Oprah Welcomes Nancy but Hurts Lebanon

October 29, 2009 at 7:27 pm | Posted in Eye on Beirut | 1 Comment
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I was so disappointed to see the teaser campaign promoting Nancy Ajram’s appearance on the Oprah Show.   While Nancy Ajram came out looking like a gem in the Middle East, the images and narrative posted about Lebanon were pure propaganda and portrayed an overall image of Lebanon that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Over 15,000 Lebanese Facebook users have waged a non stop petition against this campaign entitled “Dear Oprah, Lebanon is NOT like that!” which has proved as a united Lebanese front from all countries and all ages.

Oprah has built an impressive empire by way of her objectivity, compassion and stature as a pioneer in the African American community.  Being all this, I can’t see how she could accept to post a teaser campaign with images and information that can’t be found anywhere online or through visitor’s opinions.  I am just hoping that Nancy will be strong enough to stand up for Lebanon and tell the truth about this amazing country!

Sunset Rose Wine by Ksara

July 15, 2008 at 3:25 pm | Posted in Delicious Delights, Eye on Beirut | Leave a comment
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Speaking of Zahle in the post before reminded me of my favorite wine of all time which is grown and produced there.  Anytime I am in Lebanon, I make it a point to order a glass of rose wine called Sunset by Ksara as it is available in almost every restaurant over there.  I personally favor it over all wines as it has a distinct light fruity taste and doesn’t give you a hangover the next day.  Actually it makes you feel quite happy rather than tipsy or tired.  I do recommend it for anyone who is looking for a good wine to try. 

For the full experience, make a day of it by visiting the KSARA winery and take a tour of the premises and learn in detail the process of how their wines are made. 

Zahle: The Beautiful Bride of the Bekaa Valley

July 15, 2008 at 3:16 pm | Posted in Around the World, Eye on Beirut | 4 Comments
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This post is dedicated to Peter Pan – who is one of Zahle’s greatest fans

I’ve been to Zahle a few times and each time was an experience of its own.  Whether it be to visit the famous wineries of Ksara and Kefraya or to eat delicious Lebanese mezzas at the Bardouni Restaurants or to just discover why they call Zahle “The City of Wine & Poetry,” it’s definitly a must see when visiting Lebanon.  Zahle is around 1 hour away from Beirut by car.  For more information on this beautiful city, you can view this link.   I have reposted some of the intereresting excerpts from the article below.

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The Bride of the Beqaa
A red-roofed town set among the eastern foothills of Mount Sannine, Zahlé enjoys a prime location in the Beqaa valley. Snowcapped mountains tower above it in winter, while in summer its 945-meter elevation keeps the air light and dry.

The city center spreads along both banks of the Bardouni River, with the older section of town on the upper elevations of the west bank and the shopping district on the east bank.  At the northern end of town is the Bardouni river valley known as Wadi el-Aarayesh (Grape Vine Valley) – the site of Zahlé’s famous outdoor restaurants. Zahlé styles itself “The City of Wine and Poetry”, and with good reason. In this century alone some 50 poets and writers were born here and almost as many wines and araks have been produced in the area.

 

Zahlé’s Bardouni Restaurants
The Bardouni is a river that flows out of Mount Sannine and down through Zahlé. It is also a name synonymous with Lebanon’s famous mezze and the delights of outdoor dining. The Bardouni restaurant tradition began over a hundred years ago with a few simple riverside cafes. Today it is a virtual bazaar of tree-shaded eating places known as “casinos,” every one more inviting than the next. Not surprisingly, competition is fierce, so each establishment outdoes itself with fountains, pools, and cooling shade to tempt potential customers.Here you can enjoy the traditional Lebanese mezze as it is served nowhere else. To add to the sense of timelessness, delicious mountain bread is baked before your eyes and a man in baggy trousers and fez is on hand to pour Lebanese coffee. He can also provide diners with a hubble-bubble (water pipe).

 

Wine and Arak
Zahlé’s association with the grape is pervasive, for it lies at the heart of an area that has been making wine since early antiquity. At the city’s southern entrance the statue of a graceful female personifies wine and poetry, but you don’t have to look far to see evidence of the real thing. The hills north of town with names like Wadi Hadi, Harqat, Bir Ghazour and Tell Zeina are covered with the neat rows of vineyards that supply Zahle’s wine and arak industries. A tour of Zahlé’s Ksara winery is a good way to see how wine and arak are made. Of special interest here are the extensive underground caves built around a natural grotto known and enlarged by the Romans.

 

Local Celebrations
Each year between the 10th and 20th of September Zahlé mounts its week-long ” Festival of the Vine”, a celebration shared with the city’s ” Flower Festival”. In a carnival-like atmosphere “Miss Vine” is elected and cars are decorated with flowers representing national symbols.

MEA Online Booking

July 6, 2008 at 9:11 am | Posted in Eye on Beirut, Surfin the Web | 2 Comments
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Middle East Airlines has now launched its online booking site to facilitate booking and payment for all MEA customers.  I just finished going through it.  It’s a very easy and simple to use graph mechanism that points out the best prices as well as best timings according to your request.

