Everything You Need To Know About Nabil Harfouch: The Newest Lebanese Singing Sensation

You’ve seen the billboards all over the highway. They sort of came out of nowhere, didn’t they? The latest pop sensation to overtake the country, if you don’t account for Sejaan Azzi’s dismissal from the Kataeb party, is an 80’s influenced, mustache-heavy man who’s throwing it back to the when the overbearing Lebanese father figure was in.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about the one and only Nabil Harfouch, whose “albo” is making every other “alb” in this country swoon.

Nabil harfouch

Never mind the fact that, according to twitter user @TawaNicolas, the song might be remixed to the following once they break up:

Nabil Harfouch 2

No, we are facing a serious work of art the likes of which the Lebanese republic has not witnessed since Fairuz released “Kifak Enta” back when songs had a purpose.

Please note the Cross on Nabil Harfouch’s wrist. This is a pious man, whose religiosity plays a very big reason in him becoming so “in” right now. After all, who dares not buy this man’s singles when Jesus is on his side?

In fact, Nabil Harfouch’s religion could be the exact reason why he is all over our highways today. But before we delve into the juicy details of Harfouch’s past, ones that rival Haifa Wehbe’s Hezbollah affiliated days, let us rewind.

A few years ago, Nabil Harfouch was just another middle-aged man who woke up one day and remembered he had a dream. You see, Martin Luther King had a dream, but so did Nabil. So he released a song in his attempt to become the next Ragheb Alama.

That song, titled “Touwsayeh,” was Nabil Harfouch’s combination of his two biggest passions in life: Women and God. In the song, he claims that God ordered his love interest specifically made for him. The magnum opus can be listened to below:

Almost 4 years later, and only 1200 hits on YouTube later, it’s safe to say the song did not take off. At all. So Mr. Harfouch realized that the best way to make it big in the showbiz business was to have lots of money and spend it on branding.

But where does a helpless hopeless pious man like Mr. Harfouch get all the money? Lightbulb! Religion, of course.

As reported by Rima Karaki last year (link), and as has surfaced on Facebook, Mr. Harfouch, along with his futuristic and pioneering lyricist Naji Sfeir, created a charity that they named after St. Rita which, for years, took money out of religious people’s pockets for a variety of religious reasons, such as investments and projects for Mr. Harfouch and Mr. Sfeir. The Maronite Church eventually caught up and closed down the charity, but not before the duo had made millions, reportedly.

So what does a Lebanese nouveau riche do? Buy yachts? Iftar at the Four Seasons? An apartment in Burj Hammoud? Nope! You start a singing career, of course. Or rather, restart it.

So, instilling a photoshop team from 2003, Harfouch and Sfeir decided they would take the country by storm. And hence came to be… “Dalli D7aki” (Keep Smiling), a song for Mother’s Day.

They filled our streets with the song’s billboards. They inundated our visual fields with their stellar works of art. The song, however, remained quite elusive, and the question remained: what would Mr. Harfouch’s mother do? Not listen to the song would be my top bet.

This song being extremely occasion specific couldn’t make a dent for Mr. Harfouch in the artistic domain. So he decided to go back to the drawing board. He figured people wouldn’t remember two failed attempts, so let’s plan for a summery comeback, one that would be with a bang. This time, the bang was in the hair because Mr. Harfouch got implants.

And here came to be Ya Albi, a song about Mr. Harfouch’s heart. While driving to Beirut from the North (#TeamNorth) yesterday, I decided to see where Harfouch had released the song. Like all the greats, he gave Anghami the exclusive.

“Ya Albi” has been on the region’s prime streaming service for weeks now, and has only amassed a couple thousand streams. Not to brag, but if I taped my cousin Yasmina blabbing, she would get more streams than that.

My friends and I wondered why a song that has taken up every single visual field point of our streets would fail to resonate this massively. Could it be that the song just sucked? The only way to know was to listen to it. So we did.

It started.

