Always in Our Minds....

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The New 1000 Bill



In case you haven't seen it yet (though it's been in the market for a while), this is the new 1000 L.L banknote.

I really like the new design, no borders nor organization. Very nice size as well. Pretty much similar to the euro design, I guess.

Being a MED II Student

I've heard a lot about the HUGE load of work that a med student should be committed to, specially in MED II, but let me tell you something: No one can appreciate the amount of dedication a MED II student put in his/her study more than another MED II student!

I can honestly say that I'm so close of being "socially-isolated". The amount of time you have 2 provide for your study is far more than the pathetic 24 hours that a day gives you! And you find yourself obliged to cut off all other aspects of your life, if you really wanna go on with your study.

Just to give you an idea about what we are going through. This picture of me studying on the roof of my dorm round midnight yesterday, was taken by my friend. I can't believe I'm living just 5 minutes away from Jemayze and Monot, and yet all what I'm doing is sitting on my butt and studying! But this is the truth....



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tourism in Lebanon


Welcome To Lebanon!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Allah Ye7mek Ya Libnen

"May God protect Lebanon". This is the title translation. I've just finished listening to Geagea's speech at Harissa. So, forgive me if what I'm about to say would seem to be a little bit motional rather than the usual common sense that I try my best to base my articles on.

I'm not an LF member, in fact when you come to think about it, I might be the farthest from Lf among all others. Neverthesless, I never felt that some one was expressing my beliefs more than Geagea today. "El 7akim" showed the real difference between those who believe in one united country, and those who wan to shape the country to their own benefit.

"We want a strong state" "We abide by Taef Accord" "We seek national unity" "Lebanon will reveal in the end" and many many more statements that touched my heart and soul more than ever.

"We will continue to resist, NOT by bullets, rather by words". "Strength is never measured by rockets, its measured by beliefs and well".

This is the Lebanon we seek, where the leaders demand peace, freedom and unity. Where people emphasize on change by democratic ways, where we seek our rights with diplomacy, where we respect our differences, and accept to discuss various points of view, where we stand, hand by hand, saying "NO" to corruption, and demanding A STRONG UNITED GOVERNMENT THAT ABIDES BY TAEF ACCORD AND LEBANESE CONSTITUTION.

I didn't want to comment on either Nasrallah's nor Geagea's speeches. But when I see the difference between those who want a country and those who want a farm, between those who call for war, and those who call for peace, between those who speak on behalf of one sect, and those who speak on behalf of all sects of Lebanon, I can't but to come and say out loud:

"Allah ye7meki ya 14 azar, Allah ye7mek ya Libnen"
"May God protect March 14th, May God protect Lebanon"

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Liban in a Critical Situation

Out of experience, you can tell whether Jumblatt is worried or not. During his last interview, he was quite, and he didn't move back and forward a lot as he usually does when he's worried or anxious. I agree with you that we are into a very critical period, from now till the presidential elections next year, but seeing Jumblatt relaxed kinda gave me a little sense that things are going the right way for Liban, all what we have to do is to continue what we are doing; supporting the government, spreading the army's control over all of Liban, and keep trying to find a solution for HA arsenal.

In the mean time, we are all waiting for Nasrallah's speech on Fri. And Geagea's one on Sun. Let's just hope that things will have some sort of stability, though it would be unacceptable if Nasrallah chose to attack, that Geagea and the rest of March 14th choose to defend or minimize the tension, I believe it's the time that we raise up our voice and demand what we should have demanded long time ago ever since the majority won the elections. Let's wait and see..

Monday, September 18, 2006

Thanks to Taxis, I had a Marathon!

So, we did our pharmacology exam this morning, and decided we need to start checking out Beirut. Ozz and I decided to explore "Hamra". So we took a taxi from Achrafieh to Hamra, which was very easy thing to do, that Ozz started telling me: "See, we don;t need a car in Beirut!". Just so you know, Ozz is my roommate, and we have been arguing about having a car in Beirut; I believe a car is a MUST, while he keeps saying that we don't need a car at all.

