The Christian Extremism of Kfardebian

I don’t like Ahmad el Assir. I’m sure this goes to at least 90% of the Lebanese population as well. We all know he’s an extremist. We all know his mentality is rotten. We all know his ideology is something that very few people share. But when Ahmad el Assir wants to go ski, it’s sure as hell his right to go ski. Wherever he wants. Whenever he wants. However he wants. With whoever he wants.

As long as it’s all legal of course. And even that is a gray area because, as you know, law and Lebanon are oil and water. Of course, Al Assir praying at this very moment in the square of the town that didn’t want to host him is not only an act of provocation, it’s something that reflects how mentally deranged and sickening this man is.

I’d like to see the Lebanese army try to stop the prayers though. Oh wait.

A bunch of God-fearing Christians of Kfardebian, in the heart of the Maronite heartland of Keserwan, decided that Ahmad el Assir hitting their slopes with a few of his supporters was too much for them to handle. So they decided to cut him off instead and go in a stand off with the army for hours.

Al Assir wasn’t the first “politician” – or whatever he is – to go ski in Mzaar. But he sure got preferential treatment. Was it that beard?

Two people were wounded before Assir was able to go about his skiing attempt. Welcome to Lebanon – where someone going skiing can turn into a country ordeal. Nothing is too out of the box for us, right?

What those righteous Christians of Kfardebian failed to realize, however, is that they are even worse than Ahmad el Assir in their disgusting mentality. Al Assir is a Muslim extremist sure. But they’re the exact same thing, with a different religion. Perhaps with no beard and a few less wives.

And you know who’s as bad as those Christian extremists? Those who are turning them into heroes for doing what they did. Those who are proud of what those Christians did. Those who believe that what those Christians did is somehow us telling everyone that we won’t be trampled on.

Lebanese Christians talk and talk about how extremism is rising among Muslims. All of them seem not to know how to look in the mirror and see how their own extremism is on an exponential rise these days. They have probably never read the Bible in its entirety. They sure as hell can’t recite verses out of the Bible. But they can perfectly orchestrate dramatic brouhahas out of their Christianity.

Jesus Christ would not approve. But what do I know. We have our existence to maintain in this country… one ski slope at a time.

 

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Lebanon’s January 2013 Storm In Pictures

Lebanon’s weather was all over the place this past week. The “Bride” storm (Or Georgette or Olga as some have called it – we sure can’t agree on a storm name as well) is ending and it was one of the biggest snowstorms to hit Lebanon in years. Torrential rain and snow, including some accumulations on the Lebanese coast, have all been documented. The joke for the first days of the storm went: Skiing and swimming at the same time are now much easier because the storm has brought the sea to your home. For the next few days, the storm brought the snow to your sea.

Many casualties have fallen to the storm, notably young infants of Syrian refugees who died of the freezing cold. Many Lebanese have had their houses completely ruined in the Beiruti neighborhood of Hay el Sellom due to the nearby river flooding.

I have reverted to the following Facebook page (here) unless otherwise specified in order to collect as many pictures as I can and include them here.

Don’t you just love how Lebanon looks after a decent blizzard? I sure do.

Achkout

Achkout

Achkout

Achkout

View of Beirut

View of Beirut

This is Batroun's beach

This is Batroun’s beach

My hometown Ebrine

My hometown Ebrine

Sawfar

Sawfar

Jounieh Bay

Jounieh Bay

Aito, in the North

Aito, in the North

Hrajel

Hrajel

Hasroun - Picture from the Daily Star

Hasroun – Picture from the Daily Star

Jounieh Highway

Jounieh Highway

Ehden

Ehden

Jounieh highway

Jounieh highway

Klei3at

Klei3at

Ein El Mraysseh - Picture from the Daily Star

Ein El Mraysseh – Picture from the Daily Star

This is a picture in the Jbeil caza

This is a picture in the Jbeil caza

Raachine -

Raachine –

Manara, Bekaa

Manara, Bekaa

Bteghrine, Metn

Bteghrine, Metn

Dhour el Choueir

Dhour el Choueir

Ajaltoun

Ajaltoun

Hay el Sellom - Picture by the Daily Star

Hay el Sellom – Picture by the Daily Star

Baalbak

Baalbak

 

Nature’s Christmas Gift to Lebanon: the Slopes Will Open Next Week

Skiing and snowboarding lovers rejoice. Your beloved slopes that you’ve missed will open soon after Christmas, just in time for your holidays.

The amount of snow on the slopes is already decent though subpar for this time of the year. However, this will change in a few days. A huge storm is coming. It will start this Wednesday and extend till Christmas Day. Rainfall is expected to be big and snowfall altitude levels will dip.
Some places will have a white Christmas this year.

The best news? December 26th is when the storm ends and you’ll be able to hit the slopes to practice your favorite winter hobby.

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Beiruting.com Fail – And Pictures of “Lebanon” Snow That Are NOT Lebanese

I woke up today to find two pictures circulating across my friends of the recent snowstorm in Lebanon. The first one is the following, “originally” shared by Beiruting.com, complete with a watermark for copyright:

The second one is the following, presumably of the Cedars:

Beiruting.com did not share the second one. I have no idea where it originated from.

Now the original version of the first picture, without the watermark, is the following:

How come there’s a non-watermark version of it?  Simply because this picture was not taken by Beiruting.com. This picture was taken by someone not in Lebanon but in Oswego, New York. That’s about 9000 kilometers away from where this picture was supposedly taken.

