Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One Wig Stand glams up Christmas!


Charity and Glam. 
What better combination to gear up for the Holidays season?

One Wig Stand is giving all the ladies in Lebanon an opportunity to grab one of the few remaining creations that were designed for Bras for a Cause.  

Hold on.

If you've been meditating in some far away mountain or held captive in a cave by a hungry bear; which are the only two reasonable reasons not to have heard of Bras for a Cause, you are hereby pardoned. After all, 'tis the season to be forgiving. 

Just make sure you get up to speed with the Middle East's biggest Fashion Meets Goodwill event of the year, at least before 2011 ends. And why not, be part of it! 

So redeem yourself properly and pay One Wig Stand a visit tomorrow December 21 or the day after, that is December 22; just being thorough so there's no misunderstanding when you're marking your calendar.

Not only will you meet fantastic people, but you'll also have lots of fun. That's a guarantee. Here's a taste of what awaits you at this year's Christmas Bra-Zaar:

  • Shop for bras in a cozy girlie-girl gathering with nice music, munchies, drinks and other little festive surprises. Chocolate truffles, mini-cupcakes and cookies for all!

  • BRA PRICES AND SIZES: prices are very affordable and range between $18-30. Various sizes available for B to D cups

  • Full proceeds of all bra sales will be donated to regional breast cancer organizations as part of the large-scale Bras for a Cause campaign. 

  • MASTECTOMY BRAS: We'll also be selling mastectomy bras if you know someone who needs one. Trust us, they'll love the sexy designs with comfortable and discreet prosthesis pockets. 

  • BRA FITTINGS: K-Lynn Lingerie Specialist Tiffany Karam Youssef will be available at the event to help with bra fittings for anyone interested to get the right size and suggestions for the optimal bra for your body. Every person who gets fitted will additionally get a 20% discount card for their next K-Lynn Lingerie purchase! 

  • OPENING HOURS: Wednesday Dec. 21: 3-9 pm and Thursday Dec. 22: 3-9 pm. Pass by any time - it'll be open house! We'll have a fitting room area for anyone who wants to try the bras before purchasing. 

  • WHERE'S IT HAPPENING? One Wig Stand office in Achrafieh, Lebanon, right next to ABC Ashrafieh if you're driving up from Spinneys. Feel free to call 01-203112 for additional directions.

  • VOLUNTEERS OR COLLABORATIONS: Want to help out? Have some creative ideas to make this an even more fun, memorable night? Email OneWigStand@gmail.com.     

And here are your Bookmarks for more Holidays Shopping, with a heart:

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Opening the Gate


This year, Dubai has seen remarkable Lebanese productions shine at its annual International Film Festival which is wrapping tomorrow, December 14. (Feeling very proud).

And I have had the pleasure of attending the world premiere of Gate #5 by Simon El Habre (I honestly have Ruba and Simon to thank for that)

Photo: R. Abouzeid

It is always something special to enjoy documentaries at large venues. It gives me some sense of pride, inside. To be able to sit and watch an unusual and counter-mainstream film, moreover a documentary, at one of the busiest theaters in town; well, it feels good.

And I was not disappointed by the story either. Far from it.

Documentaries are a difficult genre. They do not appeal to all audiences. But lately, there has been a rise of outstanding filmmakers worldwide who are turning this under-appreciated art into what making films is all about: sharing. Sharing with all sorts of people. Sharing with those who never thought they could ever even cross paths. Sharing.

And this is exactly what Simon El Habre did with Gate #5. The inspiration behind this whole project being his own father, and featuring both of them in intimate, yet always beautifully set confessions; it cannot get more "Sharing" than that. In a nutshell, the filmmaker is allowing us inside private family moments. 

Photo: Gate #5

The rhythm of the film itself slowly becomes orchestrated by this intimacy. At first it is just the heavy breathing of this aging man that resonates like a loud heartbeat in between scenes, subtly underlining the thread that connects all the stories together. And at other times, it is the sound of his dialysis machine, cruelly following that same beat, that sustains this audio-storyline in a smooth, endless continuation. Just like life. Just like the protagonist's life. 

But this aging man, sick and yet always optimistic, is nothing but the inspiration behind the documentary. El Habre moves on to expand from that small circle of memories through the Gate that controlled his father's life at one point. A gate that controlled many lives back then. And still does today. Once the Gate opens, the people open up as well. And the story begins. A story of men. A story of Lebanon. And life. A beautiful story. 

