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!


Middle Eastern vs. Western World

November 2, 2008 at 3:00 pm | Posted in Around the World, Girltalk | 5 Comments
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I recently read a post called Style Battle: Middle East v. Western World  about a picture that doesn’t portray the image of repressed women in the Middle East that most people around the world are used to.  I was so happy when I read that post and it inspired me to write one of my own because I really want to get the message out to as many people as possible. 

Yes there is an issue of repression of women in some areas of Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia and maybe a bit in Iran which has happened in recent years due to fanatacism which is in no way representative of Islam or the Middle East.  On the contrary, women in the Middle East are considered precious and truly valued. Especially the Mother.  Women (most atleast) in the Middle East live the life that most people can only dream of.  Just because a woman wears a veil doesn’t in any way mean that she is repressed.  It may be a religious duty or an obligation but it doesn’t necessarilty deem that woman as repressed and she is usually the one who chooses to be covered.  Actually if you visit the Middle East, you will see some of the most beautiful fabrics in the world worth thousands of dollars which make the Hijab’s that these ladies wear.

From a general view, Life in the rest of the Middle East is fabulous for men and women if you have the means to enjoy it.  I moved to the Middle East with my family when I was 17 and I never moved back to the States eventhough my parents urged me to go back.  But if you ask anyone who has lived in both the ME and the WEST…  you will get a very similar response.  Here’s what I love about the Middle East as a single girl who travels back and forth between Lebanon and Kuwait.

  • I am extremely safe.  If I ever face any problems, I can just scream and every male in a radius of a mile will be at my assistance protecting a woman’s honor.
  • I am just a short flight away from some of the best destinations in the world.  Europe, Far East, Greece, Turkey, Dubai, Lebanon.
  • I have a Great job and I make a ton of Tax free money.
  • I don’t have to pay for anything that requires entertainment.  In most cases, the men pay for everything.  So whether it’s a date or just hanging out as friends, girls are usually spoiled 🙂
  • I don’t have to do any house work.  We pay very good money for maids to do that.  And no they are not repressed either!  They make really good money and have better accomodation and treatment than they do in their home countries. 
  • I almost always have my nails and hair done by a salon because the prices are so cheap… Beauty and fashion is VERY IMPORTANT in the Middle East which is half of the reason that almost any women over here could compete on a celebrity level with perfect bodies and faces.
  • After I get married, whether I work or not is my choice because it’s usually the man’s responsibility to take care of the finances, whereas it’s the woman’s responsibility to take care of the house and kids.  Of course, many women work to entertain themselves and even to assist with support of the family these days so this is not etched in stone.
  • Luxury cars are very accessible.  Me and almost everyone I know has a gorgeous car from a BMW to a MERC to Porsche.
  • Luxurywear is also very accessible… Clothes, bags, glasses, shoes.
  • You can enjoy the best nightlife in the world (especially in Lebanon or Dubai)
  • I dress however I feel like dressing.  Noone obliges me to wear anything.  Most ladies in the middle east are among the most stylish women in the world.  And if this is about skin, then visit Dubai or Lebanon or Egypt or Jordan for an expose of the most beautiful hardly dressed bodies in the world.

I know I sound like a spoiled brat right now but why shouldn’t I live it up if it’s right there for the taking?  It doesn’t mean I am not an independent woman because I work for every dollar that I make.  I am sure I am missing a ton of benefits but since I’m at work, I am not giving it my full effort.  But I’m sure any Middle Eastern ladies or any Western ladies living in the Middle East reading this can point out alot more benefits.

Lesson: Don’t always believe what you hear or see on TV especially through the news.  Propaganda is created for political purposes but is not real 80% of the time. 

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.


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.

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!!!

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.

Why I love Beirut

November 22, 2007 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Eye on Beirut | 2 Comments
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Tomorrow is a deciding day for the fate of our beautiful country… again! We are all hoping for the best but expecting the worst. I always go back to this email that i received a while back. According to Sita, that email originated from a member of “a small world” who had answered a thread asking Why do you love Beirut?

This email always gives me hope about Lebanon as it reminds me of everything that made me fall in love with Lebanon and kept me there for 10 years through all the turmoil. Some of you may have forgotten but it’s our INDEPENDENCE DAY. For whatever that may stand for, atleast today, let’s appreciate Lebanon in all her Glory as she once was and as what she will rise up again to be.

  • I love Beirut because I see a girl in a mini skirt and her sister in a Tchador.

  • I love Beirut because it is neither West nor East: it is both.

