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Posts tagged ‘violence’

KAFA! Enough!

As some of you know, yesterday march 8 was women’s day. And if you’re Lebanese, you would have heard about all the Lebanese wives who have been murdered by their husbands in the last couple of years.

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Gathering for one cause

Yesterday the organization KAFA prepared a rally against these men who were released a week after they had beat their wives to death by our corrupt governments.

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In memory of a woman who was advised to death with a cooking pot

Nearly 500 people showed up, men and women, gay and straight, wives with husbands, and families with children of many generations.

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Look in the mirror, I could be anyone

Lebanese of all religions and social status united to walk against the atrocities.

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Whoever we are, we are women at the end of the day

It’s good to see so many people that have their eyes open to the injustice of abuse and are willing to do something about it.
I just hope they don’t forget about the crisis too soon and give up just now.

T.

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Beggars Panorama

Living in Lebanon lately has become more expensive depending on your emotions, on your way of life, and on your degree of pity and self-respect.
Now I’m just talking about car drivers. We spend a certain amount of money on petrol weekly to get to work and back home, but the amount that we always forget to calculate is the one you give to the homeless on your way there and back.

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I’ve added to my weekly consumption 10 000 LL a day, which adds up to 50 000 LL a week, unless you work Saturdays and Sundays as well.

With the past wars Lebanon has been trough, the amount of homeless people increased greatly, leaving hundreds of children, women, and men roaming the streets, around traffic lights, waiting for any amount that might be handed to them by drivers. I stumbled upon this article which explains the daily panorama I get on my way to work:
“Whilst navigating the major roads in the urbanized cities of Lebanon, one cannot help but come across one or more youngsters spread out randomly throughout these cities, grouped particularly near traffic lights – where cars come to a stop. The children appear to follow a rehearsed routine: knock on car windows, look the passengers in the eyes and hold out their hands to either sell small merchandises or as a silent plea for money. It is noticeable that strangers, upon witnessing this phenomenon, would either regard it with a wary eye (suggesting that they are somewhat used to the instances of poverty) or are simply shocked at this wretched, silent cry for help.”

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I would add the people’s reactions when they try not to make eye contact, close their windows and sometimes even shout at the children so they could be left alone. If you have a big heart and can’t help but fall for their pleas, then you might need to increase your daily revenue.

Now here is where the trick starts, few of these beggars are actually homeless children, being forced to beg their way into surviving, while others are part of organized crime where their parents might abuse them and force them to work; and others are orphans taken in by a “PIMP” and forced to work the streets like prostitutes, begging for money.

Unfortunately seeing the difference between the two might be tough, seeing that the illusion is perfect. My way of differentiating them is proposing to give them food and water instead of money, those faking it will refuse the food, and go off swearing; while others will look at you in utter idolization and thank you from the bottom of their heart, stuffing their face with whatever food you have provided them with.

Most of the children working for their parents or organized crimes are unfortunately not able to go back into shelter without having collected a certain amount of money, so if you see a couple of children refuse food, but keep trying to beg with an obvious fear in their eyes late at night, I usually provide them with a bit of change but also food, that they will not be able to provide their executioner with, and still survive the year.

Many articles were written about beggars, one, which I don’t seem to find any more, is about a woman begging with a child asleep in her arms. The woman that wrote the article tried to approach this beggar, asking to carry the child to let the beggar be able to eat properly. The woman strongly refused, and after extensive research the writer found out the reason behind the woman’s refusal; there are many cases, and here are a few: the child is drugged, with alcohol or actual hard drugs to keep him asleep or from crying; the child is dead, and the woman is waiting for the organization she begs for to provide her with a new one; the child is paralysed from physical abuse to stay stable.

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I know what you might be thinking right now, how could a person be so inhumane? simple; their humanity was lost in wars, in home abuse, and daily fights with society and life.

Here are a few further reading you might be interested in reading, they explain what the Lebanese community is trying to do, unfortunately nothing is 100% effective, especially with the war in Syria adding up to the number of homeless and beggars in Lebanese streets.



Quite the eye opener, extremely morose, yet 100% true.

T.

Cedars of God, Reloaded

So after all the problems that have taken place a couple of months ago, the amphitheatre built for G.T’s son’s wedding has finally been destroyed. it unfortunately took too long for the Lebanese people to notice and do something about the problem.

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The only reason why Bcharre, as well as NGOs and the Lebanese Cedar Committee agreed on the construction of the amphitheatre in the first place was after reassurance from G.T that no cedar trees whatsoever will be harmed in the process of construction, as well as the assurance that once the wedding be done, the runway shall be removed and the place brought back to its original face.

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Three crimes took place during the construction of this place. For starters, cement was poured all over the area to make the runway, unfortunately that means that all pores of the land will be closed, making it impossible for Cedar trees to recieve water from rain, as well as extract the nutrients it needs for its survival.

The second was the fact that even after the wedding, G.T decided not to remove the runway, saying it might have other uses later for concerts and whatsuch, which is obviously going against the terms of a contract that he had previously agreed to; to make his point valuable he even used his influence over the people of Bcharre and his previous lawmaker image to protest the removal of his “art piece” for a better future.

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But these two crimes are nothing compared to the third one, sometimes they say pictures speak louder than words, so look for yourself dear friends, this is what G.T did:

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Nearly 200 cedar seedlings were ripped out of the ground and hidden between rocks and under cement plastered areas in an attempt to hide this crime committed towards a helpless and endangered species of plant here in Lebanon. Shame on those who hurt any living creature for their own pleasure.

Finally our (people for the protection of the Cedars) prayers have been answered! On October 30th, the whole runway was destroyed, bulldozed back to its original form, unfortunately leaving blocks of broken cement where agricultural soil used to be, leaving the earth tired and unfruitful. But the Cedars were finally able to breathe easily once again, knowing that the threat was removed, unfortunately it paid heavily the price of loosing 200 of its children in the process.

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On a better note, Cedar committees all over have been joining efforts in reforesting all Lebanese mountains with its original Cedrus Libani, planning to join the forests of Tannourine, with those of Ehden and Bcharre. This 20 year project started on November 2nd in Hadchit. Villagers, Ngos, and volunteers, with the help of NGOs as well as funding and contributions from big scale companies such as Holcim will be working on making Lebanon once again the Land of the Cedars.

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Looking forward for a greener, more cedar full Lebanon that I’ve been reading about growing up. Simply press reload and I will hopefully be able to see a Cedar on the Lebanese flag once again.

For further reading about the Cedars of Lebanon you can follow the Facebook group “The Friends of the Cedar Forest Committee – Bcharre”. https://www.facebook.com/TheFriendsOfTheCedarForestCommitteBecharre

T.

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