Yet, it is an unsettling gate that the filmmaker chooses to open in his first scene. The disturbing images of cattle being pushed and shoved out from one narrow box to another, fear and pain overflowing from their eyes as they pass that gate and step onto the truck that will undoubtedly drive them to their end put us all on edge in our comfortable theater seats.

One thing is for sure, El Habre got our attention from the first shot.We knew right then, this would not be a regular film. And although they were selling pop corn and sodas outside, we understood: this was no pop corn movie.

It would not be one of those "tedious" documentaries either. Clearly, the conventional archives, voice over and interview style was as far from us as it could be. 

It would be cinematographic instead. The images would speak when the people or the filmmaker could or would not. 

Indeed, and moving on from those shocking opening moments, and as if thanking us for being there and attentive, El Habre takes us for a drive on the beautiful mountains of Lebanon, through the powerful eye of cinematographer Bassem Fayad. Almost forgetting we were about to watch a documentary. Simple beauty on a big, big screen. It felt like cinema. It felt like Lebanon. And I missed it so much all of a sudden.

Photo: Gate #5

That is probably the key winning touch of this film. It is personal. And it gets personal to the viewers too. Unavoidably. 

It is the story of certain men. Yet, all of us can relate. 

The story takes place at a certain point in time, and with Lebanon, it usually implies the war will be somewhere in that timeframe. Yet, it is not an narrative recount of those years. 

The story happens in old Beirut. Yet, it is not images, and archives, and black and white footage of that era. 

(And thank you so much for sparing us those overused and abused videos and photos which are just about everywhere as if every artwork should serve as public service announcement for the ministry of tourism!)

The story is human. And through these humans, we see the past. As it was. Unedited memories of what real life used to be. No voice over. No script. No interview. Just regular, ordinary chats. 

Photo: Gate #5

These men talk to each other, or the filmmaker, casually. Simply. As if no camera was there. As if they were having one of their daily informal discussions over coffee. Because this is what these men do every day. They remember. They talk. They reminisce about their golden years. That day, they just happened to be recorded while doing so. 

We know these men. Not them particularly, but others just like them. That is how we know these moments in the film are genuine. That is how we know this movie speaks a truth. Maybe not the Truth. Maybe some even take pleasure in storytelling and embellishing a little. Just like those other men we know and we have listened to before. At our family dinners. In a cab. At an old coffee shop.  

And that is why this film speaks to us. At a personal level.

By the end, I could not help but lean towards my husband and whisper: "you know next time we're in Beirut and you have one of your drinks with your dad, just take the camera and record". He is always saying something. They all are. 

And the fact that Gate #5 inspired us to actually pick up a camera and listen is the plain proof that this film works. That it achieved its purpose. That it created something, beyond that theater, even after those end credits rolled on that big screen. That it touched real people. And that it affected real life. 

Q and A with Simon El Habre following the screening
Photo: R. Abouzeid

Useful references and sites:

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Special gift with ❤


'Tis the Season to be jolly...
And to make a jollier world for those around us.
Especially children. 

So today I am adding to my Christmas Wish List a very "Special One": the Children's Cancer Center of Lebanon.

I have nothing but respect and the utmost admiration for the people who work there, and for the Center itself. Its purpose is to provide quality healthcare to children with cancer, completely free of charge. And unlike many (if not all?) other charitable organizations in the country, the Center welcomes patients from all walks of life, and most importantly from all religions.

Every year, the CCCL creates amazing gifts with meaning, and this season is no exception.

Fighting cancer is without a doubt one of the most difficult (and sometimes tragic) battles anyone might have to endure. Like many if not all tragedies, it is not one we choose. But it is not one we can avoid either. It could hit anyone. Sadly, I can attest to that. And to the excessive devastation it leaves behind.

Relatives and friends from all ages have left us too soon. It is in their honor and in the name of those still struggling that I ask you to take the time to support the CCCL in any way or form suitable to you.

I know two children undergoing treatment there. Not because I took the time to volunteer, I only wish. But simply because cancer can indeed hit the people you least expect to be sick. Young, bright, beautiful people. With life and an exciting future ahead. And who suddenly find themselves sinking in pain and battling a war no one, especially not children, should have to fight.

But they do. And with the help of the CCCL, they have a chance. An opportunity to take back what is theirs. To claim back their future. To claim back their lives. To survive and go on.

I also know for a fact that treatment at the CCCL is completely free of charge for all, which makes our support all the more important and consequential.