After like an hour an half in Hamra and Bliss, we decided it's time to go back home. We assumed that it would be as easy to go back to Achrafieh as it was coming to Hamra. But boy, were we mistaken or what? We spent more than 30 min. Pegging each and every taxi to take us to St. Georges Hospital in Achrafieh, but none of the -read carefully- 20 taxis accepted to give us a ride!

We thought that if we moved to Kourniche, our chances would be better in getting a taxi. And once again, we were mistaken. After an hour waiting for a damn car, we decided to start walking back home. Poor us, we spent almost an hour going through downtown Beirut, Jemayze, Soursoc road and then back home.

Once I got home, I hit the showers to get rid of all the sweat. One good thing came out of this loooooooong marathon, was that Ozz was finally convinced we need the car to stay alive in Beirut. So, starting next week, we're gunna alternate in taking our cars while we are in Beirut :)

On our trip, I came across a lovely-small-classic-car in Downtown Beirut, and I couldn't help myself taking a picture of it, ans I thought of sharing it with you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

May their Souls Rest in Peace

Yesterday, I heard that Fuad El Mohandes, a famous Egyptian actor, died. Not along time ago. Abdel Men3em Madbouli - another famous actor- and Najib Mahfouz -Nobel Prize winner- died too. And in September 2001, the Arabic screen Cinderella, Souad Hosni, died in UK.

These people had a great influence on my life. I grew up watching their films and plays. I can still remember how my friends, family and I used to set around the TV in the living room in the middle of the winter, laughing our asses off while watching these great people performing in front of us. Who can forget Souad Hosni in "Khalli Balak men Zozo"? Or the lovely "Toot, toot" song by Abdel Men3em Madbouli, or the hilarious "shou3a3" scene in Fouad el Mohandes' play? Or the touching novels by Najib Mahfouz?

May their souls rest in peace, they were amazing people that enlightened our lives in many ways, and shaped the comedy of the Arabs in the last century.....

Friday, September 15, 2006

Why?

I can't really understand how religious figures act most of the time. It amaze me to see that these people, and even though they know the power they had in influencing huge masses of people, they tend to abuse their authority in a very stupid manner!

I don't want to go into a long debate about religion and war, for I believe that religion was the most abused term in wars throughout history, and all religions have been used into attracting people into endless wars. But what I really want to ask is why do religious figures abuse their positions? Can't they see that the whole world is suffering enough? Are they really helping mankind when they evoke racial and religious hate among human beings? Is this why religions exist for? So that people kill each other thinking that they are doing that for God's sake? Do God really wants people to go into endless wars so that each one of them (on his own) raise the word of the Lord?

I've always seen religion as a gate to get in touch with one's creator. It's a means by which man learns that no matter how big and powerful he might get, he's nothing but a small creatures in this world, and that being a man means that you should spread love and work for the good of the whole world. But what I see nowadays is that people are dying, stealing, raging and declaring war on each other in the name of religion....

It is up to us to wake up! To realize that those who provoke us to kill each other are NOT representatives of religions. To understand that we should live and let others live as well. To seek the good in all our deeds,a and most of all, RESPECT others believes and opinions, regardless of our own opinion of their faith.

And if the religious figures are failing to demand that, and if they are provoking us o kill each other, then they should not be listened to! As simple as that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yet Another Scray Scenario: Episode 1



  • Syrian security forces killed four attackers Tuesday outside the U.S. Embassy in Damascus after a car exploded near the walls of the American compound, the Syrian Information Ministry said. (CNN)
  • Attackers tried to drive two cars at the embassy compound but three men were killed by guards and a fourth was captured, the interior minister said. (BBC)
  • While on a trip to Canada, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice extended condolences over the death of the Syrian security guard.
    "I do think that the Syrians reacted to this attack in a way that helped to secure our people, and we very much appreciate that," said Rice, speaking in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. (CNN)
  • Syria has agreed to increase its cooperation with the US concerning the struggle against terrorism. (NBN)

Is this the beginning of a new era in US-Syrian relations? Is it really episode 1? What's next? Syria and USA united against Islamic radicalism? Or it's just a coincidence? All we can do is to wait and see.....