Albi, Ya albi
Albi albi albi, Ya albi

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Wlak Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

I’m not sure if any of you counted, but the opening lyrics of the song is nothing more than Nabil Harfouch wailing about his heart, 21 times to be exact. And then came in the first verse:

Albi ma7rou2 w mekwi
Darbetou akbar berhan

Dammak mech 3am temchi
3el2ane bi noss el sheryan

This is pure medical knowledge right there. For the few seconds in which those lyrics reverberated off my speakers and onto my ear ossicles, I felt a rush of cardiology take over me. Can anyone else even?

At this point, popular request was to stop the song and listen to anything else instead, even Maya Diab. But we persevered:

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Ya albi chou sayer fik
Wa7dak b rou7e tsawik

Ya albi chou sayir feek

Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta
rou7e enta wou 3omre enta
rou7e enta wou 3omre enta

Ana 3ayesh dayib fik

In case you’re keeping count, we’re up to 34 “albi”s at this point. I won’t bother counting “rou7e” and “3omre” because why bother.

Albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Wlek albi albi albi
Albi ya albi

Ya seken bi 2akhe
Jra7ak Jra7e

Dawahon ya rou7e
Dawahon ya rou7e

Dawahon ya rou7e

Dawahon ya rou7e

Dawahon ya rou7e

Teskon fike
w eskon fiyye

Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta

Rou7e enta
3omre enta
Rou7e enta
3omre enta

Ana 3ayesh dayeb fik

Albi albi albi, ya albi
Albi albi albi, ya albi

Albi ya albi

I have this feeling that, when done writing and recording, the duo behind this song couldn’t help but have a *mic drop* moment.

I, on the other hand, took a few moments to collect my jaw off the floor of my car, take my hands and pat my bleeding ears. Yes, Lebanon has a new singing sensation. And honestly, I can’t wait for when she dumps him.

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That “Lebanese” President of Brazil You’re Proud Of Is Very Corrupt, Like Lebanese Politicians

Michel-Temer

In the surge of Lebanese pride that one of their “own” is now the president of Brazil, while the country celebrates its second year without an actual Lebanese president in Lebanon, not one outlet has bothered to look into Mr. Michel Temer, beyond the fact that his parents immigrated from Btaaboura around 80 years ago.

His interviews with Lebanese media during his first and last visit to his “motherland” a couple of years ago have been circulating like wildfire. Him proclaiming to have a “Brazilian heart” but “Lebanese blood” were on a loop. He probably couldn’t care less.

What is certain, however, is that Michel Temer is corrupt, semi-fascist, just like those Lebanese politicians we all love to hate.

He Screwed Over His Own President:

The only way Temer became president was by screwing over Dilma Roussef, the now-suspended president of Brazil, in a textbook Frank Underwood-esque plot.

Through a series of orchestrated leaks, which he “claimed” not to have anything to do with, he effectively managed to throw his president under the bus so he could rise to power. For instance, he leaked a statement to the press about how he was upset he was not involved in key decisions by his president… and then said he was outraged by the leak.

Then he leaked a Whatsapp message to Brazilian parliament members claiming they needed a “new government.” He was later “outraged” by that leak as well.

Through it all, he was the main orchestrator behind the scene of the coup against the president, and in bed with big money and right-wing-run Brazilian media to further make him inevitable.

He Is Corrupt As Hell:

Temer’s ascent to power means that a political party that didn’t win Brazil’s elections is now effectively taking power. Once he is in power, he will reportedly appoint Goldman, Sachs, and IMF officials to run the economy. Those are the same people that American politician Bernie Sanders is accusing of corruption and electoral campaign fraud.

Michel Temer also has his own saga with corruption. He was ordered to pay a fine only this week for violating campaigning regulations and is being prosecuted for it. He may be banned from pursuing further office later for up to 8 years.

During his campaign for vice president, Michel Temer was also involved in other campaigning scandal when he received up to $1.5 million from a company to whom he provided preferential governmental treatment in construction contracts.

He has also been accused of involvement in an illegal ethanol-purchasing scheme which has brought him back millions of dollars.

Michel Temer is also said to be involved in the “Petrobras Scandal,” a partly-governmental owned oil company that some Brazilian officials profited from by laundering some of the profit through a Lebanese-origin intermediary called Alberto Youssef, and transferring it to secure accounts in Switzerland.

