2015 Lebanese Driving Laws

It was always apparent that the infrastructure in Lebanon and the lack of driving laws being implemented were two very problematic factors. Until this day, we have been witnessing an increasing number of road deaths. According to the ISF, there was a total of 5000 accidents in Lebanon in the year 2013, whereas 180 people were killed, and 1192 people were injured. These statistics appeared to be unchangeable, until these new driving laws developed this year. The new driving laws of 2015, have shown a great increase in the number of people abiding by the laws and choosing road safety first.
Even with the new laws starting to make a difference, many citizens are still complaining about what comes first in these laws. Some argued that prioritizing the use of phones shouldn’t come ahead of drunk driving, as previewed in campaigns supporting these laws. Although drinking and driving penalties are categorized as one of the most crucial and harsh penalties, NGO’s still care more about creating awareness concerning phone use rather than drunk driving.
In the new driving laws, drinking and driving are categorized into three levels, based on the amount of alcohol the driver consumed before driving. The first level includes a fine of 200,000-350,000 LBP for the consumption of 0.5-0.8 g/l. The second level consists of a fine ranging between 350,000-450,000 LBP for the consumption of 0.8-1 g/l of alcohol. As for the last level, it includes a payment of 1 million-3 million LBP for consuming amounts of alcohol greater than 1 g/l; as well as being seized, and an undecided prison sentence ranging from one month till two years.
These laws are probably one of the greatest changes that happened in Lebanon recently, including regulations from the previously implemented driving laws along with new ones. It is harshly being implemented on the citizens of this country, but we learned that things wouldn’t work any other way.

Revisiting Khalil Gibran’s The Prophet

Gibran Khalil Gibran’s most famous work, The Prophet, has been adapted as an animated film. The long-awaited movie was officially released on April 30 in Lebanon with the presence of famous director Roger Allers and Lebanese-Mexican actress Salma Hayek.

What curiously made the most noise about this release was the arrival of the Hollywood actress in her home country for the first time. An official press release took place at Bliss Hotel on April 27 with Hayek and Allers followed by an open conference at the American University of Beirut (AUB). However, Allers was the only one able to attend the latter. An uncontrollable crowd of fans and journalists stopped Salma Hayek from reaching her destination.

This whole fury around the arrival of Salma Hayek raised outrage among a part of Lebanese citizens. As Edwin Sreh, president of Cinema Club at AUB explains, “It’s sad that people got excited for Salma only when they got the incredible chance to meet Roger Allers. He’s one of the greatest animated film directors. I mean, he did The Lion King!”

Sreh also added that local media should have covered and promoted the fact that Khalil Gibran’s most famous work is going to have an even greater exposure that it already does. “We should be proud of having one of our literature pillar being feature in a Hollywood production and focus more on its prospective cultural impact than on some actress.”

Lebanese people are now waiting for The Prophet animated film release in the US on August 7 and its international reactions.

Armenians Remember, they still demand

April 24 marked an important day in the Lebanese Armenian history in the year 2015. With the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, Armenians all over the world marched and organized several events to commemorate the memory of the 1,5 million souls demanding their rights and recognition.

During 1915, the Ottoman Empire completed a mass killing to annihilate the Armenian Christian race. After 100 years, the Armenians still live and they still remember. Through different campaigns, events, gatherings, and marches, the words “Armenian Genocide” resonated all over the world.

Though there are many countries who still fail to recognize the genocide, Lebanon is one supporter of the cause. In 1997, the Lebanese Parliament agreed to commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the mass killing. After three years, they voted on recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

This year, the importance of the commemoration took over three time phases: remembering the past, demanding the rights today, and not forgetting in the future.

On the night of April 23, the Armenian Church recognized the 1,5 million souls as Saints and rang their bells at 19:15, the year during which the Genocide took place. Hundreds of Lebanese Armenians gathered to honor their memories through different speeches and performances.

On the momentous day of April 24, thousands marched from Antelias to Bourj Hamoud as a pay of respect to those ancestors who marched, starved, and survived under the heat of the desert Der Zor during the exile in 1915.

As the month of April ended, what does this mean for the future actions related to the commemoration and recognition of the Armenian Genocide? What’s to be done next?

Lebanese Mothers Travel to Give Their Children Foreign Passports

University Students in Lebanon are Facing Issues Travelling to Work

The Issues Syrian Refugees are Facing in Lebanon

History Reborn in Beirut

Archive |ˈɑːkʌɪv| noun

A collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.


