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See… He’s laughing…

It’s been a while since I last touched my blog, and funny, I was thinking about it the other day when Facebook was boiling with accusations between the doctor’s syndicate in Lebanon and the Media. It did not quite move me as I think that Media and especially Joe Maalouf need to have a certain limit.

Ironically though, what moved me to write was all the fuss I saw today after Adel Karam’s making fun of the 63 years old man who was doing his “breuvet”.

Sure, Maybe I did not like what Adel said. I was laughing because I think Adel is funny and at the same time I said to myself “Oh my god! is he really making fun of that old man? that’s very mean! funny… but mean” And it stopped there, joke taken and we move on.

However… When I saw how many people got “offended” I said to myself… “God! we truly are a race that’s easily insulted, offended and we cannot take a joke”
One particular dude, who seems to have a problem with Comedians is the owner of the blog “A Separate state of mind.” he does not miss a chance to attack on Comedians! previously he attacked Nemer abou Nassar, and today it’s Adel Karam.

Click here to read the article

7abibi…. Comedians have the right to say whatever the hell they want and joke on whoever the hell they want. You have the complete right to be pissed, or offended, and you may have the right to write about it. But you have absolutely NO RIGHT, not you, not your bunch of clapping monkeys of supporters to intimidate anybody for anything! Freedom of mother-f***ing speech! or do you think you are the only ones entitled of it?

If you want to be smart, not smart-asses, you can mock or joke on Adel Karam. I am sure as a comedian he can take jokes. But intimidate him? i’m sorry. NO.

You should at least give people a certain window to apologize if you think they did wrong before intimidating them and calling them names.

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Adel Karam’s Apology.

Us, Lebanese, we need to chill and learn how to laugh.

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Elie Saab, Zuhair Mourad, Mireille Dagher, Charbel Zoey and Tony Ward were all Lebanese names that made it somehow to the red carpet through their beautiful dresses that were worn by different celebrities. But at the Oscars this year, there was a distinguished young lady who made it to the main stage with an achievement that is more relevant to the film industry.

Rhianna Shaheen earned herself a trip to the Oscars, and a spot within Team Oscar 2015 thanks to her 60 second film.

This competition was launched last year, and Rhianna was in an overwhelming shock when she heard Channing Tatum saying her name among other winners of the 2nd edition live with Jimmy Kimmel. One of her responsibilities during the even was to hand out Oscars Statuettes to presenters for several categories.

Rhianna is a 23 years old Virginia Beach resident who graduated last year from Bryn Mar College in Film studies. She is a third generation Lebanese and very proud of her roots And I had the privilege of getting to know her, and being granted the chance to interview her.

Here’s what she had to say about her amazing experience and her Lebanese roots.

Tell me a bit about yourself

I’m a recent graduate of Bryn Mawr College (last year to be exact). I majored in Fine Arts and minored in Film Studies. During my time there, I found that I really enjoyed storytelling and was very passionate about media representation

I’m currently unemployed on the east coast but I’m hoping that this Team Oscar opportunity will change that and open doors!

Your short movie earned you a trip to the Oscars, how did you know about the competition and what Can you tell me about your production process?

I heard about the contest last year and I wanted to apply but I was too busy with my thesis and school work. I decided that if I didn’t have anything going for me the next year then I would apply. It felt like a shot in the dark so I tried not to put too much effort into the short while still letting my passion shine through. I finished it in 2 days with a small camera and no budget. With myself as the actor it felt fairly easy, but my chances still felt low since everyone’s entries looked so much better.

 And the advice you talked about in your film worked out really good for you. Who gave you that advice?

My film professor in college. She has experience in LA and she knows the industry is difficult. She wanted to make sure that we made our own opportunities and not expect them to be handed to us. That was especially true for this trip. I had to really put myself out there to make connections and talk to the important people.

Rhianna (Right) with Team Oscar 2015

Rhianna (Right) with Team Oscar 2015

What was your most valuable contacts during this trip?

We went on a tour of the Warner Bros. Studio lot where we had lunch with one of the granddaughters of it’s original founders. She was really invested in our stories and our futures.