To put it bluntly, Temer is accused of more corruption than Dilma Roussef. Only 2% of the Brazilian electorate would vote for him and over 60% believe he should be impeached also. The only reason his political career is not ending is because 1) he is a man, 2) he serves the interests of corporations that want to see someone with his agenda in power.

He’s Already Targeted Women, The Blacks and LGBT People:

Michel Temer’s upcoming government is rumored to be composed only of men, a long way down from a country that just had a woman president.

It doesn’t end here. He has also been active in closing many LGBT and black rights offices, and will reportedly continue on his rampage now that he’s ascending further up the power echelons.

Let’s Not Be Proud Of Everyone Who Happens To Be Lebanese Anywhere and Everywhere?

If any Lebanese politician were accused of what Temer has done, you’d be up in arms about how disgraceful, horrifying they are, how they’re ruining your country.

Can we not pretend this is any different just because that politician has ascended to power in Brazil?

There are times and places to be proud of entities pertaining to our heritage. This is not one of them. The world finally has a Lebanese president…. That’s not really a good thing.

Lebanese Are Forbidden From Accessing Nejmeh Square in Downtown Beirut, But Foreigners Can

Nejmeh Square No lebanese

Picture this.

Downtown Beirut, home of the city’s flashiest and most expensive, the place housing essentially all forms of worthwhile Lebanese governance, which also happens to be the heart of the Lebanese capital, is a Lebanese non-grata region: we are not allowed entry to the area’s most important area, Nejmeh Square.

Even prior to the YouStink protests, the area had been a nuisance to enter: you had to be interrogated by army personnel, get your IDs checked out and sometimes even searched before they let you through the barricades. And people wonder sometimes why some parts of Downtown Beirut are empty.

Soon enough, entering Nejmeh Square was no longer a procedure, but an impossibility. The clocked-square housing our country’s parliament became off limits when the people giving that same parliament every ounce of legitimacy it has, or doesn’t, were forbidden from entering. Why? Because we posed a threat to a building that is, for the better part of any given week, month or year, without any official or parliament member not doing their job in its halls.

And yet, the security concern does not apply to everyone it seems because foreigners, regardless of their nationality, only need to flash their better-than-ours passports to enter and enjoy the sight of heartless emptiness behind the barricades, in the heart of Beirut.

Earlier today, a Facebook post circulated, by a man from Tripoli called Rashed Merhabi who was visiting Downtown Beirut when he decided to try his luck and enter Nejmeh Square.

I spoke to Rashed extensively to get the whole story, and here’s how it went down:

Rashed approached the security personnel manning the barricades on the main entrance to Nejmeh Square and he was denied entry, being told that “a decision had been taken to make the public square non-public.” When Rashed insisted that it was his right as a Lebanese to enter the place especially given that there was no parliament meeting taking place, he was rebuffed once more.

So he carefully made his way to the other side of the square where he was told that entry is only possible at the main entrance, which is basically the place he had just come from. So he returned there where that same security officer told him: “What part of you are not allowed entry don’t you get?”

It was then that same security officer allowed two foreigners entry while a family of four from the UAE were leaving. When Rashed asked for an explanation to what he had just seen, the security officer replied: “Yes, foreigners are allowed entry but you’re not. Now get the hell out of here.”

Rashed then tried to reason with the security officer who decided to use the following glowing argument: “Do I have the right to enter your house whenever I please?” Upon being told that his argument didn’t make sense and that they wanted to go to the Starbucks beyond the barricade, they were told: “Those running this particular Starbucks told us not to allow anyone except the ten Starbucks employees entry.”

Seeing that Rashed and his friend weren’t going away easily, another security officer in civilian clothes joins in and says: “we are Parliament security and we’ve taken over this Square. Only foreigners are allowed, now leave.”

The following day, Rashed tried to call Beirut’s Municipality which told him he had to take up his issue with Parliament which then transferred him to the ISF, which ended up being a dead end.