Monday, September 11, 2006

Yet Another Scary Scenario

I spent the weekend in the North. We went to Ehden to enjoy a traditional "Kebbe Nayye" meal yesterday. And as usual, we won't disappointed as we enjoyed the best that nature can offer of food, drinks and amazing views.

Aside from that, I couldn't help but noticing that rumors of a new scenario are being heavily propaganded in the last couple of days. Rumors say that the international community had set its mind on disarming HA. And that Seniora's government were giving a chance, then Israel was authorized to eliminate HA by force, but the two attempts faced a horrible failure. So, who is capapable of disarming HA? No one but the Syrians, who would happily accept going back to Lebanon and get rid of HA in exchange of cleaning Syria's name form any relation to Hariri's Assassination, specially that reports say that Syria is to be condemned in the international court that is being prepared as we speak. Of course, such rumors are being strongly supported by pro-Syrians who says that this is their golden opportunity to re-gain the control they lost last year.

Would that actually happen? Taking into consideration what happened almost 16 years ago, when Syria was given a green light to eliminate General Aoun's forces and gain full control over Lebanon, as a reward for Syria contributions in the 1990 Gulf war? No body knows for sure.....

So we won't forget

Whether you like America, and you hate every thing related to US, we can't but to pay respect to those innocent lives that were lost 5 years ago.

I know that I might be attacked heavily by what I'm saying, but no matter what, I don't believe in violence, and I don't think that killing innocent people during their work is justifiable, what ever the causes and justifications are.

Not to mention the consequences that we Arabs are facing on daily faces as a result of these attacks, and the constant need to clarify that we are a nation that glorifies death over life.

So, for the rest of the souls that were lost 5 years ago, and for all the innocent souls that were lost here in our dearest Lebanon during the last war, I'd like to invite you all to pray with me, that we would reach a time, where human life would be treasured and valued as it should be, and that the seek for peace and prosperity will finally come to a happy end.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Nasrallah

Since I moved to Beirut to continue my medical training, I've become able to see a more diverse people than the ones I used to encounter back in the north. Which gives me a greater chance in understanding how things work, and how people really think about everything that's going on in Lebanon.

One of the most controversial issues nowadays in Lebanon is Nasrallah's popularity. If you are a Lebanese who used to live here, you'd understand the complexity of the matter. I'll try to illustrate as much as possible, but you have to keep an open-minded mentality and to always remember the diversity of the Lebanese population.

First of all, the south. Up till the end of the last war, the government had no actual presence in the south. Everything was controlled by HA. Being a southerner, you'd feel that HA is the government there, and that if you want to do anything, you need HA authorization. Even ministers and foreign ambassadors couldn't visit cities and villages in the south without HA permission. Not to mention that up till 2000, Israel was occupying a huge part of the south, with all the conflicts of occupation. The majority of southerners are Shiites. And Shiites follow their religious figure (called Imam) almost blindly, or so I have been told. Some even go as far as saying that you are NOT a true Shiite if you disobey your Imam (again, as I have been told by many Shiites friends). HA is like the religious institution that Shiites consider their guardian. Far a Shiite southerner, HA is the one who defend him whenever Israel attacks, HA provide him with security, HA offers him jobs and financial aid to support his family, and lately, HA is the one who would take care of all the houses that were ruined during the war. In short, HA is the "State" where the Shiites feel safe, secure and strong. Taking that into consideration, together with the fact that Shiites solidarity to one another is outstanding and almost 100% perfect, you can fairly say that HA is very very very popular among Shiites, and Nasrallah is considered the "Sole Leader". And when you know that almost 40% of Lebanese population are Shiites, you can have a clear idea about Nasrallah's popularity.