So please, take the time to check the Helping Hands Friendship Band collection and I am certain you will agree it is indeed a meaningful gesture that combines both the spirit of the CCCL and beauty. But more significantly, it is an immediate action in support of children in need.

I have already gotten one from a previous year's collection and I can assure you it puts a warm smile on the face of the person who receives it. Not only was it a lovely gift to wear but it also meant a donation was made in her name and she contributed in some way, no matter how small.

Other beautiful gifts can be found on the CCCL Merchandize page.

You could also make a monetary donation to the Center directly through traditional fundraising means or the online donation site which I have already used, and can confirm all transactions are completely safe.

May you and your loved ones have a wonderful holidays' season and a long, beautiful life filled with love, kindness and most importantly good health ❤

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas shopping list?


Let's face it: shopping for the holidays is always a bitch! Actually, shopping for any occasion, any time of the year is definitely not the most entertaining activity. 

And here we go again, for a winter filled with events! I never know what to get and the fact that I start looking just a few days before Christmas certainly does not help my quest. 

So this year, let's try and plan ahead, shall we?

I was inspired by Lorena's Epiphany's different Christmas which encourages everyone to support local artists and artisans this holiday, instead of buying from big corporations. I usually buy some gifts from charities too and I'll keep you posted on that as well in another article. In the meantime...

Earlier, on this very space, we have had the fantastic opportunity to meet new talents, so why not take advantage of their unique creations which promise to dazzle the toughest of gift critics!

I cannot help but think of Bras for a Cause first since it is the event that introduced us to fantastic designers and hopeful creators this year. So get some fabulous and glamorous FOR HER, all the while helping a great cause. If you are still wondering where to find the Look Good Feel Good Collection, search no further, we have got all the addresses for you over here.

As a daughter, sister and more recently wife, I attest that shopping FOR HIM is a nightmare! He usually has a zillion ties, wallets, pens and watches and to make things worse, he buys his own gadgets all year long which means that we end up with no wish list by the time the festivities have arrived.

But how about personalizing a favorite piece of his or even better, creating and entirely new one? And what could be better than a piece of wood? Wood is tough, rough and raw. Just like HIM. Well you are in luck because I have got the thing just for you. Wood artist and painter Dyala Khodary has a magical touch for turning dull into excellence. Indeed, Mia's Easter boxes turned out amazing, but you can request just about anything at Double U As Wood. Right off the top of my head I would say a keyring which would never leave his side, a set of coasters to impress his mates at their next margarita night (I have mine and they rock), a wine rack to earn your parents' admiration the next time they come to dinner or even a bookshelf to make those annoying intellectual neighbors of his so jealous they might not survive until new year's.

Image by Double U As Wood

Something that works FOR HER and HIM is SmallPrint's silver jewelry. I had initially discovered them when looking for the perfect gift for my mom. Which we did: a fantastic pendant with Mia's footprint. Since then, I also made the cutest keychain for hubby's Father's Day. SmallPrint can turn just about any print (foot, hand, even lips and drawings) into pendants, bracelets, keychains or cufflinks. Fancy, right? And a treasure which will last forever.

Image by Grossesse En Blog

On the other hand, some things are made to please instantly. I am not saying you will not remember them forever, far from it. However, there is something special in turning a regular everyday moment into magic. And I think everyone can agree chocolate will do that for you. Usually men gift chocolate to ladies but let's face it, when we are dealing with delicacies like Hala Khodary's Chocolat Fée, then trust me both HER and HIM will be delighted by this sweetness in a box which incidentally can also be handmade and customized by Dyala Khodary.

Image by Chocolat Fée

Last but not least, are two talented designers who also participated in Bras for a Cause: Sana'a Habib and Janeth Manneh Hachem.

Sana'a has recently launched her jewelry line, El Sa's J which you can find on Facebook. Sneak a peak, but beware, you might get addicted.

Janeth, a designer, painter and an art broker is bringing to the region artwork from Latin America where she grew up and currently lives; check her online gallery at Artistika Matizes, you won't regret the detour.

Image by Artistika Matizes

I promise to tell you more about these two, and I have got some very interesting things coming up on this space on and by them so stay tuned. But in the meantime, feel free to browse their cyber spaces and look for some dashing and unique holiday gifts FOR HER and HIM!


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busy mamma


I've recently been busy with my Mamma's blog so feel free to swing by and take a peak. Fellow moms might like it as I'm meeting with fabulous local designers and introducing products for babies and parents both :)

Will be back over here soon! 

