How To Best Handle The Upcoming Michel Aoun Presidency

michel-aoun-president

I’m counting my blessings about 20,000 times a day that when Lebanon *finally* gets a president I won’t be there to see it. It’s sad in a way, that after two and half years of void I wouldn’t be there for the happy ending. But then again, who’d wanna be there for this happy ending?

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that Michel Aoun will be a bad president. All presidents are useless and he won’t be any different, as the past two president-less years have shown us. But oh my god can you imagine the gloat of Aounists over the next twenty three years?

So here I am, seven time zones away, and still worried about the ripple that that will cause and I’ve come up with the best way to deal with the inevitable happening on Monday.

1) What To Do With Your Aounist Friends on Facebook:

If your Facebook friends are as enthusiastic as mine, they’d have already started posting countdowns, pictures, glorious Facebook status about all the glory that’s going to come to the country on Monday. And if you’re anything like me, you’d definitely have a pack of motilium or some even stronger zofran sitting next to your laptop at all times because nausea.

Of course, it’s going to get worse from here until Monday which is just two days away. So here’s a tip:

  • If you have <5 friends on Facebook who are supportive of this move, just unfollow them and practice EXTREME vigilance because they tend to find a way to have their stories pop up on your timeline anyway.
  • If you have >5 friends on Facebook who are supportive of Aoun becoming president, delete Facebook off your phone, take your precious phone away, put it in a box, bury it in a pint of trab l arz yalli aghla men l dehab, set up food in a bunker and huddle there until 2022.

2) What To Do With Your Aounist Friends on Twitter:

While there’s an unwritten rule among Facebook users that one would not post countless statuses per day, and as such Facebook has slightly more restraint, the same does not exist on Twitter. As such, there are no guidelines for how to best handle your Aounist friends on Twitter except deactivating your account until 2022.

3) OTV:

With their lord and savior Michel Aoun becoming president, it’s also best to forget that there is an orangy TV station by the name of OTV ever existing. As Mawtoura aptly noted, their programming for the next 6 years will consist of the following:

  • Morning Mass,
  • National songs,
  • Calls to congratulate Aoun on the presidency,
  • Aounist songs,
  • Documentaries about the great Samir Geagea, etc…

It’s best to avoid this, or have xanax present at all times as well.

4) Forget About Anghami:

Here’s a scoop for you: Nancy Ajram and Assi Hallani have teamed up to do a song for Michel Aoun already. It’s not because they’re Aounists but because when anyone becomes president, everyone else just dies at the opportunity to start licking their ass. #LiveLoveLebanon.

Of course Nancy and Assi will probably not end up being the only two people who have songs out for Aoun. Expect Elissa to have a song out a certain point too, because that’s how things work. And there’s just so much of Michel Aoun being rhymed with “kon” that you can take.

5) Brace Yourself For The Onslaught Of Positive People:

Some people may not be Aounists but as it is in Lebanon, there is an overly positive populace that keeps on seeing the best in everything and I just don’t know how. Well, those people are bound to get slightly more annoying now as they are given one extra reason to be falsely optimistic about things in the country.

The earliest symptom of this will be a wider onslaught of #LiveLove across the globe.

6) What To Do With Your LF friends:

They probably don’t know what to do with themselves so it’s best to ignore their existence for now pending further development. Many of them aren’t happy though, so just pass them some of the xanax from point #4?

7) Hezbollah *shivers*:

While Hezbollah spent the last two years trying NOT to get Aoun elected, expect them to make sure everyone and their mother and their grandmother and their deceased original ancestor to know they’ve done *everything* they can to make sure the outcome on Monday took place.

It’s bullshit, certainly, but people are going to buy it anyway.

The criteria for Hezbollah fans on your social media platforms is much more stringent though. Just bury your phone and go live in a monastery in Qadisha already. There is no other way.