But what about the rest of Lebanon and Lebanese population? I can fairly say that after the last war, all Lebanese (but Shiites) have become against HA. And many of them consider HA as "one (and not the only) causes" of the last war. Ever since PM Rafic Hariri was assassinated, a unique "unity" among Christians, Sunnies and Druze emerged on the surface of Lebanon's daily life. These sects (or at least the majority of them) believe in a true independent STATE of Lebanon, led by a Lebanese government that is the result of the elections. They believe that Taef Record should be applied, and that UN resolutions should be respected, if we want Lebanon to rise from the ashes and prosper as it should have done years ago.

But in Lebanon, politics always divide people, and politicians shift a lot whenever they see an opportunity to gain a higher position. The so called "pro-Syrians" were almost eliminated from the Lebanese political life after Syrian troops withdrawal from Lebanon in April 2005. But now, they saw a "one in a life time chance" to get back on their feet by supporting HA blindly. These people are from all the sects of the Lebanese population. But the major supporter for HA nowadays is the Free Patriotic Movement led by General Aoun. The majority of Lebanese (and I can say that even HA officials) believe that Aoun's presidential hopes are the only reason why he's supporting HA by all means he can afford. Aoun made a huge success in the last elections, specially among Christians voters, which made him claim that he's the "representative" of the Christian community in Lebanon. But lots of those who once believed and supported Aoun in the past (myself included) do not believe in him any more.

In conclusion, it's not a simple issue to know for sure the true popularity of Nasrallah among Lebanese. While many support him to the maximum, others support him for their own benefits. And even those who are against him, some are so because they believe in a country in which the government is the sole decision-maker, and others are so because of their own personal benefit.

A Walk in Achrafieh

Nothing special actually, I decided to take a long walk in Achrafieh round midnight. I believe that the only way you can really know an area is by walking around. I started my walk at St. Georges Hospital, and then I went all the way down to Jemayze street. It's always nice to go a busy-night-life streets round midnight. You can really feel several contradicting feelings at once; you can see sluts riding next to extremely rich men with their luxury cars (it's weird how much luxury cars we have in Beirut, and they keep saying Lebanese are poor!), cruising down the street, showing off and making a statement that they are rich and superior. You can also see young waitresses outside their bars trying to enjoy a small break and having quick smoke, in their own way to deal with the disappointment they face daily. You can see extremely drunk people laughing their asses off not knowing why and for what, but yet very happy doing so! You can also see couples, lots and lots of them. I don't know what so special about couples at midnight; you can feel the love shining from both of them, as they hold each others' hands, and walking slowly down the road, not caring about any one else but their lover, and occasionally engaging in a long kissing session, in their very own way of showing the whole world the love they have for one another.

But one thing got my full attention was this poster on the wall.


Almost 2 years must have been past since this poster was put on. As you can clearly see, the poster says

"UN Resolution 1559
Freedom, sovereignty and independence
The Free Patriotic Movement"
Irony of life! Aoun was the one behind that resolution, and now he's the number one ally for HA! Something to think about, eih? I guess it is the human nature after all, everyone seeks he's own interest after all, no matter how he spends years defending his once-called principles

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Beirut Alive

Yesterday, and as I was studying, I felt I was about to explode! I was so bored. Since last Sunday, all what I was doing was going to my university, sit on my butt, and listen for hours to instructors talking and talking and talking, then going back to my dorm and study. So I decided I need to go out at night and see the real night life of Beirut.

I went to my friends' house, and from there we hit Jemayze. All I can say is that you can never know that this country was in war just couple of days ago! Young couples all over the place in bars and restaurants. In short, a typical night life. We went to Bar Louis, very lovely bar with dim lights and couples in every corner. It was really a nice "sahra", specially after staying home for 3 days doing nothing but studying.

More to come as things progress here....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

MED II

From the very first second the dean welcomed us in the second year of our medical training, every one who ever stood his/her feet on our classroom insisted that this is going to be a tough year! And that we won't have time to rest or think things over, some one even went as far as saying that we can't even afford to get sick if we really wanna pass this year!