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

United Colors


Fashion label Benetton has launched its UNHATE campaign and as expected, the controversial subject is making headlines.

You can watch the film and download it along with the banners from their UNHATE Foundation website:

The campaign features prominent international figures and politicians, calling them to unhate

Considering the political climate in Lebanon, it is not surprising Made In Lebanon mimics of the campaign quickly emerged:

I am not sure who is behind these posters so if you know, please do drop a line in the comments section below so I can credit the designer. 

With all the buzz surrounding the fight between Mustafa Alloush and Fayez Cheker caught live on MTV Lebanon's BiMawdouiye , I'm surprised no one has featured them unhating yet ;)

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Saturday, November 12, 2011



A couple of updates on the last few posts:

RE : First Phoenician port in Beirut - Premier port phénicien de Beyrouth du Ve s. av. JC

The Lebanese online community has been upset over the discovery of the first Phoenician port in Mina El-Hosn under a construction site owned by Venus Real Estate Development in downtown Beirut. It appears this major historical finding cannot be saved. Like many of the ancient sites uncovered in that area, it will probably disappear under the wonderful face of modernity and "reconstruction".

A Facebooker has posted an updated photo of the port, with the bulldozers waiting right by it:


RE : Nadine Labaki's "Where Do We Go Now?"
Nadine Labaki's "WHERE DO WE GO NOW?" is officially the Biggest Arabic speaking film released in Lebanon  
by FRONT ROW FILMED ENTERTAINMENT on Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 8:17amSource 

BEIRUT. November 12, 2011. 
After 9 weeks occupying the # 1 position at the Lebanese Box Office and pulverizing blockbusters such as Johnny English, The Adventures of Tin Tin, The 3 Musketeers, Tower Heist, The Rum Diary, The Ides Of March among many others, Nadine Labaki's "WHERE DO WE GO NOW?" has now reached over 226,000 admissions finally dethroning the local hit "GHANNOUJET BAYYA" (208,657 admissions) and entering the TOP 4 ALL TIME LEBANESE BOX OFFICE HIT under James Cameron's "TITANIC" and "AVATAR", and Mel Gibson's "THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST". Labaki's Oscar hopeful is still running in Lebanese, Jordanian and Syrian theatres showing minor signs of drop and is now setting its sight on Mel Gibson's phenomenon. "WHERE DO WE GO NOW?" just opened in the UAE and Kuwait and on the 30th of November, the film will open in North African territories (Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia) as well as in Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Now we go ... to the movies


As you already know we've managed to squeeze an evening at the movies when hubby was here. I'm not going to get into the whole "Parents Vs. Movies" debate. It's a loosing battle. The purpose of this post is not to rant anyway (thank God!) but rather share one interesting and moving evening with all of you.

I couldn't ignore the nominations, awards and praises bestowed upon this piece and the artist behind it, which all speak for themselves, and loud enough might I add and which left me with the highest of expectations. 

To be honest I refrained from reading anything because I intended to experience the film with a fresh eye. And I'll grant you that same courtesy, don't worry. Which means I won't bore you with my critique of the movie. There's a plethora of very pertinent (I'm sure) reviews out there on the net. 

So why even write this post, you may ask?

Well first of all, to tell those two or three people who haven't yet watched "Where Do We Go Now?" to make the time. For a very simple reason: it is a simple, beautiful, sensual and genuine poem on Lebanon. 

If this film were a woman, it would be Nadine Labaki, simply. And just as a quick reminder for those who may not know or have forgotten, here's what the woman looks like. Convinced yet?

If not, let me just add the following...

"Where Do We Go Now?" tackles issues that are still relevant to our people, our nation and probably the entire Arab world today more than ever. 

But it is also and above all an ode to Humanity. Mankind. 

And probably the most flattering compliment to religions and faith. The true value and intent of religions and faith: Love. 

Nadine Labaki makes a commendable effort to shed light on human relationships, how easily ignorance and fear can turn the kindest and the closest of human beings into mortal enemies and most importantly how when we focus on the truth and tolerance, life wins. Because there is no escaping death. So the lesson undeniably remains life, the great measure it takes when faced with the end, and by extension, what we should do with it.

As with "Caramel", the cinematography is wonderful. Beauty is everywhere even in the simplest, poorest or sickest of places. Even in death. And the music, which becomes a character in its own right, is absolutely perfect. The poetry it brings is so intrinsic to the characters, the places and the story that it doesn't feel like an artistic addition. It is simply a part of life. A natural element of reality.