We also met one of the writers from the Oscars who also writes for popular shows like The Flash, Arrow, and soon Super Girl. He really wanted us to get connected to internships with their productions, so that the trip would be worthwhile! Hopefully that will work out!

I knew that you were dreaming of meeting Meryl Streep, Did it happen? and if it did what was it like?

Yes! It did happen!! It was incredible! She came backstage for rehearsals the day before the Oscars. We all knew the times for each award, but I was so not prepared for her arrival. It was like an apparition came into the room. I was in shock. She was so joyful and enthusiastic. After she did her thing, she came back and talked to us and asked us about the contest. I was trying not to cry, but when I told her how much she meant to me she grabbed me in an embrace and kissed me on the cheek. I lost it after that! She took a picture with us too! She was more than generous with her time.

She is very kind and supportive of young people! It’s surprising when your idols end up being exactly as you hope

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Photo by Lauren Elizabeth Randolph. Backstage of the 87th Academy Awards

 Part of the trip was a special responsibility given to you guys to hand Oscars for the presenters, Who did you end up handing an Oscar to or to which categories were you assigned?

I did Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons), Best Screenplay (Birdman), Best Live Action Short (The Phone Call), Production Design (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and Best Visual Effects (Interstellar) I think that was it!

I could not help to notice that your last name is from Arabic origin. I am guessing Lebanese?

Yes, I am third generation Lebanese. My great grandparents immigrated here at the ages of 19. They were a family of farmers I believe.

 Do you have any connections with your home country? Do you know anything about it? from which village you came from?

I know my great grandparents were part of a big family. I think my dad definitely knows more than I do. I only have pictures of them. My strong connections are now my college friends who come from all over that region. Kuwait, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine. But I’m definitely working on rediscovering my roots! It’s very important to me.

Have you ever visited Lebanon? or are you planing to visit soon?

Not yet but I would definitely like to. My friends want me to visit them in Palestine. Lebanon is definitely on my bucket list! I’d even love to shoot a film or documentary there in the future. I feel like the independent film community there could be really great!!

do you have any insights about Arabic Cinema in general and Lebanese Cinema in particular?

I don’t know if I’m particularly learned in those cinemas. I did read a lot of Edward Said in college. I know of the contributions of Arab Americans like Casey Kasem in Hollywood, but I’m definitely trying to broaden my knowledge and become more aware of the international film community.

While Filmimng the Team Oscar 2015 promo

While Filming the Team Oscar 2015 promo

What advice would you give to young people who are really passionate about this industry and would dream of making it to LA?

Have a really clear vision of what you want to do. Be confident in your voice as a filmmaker and artist. Stick to your convictions for sure. You have to really love what you do in the good times and the bad. I believe if you do all those things it can happen for you. You just have to be proactive and make it happen in the moment. Dreams are sweet but if you work on it a little each day it can become more than a dream!

Any last words for your fellow Lebanese future filmmakers?

Sorta along the same lines. I am very white, but I understand that Hollywood is a very difficult place for Arab filmmakers and actors. That being said, I think things are changing. You can’t expect things to change on their own. You make that change. Just because you do not see yourself on screen or on the stage do not believe that is not possible. Tell your stories, because they are important.

You do not need Hollywood…Hollywood needs you!!

Hollywood Needs us indeed! Thank you Rhianna for giving us inspiration and thank you for making us feel proud, not just because you walked on that infamous red carpet with your head held high, but because you don’t know much about your Origin country but yet you are so eager to discover and so proud of your lebanese last name, in the hopes that the Lebanese community will truly acknowledge your achievement.

The minions ate the wrong banana!

Posted: February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Approved by LM

Yes! I am talking about the Banana Video by ZeeZee M. And the Minions are apparently most of the Lebanese Media outlets. Those, do not share the “funny” and the “cute” of minions, they are extremely dumb and share the love of bananas with minions. The bananas in this case are everything and anything that is controversial and attracts viewers and readers, no matter how stupid, low and meaningless it is.

