Blog archive: Lebanon

  • 9th January 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On a recent trip to Beirut I came across a stack of magazines that – judging by their cover photos – looked suspiciously like Arabic porn. Unambiguously titled "al-Jins" (Arabic for "sex") they were displayed on a newspaper stall in Hamra Street, for sale secondhand. Their less-than-pristine...
  • 19th December 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    After a delay of more than two years Lebanon finally has a new government and, for the first time, it includes a minister for women's affairs. He – yes, he – is Jean Oghassabian, a 62-year-old Armenian who has held posts in several previous governments. Reuters notes that the new...
  • 8th August 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Saudi Arabia's second-largest construction firm is likely to declare itself bankrupt, the Saudi Gazette reported today. For several months now, Saudi Oger, the debt-ridden company headed by Lebanese politician Saad Hariri, has failed to pay tens of thousands of its workers – many of them expatriate...
  • 2nd August 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Thousands of Indian workers are trapped in Saudi Arabia, unable to leave the country and with no means to support themselves after their employer stopped paying them. At the weekend Indian embassy officials began organising emergency food aid following reports that several hundred workers had...
  • 10th January 2016
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A survey in Lebanon has shed new light on attitudes to sexual freedom but also uncovered some apparent contradictions. Researchers from the Beirut-based Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) found broad support among the Lebanese for sexual freedom in general.  Most of those...
  • 29th November 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Carole Samaha returns to GNRD Lebanese singer backs mysterious rights organisation    Following the birth of her baby daughter in August, Lebanese singer/actress Carole Samaha has announced that she will be resuming "professional activities" in December and returning to the...
  • 24th August 2015
    By
    Brian Whitaker
       There were echoes of the 2011 Arab uprisings at the weekend when thousands of Lebanese protesters swarmed into downtown Beirut. They were protesting – ostensibly – against piles of uncollected rubbish causing a stench in the streets, though chants of "Thawra! Thawra!" (Revolution...
  • 29th October 2014
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    I have been puzzling over the latest Global Gender Gap report from the World Economic Forum (the organisation behind the annual Davos gathering). As might be expected, Arab states are all in the bottom third of the 142 countries surveyed, with Yemen at the very bottom:...
  • 11th August 2014
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A British-Israeli Watchkeeper drone pictured during flight trials at Parc Aberporth in West Wales. Photograph: Ministry of Defence    In the wake of the Israeli onslaught in Gaza, a dispute has broken out at the top of Britain's coalition government. Nick Clegg, the Liberal...
  • 17th July 2014
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A gay rights demonstration in Beirut, 2010             There are calls for disciplinary action against a doctor in Lebanon who carried out bogus "homosexuality tests" on five men who had been arrested on suspicion of having "unnatural"...
  • 21st August 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Sharmine Narwani appearing on Press TV   Sharmine Narwani, the chronically muddled commentator for al-Akhbar newspaper in Lebanon, claims to have uncovered yet another western conspiracy. This time it's a western media plot to label Hizbullah's stronghold in southern Beirut...
  • 27th June 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A report issued by Human Rights Watch this week looks at abuse, torture and ill-treatment of people from marginalised social groups by the Lebanese Internal Security Forces. It is based on more than 50 interviews with people arrested for suspected drug use, sex work, or homosexuality over...

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