Everyone should take a glance at that reality. At beauty. And at love.

The promise was kept: I laughed. I cried. And days later, I find myself still immersed in that universe which is really only an innocent wish for a better world. The desire. The hope. The humble prayer of a people who have nothing else to lose and everything to win.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Film Quotes


And I don't mean from the movies. 
I mean at the movies.

I have to start with a shocking observation: Dunes looks like a nursery. An overcrowded playground at best. Indoors. With echo. Lots and lots of echo. ow. oww. owwwwww.

It's always scary being surrounded by an army of 15 year olds. They are loud. They push. And worst of all, they giggle. All the time. Oh Lord, the giggling. It can scare the fiercest of us. 

At first I was shocked. Where did all these kids come from? I'm never surprised meeting them at Concorde, but I always remembered Dunes as being for "the grown ups". Then it hit me: I too was 15 when I first started to hang there! 

As you can imagine, the scariest reality bite (even more frightening than a 15 year old giggling) took over: They are not too young to be there, I AM FREAKING OLD. 

To be completely fair, the indoors pony rides might not have helped the whole situation. Yes, they have ponies indoors now. 

Rest assured, they are mechanical ponies and not intended for the cool 15 year olds. But it means that now, Dunes is also a fav' hang out for those 3 year olds and up! 

They even have a specialized one-stop-shop that creates activities, birthdays and whatnot just for them! I must mention the teddy bears horror show which they also provide. You start by searching three huge bins for your favorite "empty" shell of a teddy bear which looks, well, dead. Skinned to be precise. Then, a nice man will fill it up with... filling stuff. And here you go, your brand new resuscitated BFF. Stuffed. In front of you. Gives a whole new meaning to the words "stuffed toys". Enough to give those kids a lifetime of nightmares and provide a sustainable market for all those shrinks out there, for an entire century!

But I digress, so let's leave the youngest and their dead toys alone and go back to the subject of this post: Quotes, Or The Amazing Movie Theaters Things.

Story 1:

Unlike common practices in other countries, in Lebanon you have the opportunity to select the seats of your preference as you buy your tickets. It's not on a first come first seated basis and it can be nice considering how close the screen is to those first 10 rows! So we arrived 45 minutes early to purchase our tickets and ended up finding a full house (very happy to see that considering I am a fan of the movie, but that's for another post). Seeing as there was only two of us, we could manage to find a couple of seats on a decent row, somewhere in the middle of the theater. And luckily enough, they were the first two seats.

Then the waiting began. We killed our pop corn way before we made it to the movie, and just walked around the (really tiny) place watching little kids in cow boys hats, riding teeny weeny ponies on wheels. Cute, I must admit. I immediately jumped to imagining Mia on one of those. Priceless!

About 20 minutes before the show, we got in front of the theater door and decided to wait there so we could enter immediately as my pregnant back was starting to kill me. I was really itching to ask the ushers to let me in so I could rest but I refrained. After all, everybody had to wait and a few minutes weren't going to change the course of my world. And anyway, we all know no one's allowed in while the cleaning crew's at work.

Slowly, more people started to gather around us, and these days, I'm becoming a little claustrophobic, especially with all the winter germs and people coughing and sneezing. Make it a crowd of 15 year olds coughing and sneezing and you have the perfect recipe for a panic attack. 

But I kept my cool somehow (surprisingly). 

Then, super hunky boys dying to impress sexy girlfriends started to go in the theater, one after the next. And one after the next, they were asked to get out. 

But we weren't really surprised. We were actually waiting to see when the dance would start. Because it's a rule. It's absolutely not possible in this country to go to the movies and not find at least one or two smart asses trying to sneak in before the opening time.

About 5 minutes before the doors opened, the head of ushers came to me and said "You look exhausted. We have a special case here, Ali, take the lady to her seat". 

I was shocked. So kind and helpful! 

Of course, one of the 15 year old cool boys didn't like it and made a smart comment. I didn't hear what exactly but I know the usher looked at him and said "What? You too? Not comfortable enough? Do you also need to rest?" Needless to say he didn't impress his girlfriend much, trying to compete with an old pregnant lady!

Story 2:

Two women got in and the usher directed them to their seats. We didn't really notice where but we know they decided to ignore him and sit on the row right in front of ours:
Woman 1: Let's sit here. 
Woman 2: These are not our seats.
Woman 1: It's OK, we'll pretend we didn't know and if someone comes and requests these seats, we'll go back to ours .
Hmmm.... No comment.