8) Avoid Driving:

I expect Lebanese roads are now flooded with billboards, posters, banners and mannequins celebrating the rise of Aoun. Even those that didn’t like him now do.

I expect those posters and banners to contain some of the most poetic Arabic written since Al-Mutannabi. A few Bible verses will be thrown in there as well because, why the hell not? Isn’t this the second coming of Jesus?

So if I were you, I’d just stay home until the first decent rain comes around and rips those things right off.

9) Almaza will have an ad:

They always do. This is not gonna be any different, and they’re beginning to get annoying but this will annoy you the most, so move to Colonel Beer. #ElieRecommends.

10) Prepare To Explain To The World That We’re Voting For An 80 Year Old As President:

I was literally asked yesterday who’s gonna be president. When I said Michel Aoun, the person asking me was surprised and asked: Isn’t he old?

And the fact of the matter is he is. When John McCain was running for president in 2008, he was 72 and his age had lots of people worried. We are now getting a president who’s as old as John McCain is today. Isn’t that exciting?

So what’s the best way to handle people who want to criticize our country for voting geriatrics this time around? You can: a) tell them to suck it, b) tell them enno yo2berne mshabshab, c) tell them l mouhem l so77a, d) Michel Aoun does not age, age Michel Aouns.

Bonus: Bref, sigh:

In the grand scheme of things, the worst thing to come of Aoun’s presidency won’t be him as president. It’s how annoying his supporters will be until the end of his term. There will be no major changes to the country. Hariri will be PM. They will tailor an electoral law to help them win. Frangieh and Geagea will be presidents the next two cycles. The political situation will not find a magical solution that suddenly sees our garbage off the streets and the country off to the right direction. This is just a perpetuation of the current status quo, with the people who made the status as such and well, who the hell cares anyway?

It’s just so sad. *downs ten lexotanil pills.*

5 Things More Offensive To Lebanon Than Ahlam’s Useless Comments

Let’s add brainless comments by plastic Arab pop stars to the growing list of things that have the capacity to rally every single Lebanese behind them. The list includes taking selfies with Israelis, posting useless comments on Instagram, among others.

Earlier this week, Lebanon’s “prime” comedian Adel Karam decided to make fun of Emirati singer Ahlam and her fans, who call themselves “Halloumiyin,” when her show aiming to find the best ass kisser possible also known as assistant was cancelled. That show was called “The Queen.”

So because an Arab diva calling herself and her show “the queen” and her fans after cheese was not comical enough, Adel Karam pointing it out broke the camel’s back and got Ahlam to do two things:

  • Call Lebanese “Falafel” sellers,
  • Chastise the country for the garbage crisis.

Subsequently, all hell broke loose. Twitter and Facebook hashtags calling to ban the singer from entering Lebanon were trending worldwide. Soon enough, Lebanese were attacking the entirety of the Gulf for what that singer said, because the situation with Saudi Arabia and its repercussions on our diaspora isn’t threatening enough, which means Ahlam was right when she tweeted this:

Ahlam - 3

We got these posts from Adeela’s Facebook page:

A bunch of tweets:

Things culminated with this video from Pierre Hachach:

Sure, some of it is funny and she had it coming to a certain point, but aren’t we taking it too far? What’s offensive about someone pointing out the fact that the country was drowning in garbage when it’s irrevocably the truth? How does that pertain to their character as a person? Why does it mean we have to call for them to be banned from our country?

I guess it’s only offensive when a non-Lebanese does it. We, as a country, have enough pride to go around the world thirteen times, most of it unfounded and detrimental to our betterment as a society.

So my fellow Lebanese, this is a short wake-up call to all the offense you’ve taken because of a tweet by a foreigner; behold a list of things that are more offensive than Ahlam’s useless comments:

1 – The Freaking Garbage Crisis:

You may not have liked her tweet but the country is in fact sinking in garbage. Ironically, more people were upset and offended by her tweet than by the actual garbage crisis. No amount of arguments that the garbage can be taken off the streets is enough to erase this horrible chapter from our Lebanese existence. As a country, we’ve literally been co-existing with piles of trash on the sides of our roads and in our valleys. We’ve been the butt of the joke of international news for months. Is it only offensive when Ahlam pointed it out?