Mix FM Live: Enjoy the Newest Music from Lebanon

June 18, 2008 at 10:14 am | Posted in Eye on Beirut, Music Box | 1 Comment
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The Lebanese are known for their parties, clubs and enjoyment of every moment.  They are always up to date with the latest trends in fashion, hospitality and music.  It’s normal for Lebanese and anyone who has gotten used to Lebanon to feel like they are missing out on the happenings while they are away.  But I’ve found that listening to Mix FM Live at work does an decent job of bridging the 2 hour distance between Kuwait and Lebanon, especially when you hear all the commercials of events.  

Right now they are advertising the most outrageous party of the summer at Sky Bar on August 2nd featuring Bob Sinclar who sings “World Hold on” and “Children of the Sun”.

A Thank You to Everyone Who Destroyed Lebanon

May 20, 2008 at 7:41 pm | Posted in Eye on Beirut | 2 Comments
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I am completely appalled by this month’s cover of Times Magazine entitled “The Divided World of the Middle East“.  Our politicians should be ashamed that they allow outsiders and insiders to ensure that our country will never live up to it’s true potential.  They should be ashamed that they allow publications sold all over the world to make sadly true statements like : “They (The Gulf) demonstrate that there is no reason why those two adjectives should not live in the same breath — or why Beirut’s fires, which were the symbol of a region’s past, should illuminate its future“.

They should be ashamed that all of the Lebanese kids have no place to call home other than the Gulf, Europe and America because they can’t come home.  They have no security, no stability, no voice.  Nothing but stress of making enough money to send home and the worry that their families will be ok.

Instead of respecting the beauty of Lebanon and the strategic position it has, they sell us all out so they can make a quick buck and get their 15 minutes of fame.

Congratulations!  You ruined yet another summer!  You managed to lose thousands of youth who were Lebanon’s future because you forced them to leave.  And each and every one of them is desperate to get any other passport because they know that their own will not ever do them any good.

I am absolutely DISGUSTED!!!

All Eyes on Beirut

May 7, 2008 at 9:31 am | Posted in Eye on Beirut | 4 Comments
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Each and every lebanese employee in my company has atleast 3 sites open and has called home to Beirut at least once today.  Of course, everyone is asking the other if they have any new updates.   The Beirut Airport has been closed from 9am to 3pm today for safety purposes.  For up to date news on the situation (Labor Strike), you can follow minute by minute developments on Tayyar.org and Naharnet.com.  You can also listen in live to Voice of Lebanon for commentary on the situation. 

 

Raje3 Libnan

April 28, 2008 at 10:17 am | Posted in Eye on Beirut | Leave a comment
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I’m so psyched about going down to Lebanon in two weeks.  Who cares about the situation… I just wanna be there. This song is not helping me much… everytime I hear it I’m ready to book the next flight out. But it’s been one of my favorite songs since I heard it so long back and still remains so today.  Link to Song.

Earthquake in Lebanon, but what about Tsunami??

February 15, 2008 at 4:19 pm | Posted in Eye on Beirut | 5 Comments
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An earthquake was reported earlier today in Lebanon (Tyre) with a magnitude of 5.0 .  Link.  Tremors were felt all throughout Lebanon and some of the Middle East.  According to Michel Hayek, who usually predicts the year’s events for Lebanon on the New Year, Lebanon will experience alot of Earthquakes this year.  Tyre has already felt a few in the past week or two but nothing more than a magnitude of 2 to 2.8. 

Earthquakes are nothing new to Lebanon.  It is a well known fact that Beirut has been buried 9 times by earthquakes and tsunamis in the past.  The last reported disaster hit in 551AD wiping out all the coastal cities of Lebanon.  According to National Geographic, the next Quake – tsunami should be due any day now.

 

Enough is Enough

January 15, 2008 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Eye on Beirut | Leave a comment
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Earlier today, Qarantina a northern area of Beirut was the location of yet another explosion in Lebanon.  Until now, three are reported dead and around 20 wounded.  One of the targets was a US embassy car which can not be good news.  Every Lebanese around the world is currently holding their heart in their hands as they try to get through the jammed phone lines to those they love.  Especially since the area where the bomb happened was in an area where most people pass through atleast once during their day. 

This situation is becoming ridiculous.  Yes the Lebanese people have become accustomed to such occurences due to the civil war and have learned how to continue their lives normally without being affected by the stress of not knowing what will happen but I think we have crossed the line of one bomb too many.   The once beautiful and envied life of the Lebanese has changed drastically from a passionate love to an emptiness that can’t be filled. Youth are being forced to look for work outside their country in the Gulf or the West in order to support their families who they leave behind while those who remain in Lebanon are living in such an enormous amount of stress that most of them are on anti-depressants and living a very routine unsociable life which is not at all typical to Lebanese culture. 

How do we know that the problem is reaching a stage that may be irreversable?  By measuring the hope left of the Lebanese people.  Lebanese people worldwide will never be home unless they are in Lebanon.  They wait for any holiday or even day off to hop on a plane and run home.  If you ask any one of them how long they will be away from Lebanon, they will tell you one or two years or as soon as the situation gets a bit better.  Well my dad, uncle, aunt, friend’s parents and so on said the same thing 30 years ago and they are still waiting and hoping.  They keep sending money and buying lands and homes and listening to songs of Lebanon’s return.  But after the drama of the last year, more and more Lebanese expats are letting go of this dream.   That is all I can say.  I am so saddened for Lebanon and I am constantly praying for stability, praying for my family’s safety, praying for nothing less than a miracle.

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