The usher who came back was not as comment-free: 
Usher: "These are not your seats. 
Woman 1: We'll sit here for now. If someone comes and requests the seats, we'll move. 
Usher: Someone will come. 
Woman 1: Are you certain? 
Usher: Yes, someone will come. Return to your seats.
(No please, no thank you. Made my day!)

And as they walked to their assigned seats, 
Woman 1: Julie made the reservations. She chose those seats.
I was waiting for Julie to come and get an earful from that charming lady but it appears poor Julie is some kind of personal assistant or something because she never made it to the theater.

Those two sophisticated film lovers on the other hand, did make it to the seats... right next to ours! 

I could not believe my eyes. Why make all this fuss if it is to sit in the immediate next row?! I thought they were somewhere down the theater, stuck in front of the screen! Well, no.

Now brace yourself for what's coming next. 

Don't say I didn't warn you. 

Because it's going to hit you like a bomb. 

Wait for it. 

Here it comes:
Woman 1: Pfff. We're used to VIP seats in Dubai, now we have to settle for these?
Ok bitch! You no likey? You leave. God knows I could have made it without your stinky perfume that got me sneezing the second you passed in front of me!

Ahhh, the movies right before the actual movie: always the best shows ;)

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Premier port phénicien de Beyrouth du Ve s. av. J.C.


J'ai appris cette nouvelle il y a deux jours sur Facebook et il me semble nécessaire de partager l'article ci-dessous paru dans Libnanews hier. 

Une pétition a été lancée par l'Association For The Protection Of The Lebanese Heritage. Retrouvez-les également sur Facebook et prenez le temps de signer ici s'il vous plait.


Mercredi, novembre 2nd, 2011 | Posté par redaction

Très peu de Libanais ont appris au début de la belle saison, de sources médiatiques, qu’un port phénicien a été découvert dans la région de Minet-el-Hosn au centre-ville de Beyrouth, dans le terrain 1398, situé derrière l’Hôtel Monroe. De telles d’informations dans notre cher pays des cèdres passent – si elles sont toutefois divulguées – quasi inaperçues, et ceci pour plusieurs raisons : citons entre autres l’absence d’intérêt aux nouvelles d’ordre culturel, historique et archéologique, de la part du public comme des médias, et notamment, depuis la genèse de la catastrophe nommée Solidère et consort, raz-de-marée progressif et ravageur faisant écho au tsunami (naturel) destructeur de 552.

Il est quand même passionnant de savoir qu’il existe encore des spécialistes qui entreprennent des fouilles et qui déterrent des trésors archéologiques dans ce minuscule pays, à une époque où le patrimoine est incessamment enterré par la décadence et la nescience. Cependant, l’histoire au Liban nous a habitués à ce que les réjouissances suscitées par de tels évènements soient promptement étouffés par les « briseurs de rêves » déterministes et mercenaires. 

En effet, une agence immobilière dénommée « Venus Real Estate Development Co. » souhaite ériger trois grandes tours sur le terrain 1398, projet qui s’étendrait sur 7510 m², et dont les frais s’élèvent à 500 millions de dollars américains(1). Bref, un projet titanesque dans lequel un nombre ridicule de Libanais serait à même de se payer un appartement (dont la surface varierait entre 250 et 650 m² en plein cœur de la capitale où les prix sont inimaginables). 

Depuis plus de cinq mois, une équipe de la DGA, dirigée par l’expert Hicham Sayegh, suite à des fouilles dans la région, a effectué moult découvertes archéologiques considérables dans la capitale, dont deux canaux parallèles creusés dans le roc, qui font partie du port Phénicien du Vème siècle av. J.C., d’où le nom de Minet el Hosn (Port du Krak, de la forteresse). Il est judicieux de préciser qu’une telle découverte met l’accent sur le rôle phare du port de Beyrouth durant l’ère phénicienne et romaine. 