As many of my fellow social activists, I too slipped on that banana peel, thinking that it is yet another stupid phenomenon that is happening, I even went as far as privately talking about it with friends to have a laugh, but I did not write or talked about it, because I saw no reason and no benefit of doing so, since my blog is not about stacking visitors and reader but rather building an opinion and delivering a message, I saw no value of talking about it, until now. When it got the message that got my throat soar trying to deliver.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of media outlets talked about this ridiculous clip and a lot of people shared it. The attention it got was not for its value, but it was a direct result from the media and social activists that gave it a certain momentum. If it was not for them, stupid things would have stayed unnoticed where they are supposed to be.

Thumbs up to Clara Hawa (who I personally know and still can’t believe that I did not recognize), MTV and whoever participated in this stunt for delivering a crystal clear message: Stop making stupid things famous! And apparently those who are strongly criticizing the stunt like blogbaladi and many others are the ones that fell in the trap in the first place. typical Lebanese ego: instead of admitting being wrong and embracing the message, they just ran forward. Regardless of all that, MTV should be the first one to apply this campaign and have those ethics as standards within their establishment.

This is the full interview from Hayda Haki, You have to watch it till the end.

If we don’t want the next generation to come out dumb we better not promote dumb things and give them importance, but rather give a push to people, issues and subjects that matter and that will take part into improving our social experience, general knowledge and the sense of a better culture and work really hard to get viewers to those, Even things of humorist aspect should be well built and well put into perspective with a meaningful purpose.

Some Social media groups emerged like a spark of hope and kept my faith in humanity, one of them is Lebanese Memes, who has all the reasons in the world to share a phenomenon like this but chose not to at the time when the clip emerged, and I quote from one of the admins “do we really want to promote this even if it got lots of shares and interaction??  I though to myself that no it is not worth to spoil the page’s reputation because of her”. Big ass media outlets could learn a lesson or two from these guys.

If we, as Media outlets and social media activists care about our society and our country, we would work our asses off to get viewers, readers, posts, shares, interactions on subjects that matters and have a positive impact, rather than running after attention and money like zombies run after fresh blood regardless of the subject and ignoring that it can bring down the collective IQ of our society!

I leave you with the best Banana song in existence

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Four freakin titles in one! That’s right! couldn’t find a better time to write! Charlie Hebdo’s issue finally cooled down, Hiba Tawaji just took the social media crown from Sally Greige who is taking the stage tomorrow in miss universe and the Saudi king is dead which caused every I-Hate-all-politicians-and-everyone-is-a-hypocrite is out there to bark about various patriotic idealistic visions.

There is three type of people around, people who tweeted, posted blogged or joked about Charlie Hebdo, Sally Greige, the Saudi King and Hiba tawaji, people who did not even care and people like me who likes to sum all things up in few lines.

You have to understand something, This blog is not a news agency, and I do not race to be the first to write about issues. This is an opinion that matured enough to be shared. This is my opinion and everyone is free to share his on the comments section below.

When I first heard of Charlie Hebdo, the first thing that came to my mind was: “They saw it coming”. But then I felt bad. Bad for being a hypocrite, because not too long ago, when Said Akl died, a lot of my friends were instantly shaming him, and I got upset, because in my opinion, The sanctity of death should be respected, and a dead person should not be gloated, because this dead person does have the means to defend himself and that is the lowest of things to do. So I held back and I just said, may they rest in peace.
I never agreed once with the views and ways of those people who died, but never to a point that I wished they will be silenced and especially not in this horrible way. They gave me this opportunity of proving myself and my faith and training to apply what I have been taught in terms of compassion and forgiveness, and now unfortunately I have lost this opportunity.
12 people died that day, fathers, brothers, sisters lovers… But not Charlie Hebdo, Charlie Hebdo resurrected from the dead the week after with more than 15 million dollars of revenues, and who is going to listen to me? Me, a guy, who writes a blog not hosted on a unique domain name and that does not have more than 4 digits in my bank account. But I hope they will listen to the pope who condemned the attack and then said that freedom of expression should not ridicule anybody’s faith or views. A lot of people used Christ, God and Islam in a bad way. Same applies to freedom of speech. It is time that we are not governed by civil or religious laws, but by our own sense of humanity.