So yes my fellow Lebanese, not only is our nationality detrimental to our potential in any place around the world, but it’s also a hurdle coming in our way in the middle of the place we are forced to call home. Live love Lebanon indeed.

This saga isn’t exclusive to Nejmeh Square. Almost every single orifice in Downtown Beirut that might lead in one way or another to a governmental building, big or small, is blocked off from every single Lebanese that might wander there.

Remember the Roman Baths we used to take tourists to once upon a time? Blocked. Remember the Wadi Bou Jamil area where Beirut and Lebanon’s only synagogue is present? Blocked.

Every single one of us is a subclass citizens in our own country, at the mercy of politicians who think of us as nothing more than bugs infesting “their” spaces, encroaching on the things they hold dear, as we face their henchmen who marvel in the power they are bestowed by the fact that they wear a uniform.

I wonder what kind of government has the audacity to forbid its own people from accessing their own city. It’s the kind of government that is too terrified for its own existence that it becomes paranoid from the reason it should exist in the first place. And they call themselves as servants of the people.

The Ella Tannous Case: When Every Lebanese Suddenly Becomes A Doctor

Ella Tannous

I just wasted 7 years of my life in medical school.

Naturally, when you live in the country with the likes of professor Marcel Ghanem, Dr. Joe Maalouf, Tony Khalifeh and their friends, is there a point for you to remotely try to get an education? They will tell you what you need to know, give you medicine crash courses and guide public opinion on the matter.

Clearly, they’re the ones who know everything and those doctors are just backward-minded folks who only care about money.

Ella Tannous is a young 9 months old whose pediatrician is now in jail. Why is he in jail? Because we live in a corrupt country where security forces get carried away by the sensational reporting of Kalam Ennas and other similar shows to ruin the life of a man simply because of the science of Marcel Ghanem’s report and that dramatic Lord of the Rings music in the background and the tears of the child’s mother as she whispers: why can’t my little girl play with barbies?

Again, what would I know. I’m sure that policeman in between his Malek el Tawou2 sandwiches was busy reading medical textbooks. Give me the differential of a crying baby, kind sir. Oh, you have cramps from all the garlic consumption? Excuse me.

According to her parents, Ella had a high grade fever for which they contacted her pediatrician, Dr. Issam Maalouf, who ran some tests that revealed Ella most likely had a viral illness and prescribed medications to lower her fever.

However, Ella’s fever did not subside and upon contacting the doctor again, he told them not to worry and to use cold towels to try and drop her temperature.

When the parents saw that their child’s situation did not improve they took her to the hospital. It was a Sunday. The pediatrician did not see Ella that day and instead saw her the following day when she had already deteriorated.

He got her transferred to AUBMC where further treatment was done. Ella, however, was in shock and in a state called DIC (Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation) and had gangrene in her limbs, which had to be amputated to save her life.

This is what happened with Ella Tannous according to her parents:

*cue in dramatic music.*

What happened to their child is surely devastating to them and Ella’s parents have every right to be sad and heartbroken over what happened to their daughter.

But just because someone’s daughter had complications does not make that person a doctor who can go on air and pretend they know what makes sense scientifically and what doesn’t. It also does not give Marcel Ghanem or any Lebanese media, who were quick to jump on this very delicious scoop, the right to become full blown medical professionals who spent their times doing night duties in pediatrics.

So let’s go with what we know one by one:

1) Ella’s blood tests revealed a viral illness. Viruses are not treated with antibiotics as Ella’s father was alluding should have happened. In fact, the side effects of those antibiotics and possible increasing resistance to them make their use in viral illness not recommended. How do you treat a viral illness, scientifically? You provide symptomatic relief. A patient has fever? You give anti fever medication. A patient has a sore throat? You provide pain relief, etc.

2) Ella’s fever persisted. Viral illnesses can have fevers that persist. You still give anti-fever medications and monitor. This is what you do, unless LBC or Annahar have new guidelines that we need to be aware of, in which case enlight us please.

