaliji Princess

The saga of selling land to foreigners in Lebanon keeps escalating. After a 7000 sqm land was sold to a Saudi Prince near the Harissa Valley in Keserwan, and another land in Lassa, Jbeil was taken out of Maronite Church property to be given to the nearby Shia mosque, it’s the turn of a town in Jezzine called Sabbah to have one of its hills sold to a Khaliji woman.

The hill’s area is 40,000 sqm. It’s owned by the heirs of Habib Bassil, who owned hundreds of thousands of squared meters of land in Sabbah. His estate is run by Mona Bassil, a lawyer and one of the current members in Sabbah’s municipality. People are worried some sort of deal will also be struck regarding the remainder of his properties, which would have catastrophic consequences on their hometown.

The land itself was shown to the princess’s manager by a very renowned Maronite broker who took him on a trip around Jezzine in order to sell him some land. Of all the places that she showed him, the manager liked the hill in question because of its strategic location: it spreads from the St. Elias church near Sabbah’s center, to the edges of the Our Lady of Machmouche convent which is a very important religious place for the Maronites of the region, to the resting place of “Nabiyye Mikha” in the Northern parts of Sabbah.

The municipality is even accused of selling other properties to different people without double checking their identity, which the mayor didn’t deny although he downplayed the severity of it.

This is not the only land currently being offered in the area. Another land in a nearby town (Bteddine el Laqsh), of an area totaling 10,000 sqm, is being sold to Salafists from Saida, even though a Christian buyer is interested and has made an offer.
In another Jezzine town called Zaarour, a huge land owned by the El Helou family is in negotiations to be sold to Shia contractors who will turn the pine forest into a buildings compound. (source)

None of Jezzine’s MPs decided to intervene. Church facilities also didn’t care enough to help stop these transactions.
I guess all the people in power who are worried about Christian influence waning in Lebanon only know to preach but when it comes down to actually doing something, they are as useless as the brokers making sure the land is going to non-Lebanese or Lebanese who will change the identity of the land forever.

I reiterate – I do not raise this issue out of a sectarian agenda, but when I can’t own land in the khalij, why should they be allowed to own land in my country? And when there’s even a tendency among your fellow Lebanese to own as much land as possible for their own hidden agendas, being vigilant is of utmost importance.

It is here that I invite you to re-read (or read if you haven’t done so already) the points I raised when it came to the sale of the land in Dlebta, Keserwan.

Advertisements

The Lebanese Army Intelligence Summoning People For Investigation… Based on Facebook Profiles!

Fellow Lebanese, if you don’t have super protective privacy settings on your Facebook profiles, it’s high time to do so. In a country where many people can rationalize the army killing people at checkpoints (I had a “conversation” with one an hour ago), where people burn tires for leisure, where guns are taken to pubs, the next big national threat is none of those. It’s your Facebook profile.

86 people from the Jezzine area were summoned by the intelligence of the Lebanese Army to the Zougheib Barracks in Saida for investigation, Annahar reports. Those people don’t have warrants against them. They haven’t done anything wrong – unless having a Facebook account is a crime.

The summoned individuals have to be present at the barracks around 8 am. The investigation with them lasts till 2 pm. Most of them are people who hold jobs and have classes. One of them was even a university professor.

Instead of investigating things that are worth investigating, such as the murder of Charbel Rahme who had no warrants against him and actually wanted to join the ISF, the army intelligence is busy stalking Facebook profiles and asking people to come in for a full-day affair to ask you about your statuses, friends, profile pictures and whatnot.

The age of no retribution for any organization within the Lebanese state needs to come to an end. Accountability is key – especially when it comes to an organization which is supposedly concerned with protecting Lebanese citizens. If we put everything that’s done by the army on a pedestal away from questioning, we will quickly turn into a military state. If that’s acceptable for you, it sure isn’t for me.

Why would they summon 86 people – with the list still having more names to go – based on their Facebook profiles? We will never know. And you will still find people who rationalize this when there’s no room for reason. Is it the time to start deactivating Facebook accounts? It sure beats going to jail for posting a not very army-pleasing Facebook status

A Convent in Lebanon… Or a Farm?

The following is a picture taken in the Southern caza of Jezzine of a convent in the region of Atroune.

The place looks very forgotten. Do Maronite clergy know that a convent exists in this region? Or have they simply ignored its presence hoping no one notices?

Shouldn’t the presence of goats and sheep in a convent be at least frowned upon when the Lebanese Catholic Information Center panics about movies portraying people having sex in a convent?

Shouldn’t the MPs and the political representatives of the region protest about this when they’re so adamantly proclaiming themselves as the defenders of Christians in Lebanon? Or is the “70% myth” only applicable in political discourse to get their followers’ pride through the roof?

I guess we’ve officially seen it all in Lebanon.

Winter in Lebanon: Snowy Landscapes from the Recent Snowstorm

After posting a few pictures of a trip I took to the Cedars, I figured I’d help show another side of Lebanon that most people don’t get to see (especially tourists). And what better side to show than the one showcased by the recent snowstorm?

I did not take these pictures. I got them, after permission, from the Lebanon Weather Facebook page. I’ll try to go on a roadtrip around the Batroun area soon to take pictures. So stay tuned.

In the meantime, we present:

Zahle

Anjar

Assia, a village at 700 m of altitude in Batroun

The Chouf

The view from Hasroun, in the Bcharre Caza

Jezzine

Kawkaba, in South Lebanon

Knise Moutain in the Metn region

South Lebanon

Toula, in North Lebanon

West Bekaa

West Bekaa, again

And this is a picture my friend Firas took of the Cedar Mountains from his hometown in Koura:

The Cedar Mountains from afar

And people ask me why I’m “hating” on Zaitunay Bay when it’s getting all the attention and scenes like these are getting ignored. I guess that’s the way things are – you have money and power, you get noticed.