Speaking of death and the sanctity of death. A question to all of those who hate all politicians and all religions. Since when is paying respect to someone who died is considered hypocrisy? Since when is it considered shining pots? Since when is it considered crawling and kneeling? Oh for god’s sake spare us with this attitude of we should criticize and curse all politicians at any given opportunity, and bow to that sanctity of death. You should learn when to speak and when to truly zip it, that free developed unbound mind of yours.

Just a small note completely out of the subject, I believe that with the death of the King of Saudi Arabia, everyone has noticed the rise in the falling oil prices, yes of course it is linked. Saudi Arabia is refusing to change it’s policy concerning oil production, even though it is hurting their economy, they do not want to lose market shares, and this high supply versus low demand is what caused decrease in prices. When the King Died, some stock brokers thought that there will be change in Saudi Arabia’s oil policy and they bought oil hoping to sell it on a higher price and make profit, this caused the price to raise a bit. But apparently oil production level at saudi arabia will not change, which will make the prices drop again, and those who already baught oil will realize that and want to sell the stocks they bought which will cause a powerful drop in the oil prices. Excuse me for not using correct economical and financial terms, but if my analysis proved to be right I might consider going into the field of economical analysis. LoL.

And Sally Greige took a selfie with miss Israel. So what? I will mention our sense of humanity again, why is the Idea of peace so forbidden to a point that will make us traitors? Don’t we all wish that peace will take over the entire planet and yet we prefer to be drowned in boiling water than to shake hands with an Israeli? Isn’t that a bit hypocrite? Why am I going to be attacked and accused of treason by being misunderstood that I am promoting for a peace treaty with the Israelis, when I am only projecting a simple thought that it is my natural right to have and yet 100% of those who will crucify me once wrote “Je suis Charlie”. Yes I do understand that there is blood between us and the Israelis, but I believe what have been done between us, the Palestinians and the Syrians is far worse and yet they are still our brothers. Right now, in this thought, I am a simple naive person who just wants peace in this entire planet, not only in our part of the world. I am naive and I chose to be this way is this particular thought because I don’t feel like complicating things and ruin this Idea of an innocent 5 year old. I just wish.

Back to reality, despite my childish wishes and innocent thoughts, I respect my country, and I am bound to to the laws and rules of my country, and right now Israel is an enemy state.  I, like every other Lebanese, should not be in contact with Israeli citizens.

This is how I think Sally Greige should answer if she got to final stages and asked any question related to the conflict between Israel and Lebanon. It would be a kick-ass answer wouldn’t it?

And in the midst of all that, A beautiful voice is heard in France, and it’s Hiba Tawaji! After Aline Lahoud last year, Hiba is rolling eyes at The Voice-France this year. I am not against what she is doing at all, I liked her modesty whatever the reasons of her participation are, she really was more than natural in her performance. But This makes me think that one way or another, the Rahbanis have something to do with that, either they are pushing it for some reason, or they have a certain deal with the producers to be pushing an artist of their own each year to the program. If that’s the case, they should really consider sending Fairuz next year if Hiba didn’t win the title this year! A more likely person to figure in The voice – France, is Ghassan Saliba.

The other reason is, that those artists are seeking The Voice – France is probably of the monopoly that Al Rahbanis are running in the artistic field that will not give them much moving space in Lebanon or the Arab world. Whatever the case is, I hope Hiba shines there, and it will be an opportunity for me to write about that artistic monopoly in the future.

That was a long read! you have the right to ask for a cookie of you read the entire thing. Good Luck to Hiba and Sally, may all lost souls rest in peace and may will all live in peace with lower and lower gas prices!

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In Short… Nothing happened to Lebanese memes but apparently that’s a question asked everyday by a different number of people.
Everyday at least one thing is posted on the page that a number of people find offensive, wrong, controversial or simply should not be posted.
The page was founded in late 2011 but two guys, unfortunately I am not allowed to disclose any information about them.
Now the page is run by 7 admins other than the 2 founders, the admins are known by their nicknames: #Twitter_admin, #LMJ, #K, #InstAdmin, #Dr, #LMSports, #Leb_Ano.
You are probably wondering about a very active admin nicknamed #smile that is not active since 2 weeks. #smile, one of the female admins is no longer an admin due to personal reasons. There is a balance between male admins and female admins, their ages range between 25 and 32 (yeah it’s not just some kid running the page) and two admins are 19 years old, they are from different religious groups, some of them are religiously committed some are not. None of them is politically affiliated with any party.

