The Lebanese Beaches To Go To Or Avoid This Summer Based On Their Pollution Level

The National Centre for Marine Sciences, based in Batroun, has been doing a study over the past several months about the quality of the water at several Lebanese beach areas, from the tip of the North to Naqoura in the South.

As such, they’ve come up with the following infographic about which beaches to go to and which ones to avoid this summer:

State of Lebanon's beaches

 

As expected, the best beaches in the country are in the Batroun area in the North and the Tyr/Naqoura area in the South, which has the country’s cleanest shores.

This means that it is our responsibility as Lebanese to avoid the beaches in areas marked as severely polluted, for the better health of ourselves and our loved ones. Polluted water may not have immediate effects from one swim, but recurrent exposures are bound to have detrimental effects on our well-being.

As such, the resorts in areas affected by high pollution rates should take it upon them to clean up their water if they still want people to pay the horrifying amounts of money they charge for entry. And if not, then we have entire areas in the North and South where many free beaches exist and where the water is as pristine as it is clean.

 

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On Lebanon’s Liberation Day

Liberation day makes me proud.

It makes me proud as a Lebanese because it brought glory to my country.
It makes me proud as a Northerner who had never set foot in his country’s South until this past December that it gave me back my country’s other side.
It makes me proud as a human being because all those people, many of whom are my dear friends, became part of a country again, regardless of how fragmented that country may be. It makes me proud because the sacrifices of those same people for years and years under the tyranny of a foreign army and Lebanese mercenaries came to a triumphant end.

Liberation day makes me sad as well.

It makes me sad because another side of the country’s similar struggles will never be looked upon the same way.
It makes me sad because its meaning is being ridiculed by people out of sheer political gerrymandering.
It makes me sad because the same people that made it are now ruining it with every single drop of Lebanese blood falling in Al Qusayr.

Liberation day makes me pitiful too.

It makes me pity those who are so politically blind today that they cannot be proud of the day’s meaning.
It makes me pity those who are so hateful on sectarian lines that those liberated are not of us and will never be us.
It makes me pity those who were liberated and still think, thirteen years later, that their liberation entitles them to so much more than others.
It makes me pity the people that fought for this liberation and who are destroying its meaning with their massive brainwashing.

I remember being a 10 year old whose mother told him that his South is now liberated. I remember feeling concerned back then. I still feel concerned today. Happy liberation day to those who still care.

Walk of Causes – Lebanon

Matias and Jørgen are two Norwegian men have decided to do something that most Lebanese don’t even think about, or consider doing as one so gladly pointed out in the video I’m posting below as “bullsh*t”: Walk Lebanon from the North to the South, collecting donations from the people they encounter for good causes.

The first episode, the video of which can be found below, features them going around Lebanon’s gorgeous North. The money proceeds of that episode will go to the Lebanese Red Cross.

What’s interesting about this to me is, apart from the immensely interesting thing these men are doing, that I, as a Lebanese, have never been to the parts of Akkar they’re visiting. I also haven’t been to the Lebanese South, unless you count Saida as part of the South, which many don’t.

It goes to show how little we’ve really discovered firsthand of our country and I think this applies to the majority. However, we do excel at nagging. But no matter, behold the video:

And make sure you check out their Youtube page for other episodes.

The July 2006 Lebanon/Israel War: My Story

This is a guest post by my good friend Hala Hassan.

Hear it from those who were there.

A neighboring country at war, you sympathize.

Innocent civilians torn into pieces under the wreckage of their houses, you shed a couple of tears.

Frightened children and sick elderly begging for international intervention, you pray deaf ears listen somehow.

But what if you were that citizen in that country, held up in your house, scared like you’ve never been, reciting every single prayer that ever crossed your mind for those bombshells to stop and those warplanes hovering in the sky to go away…

Yes, it’s been 5 years since “July war”, “the 33 days war”, “the 6th Lebanese/Israeli war” or whatever they want to call it. But for that traumatized girl, it still feels like yesterday…

To survive a war is one supposedly satisfying ending. Not to have lost a family member is considered a blessing. But for a 17 year old, survival was not enough to overcome such an altering experience: A slamming door, a blowing wind, even fireworks… any sound still triggers her fearful memories and is capable of causing her a panic attack.

She still remembers each day and date in the intricate details of their events. She still remembers that Wednesday July 12th when her father called asking her not to be alarmed if she hears distant explosions. She remembers how he came back that afternoon ‘whistling’ trying to make her and her sisters feel like everything was just fine. She remembers how she had to share a bed with her older sister that night, freezing at instances and suffocating at others out of fear.  The warplanes had started violating her sky that day. They wouldn’t leave till late August.

She still remembers the following two days she spent in the supposedly “safest room” of the house – back then “safe” meant having a double ceiling, no glass windows and least furniture – and how she kept on squeezing her mom’s hand relentlessly all night like a 2 year old.