Cependant, les archéologues ne sont pas tous d’accord sur la datation de ce site. Selon les quotidiens libanais An-Nahar(2) et Al-Akhbar(3), la majorité atteste l’hypothèse avancée par Sayegh, dont Martine Francis-Allouch, archéologue terrestre et sous-marine, Eric Gottwalles, spécialiste en archéologie marine, Janine Abdelmassih, archéologue et conservatrice, Anis Chaaya, chercheur en archéologie médiévale, et une archéologue de l’université roumaine de Jasi. La conservatrice du musée archéologique de l’AUB, Leila Badr, affirme ne pas avoir vu ce port, mais indique qu’il est toujours interdit au public ainsi qu’aux archéologues de visiter tout site découvert au Centre-ville de Beyrouth. Le principal archéologue qui réfuterait l’hypothèse de Sayegh est Hans Corverz, connu dans les sphères archéologiques pour sa « loyauté » aux entrepreneurs de Venus Real Estate, ainsi que Solidère et consort. Petite piqûre de rappel, Hans Corverz est conseiller chez Solidère, et a dirigé une centaine de fouilles qui n’ont été ni préservées, ni archivées, ni publiées. 

Venus Real Estate s’appuie sur le constat de Corverz pour dépouiller son terrain de toute valeur historique et archéologique, afin de poursuivre son chantier promoteur de la civilisation du béton. Le député et chef du PSP Walid Joumblatt avait indiqué, suite aux rapports de Venus Real Estate, que ces déclarations sont futiles et qu’ils (VRE) seraient prêts à tout et n’importe quoi pour avoir la main sur quelques mètres carrés de plus. 

Sur le plan politique, Salim Wardé, alors ministre de la Culture, avait classé une partie de ce terrain sur la Liste Officielle Libanaise des Monuments Classés et Inscrits Monuments Historiques et Sites, et déclaré le 4 avril dernier qu’il est interdit d’effectuer tout chantier ou travaux sur ce terrain sans l’accord de la DGA qui y est tenue de contrôler tout projet, ainsi que les matériaux utilisés pour la construction. Cependant, profitant de la période transitoire avec le changement gouvernemental, et dès l’avènement de Gaby Layoun à la tête du ministère de la Culture, Venus Real Estate a dépêché un document à Layoun proposant le déplacement de la totalité des blocs de pierres formant le port phénicien afin de les mettre dans les jardins du futur projet, précisant que ces blocs devraient être coupés afin d’atteindre un poids variant entre 5 et 8 tonnes pour faciliter leur transfert vers les espaces verts du projet. Ils proposent même d’organiser une cérémonie parrainée par le ministre de la Culture au cours de laquelle il mettrait l’accent sur « l’importance historique » de ces (débris de) pierres … coupées. 

Récemment, la banque Al Mawarid (4), a annoncé avoir conclu un accord de syndication avec quatre banques libanaises afin de financer l’agence immobilière Venus Real Estate. Dans le cadre d’une cérémonie tenue à l’Hotel 4 Seasons à Beyrouth le 26 octobre, la banque Al-Mawarid, Jammal Trust Bank, la Banque Libano-Suisse, la Fenicia Bank et la First National Bank, ont consenti un prêt de 28,000,000 de dollars américains à la VRE, estimant qu’une telle initiative aurait pour but de promouvoir le secteur financier au Liban, et solliciterait d’avantage d’entreprises et d’investisseurs à participer activement à la croissance économique du pays. Vive l’économie et les carnages culturels si les choses seraient ainsi … 

A l’heure actuelle, le ministre Layoun a démenti les propos diffusés par certains médias affirmant qu’il aurait donné son aval sur le projet suggéré par Venus Real Estate, et a indiqué qu’un comité formé des experts Albert Naccach, Samir Chami, et Hassân Sarkis, devrait prochainement se prononcer sur la datation du site en question. 

Dans l’espoir que ce premier port phénicien découvert à Beyrouth ne subisse par le sort des centaines de découvertes archéologiques détruites par les bulldozers ou enfouies à jamais sous des tonnes de bétons pour l’édification par Solidère et consort de centres commerciaux et de tours résidentielles hors de prix qui seront tous achetés et habités par des groupes ou particuliers étrangers notamment du pays du Golfe, nous ne pouvons que lancer un appel pour la sensibilisation des Libanais et Libanaises pour la sauvegarde de leur patrimoine historique et culturel gravement en péril, et les susciter à développer leur mémoire connue pour être excessivement courte afin de suivre toute affaire de ce genre et d’exiger de leurs représentants au sein de l’Etat des comptes et des rapports scientifiques et précis, ce qui limiterait en partie, les atrocités, le vandalisme et les crimes contre leur patrimoine national. 