2 – Two Years Without President:

Come May 2016, Lebanon would have officially spent two years of its modern history without a president. No amount of political maneuvering has been able to fix this, and the collective Lebanese population probably couldn’t care less. I’ve lost count on how many failed parliament sessions we’ve had. I guess no one’s counting anymore. A country without a head is not a country that gets to be offended by a tweet.

3 – You Haven’t Voted Since 2009:

These issues feel so passé because they’ve been so rehashed but until we actually head to the ballots and vote for a new parliament or a new anything for that matter, we will remain a fictive democracy that calls itself as such but whose people haven’t practiced any of their democratic rights in years.

4 – The Soldiers Still Kidnapped by ISIS:

Did you forget about those? Because it takes a lot of mental processing for me to bring them into the forefront of my memory. This is your friendly reminder that while many of our soldiers were freed from Al-Nusra a few months ago, many are still taken by ISIS without a resolution in sight.

5 – Our Passport Is The 9th Worst Passport In The World:

As an indicator of how beautiful our nationality is, look no further than at our passport’s strength. We have the 9th worst passport in the world. This translates to us literally being unable to go almost anywhere without having to go through a ton of bureaucratic hoops to get there. But please, by all means, let us panic over a tweet.

What’s So Bad About Selling Falafel Anyway?

I don’t know about you, but I fail to see what’s so demeaning about being told I’m a falafel seller. Didn’t we get a surge of pride only a week ago whenever anyone in any Western series or movie mentioned the world Falafel because somehow that gave us cultural validation?

Don’t we as a country also get a collective boner whenever we hear the story of a Lebanese who made it big abroad by selling falafel?

Since when is being someone who sells falafel offensive? Or is it only that because in the minds of some, being told that they’re falafel sellers infers they’re from a lower social class? In that case, not only have we failed to respond to Ahlam, but we’ve offended every single Lebanese who is one of those struggling to make ends meet for their family. I, for one, would rather be a falafel seller, and all the meanings it entails, than a plastic egomaniac Arab singer, but that’s just me.

We, as Lebanese, need to learn not to be offended by the truth about our country regardless of how hurtful that truth is and regardless of who says it. More importantly, we need to learn to develop thicker skin, however, be it against people like Ahlam or even others who will hurl out worst offenses at us or at our country.

On Lebanese Racists: The Guy Who Wouldn’t Shake Hands With A Black Person Because He’s Afraid To Get The Color

It started off like any other Sunday on Twitter. The masses decide to go for an afternoon trend to entertain their boredom and everyone seems to jump on it. This Sunday’s top trending topic worldwide was #Confessions. Naturally, people jumped on it to divulge their deepest heart’s secrets to the millions out there ignoring them.

One of those was a fellow Lebanese citizen who goes by the name Think Sultan, ironic as that handle might be, with a sizeable 4.6K Twitter following. At first, his confessions were simple:

And then, because Sultan felt very at ease probably, he decided to drop his magnum opus:

ThinkSultan racist tweet - 1

He “may” sound racist, you guys.

Of course, the tweet didn’t exactly pass under the radar. Anis Tabet of Let’s Talk About Movies was appalled and expressed his disgust at what he read, to which Sultan replied with the following brilliant notion:

ThinkSultan racist tweet - 2

 

He can’t be serious, right?

ThinkSultan Racist tweet - 3Umm, no. He was. With a few exclamation points to boot.

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And if you thought that he’d be slammed left and right for this, you thought wrong. Some were on his side, defending him because “when was the last time you shook a maid’s hand?”

ThinkSultan racist Tweet - 6

What he did is clearly his freedom of speech (or speach?) because other people are fakers. Fakers gonna fake fake fake fake?