3) Ella deteriorated and they contacted her physician as they took her to the hospital. He didn’t recognize them at first. Well, bring the guillotines. A pediatrician could not recognize over the phone a patient out of the hundreds that he has. He must be incompetent. Issam Maalouf’s mistake? He did not go see Ella that day at the hospital. However, that hospital is a university hospital and they should have been reporting back to him every single that happened with Ella as she would’ve been admitted under his care.

4) Ella’s fever continues and she starts experiencing decreasing urine output and becomes lethargic. These are signs of dehydration and deterioration. Dehydration can lead to kidney damage because blood flow to the kidney is decreased which causes something that is called acute kidney injury. This is not what probably happened to Ella, however.

5) Because of her decreasing immunity fighting the virus, Ella contracted another bacteria called Group A Strep (GAS). This bacteria is virulent and has been known to cause a wide array of complications when not recognized and treated early. To recognize and treat it early, you need to maintain a very high level of suspicion which in the setting of a clear viral illness, such as Ella’s case, was not the case.

Due to her low immunity, Ella had a dissemination of GAS. This led her to go into septic shock and full blown DIC. Septic shock is an extremely lethal condition whereby the body cannot adequately find the overwhelming infection. DIC is a complication of septic shock that leads to the depletion of the body’s ability to coagulate the blood through the formation of little clots that block blood vessels across many organs and vessels. The condition is extremely lethal.

In fact, the combination of septic shock and DIC is usually unescapable. Ella is lucky to be alive. Do you know why she’s lucky to be alive? Because her pediatrician saw the signs early enough to transfer her to a hospital that can manage her well.

 

Bring The Pitchforks, Why Don’t You:

After all that they’ve done, I can’t believe the Lebanese populace still trusts Lebanese media blindly when it comes to medical issues just because they’re sensationalized enough for their liking.

This is the same media that wanted to convince you we had a Guillain-Barré virus.

This is the same media that, a few years ago, ruined an OBGYN’s life by pretending they know medicine and accused him of killing one of his patients who was giving birth. That patient had an amniotic fluid embolism that is a lethal and extremely rare complication of giving birth. That doctor’s future was ruined anyway. He was also thrown in jail for something out of his hands before the courts realized that he was thrown in jail simply because of Tony Khalifeh’s report at the time.

Issam Maalouf joins the growing list of doctors whose entire career rests upon the whims of a reporter who understands nothing and who goes by what the parents or family of a patient are saying as if they know what’s happening, as if they know the medicine behind diseases. A devastated parent is not a doctor.

This is the same media that now has you convinced a competent doctor is now where he belongs, behind bars, and has you changing your display pictures to “Justice for Ella” snapshots.

When faced with a report from the Lebanese Order of Physicians about what actually happened, that same media downplays the report as inaccurate. Because clearly, the Order of Physicians does not know the medicine behind what’s going on. Those physicians did not go to med school for years and then did residency and fellowship programs for more years only to be ridiculed on air for being imbeciles.

Complications in medical scenarios happen. Not every single complication, despite how deliciously journalistic it looks, is a headline story.

With all due respect to a patient’s family, the esteemed reporters across the Lebanese republic and the people holding the pitchforks in Ella’s defense: You really have no freaking clue what you’re saying. Stop suggesting treatment modalities. Stop suggesting scientific explanations. Stop ruining people’s lives just because it makes for fancy headlines.

And then you get the Ministry of Health pretending they suddenly understand medicine to bring their pitchforks too. You know, that same ministry who turned Lebanon’s food safety issue into a Star Academy-like nominee-every-week report fashion.

There is a reason we go to medical school for endless years. There is a reason we do residency for another batch of endless years. Only doctors can know when medical errors occur. Only doctors can judge another doctor who does a medical error. Only doctors know how to treat patients and diagnose them. Only doctors know how to manage complications.

This is not elitism. This is common sense. This extends to other professions as well. I can’t judge the work of an architect, but an architect can. I can’t judge the work of an electrical engineer, but another electrical engineer can, etc.

The bottom line is: I just wasted 7 years of my life in medical school, that much is clear. Because clearly, Marcel Ghanem and his friends know better than me and all my colleagues.