So I can say that we have been warned, and honestly we (or at least we thought that) were ready for this, but no one of us imagined that it would be THAT much. In the picture below, is the instructor who taught us today for a full two hours in the afternoon (from 14:00 till 16:00). This doctor spent all that time talking about the history of health care from 1850 till 2006! We felt as if we were watching "The history Channel", but it was way worse than that. As he was going on and on about all the stupid things that people did in the past, I couldn't help but to notice how much he looks like "Grandpa" from the series "8 Simple Rules"! He is actually an exact replica if that actor. Does anyone of you see the resemblance?




I don't know what's the idea of giving us a "social service" course, specially when we are sank till our noses with "Pharmacology" and "Pathology". I know it is essential to have such courses about history and health care systems, but how can I have time to read the whole "WHO world health report 2006" when I have a 250-page-Pharmacology-test to prepare to??!

Of course, no one cares here cares about your complaints, and there standard reply is : "If you don't like it, you can simply leave!"....

That's about it for now, I should go to a pup tonight, trying to get a feeling of Beirut's night life, so hopefully I'll have something more interesting to talk about :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Day in Beirut

I've always felt weird of how people's acts and perspectives differ even from one city to another, And Beirut is no exception.

My roommate and I decided that we can't live in our dorm without a fridge, so we went yesterday to get one. At first we tried to find a nearby shop, so we tried Achrafieh and Mar Mikhail areas for a while. But we realized that if we are going to find what we need, we have to go to a professional store, so we went to BHV Jneh.

As we were shopping, I couldn't NOT notice how people were looking at us! The idea of two guys shopping for a fridge is not something usual in Beirut (apparently). The sales woman couldn't hide her smile while asking us : "Do you wanna buy a fridge for your home?". My friend, whose a little bit religious, didn't notice her smile and tone, but it was clear enough to me, but I decided that it won't get me anywhere trying to explain that we are not gay, it would only makes her believe even more that she's right...

But to be honest, the level of tolerance in Beirut is somehow high; even though almost everybody was looking at us, none of them was offensive or rude in any way.

I guess even in Beirut, where you would expect people to be open-minded, you can't go shopping with a friend of the same gender, specially for home appliances.

Being put in such situation made me think about how homosexual people feel being treated like that. I don't think it is a positive attitude to smile sarcastically at others, no matter what you think or believe. And I think it's even dumber to stereotype people's behavior and actions, and start categorizing them accordingly. What you think about someone's behavior shouldn't not interfere with the obligation you have to him/her to treat him/her with respect, specially if you are not even sure your judgment is correct or not.

People make choices in this life, and sometimes, they are forced to act in a certain way. But as long as they are not causing you any harm or trouble, you ought to be civilized and treat them with respect, just exactly how you think you have the right to be treated with respect, without being classified according to stupid meaningless stereotyping patterns.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First Day in Beirut

I just came back home after a long exhausting day in Beirut. No matter how much prepared you think you are, you will still find yourself obliged to get out and buy stuff for your new home!

My roommate and I spent the day shopping at supermarkets and malls trying to get what we need to survive in our new dorms.

I have a test next Saturday, even though we only started university today, but as they always say in medical school "You are a physician in training, and resting is NOT an option!".

I'll try to include pictures of daily life in Beirut in the coming articles, particularly from Achrafieh where I live now...

That's all for now, see you later soon

What do you think?

I saw it on rampurple blog and I felt like sharing it with all of you


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Living in Beirut

Due to the last war on Lebanon, my university decided that it would be best to continue our medical studies in Beirut at St. Georges Hospital instead of Balamand's main campus in Koura. And therefore, I'm heading tomorrow to Beirut to start a new chapter in my life.

I'll keep you updated about what is it like to live and in Beirut nowadays. Being a new "comer" to the city, I think I could give a "new perspective" to what living in Beirut really means.

Hope you guys will enjoy your time...

FaiLaSooF is Back!

Dear readers and friends,

I haven't been blogging recently because I was in Egypt!

Yes, it happened all of sudden, and I found myself going to see my GF in Alexandria before my university starts.

Hopefully I'll start blogging real soon, about daily issues, as I used to...