ThinkSultan racist tweet - 5

 

Clearly it was just all of us being too sensitive.

 

ThinkSultan racist tweet - 7

 

Which means that Sultan gets to put his cool shades on, because what he said doesn’t matter.

 

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After all, it might as well just be a phobia?

ThinkSultan Racist tweet- 9

I suppose it would be stating the obvious but Sultan doesn’t have a black-people-and-their-skin-color-being-too-dissolvable-phobia, he is plainly yet another Lebanese racist who thinks he can get away with it just because the country he exists in enables this.

This is not a matter of opinion. This not a matter of freedom of speech. This is not even a matter that is up for analysis: Sultan is yet another Lebanese who thinks black people are beneath him because of their skin color, because he’s probably used to see them being abused at the jobs their life conditions force them to undertake, because he’s just so much better for being white. And that is the only truth here.

I thought long about writing this and whether highlighting such racism serves any purpose. I figured that highlighting it is not only a duty, it’s a must. Showing people like Sultan and those supporting him that their behavior is not okay, that their mentality is an abomination.

This isn’t a matter of “opinion respected but let’s agree to disagree.” This isn’t a debate or an argument. This is plainly disgraceful to every decent Lebanese out there. It is disgraceful to all the strides that human rights have gone through in the past few years. It is shameful that such mentalities can be so proud and public in 2015 and not get any slack for it whatsoever.

This comes at a time when migrant workers in Lebanon are the victims of rampant abuse, horrid marketing campaigns that auction them off like cattle (link), recurrent suicide attempts, next to no basic rights and a labor law that borders on slavery. Add people who probably think they deserve all of that to the list of things that are wrong in this country.

We are born with many things we cannot change: our skin color, our parents, our home country, our identity, our genes, our sexual orientation. It is after we’re born that they teach us to be afraid of those who are different: different color, different religion, different region. Critical thinking is what allows many of us to realize that no, these differences are irrelevant and that, at the end of the day, that person who is different is not just another mass of melanin waiting to be dissolved on us.

In his twitter bio, Sultan states that he is a “catalyst for change” as well as a “critical thinker.” If this is catalyzing a change and thinking critically, then Sultan can keep both his change and his thinking. Non-opinion not respected.

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Truer words have never been spoken, albeit they’re too ironic coming from a person like him. What’s another explanation he gave? This is the real world not utopia.

ThinkSultan Racist Tweet - 10

Yes, we are all aware this is the real world and not utopia. But this is also 2015 and not 300BC. Get with the times. Think critically. Grow up. Be human.

Rymco’s Big Twitter Mistake

We’ve all used our Twitter or Facebook accounts to communicate with some brands, restaurants and whatnot. The idea of that brand being a few characters away and possibly getting feedback from them is one of those paradigm shifts, at least in Lebanon, when it comes to the relation of companies with their customers. As a result, most of the country’s firms that want to keep up with the time have upped their social media presence and most know that there’s an etiquette with which you should abide, one that doesn’t apply to end users like us.

Patrick Chemali was one of those people contemplating buying a car. He had been considering the new Nissan but didn’t like the ad Rymco, the car’s dealer in Lebanon, had done, as is his right obviously. If you haven’t seen the ad, here it is:

So he took his dislike to Twitter and called the ad lame. Instead of having Rymco inquire more about why he thought the ad was as such in order for them to “improve their services” later on, he was basically told they didn’t care for his opinion while being called an attention seeker. Professionalism much?

Who knew not liking an ad could generate such a response from a supposedly professional firm?

Of course, you won’t find all the above screenshot tweets on Rymco’s timeline now as they have been deleted.

Instead of absorbing a customer who simply did not like the ad, not the car, and tell him that the car was still great or to inquire about what he didn’t like in the ad, Rymco went on the attack and lost him in the process as well as many other clients he would have referred had he received a decent service for the money he wanted to invest in their product. Big mistake.

