Blog archive: Lebanon

  • 23rd April 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    "They did not know it was impossible, so they did it." Encouraged by these words from Mark Twain, several thousand Lebanese are expected to march through Beirut on Sunday, calling for secularism. The event – known as Laïque Pride – is the latest result of internet activism in...
  • 4th April 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    An unusual book-signing took place in Beirut at the end of last month. "Memoirs of Randa the Trans" ( مذكرات رندا الترنس) is the life story of an Algerian raised as a boy, who felt trapped in a male body. Mocked and abused at school, and later threatened with death by religious...
  • 1st April 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The execution of Ali Sabat, the Lebanese TV fortune-teller who was arrested in Saudi Arabia on charges of witchcraft is reported to be imminent. Mr Sabat, 46, hosted a phone-in show on the Lebanese Sheherazade channel where he gave advice and predicted the future. The Saudi...
  • 21st March 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A 30-year-old Sri Lankan maid, Ambagla Mudian Silage, hasjumped to her death from an employment on the fourth floor of a building in Jal el Dib, Lebanon.  Suicides by domestic workers are common in Lebanon and other parts of the Middle East but usually occur at the home of the employer...
  • 24th February 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    An opinion poll highlighted by the Qifa Nabki blog shows strong popular support in Lebanon for abolishing confessionalism. Fifty-eight per cent are in favour, plus a further 10% who favour abolition but think the time is not right. Only 22% oppose abolition. Interestingly (but not...
  • 18th February 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In a survey among doctors in Lebanon, 60% viewed homosexuality as a disease that needs medical assistance and 73% said it needs psychological counselling. The findings are in one of two reports presented at a meetingorganised by Helem, the Lebanese LGBT organisation, last week. The other...
  • 14th February 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Today is the fifth anniversary of the explosion in Beirut that killed former prime minister Rafik Hariri and at least 20 others – an event that triggered the most extraordinary period in Lebanese politics since the civil war. Five years on, though, it's difficult to say what the ...
  • 4th January 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Once again, a Filipina domestic worker has plunged to her death from a balcony. Theresa Otero Seda, 28, died in the Sanayeh district of Beirut. She had apparently slashed her wrists before falling. Matthew Cassel's blog describes the scene, highlighting the off-hand attitude of...
  • 25th December 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Fouad Makhzoumi, a Lebanese billionaire and former arms dealer, is at the centre of a political row in Britain after it emerged that one of his companies has donated £100,000 to the Conservative Party during the last four years. But besides his support for the British Conservatives, he...
  • 21st December 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri sat face-to-face at a state banquet on Saturday with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad – whose regime has been widely suspected of assassinating his father. Hariri's bridge-building visit to Damascus seems to have cautious support from a range of...
  • 2nd December 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The abolition of political sectarianism in Lebanon was identified as a national "priority" in the Taif agreement that ended the civil war 20 years ago. The agreement set no time-frame for abolishing it, and nothing was done. Following the parliamentary elections last June (and five...
  • 20th November 2009
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A lengthy post on the Qifa Nabki blog tackles the sensitive question of Lebanon’s 400,000-plus Palestinian refugees – more than half of them living in camps: The living conditions of these refugees – most of whom were born in Lebanon – is dismal. They have few civil rights...

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