5 Issues More Important Than Miss Lebanon’s Selfie With Miss Israel

Ladies and gentlemen, as another week rolls by, we have another scandal about which you will probably be talking for the next seven days.

Sally Jreij, our lovely Miss Lebanon, is in one hell of a problem. A few days ago, a picture surfaced on Instagram that featured our pride and joy (especially true for Northerners) with a few other contestants.

In that same picture, on the far left corner was a face that would have been pretty meaningless if it weren’t for the ribbon she had around her torso. ISRA- oh my god, our internal security is in ruins.

From left to right:  Miss Israel, Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan.

From left to right:
Miss Israel, Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia and Miss Japan.

Can you believe it? Our very own pride and joy managed to disgrace the country in a selfie with the enemy? What will befall us? What future can we promise our children when our very own representative to the beauties managed to ruin our country’s flawless reputation that way?

Except Sally Jreij did not purposefully take the selfie and was actually photobombed, not that this will deter the scandal from taking place because – as I said – we certainly have a shortage of those around here.

The following is her statement on the matter:

“To all my supporters and Lebanese citizens, I would like to thank you indeed for your continuous support of Miss Lebanon at the Miss Universe contest …The truth behind the photo: Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me).

I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media. This is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest”

Sally Jreij knows not to be seen with the enemy at places were it’s almost certain to be around them. She knows that when it comes to Lebanon and Israel, we are the ones supposed to forfeit, run away from pictures and be resistant at every corner, because we do not believe their existence is justified.

In fact, Sally Jreij did that not so long ago at yet another international pageant with Miss Israel Mor Maman:

From the 124 contestants, Maman’s best friend is Miss Kirgizstan and she has not been treated with hostility so far, expect for an incident concerning Miss Lebanon: “On one of the trips they took us on some of us girls wanted to take a selfie. Miss Lebanon wanted to join but asked me where I was from. When I told her I was from Israel, she declined the photo.”

Leave it to Lebanon to make a big deal out of nothing when we’re drowning up to our chins in problems.

So as a reminder, for when you are sharing that selfie, calling her a traitor and pointing her towards the public guillotine, here are 5 issues that are taking place as we speak and which most of you aren’t giving a second glance:

1 – Our Kidnapped Soldiers in Arsal:

How many months has it been since those soldiers were taken hostage by Islamists? How many days have their parents set up camps, blocked roads and did the impossible to bring attention to their sons? How many of those soldiers have been beheaded already to exert pressure on the country? How many questions of those can you answer without reverting to google?

Just today, two of our soldiers were injured by Israelis in the South. But obviously, that is less important than a selfie.

2 – Tripoli Had Two Explosions Last Week:

Between Charlie, Ahmed and every single Frenchman last week, we have failed to notice that the country lost 9 people in a double suicide attack in Tripoli last week. We didn’t have vigils in Beirut about them. No one protested. I bet few even cared. The news that one of the victims of those attacks was a bonafide hero didn’t even make a dent in our news. We couldn’t even agree on a hashtag to support Tripoli in the explosions. If you’re wondering, the hashtag to support sally is #StandForSally.

3 – No President:

I’m listing this as the #3 issue because it has become so passé. Our parliament failed yet again to elect a president last week. How many times have those been? I personally don’t know so you’re forgiven if you don’t know either. I suppose a country without a president is surely allowed to be panicky about a selfie with the enemy, right?

4 – A Recycled Parliament:

Never since the Civil War has a Lebanese parliament been a space occupying lesion as this one. They’ve been around for more than 5 years now. They will be around for 2 more. They are not passing any laws. They are not serving the country in anything, and if you look at point number 3, they have failed again and again to elect a president. Who cares when Miss Lebanon took a selfie with Miss Israel goddamit!

5 – Rule of Guns:

Yves Nawfal passed away last week because he was shot by people who thought above the law and whose entire lives revolve around guns. A couple of days after Yves’ death, another girl named Eliane Safatly was shot dead by a man who protested with his gun to not being allowed into a night club. Americans have their gun rights protected in their constitution. We can’t even begin to talk about an issue that’s killing our youth one by one. But, again, just look at that traitorous selfie for fuck’s sake!