But maybe they were just drunk on a Friday night?

Update: Rymco apologized and are saying the entire thing was staged with them aiming at bad publicity to get publicity. They’re now offering Patrick a car for the weekend. 

A State of Lebanese Twitter

Lebanon + Twitter

A friend of mine decided to start using Twitter recently. She followed enough people to get a taste of it and stayed on the sidelines, observing our timelines as they got busier and busier with tweets flooding their minutes and seconds, some original while others basically deja-vu.

A week later, the conclusion about the Lebanese Twitter scene that she came up with, by following the people that most of us follow and read, is the following: this is one hell of a hostile environment.

I tried to change her mind. But I wasn’t convinced it wasn’t the situation either. The past few days have not only revealed a hostile environment, they revealed an utterly disgusting infestation that I can’t begin to describe.

People on Twitter are panicking over 140 characters. Let me rephrase that: People are getting hormonal on 140 fucking characters. Do you have any idea how stupid that is? Do you have any notion how utterly ridiculous you sound when you post screenshots of your private messages with the people you want to ridicule just because you have “dirt” on them? Do you know how disgusting you come off when you screenshot your private conversations to use them as material to bully people?

Do you know how moronic it is to make fun of others because they asked for retweets fully knowing that you had also asked for retweets at a certain point? The difference is the people you asked retweets from are actually decent enough creatures not to spread your laundry for everyone to see.

The courtesy doesn’t seem to go both ways.

Some Lebanese on Twitter feel proud lately about them ridiculing teenagers, getting them feel insecure – basically bullying the bejeezus out of them. They are proud to have started Twitter wars. The Twitter community isn’t much different from its offline counterpart. And what for?

Because of a stolen tweet? Because those people are not original? Because they delete tweets? Because they tricked their way into followers? Because you think they’re dicks?

News flash: bullying, which is what many of you are doing, is not original.

The Lebanese Twitter community is witnessing a growing infestation of bullies. They are people who take pleasure in bashing others for the fun of it. As one twitter user put it on Sunday, they must check their dicks after each bullying tweet to see if it got longer. There must be an association there somehow, I’m willing to bet. And they can somehow fathom coming up with excuses to their bullying. They’re proud of it. They don’t hide it. “Nfokho” is what you get when you point it out.

Bullying cannot ever be justified, let alone when it’s about a reason as silly, as retarded, as stupid as one tweet.

You’re annoyed by someone “stealing” your oh-so-original tweets? Make it known. You’re annoyed by someone’s tweets or by the fact that they delete their tweets? That unfollow button is bigger than Jennifer Lopez’s ass. You’re annoyed by someone who’s annoying you? Block them. You don’t want to get anything from them anymore effectively making their presence non-existent? Turn off retweets. Mute them as handles, mute them as keyword, mute them as hashtag. Mute the hell out of them and just cross that bridge.

But wait. Some of you are STILL stalking those that you block. Masochism much? Are you so fixated on bringing people down that you can’t seem to move the fuck on?

I’d post some of the tweets inundating my timeline but I don’t want to give the many attention-seeking people behind them the attention they crave.

Here’s some perspective for those concerned, especially those who see a tweet getting stolen as the next coming of doomsday. I go to the hospital every day at 7:30AM. I deal with dying patients and children all day. I see grief and horror and people dealing with it on daily basis. We had to tell our patient’s mother yesterday that her bundle of joy will not live to see the tender age of 5. Then I come back home and check Twitter only to find some people acting like prepubescent teenagers with surging hormones who panic over the most meaningless of things, who treat Twitter like some holy shrine, who don’t view a tweet as just a tweet: 140 miserable characters to communicate an idea. Not to get you popular. Not to get you famous. Not to turn you into a major star, its only purpose being for you to have fun, to make friends, to let off some steam.