She still remembers the voice that emanated from the radio, her only way of communication with the world, asking her and other Southern residents to leave their villages. Or else. That radio also conveyed news about those innocent civilians, who got betrayed by their naïve expectations, upon leaving their houses thinking that a white flag would save them from being savagely murdered.

She still remembers that shelter in her grandparents’ house: a tight narrow tunnel lacking light and at some points oxygen in which she sought mistaken safety with other family members and neighbors. She still remembers the smell of those sweaty fearful souls and the cries of those frightened hungry kids.

She still remembers July 19th when her peaceful village was attacked by deadly showers of cluster bombs, those internationally banned bombs that kept on dropping like rain for hours during which she felt the epitome of fear, leaving behind a dead woman and many serious injuries. She still remembers that awful silence following the disaster, a silence which was not broken until a few of hours later by the siren of an ambulance that waited a long time to be given permission to come for rescue.

She still remembers July 21st when a vehicle of the Lebanese army was bombarded in her village leaving behind severely burnt soldiers, even though the army was left outside the equation back then.

She still remembers her 8-year-old sister hugging her physician father as he was leaving them to help in rescue efforts, begging him not to leave as everyone watched the scene and wept.

That day was her last in her beloved village because the citizens whose cars “survived” the attacks decided to leave. Food, water and medication had become scarce. And most importantly it had become obvious to them that they were targeted to be killed.

That day she saw her father covering their car with a big white piece of fabric. She saw frightened people struggling for seats in the leaving cars, which got stuffed with traumatized flesh and blood seeking refuge…. The last face she saw was that of her grandfather at the house gate. He refused to leave because for him life does not exist beyond that gate.

She still remembers that cursed journey to the Bekaa, every moment she spent looking through her window praying for that Apache not to show up in the sky and turn her and her family into pieces. She still remembers those endless days she spent crying and thinking of the life she left behind, wondering if she’ll ever be back.

Who said time makes people forget their previous fears and overcome past sufferings? Well, here is something that girl has come to learn: child or elderly, woman or man, illiterate or educated, everyone who survived that war has suffered and still is. They are all hidden victims that no one ever bothered to soothe their psychological needs and problems.

That 17 year old is turning 22 soon. She is a graduate of the American University of Beirut and planning a medical degree, which makes her someone who supposedly has been provided with the best education and environment to overcome whatever distress she has been through. And yet that girl is still held up in that summer. As a friend of hers always suggests, therapy might be the best solution for her condition. Therapy might put an end to the nightmares. It might alleviate the effects of the past pain… but the scar will always remain, carved with blood and tears in her memory.

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. For that girl, this saying has become a belief. 4 days after the battles stopped, there she was, back in her village along with most of those who left, challenging all the difficulties and threats. Everyone had one common goal: rebuild the destruction, heal the wounds and restore life in their beloved South. After all, it’s Lebanese determination that was being tested. Who is better at acing such a test than those who have endured vicious wars throughout the years, one after the other? History will probably keep on telling their stories of glory and courage until the end of days.

Dear Roadster Diner,


I love you. I really do.

Out of all Lebanese restaurants, you might be my second favorite. A close second at that. Sorry, but nothing can top Batroun’s Pizza Royal (and they don’t make my wallet go drastically thinner too).

My relationship with you can be abusive sometimes, mostly from your part both to my wallet and my cholesterol levels. And despite that, I keep going back.

But this is not about me loving you. It’s about you not loving me as much. You see, you, as a franchise, can be categorized as somewhat xenophobic (Dubai doesn’t count). How so? Have you looked at how your branches are spread out across Lebanon?

Take Beirut as the center. Your branches are located all around Beirut. The furthest one to the North is in Kaslik and the furthest one to the south is in Verdun. So say I’m spending summer in my hometown in the North, I cannot eat your Diner Mite 220 unless I go all the way to Kaslik, where I have to wait for ten or more minutes so I can be seated in the non-smoking section. And during summer, the City Mall branch has waiting times that can go to about 30 minutes. To say business is overflowing would be an understatement, right?

So why don’t you invest in spreading out more to the North and further to the South? I’m not saying go all the way to Akkar or the Southern border but you know, Batroun or Saida would be a good stopping place, no? I’d even take Jbeil if Batroun is too far for you.

You see, your rival Crepaway is already spreading out way more than you do. Their Batroun branch has been doing quite well for a few years now and they’re opening up a new branch in Jbeil. I don’t like Crepaway as much as I like you but they’re more accessible, and therefore, more prominent in the Lebanese scene. Look at it this way: more people would readily go to the more available place, right?

The new branches don’t need to be a full blown architectural design like the new Batroun McDonald’s. They can be a small place enough to keep business in the positive range in small Northern cities and enough to satisfy the appetites of your customers whose lives do not revolve around the Lebanese capital.

Sincerely,

A hungry Lebanese citizen.