Leave Sally Jreij alone:

The selfie that has you all upset has been around for 6 days. The only way this is causing our national security to go up in flames is through our insecurity that Miss Lebanon doesn’t know her limits as Lebanese abroad.

This is an ‘fyi’ to all those who are up in a fit: there are many, many Lebanese abroad who go to colleges and conferences and who also find themselves in attendance with Israelis. And they all know how to behave in order not to have people calling for their heads back home.

In a world of globalization, when someone is not a traitor, don’t make them one just because you feel like it, especially when real-life traitors are getting free out-of-jail cards because of their connection.

A few days from now, when the Miss Universe pageant is in full swing, Miss Lebanon will most certainly find herself in the same frame as Miss Israel. Are we going to panic then?

And you know what, our very own Sally Jreij is so much prettier than Miss Israel. So let our enemy of the south take that!

How Jackie Chamoun’s Breasts “Ruined” Lebanon’s Flawless Reputation

We are a country with a body image. Literally.

The Lebanese candidate to the skiing segment of the Olympics, Jackie Chamoun, is making the rounds lately due to a nude photo shoot that she underwent last year. The reason her pictures are making the round this year is simply due to her becoming known subsequently to her moderate national exposure post Olympics fever.

Naturally, in pure Lebanese fashion, what Jackie Chamoun did is being turned into a national scandal, of her disgracing our country by baring her breasts to the ice cold of Faraya and the lens of a foreign photographer.

This is the video in question:

Are breasts only scandalous when they’re Lebanese?

Jackie Chamoun isn’t the first nor will she be the last Lebanese woman to take off her clothes for a camera lens. A few months ago, a reputable website in the country turned pictures of a woman named Rasha Kahil, taken back in 2008, into a matter of national importance. How dare she reveal her private parts to the entire world? Does she have no shame? Doesn’t she have in the perfect reputation of her country in mind while doing such heinous acts?

When it comes to sex, we have a long way to go. Perhaps things are slowly changing. But there’s more to Lebanon than Beirut and its surroundings.

Why is it that Lebanese T&A is highly susceptible of immediately becoming a scandal, of being extrapolated to a figurative matter of national identity, of becoming a national crisis? Aren’t they just breasts?

Is it because there’s a fear that such behavior would somehow diffuse off of a computer screen? Is it because of a fear that what those women do will somehow ruin the minds of those who don’t do similarly? Or is it because what those women do does not fit with some people’s moral code of choice?

Why is this country so in love with gossip that things are very rarely seen as they are? Why do we over-sensationalize meaningless things when we have so many other things that have inborn sensationalism?

I can think of so many things that warrant are true scandals about this country, that warrant a discussion much, much more than Jackie Chamou’s breasts. At the top of my head, I can think of the several explosions that have taken place within the past couple of months alone and the fact that they’ve become second nature to life in this place. I can think of a TV station that figured instagramming the body parts of a suicide bomber was a good idea. I can think of the fact that we haven’t had a decently functioning government for the past year and nor will we have one for the next year, it seems. I can think of the fact that presidential elections are literally in 3 months but we’re still waiting for the savior president’s name to be “inspired” by neighboring countries. I can think of the fact that going to a mall requires you to go through more checkpoint than an airport’s border control. I can even think of the graffiti artist that was arrested only two days ago by some unknown party’s henchmen because of him being at the “wrong” place. I can even think of the many pictures of the living conditions of some Lebanese in the North that should be scandalous.

I just need to take a look around and open my eyes to the realization that I am living in a disintegrating country to ask myself the following question: what spotless reputation is Jackie Chamoun “ruining” and why is there outrage that the Lebanese Olympic committee should have known of her past behavior?

I’m not saying that what Jackie or Racha or any other unknown Lebanese woman whose pictures have yet to surface did is something that all women should do. I’m not saying that women whose choice of attire or of lifestyle is more conservative are backward thinking and detrimental to the cause of their gender. It’s far from the case. This isn’t about the cliche debate that naturally finds its way to pop up in such settings: veils versus nudity. How about neither?