Isn’t that why those “major” Twitter accounts whose asses many are all hell-bent on kissing simply couldn’t care less about people stealing their tweets, about people calling them unoriginal and about many flooding them with sheer negativity and bullying and dimwittedness?

The Lebanese state of Twitter recently has sucked the fun out of what used to be a decent place for people to have decent exchanges. I met my best friend on it so I would know. People worry more about the number of retweets their tweet would get than about the things they should be worrying about. They worry about the copyright status of a joke that has been milked all the way from Mercury to Saturn. They get up in a fit about the most meaningless, worthless of things.

News flash 2.0: that internet explorer New Year joke has existed ever since Internet explorer became a source of jokes. Just an FYI for the wise asses who think their nostrils drool originality.

The only thing some people have turned Twitter into is a typical old fashioned catfight between two matriarchs in some Lebanese town who are arguing about whose progeny is first in his class. It’s downright childish, despicable and horrifying. And there are still people who look at the people on Twitter as the sign of a better future. Screw that future if this is a sample of the ride we’re in.

Here’s to those awesome people who don’t get a surge of testosterone behind the shroud of an online handle.

Demonstrate For Peace, Live from Beirut, Online

Demonstrate for Peace Beirut

The next age of protests is upon us. A new initiative has made its way online today, called Demonstrate for Peace, which calls on an online gathering on September 21st in order to protest for peace. It will be the first of its kind. It is orchestrated by the United Nations.

You can join the movement by following this link. This demonstration, despite the website listing Martyr’s Square, will not take place in any physical locations in Lebanon but is simply Lebanon playing its part in International Peace Day.

I have to ask: what effect could such a rally truly have? Is an online protest as efficient as a real life one that requires people to go down to Martyr’s Square and ask for peace using their voices, not their keyboards? Or does the UN know that such protests may not be as effective or as enticing to people?

I’m not really sure what a protest such as Demonstrate For Peace could do, especially that real life protests – complete with bloody faces – in this country have failed to do much as a general rule of thumb. But I guess there’s no harm in logging in with any social account and expressing the simple and extremely important need to live in peace, especially in a country like ours. I assume we’ve all come to appreciate the beauty in the quietness of these past few days, which have been oddly calmer than their predecessors.

Demonstrate for Peace Beirut 2

 

Let’s hope that those who actually dictate peace log in as well?

Why #ThankBassil Backfired

Yesterday night, Nicolas Sehanoui decided to take his twitter presence and use it in support of another minister in his now-defunct cabinet. The minister he decided to support was Gebran Bassil, one of the FPM’s more polarizing figures. Mr. Sehanoui figured that tweeting some of Bassil’s “achievements” in the ministry of energy and water with the hashtag #ThankBassil would get people talking.

Well, people got talking alright. But it wasn’t good at all. Instead of the hashtag turning into something positive to light Gebran Bassil’s future electoral days, no pun, it became a space for people across the twitter spectrum to express their true sentiment regarding the minister. Saying those sentiments weren’t nice would be an understatement: people are still making fun of that hashtag today, almost 24 hours later.

Many FPM supporters cannot fathom how people can’t get past their prejudice agains this man and look at his achievements. But the reasons for that are actually quite simple. Let me try to list them:

1) Gebran Bassil is simply unlikeable. This is common knowledge among Batrounis, even those in the FPM circle. Many of the level-headed FPMers I’ve spoken to admit that any other “choice” for a battle-candidate in the region would get more votes. Why’s that? Because Gebran Bassil isn’t held in the best regards among those in the FPM, despite what they try to show, and he is not liked enough to get the votes of those who are politically “independent” in the region. Case in point? He lost twice. Another case in point? Even in Michel Aoun’s Christian hayday, he barely managed to get a majority in the caza. Nicolas Sehanoui, for instance, shares Gebran Bassil’s views. But he is likeable enough to get me to maybe consider voting for him. I don’t vote in Achrafieh so there’s that.