  • I love Beirut because you can party till 6 in the morning and not realize that it is tuesday.

  • I love Beirut because in Beirut you can live as if you are going to die tomorrow and party as if they you are going to live forever.

  • I love Beirut because I can be swimming in the morning and 30 minutes later I’m on the slopes skiing or doing after ski.

  • I love Beirut because I have never seen the sun this strong anywhere in the world.

  • I love Beirut because I can see 6,000 years of history.

  • I love Beirut because every Beiruti has a political opinion and will share it with you even if you could care less about his and you want to share yours with him.

  • I love Beirut for all the conspiracy theories and how many people actually believe them.

  • I love Beirut because any night I can find a friend to go out with.

  • I love Beirut because I do not need to call my friends to go and see at home, I just stop by.

  • I love Beirut because as soon as I arrive at one of my friends’ houses his mom takes me to the kitchen & becomes introduces me to everything in the fridge.

  • I love Beirut because one can smell gardenia , and jasmine.

  • I love Beirut because strawberries taste like strawberries & fruits taste like fruits.

  • I love Beirut because the food is so good that you end up gaining even as you’re trying to lose .

  • I love Beirut because Lebanese women are the most elegant women I have ever seen.

  • I love Beirut because everyone knows my name. (a la cheers)

  • I love Beirut because I don’t have to explain myself.

  • I love Beirut because of the traffic jams and the people you meet because of them.

  • I love Beirut because of the noise pollution from cars honking.

  • I love Beirut for the spirituality of the people whether Muslim or Christian.

  • I love Beirut because I’m the first to call my Muslim friends on Ramadan and they are the first to call me on Easter.

  • I love Beirut because on May 1st I see Muslims visiting Harissa (statue of the Virgin Mary ) just like I see Christians.

  • I love Beirut because on the 22nd of every month I see Muslims going to St. Charbel and believing that a miracle will happen.

  • I love Beirut because women look like they’ve just stepped off the pages of Vogue.

  • I love Beirut because you eat to live and live to eat.

  • I love Beirut because you leave one cafe to go to another and can do this all day.

  • I love Beirut because all the Lebanese living outside want to come back and the Lebanese who are in Lebanon envy the ones who are living abroad not realizing what it means to live away from Beirut.

  • I love Beirut because a girl or a guy can easily tell you I just had a couple of Lexo or Xanax as if they just had some gum.

  • I love Beirut because for every Lebanese we have a singer.

  • I love Beirut because the Lebanese star singers sing in nightclubs.

  • I love Beirut because women go into the swimming pool with full make up on.

  • I love Beirut because guys go in with their cigars.

  • I love Beirut because it has been destroyed 7 times in History and has risen.

  • I love Beirut because since 1975 the Beirutis have withstood the PLO , Syrians , and the Israelis. I love Beirut because the Beirutis will not accept anyone to occupy them and rule over them.

  • I love Beirut because we feel that it is better to die on our feet than to live on our knees.

  • I love Beirut because each street is a two way street even if it’s officially one-way.

  • I love Beirut because one can park anywhere and not get a ticket.

  • I love Beirut because one can go as fast as his speedometer allows.

  • I love Beirut because MEA lands there.

  • I love Beirut because on MEA we can clap in unison when we are about to land.

  • I love Beirut not because it is my city , but because it is Everyone’s city.

  • I love Beirut because it welcomes every exiled freethinker,independent mind of the Arab world.

  • I love Beirut because we have hundreds of newspapers and our press is finally Free.

  • I love Beirut because when I explain Beirut to my Western friends, my friends see the passion of Beirut in my eyes.

  • I love Beirut because when I tell my friends that I’m going to Beirut they tell me can you take me with you.

  • I love Beirut because we argue over who is going to pay the bill at a restaurant since everyone wants to pay it.

  • I love Beirut because although everyone complains about “not making enough money” everyone is living.

  • I love Beirut because we accept our differences as we disagree with each other.

  • I love Beirut because it serves as a beacon of freedom to the rest of the Arab world.

  • I love Beirut because to praphrase what Gibran said about Lebanon ” Had Beirut not been my city I would have chosen it to be.”

  • I love Beirut because there is no city like it.I love Beirut because even if Beirut is being destroyed you are still beautiful and will remain beautiful no matter how disfigured you are. .

  • I love Beirut because although we’ve been knocked down numerous times, we never lose hope…

  • I love Beirut for no reason.

  • I love Beirut for all the reasons of the world

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