While living in a digital era is putting archives in danger, Lebanese groups and NGOs are working on preserving valuable collections.

Advocating for the preservation of culture is the current trend, as there is a gap in the market at this point.Imagine being able to visualize and ‘take part’ of the past through old pictures and manuscripts. The Lebanese National Library in Sanayeh, temporarily located in the Free Zone of the Port of Beirut, works on restoring books and collecting archives. The Arab Image Foundation (AIF) and the AUB Archive are offering people the chance to have access to rare and delicate material that don’t exist online (yet).

There is a constant debate on the topic of print vs. digital. Some believe that a book is not authentic until it is held between their hands, while some believe that having an online database is more varied.

Collection:

AUB’s collection includes:

-Manuscripts and rare books
-Around 1600 maps from various countries
-Photos and photographs
-Historic Arab Press and current periodicals
-Art and political posters

Preservation method:

While taking care of archives is a very delicate procedure, some of the oldest manuscripts are hidden behind glass tables and cannot be touched.

Jafet library keep their collection in a cold room, only accessed by staff. Each manuscript has a special box that covers exactly the width and the height of the book, to prevent it from moving inside it. It is also equipped with many Micro film machines that offer the user the chance to read periodicals and manuscripts off a screen

In AIF’s case, they work on stopping the spread of a specific chemical that ruined the picture.

Arab Image Foundation:
Zoghbi Building, 4th floor, 337, Gouraud Street, Beirut
01 569 373

http://www.fai.org.lb/home.aspx
AUB Archives:
American University of Beirut, Riad El-Solh, 
Beirut
01 350 000

http://www.aub.edu.lb/ulibraries/asc/Pages/digitizedcoll.aspx

Visa Regulations Benefit the Lebanese, but Further Trigger Fear for Syrians

The Lebanese Visa Regulations that began not so long ago for Syrians entering Lebanon has caused complications on both countries. Syrians who want to enter Lebanon now must have paperwork explaining their reasons for travel in addition to other documents. The reason for that is that Lebanon is no longer able to control the many amount of refugees entering the country. This, however, raised many complications on both Syrians and Lebanese.

“The issue is related to numbers.” Says Ohannes Geukjian, Political science professor in the American University of Beirut. Lebanon has received refugees more than it can handle; and if that happens, the future of Lebanon will lead to many issues in politics, economics, security, and socio-economics. The help received from international donors to Lebanon in order to aid the refugees is not enough, which is what makes the situation even worse, explains Geukjan.

“Lebanon wants to control the refugees, and Lebanon wants to keep registry,” says Geukjan.

Even Syrians are no longer choosing to enter Lebanon. Many refugees are already immigrating to many other far countries such as the US, Canada, and other European countries, but those are only who are able to afford it. But those who cannot afford and manage to travel to these countries are facing many issues. The number of refugees decreased, and people have nowhere to go. More importantly, refugees in Lebanon fear from getting caught and being sent back, so they are losing their jobs and hiding in their homes.

The only ways Syrians can enter Lebanon is if their papers included tourism, business, medical treatment, work, and property ownership.

Walk Into Her World

Lebanese men get challenged to ‘Walk a Mile in Her Shoes’ on April 26.  Walk In Her Shoes Event is to raise awareness and shed light on the dangers of men’s sexualized violence against women.

The march changed perceptions of ‘men’ by challenging them to show their manliness to walk in women’s shoes in order to say No To Violence, in support of KAFA organization. All funds helped aid women undergoing domestic violence in their households, and local feminist organizations tried to center the interest of the Lebanese community to this matter.

The history of gender equality in Lebanon has always been a deeply impacted issue. Lebanon’s portrayal of women has altered in ample ways. Women on the top of the hierarchal chain in the Lebanese industry are a very few percentage compared to men’s business positions. As statistics showed a year ago, Lebanon was surprisingly ranked 8th worst nation with conditions referring to gender equality. Not only that but it has also ranked 2nd worst for women’s participation in the political field. The Sexual Assault Resource & Counseling Center of Lebanon and Schuylkill Counties (SARCC) hosts an international event to support women undergoing sexual assault, rape, and gender violence.

After Lebanon’s ranking of being one of the worst supporters of women, event planners found it mandatory for the Lebanese community to adopt their mindsets to gender equality. Considering Lebanon has only approved to criminalize domestic violence a year ago, some people were still unaware of its existence; this is why SARCC insisted to hold the march in Lebanon. We need our women to have a voice.

