Category Archives: Lebanon


Amal – Hope
December 2006
Beirut, Lebanon


The French mandate-era Lebanese army with its rusty artillery and rifles as old as my gramma is being hailed as a hero for “confronting” the IDF. Give me a fucking break.  You call this an army?  Why not follow the lead of the security forces and hire a tea expert? At least that would be a good investment.

This is the same army that folded its arms and did nothing while it too was under fire during the July war. I still remember the “defense” minister saying that “when” the IDF invades the army would fight alongside HezbAllah against the IDF. I guess that “when” never came true for our “defense” minister. Yalla bassita, as they say, el telte sebte.

Badna N’ish- Part IV

Numbers speak louder than words:

  • 5 is the number of half-meter-deep potholes in the middle of the Dawra-Nahr el-mot highway, one of which my car ‘experienced’ today. Hey, my car loves life too.
  • 3 is the number of months those potholes have been there and no one has bothered to fill them up or patch them up.
  • 4 is the number of times the power was on and off in the past 5 minutes.
  • 2 is the number of lanes that the south-north “highway” near Mar Mikha’el (after MTC touch building) will be reduced to, to make way for more lanes for the opposite side.
  • 2 is the number of years they have been working on constructing a bridge on the highway and are not halfway done with it.
  • 0 is the number of photos I was allowed to take of Wadi Abu Jmil, because apparently it is a security risk.

Also see: Part I, Part II, Part III

Badna N’ish- Part III


The scale by which one can judge the state of this country.

I have heard several people say, when we have electricity for almost 24/24 in Lebanon, that’s when we will know that there is hope for this country.

Lest you harbour any illusions about the competence of this government (and past governments), here are some statistics, which will open your eyes to the truth:

  • In 2004, the Ministry of Energy and Water received 1.1% of the total government expenditure, only 1.5 times more than the amount allocated to the “national lottery” (0.7%).
  • This number dropped to 0.5% of the expenditure in 2005, whereas the “national lottery” received a whopping 0.7% of the expenditure.
  • It must be noted that in 2005 the Electricité du Liban (EDL) received a loan from the Ministry of Finance, which amounted to 9% of the total government expenditure for the year.
  • In 2003, the total electricity production in Lebanon was 10.55 TWh (Terawatt-hours).
  • In the 3-R document “Recovery, Reconstruction, and Reform” prepared especially for the occasion of Paris-III, the government complains that it allocated some $650 million to the EDL. $650 million for heaven’s sake.
  • The power has been off since midnight (it’s 8:25 pm now).
  • We had more power during the summer war than we do now, despite the months-long siege and the bombing of the Jiyye fuel storage facilities.

Also see: Part I, Part II

Badna N’ish- Part II

Click to enlarge.



Ila eyn? (where to?) — a phrase popularized by Walid Jumblat (Walid beik)

 Also see: Part I

Badna N’ish- Part I

As part of the “Badna N’ish” (we want to live) awareness campaign in support of the democratically elected government (and democratically elected governments under the Pax Syriana-Americana) I have decided to share Lebanese statistics from time to time. This is the first installment. Enjoy.

  • Only 12.7% of government expenditure (or 2.6% of GDP) goes to education, compared to 20% in Djibouti,  Morocco, Oman, and UAE.
  • Only 10% of Lebanese pre-primary teachers have received training. This is the same number as in Sudan and Tunisia, whereas in Syria it is 22%. In contrast, all pre-primary teachers in Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania, Oman, and the Palestinian territories have received pedagogical training.
  • Only 13% of Lebanese primary teachers have received training, compared to 61% in UAE, 98% in Algeria, 100% in Iraq, Kuwait, Mauritania, and Oman.
  • Grade repetition in primary education in Lebanon is 11% of the total number of enrolled students in that level, on par with Algeria, Djibouti, Mauritania, and Morocco.
  • The percentage of enrolment in primary education in Lebanon dropped 1% between 1999 and 2004, whereas in most other countries the percentage increased by more than 5%.
  • 5% of Lebanese primary school age children are out of school.

Don’t shoot the messenger. My source is the UNESCO.



Beirut, December 8, 2006

(Slight re-touching for removal of spots in upper left corner; reduced from original size)