The page name is Lebanese memes, but there is a lack of memes recently, in favor of midnight questions and controversial posts that sparks heavy debates. Members simply tend to blame the admins and to threaten to leave the page, but since it’s creation the page has gathered more than 250 thousand member and counting up.

Few things to make clear, The page is not an opinion, it is simply a community. And a community is usually a gathering of a number of people by their own will, where everybody is free to say his/her opinion and others are free to agree or disagree. You might find some offensive posts there, you are free to express that you are offended, but it is a long shot to have the post removed.

Lebanese memes is trying to force people to learn how to respect each other’s opinions and to express their own opinion in a civilized manner. Posting controversial topics is a common thing.

What I have learned from this page, is that Lebanese people lack a sense of humor… A lot, they get offended by anything! I admit, it even happened to me a couple of times where I entered into strong arguments with an admin over a post.

This page is a space of freedom, an opportunity to be in contact with the other opinion without risking being shot or shooting somebody. Let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Maraya 2011 Hamra Streets Festival was held August 30-September 1

Yesterday my Facebook news feed was full with posts concerning blonds and brunettes, I didn’t get it until I fell on a piece from An-nahar about the Syrian presence in Hamra… This is the Article in Arabic. By the time I was reading and thinking how to exactly feel about it another article emerged strongly criticizing the first one, This article was posted on Hummus for Thought, and you can read it right here.

Now I have the opportunity to reply to both articles at once, first off I would like to agree with the first article on the Idea: Yes, the huge Syrian presence in Lebanon is indeed a big problem, I wont go into details, I believe you all know that.
But I strongly disagree with the way the article is written, although it is featured on an important news paper and although the writer did his journalistic job of observing and taking different interviews from different observers, the article itself is poorly written, the language, context, words and syntax is very weak and poor and some sentences might give the impression of racism, plus this issue was over talked about already that we need to step into solutions instead of observations.

The second article is worse, although it is written with proper English, probably way better than mine, but it’s awfully just gibberish, a bunch of fancy words put together to deliver no Idea whatsoever. It starts by attacking the first article, goes on by defending Hamra, barely talking anything about the Syrians… and then contradicting itself by this beautiful sentence:
“I do not want to give the impression that the increasing presence of Syrians in Hamra poses no problem at all. Sure it does. Many things do as well”
We have a bad habit us Lebanese, I managed to get rid of it, whenever someone talks about a problem all criticizers have the punch line “Is that really a problem? what about other problems, no water, no electricity, traffic, corruption….” You have this urge that whenever somebody starts talking about a problem you shut him up by stating all the other problems that need to be fixed FIRST. Remember when the smoking law came out? how everybody started saying how about the government worries about something else and more important like traffic, When the Lebanese porn star emerged, everyone said why don’t we worry about more important things like traffic or the fact that we have no president… Then the new traffic law was announced and yet you still had someone somewhere criticizing that!

The Syrian Presence is A problem, along with other problems as well. But if we are going to keep “folcloring” and naming all the problems we have, we will never find a solution to any of them!

I never liked Hamra anyway, it is full of pretentiously deep people all with a cause and something important to fight for, while sipping a coffee, listening to Fairouz and deeply deeply thinking, then comes the writing and the expressing… But no one is allowed to touch that, or he will have a bunch of pan-arabs, communists and deep thinkers waving words like “racism”, “sexist”, “feminism”, “equality”, “Arab unity”, “unwanted western expansion” and so on…

I am a simple man, NOT conservative at all, but I prefer the blush of my 1st girlfriend (now wife) when I first kissed her cheek, over any crazy sex with any open minded girl who is free to do whatever she wants with her body… I prefer the honest stupid offensive words of the first article over the pretentious tone used in the second article… I believe everything should have a meaning.. not just a feeling! And it did, although the first article has some harsh words that people found racist, but I got the Idea, I read simple, stupid words with no filter… The second one is just pretentious I could not know what the writer wants exactly…