2) What is the source of said-achievements? It’s easy to categorize everyone on Twitter as a blind supporter of political parties here and there. Many actually are. But you know what’s also interesting about Twitter? It’s a space for many Lebanese who are fed up to express that sentiment. I am one of those people. I have no problem acknowledging when someone has done a good job. What I have a hard time doing, however, is to believe rhetoric that comes from political sources that have an agenda behind each word they blurt out: every number, every syllable, every point.

3) Have you seen some of those “achievements?” One example that comes to mind is the oil achievement. Am I supposed to be grateful and eternally thankful to Gebran Bassil that Lebanon has oil, something which many of us have known for years and years now? For reference, digging sites were set up in my Batrouni hometown in the 1970s for that matter. Or how about all those dams whose projects have been around since 1960? Are all the achievements non-sensical? Perhaps not. But I don’t trust any Lebanese politician enough to give them blind thumps up.

4) Why should I be thankful to anyone again? I’ve said it before in this article (link) but I don’t want to ever be thankful to any politician whatsoever for doing what they are theoretically required to do, regardless of how well they do their job. If I see tangible improvement in a certain area, which I’m not seeing with Bassil so far, I point it out. If them doing their job is absolutely horrendous, Gaby Layoun comes to mind, then I’ll point it out as well. It is our duty as aware Lebanese people not to get carried away with political hype, especially if it comes pre-electorally, and be critical of what we hear and what politicians do. But never, ever, be eternally grateful for something someone should be doing regardless of what his or her predecessors did. Meaning: when I start practicing medicine, please don’t be eternally grateful for me curing you when you are paying me to do it.

5) Does it even make sense for politicians of the same political party to start thanking each other for their accomplishments on social media? What’s next, have Gaby Layoun thank Minister Sehanoui next week and have minister Bassil thank Layoun the week after that? How is ministerial twitter love-fest remotely acceptable?

6) If you’re from Batroun, you’d know that Gebran Bassil is being paraded around these days almost everywhere. Thank you Gebran Bassil posters are literally everywhere across my region (pictures). Why’s that? Because the man is going around the country, to every single place his ministry has started a project, to make sure the project gets affixed to his name forever. Why is he doing that in the first place? Because he knows he won’t be going back to the ministry next time and he doesn’t want his “achievements” to be affixed to anyone else’s name. Two questions can be asked here: Did he take “accomplishments” from previous ministers? And isn’t #thankbassil another extension of the media frenzy?

7) Last but not least, if you’re from Batroun as well, you’d remember a little book that was also distributed across the region in 2009 ahead of the parliamentary elections to list Gebran Bassil’s achievements. Sounds familiar, right? Well, that little book was not only trashed, it was torn apart by criticism because it was so bloated and full of achievements that were not simply true. That little book was one of the reasons Gebran Bassil lost the elections in 2009. If you’re not from Batroun, now you know.

I met Gebran Bassil a while back at my hometown’s local church hall as he paid his respect to a deceased relative. He is very good friends with my aunt who was his classmates all through school days. He was more receptive to me than I was to him. He even joked that I wasn’t “apparently with them.” I laughed as he tapped me on the shoulder to tell me it’s okay.

For the record, I don’t think he’s a bad man. On the contrary, he seemed quite friendly and I wouldn’t mind having a chit-chat with him sometimes away from all the townspeople who couldn’t wait to touch his holy suit. We might end up at each other’s throat but that’s fine.

However, I do think he is a grating politician. Is he corrupt? Perhaps he is. I can tell you about the old houses being traded around Batroun or  the aquifer water well permits being handed out to people as easy as saying A. But he is definitely not the worst and most corrupt of politicians to roam this country. Batroun has better examples to give to that. Kolestone, anyone?

It all boils down to what Twitter user @MWNader said yesterday: You can buy ministries but you cannot buy chemistry.

Refer to Fouad Sanioura for further details.