Many women are victims of domestic violence, and hope for a better future for themselves and their countries. An example would be images of the women below:

Barbra El-Dik explains how difficult it is to be a successful working lady while raising an infant in the Arab World. She discusses the difference between maternity programs in Lebanon and in the West.It is a woman’s choice, after all, to choose what pathway she will take with the arrival of her newborn, but the country should also provide the woman financially. Women are often degraded for being all-time mothers, but Mrs.El-Dik proves this point otherwise. Given her preceding prominent position in the United Nations, her preference of being a full-time mother is as satisfactory and more.

But really, what degrades women? What makes them victims of domestic violence? What makes them less imperial than men? The video below depicts the views of three different teenage girls and thoughts of the factors that contribute to the besmirched image of women:

Lebanon is the home of culture, literature and art. In recent years, many people have been showing interest in various forms of art, from painting, to recitation, graffiti, and poetry.

Poetry has been gaining rise, especially among the younger generations. A few underground societies have been formed over the past few years including Yafta, which started in 2011 and is based in Beirut, and more recently the Soapbox Society.

The Soapbox Society’s member founder Majd Shidiac said: “The ultimate goal is creating a real culture of spoken word poetry in Lebanon in which its safe to express, and people come to listen and realize the skill behind the art…”

The American University of Beirut also plays a part in promoting literature and poetry through its one of a kind literary and art journal, Rusted Radishes. The managing editor, Nur Turkmani who is also an AUB student, commented that: “This year we received an incredible amount of submissions and it’s got us really excited about the future prospects of RR – it shows that RR’ name is growing and reaching to more and more people”.

Despite these attempts to shed light on poetry in Lebanon and to bring rise to the emerging poets, these efforts don’t hold as these artists are still struggling to get their voices heard. But, week by week more and more people are joining poetry workshops and readings which is a good sign.

More focus should be put on art in Lebanon, as we have some very talented artists that fail to get their art, in whatever form it is, showcased to the public.

A New Hope for Lebanese Drivers

New traffic laws have been implanted in Lebanon since April 15. The Lebanese Government took action and enforced traffic laws on the country to regulate driving habits and hopefully reduce traffic incidents.
Lebanese citizens are unfortunately well known for their bad driving habits, which can be fatal. According to the NGO Kunhadi, whose aim is to awaken young drivers about the dangers of the road, an average of 854 die each year on the roads in Lebanon.
These new laws do not only cover car drivers, but also pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Lebanese authorities will finally start penalizing for not stopping at the red light and exceeding the speed limit. Fines will range between 50 000 L.L and 3 million L.L depending on the gravity of the act.
One of the main decrees is the use of points on the driving’s license. Every new license will be given 12 points to start. Each violation of the law will cost a certain amount of points from the permit. Loosing the 12 points leads to a temporary withdrawal of the license.
The government wants to cover every possible aspect of the driving in Lebanon: new driving license will be issued but also new license plate and the installation of radars. Owning an extinguisher and first aid kit are also new required actions.
Policemen and checkpoints were distributing catalogs and pamphlets all around the city to inform drivers about these new laws. Other initiatives have been taken to raise awareness about the issue, such as the prank prepared by NGO Sakker El Dekkene.

Return (or Beginning) of the Law

 

The Citizen Awaken

 

The Government should strike back

Lebanon’s New Traffic Law: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Ministry of Interior rolled out its implementation of the second phase of its highly controversial new traffic law on May 1st. NGOs including YASA and Roads for Life were among the many organizations that have pushed for the issuing of the new traffic law.

Under the new law, drivers begin with 12 points on their driving licenses, with every violation procured points will be deducted from the driving licenses depending on the gravity of the violation. Drivers that lose all of the 12 points will have their licenses invalidated for six months.

The new law includes 240 articles, and its implementation has been divided into three phases, and the offenses split into five categories.

The implementation of the first phase of the new law began on April 22nd. The first phase rolled out the harshest violations, which fall under category five. Offenses include driving under the influence, and speeding, and will be severely will be punished under the new law. Penalties include impoundment of the driver’s car, fines up to L.L. 3 million, and sentences of up to two years in prison.
The second phase, which began last Friday includes more minor violations, which fall under category four. Offenses including driving without a license and not abiding to traffic signs will be penalized through the impoundment of the drivers car and fines up to L.L. 700,000.

The third phase is set to be put to action after an evaluation of the law, its reception, and the success of its implementation.

Here’s why Lebanon needs a new law:

Citizen reception to the law:

A Look at it the Country’s Defunct Infrastructure