(1) Selon le site de l’agence immobilière Venus Real Estate. 
(2) An-Nahar, article du 8 avril 2011. 
(3) Al-Akhbar, article du 21 octobre 2011. 
(4) Selon un communiqué de presse publié par ASDA’A Public Relations. 

© 2011 Libnanews. All Rights Reserved.


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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Useful Numbers: SOS Médecins

English ✮ Français

With what's been happening to Mia since Monday night, I thought it might be useful to mention SOS Médecins' numbers on this blog as well:

SOS Médecins Lebanon 
Tel.: +961 1 344444
Mob.: +961 3 344444

 SOS Médecins Dubai 
 Tel.: +971 4 4275000
 Mob.: +971 55 3804196

Avec ce qui arrive à Mia depuis lundi, je me suis dit qu'il serait utile de partager les numéros de SOS Médecins sur ce blog également:

SOS Médecins Liban 
Tel.: +961 1 344444
Mob.: +961 3 344444

 SOS Médecins Dubaï 
 Tel.: +971 4 4275000
 Mob.: +971 55 3804196



Red Cross / Croix Rouge: 140

Police: 112

Civil Defense / Défense Civile: 125

Fire Brigade / Pompiers: 175

Information: 1515

LibanPost: 01 629 629
Airport: 01 629 369
Hamra: 01 354 706
Ashrafieh (Ogero): 01 20 20 19
All Branches 

Allo M3allim: 71 770730 - Link
Allo M3allim is a one-stop service station for all house work: Air Conditioning and Heating, Electricity and Electronic Appliances, Plumbing, Windows and Frames, Carpentry, Masonry, Painting, Upholstery, Solar Systems, Computers and High-Tech Products

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wrap-Up ... in a Pink Ribbon


It's a wrap! 

Bras for a Cause Middle East held two major events in Beirut and Dubai and showcased the fabulous creations that were submitted for this one of a kind competition in the Arab world.

It was amazing to see the sketches coming to life on the runway....

Of course in my case, I wish I could have attended at least one of the events live. Instead, I've had to settle for whatever I could find on the net. 

I was looking forward to the Beirut show and was so excited to be in town at the time. Unfortunately, I couldn't get out of the house due to some difficulties with my pregnancy. Everything is OK, but at the time, I couldn't stand straight... Let's leave it to that (now is not the time to rant).

So I started counting the days to Dubai's Edition of BFAC. Again, pregnancy strikes and wins. I could not travel. I still am stuck in Beirut, weeping at my laptop screen!  

If like me, you're still craving for some pink glitter by the fabulous and sexy squad, fear not.

The winning designs are now available for sale at all the supporting outlets! Yes!

Basically, I'll have to settle for my own private fashion show:
  • Date: Post-delivery 
    I'm not ready to look at myself in a sexy bra right now... Pregnancy hormones (and extra kilos) can be scarier than your 75 year old neighbor dressed up as a pumpkin and knocking at your door asking for candy this Halloween
  • Location: My bedroom
    Improvise, always improvise. I have a very large bed which will make for a perfect runway

We can all find our favorite designs at:

  • Galeries Lafayette (Dubai)
  • K-Lynn Lingerie (Lebanon, Kuwait and Dubai)
  • Pink Dust (Amman, Jordan)
  • Amuse Concept Store (Cairo, Egypt)
  • Cream (Beirut and Jeddah, KSA)
  • AuraB.com (Online Boutique)
  • Maison Bo-m (Riyadh, KSA)

    Source: One Wig Stand
The Look Good Feel Good CollectionT-shirts display at Galeries Lafayette Dubai
Image Courtesy of  Galeries Lafayette Dubai

Of course, I can't help but make a special mention of Yasmin Khlaifat's Cupcake Fantasy as I was the blogger who represented her design and supported her during the competition. After we found out she was one of the winners and her piece got picked up for production, I couldn't wait to see how that fabulous sketch would turn out in fabric! Curious?

Here's the actual Cupcake Fantasy you can purchase at the partner-boutiques:

Image courtesy of Galeries Lafayette Dubai

Not forgetting one of my favorite pieces from the Designers category; the Return of the Queen by Joe Challita:

"The exquisitely hand-made Joe Challita bra for Bras for a Cause Middle East"
Image Courtesy of Joe Challita

Image courtesy of Galeries Lafayette Dubai

And Rana Mouawad's sexy t-shirts:
Image Courtesy of The Fierce Diaries
Image Courtesy of Pinkdust
Image Courtesy of Maison Rana

Interesting web references and coverage of both fashion shows include:

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