Last but not least I would like to say something for the Syrians, since most comments on the annahar article came from Syrians… All Lebanese, with no exception, are bothered by your presence, no exception no matter who tells you otherwise. That’s the bitter truth, and you know it. Some of the Lebanese hold it in their heart, and some others express it with the ugliest way possible. Some of you however are not that sad of being in Lebanon, since they think that Lebanon is a legit part of Syria. But you need to find a way to make this temporary stay as smooth as possible, you want to keep as many Lebanese as patient as possible, most of them did not forget your involvement in the Lebanese war. But patience has a limit, do not provide a breaking point to anybody, not by confronting a journalist who just got fed up, not by attacking Said Akl moments after his death, certainly not by treating Lebanese as a lower level of humans than you are… Understand us when someone snaps because we are really fed up, we can’t kick you out, we can’t kill you, we can’t harm you, because we are humans, all we can do is vent a little every now and then, so please understand us so we can remain good neighbors after you go back home.

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So, I was having this Idea of creating my own blog to spill my mind every once in a while on it… What bothers me the most is not the situation in Lebanon and what is happening in Lebanon, but the reactions that follows. My reaction was simple, quietly immigrate to Canada, I am not asking anybody to react the same way I did. My reaction came to efficiently improve my own life since it was nearly impossible to improve the country. It is hard to aim improvement on the problem, when the problem is in fact the people who react. But hey it’s the beginning of the year and I don’t have a resolution yet, so what the heck! let my resolution be to start this crappy blog already and start fanatically attacking those pretensions bloggers who have been on my nerves for a while now, and not to forget of course the media. I am not a great writer, but I believe that.. okay sorry I promised you of porn and instead i was writing gibberish…

So, I came across this article when i was randomly browsing (don’t forget to come back and read the rest of my article when you read the other… Please): http://ginosblog.com/2015/01/02/pornhubs-number-1-porn-star-is-now-lebanese-born-and-bred/

And now I know that there is  Lebanese born and bred porn star who is ranked nb1 on pornhub. Yea yea we all like porn nobody is lying, well at least the guys do. But that’s not a problem. The problem is the article itself, Gino is promoting for porn here! the guy got excited! So much excited that a 5 min session of hitting the pole wasn’t enough for him, he was so proud, happy and excited that he had to blog about it! that’s the ultimate climax! It’s the same as if he clicked that “share” button on the porn video, you know that share button that we all make fun off? well the guy actually promoted a porn actress!
Ouf! That was too much for me to handle… Okay okay, i’m not gonna lie I did my search as everybody did… And I was curious about the tweeter profile… Holy crap! Gino is there too! The guy is sucking up her ass! I have no idea what kind of fantasy this guy is thinking he can bring into reality! It’s a good thing to have a porn star as an acquaintance…

So now I know what’s about this article, It’s not about being free to do whatever with their body, nor about the da3ech-mentality that is slowly taking over… All that is bullshit! It is simply for the writer to touch base with a porn star! So I have nothing to say more or to argue, except one question… I wonder how Gino will feel if his Sister, Mother or cousin is a porn star, or perhaps he would prefer to marry one and let her raise his kids, I don’t need an answer, it will be for him to think about it…

All of this made me think about something… I have seen naked women more than all of my ancestors combined! And actually I prefer the wisdom, simplicity and tranquility of my grandfather over my own mind and personality… I wonder maybe it would have done us good not to have easy access and exposure to porn!

We all want to bang a porn star… But we all know we are going to have a bad time keeping porn away from our kids for the longest time possible.

Update: Apparently “A seperate state of mind” joined the campaign bashing Nemer Abou Nassar on their way… First of all, Nemer has the right to express himself the way he wants, he is the most person away from hypocricy I know. For the record, well written article by “A seperate state of mind”, but the hit on Nemer was cheap, low and not in it’s place, not as much as using NSFW images… Stay classy:) Here is a link of the article http://stateofmind13.com/2015/01/03/hijabi-porn-and-national-anthem-pride-lebanons-new-joy-1-porn-star-mia-khalifa/