What this is actually about is the importance and privacy of personal beliefs and how this country views your private beliefs as entirely up for grabs. It’s about how those personal beliefs, whether they fit with yours or not, are not a matter of national importance nor are they something that should be sensationalized into a scandal when there are so many other things for us to get angry about. What this is about is, perhaps, about the importance of not being insecure in your choices – whatever those choices may be, assuming they’re within a legal context obviously – and not be ashamed of them in any way whatsoever.

Jackie Chamoun is a beautiful and sexy woman who did absolutely nothing wrong. It’s sad that she will end up being named and shamed for something as silly as what she did. It’s sad that a few simple and sexy photographs will overshadow her professional skiing skills. It’s sad that some people’s well-rooted insecurities will overshadow and overcomplicate her choice.

What’s even sadder is that a country in as deep a shithole as Lebanon gets up in a fit about all the wrong things when there are so many things to get up in a fit about while no one simply does. But I guess living in a lala land where we have the prerogative of turning some pictures into a scandal is better than waking up to this reality. It’s much easier to believe, it seems, that Jackie Chamoun’s breasts are singlehandedly ruining Lebanon’s spotless and flawless reputation.

Five TV Series You Should Start Watching

It may be hard to believe given this blog’s content but I actually watch more series than movies. I always try to start new ones although with the frequency that new shows start in the U.S. that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

So I figured I’d compile a list of five relatively new TV shows that I’m enjoying the most and that you should start downloading as soon as possible. The TV shows that are not eligible on this list are, but not exclusive to, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Dexter, The Vampire Diaries, The Good Wife, Once Upon a Time, etc…

This list is in order.

Revenge TV Show seriess poster

5 – Revenge

The show chronicles the story of Emily Clarke as she seeks out revenge on the people who framed her father and threw him in jail for terrorist charges. The show has its ups and downs but its ups being very exciting. This isn’t a story about forgiveness, the show opens up, this is a story about revenge. And such sweet revenge it is. Revenge is currently airing its second season.

Nashville TV SHow series poster

4 – Nashville

You don’t need to like country music to enjoy Nashville because the show isn’t about the music only. It’s about the music business in Nashville, about women trying to make it in a patriarchal music genre. It’s also about politics and family dynamics. All in all, the show encompasses a lot of elements and is always enjoyable. It has many characters so you are bound to relate to one of them. I also highly enjoy the music it offers every week so Nashville entertains my ears as well. Nashville is currently airing its first season.

Scandal TV Show series poster

3 – Scandal

An average first season of only 7 episodes gave way to an absolutely brilliant (so far) second season. Scandal is an absolutely gripping show about things that go on behind closed doors in Washington up from the White House down to more irrelevant people. Conspiracy theorist-lovers will absolutely dig this. I think it’s a great TV show because of the way it manages to weave many things together and make it look absolutely normal. Scandal is currently airing its second season.

Suits USA TV SHow series poster

2 – Suits

You’ve probably seen many legal dramas over the years. But Suits is probably the most interesting of the bunch. It has the coolest bromance on TV amid a highly competitive atmosphere of lawyers. While the legal aspect of the show is prominent and highly interesting, it is the interactions between its different characters that will keep you hooked. Suits has spawned the viral catchphrase: what would Harvey do? You’ll start wondering this as you watch it. Suits will reprise its second season next Thursday, January 17th.

American Horror Story Asylum TV Show series

1 – American Horror Story: Asylum

Where do I start? After a not-so-shabby first season, I didn’t think I’d even start the second season of American Horror Story which has nothing to do with the first one. So you can start this without worries. But how mistaken was I in thinking that. Using a lot of the same actors of the first season, the show brings it episode for episode. Great direction, extremely thrilling story and characters that you either love or love to hate – all of them will keep you transfixed, as well as some absolutely brilliant acting performances by the likes of Jessica Lange who has won a Golden Globe and Emmy for her performance in the first season. There’s probably few other TV shows airing right now that can rival American Horror Story: Asylum in intensity. I don’t find it scary but it definitely keeps you at the edge of your seat. Hollywood should take notes. This is how you do horror. AHS is currently airing its second season.