The second picture is actually in Japan and dates back from 2010, a relatively dry year in Lebanon. You may have not noticed the cars driving on the “wrong” side of the road. But I hardly believe we have the snow removal trucks in Lebanon that can do such a precise job. And suppose this is in the Cedars, would our beloved trees that are outside the main forest peak above the snow cover? I hardly think so. In fact, the second picture is part of a wider batch of pictures of Japan’s Snow Roadway. Check out this link for more images and this YouTube video as well:

It’s lovely to think highly of our country but I expect from renowned websites such as Beiruting.com to at least go through some fact checking before going after those coveted Facebook likes and shares (for the record, the picture has about 300 shares and 600 likes). As for the rest of the Lebanese, not everything landscape-wise that you find impressive is actually Lebanese.

If you want a sequence of real pictures of the recent blizzard, check out this link. These are pictures taken by Lebanese in their hometowns through their phones, cameras, DSLRs, not taken from Google images and stamped with a Lebanese stamp of approval.

Winter in Lebanon: Real Pictures from the March 2012 Blizzard

The recent storm to hit Lebanon has been said to be the strongest in over a decade. And according to satellite images of the country, I think it shows.

The picture is from the previous blizzard. A newer one from the most recent snowstorm has yet to arise. But it should be even more impressive.

Pictures from the other snowstorm can be seen here.

And with this turning into more or less a series of posts where I expose a side of Lebanon that many do not get to see, I figured I’d continue with it and collect pictures from friends of their hometowns during the storm. The pictures range from towns in the North such as my own, Ebrine, to my grandma’s hometown, Dar B3eshtar, to Baskinta, Achkout, Aley and even Sidon.

I tried to encompass scenes from all over the country and with the recent Wall Street Journal article about Lebanon’s Mountain Trail, I figured it’d be appropriate to post this today. Some of the pictures going around are FAKE. These are totally real. So without further ado, we begin.

My hometown:

The picture was taken at the beginning of the storm. We were not lucky enough to have snow accumulations. No idea why.

Douk, a village in the Batroun Caza. These pictures were taken by my friend Agnès. You can follow her on Twitter here:

This picture was taken by a friend of Bazbina, her village in Akkar:

And these are pictures taken by my friend Hanna in my grandmother’s hometown in Koura, Dar Baachtar:

The statue of Ishtar, at the entrance of the village.

This is a picture of Kobayat, taken by Rita Zreiby:

Beit Chlela, in the Batroun Caza:

The Cedars:

The Cedars – as photographed by the Daily Star

Moving on from the North, we reach Mount Lebanon. And these are pictures of Achkout, taken by my friend Roland of his hometown:

These are pictures of Aley, taken by my friend Howaida:

Hammana:

Baysour:

The village of Jeij in the Jbeil Caza:

The village of Baskinta had its pictures taken by Marie Karam, a frequent reader of my blog who decided to share the pictures with me for inclusion in this post:

The village of Bater, in the Chouf caza. They haven’t had snow since January 2008. Pictures provided by my friend Maggie:

And last but not least, to conclude Mount Lebanon, a picture from Bekfaya via BlogBaladi for the statue of Pierre Gemayel:

Moving on to the Bekaa, I figured it would best to have that are represented by Zahle via two pictures taken by professional photographer Clement Tannouri. Both are absolutely breathtaking if you ask me.

Other pictures of Zahle, taken after permission from the Lebanon Weather Facebook page:

And the most impressive picture from the South was the one taken by The Daily Star for snow at the beach in Sidon:

Spring is coming up in just 17 days. Get ready for a new series of Spring in Lebanon – that is unless I come up with material for one last Winter in Lebanon post to wrap up 2012’s winter with. This winter has been quite awesome, hasn’t it?

Winter in Lebanon: The Cedars

This past weekend, I decided to go with a couple of my cousins on a quick drive around the beautiful Lebanese North, which happens to be where I’m from.

The area in the pictures below is about a thirty minute drive from my hometown in the Batroun caza and the road is paved with gorgeous scenery as well. I had wanted to post this yesterday but the Telegraph article took precedence. Check out my commentary on that article here.

So in a way, this post will serve as further proof to what I presented in my commentary yesterday. Perhaps what was very surprising to me was that, despite it being a very sunny Saturday, the number of people hitting the Cedar slopes was very little compared to how popular Faraya seems to be even though this is a much nicer area to visit.

Moreover, while driving around these mountains, your mind is taken out of your car and to a whole other place altogether. You cannot simply drive around without forcibly stopping to try and take a picture that barely encompasses the beauty in front of you. They call the Cedar forest in North Lebanon: The Cedars of God. I think I know why it’s called as such: if God wanted to choose a place to live in (during winter), it’d be this.

It’s absolutely breathtaking.

The view from a town on the way: Hadath El Jebbe

Entrance of Bcharre, the city.

View from Bcharre, the city

Church in Bcharre

The Cedar Mountains as seen from Bcharre

Another view of the Cedar Mountains from Bcharre

Leaving Bcharre towards the Cedar Mountains

Note to self: Converses are a bad idea in such circumstances

Awesome house. Can you imagine living here in winter?

Your visit to the Bcharre region won't be the same without 2145 posters of gorgeous Setrida Geagea

The Cedars of Lebanon

The Cedars of Lebanon - again

The snow on the Cedar Mountains

Another view of the snow

The Cedar Forest from afar

 

And then, just before leaving, my cousins decided to remember my brother, Joseph, who happens to be in the US as a foreign exchange student. So this is to Joseph:

All these pictures were taken with my iPhone 4S and were not modified in any way.