Friday, March 29, 2013

The Lebanese Rocket Society: Watch it!

I've had the chance to watch the 'avant premiere' of the documentary "Lebanese Rocket Society" at Metropolis Sofil - Ashrafieh 2 weeks ago. The official release date is 11 April 2013.

Joana hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige did a great job to gather all information about what seemed to be a vague story, something people has forgot. They succeeded to get photos, newspapers and even good quality videos.
At first, you'd think that a documentary will be boring but I have to say that it was pretty interesting and inspiring!
It shows in details how it all started as a science project at Haigazian university with Mr Manoug Manougian and his students, what was the idea, and how far they went with their rockets construction.
After explaining the ugly truth behind the stoppage of this research, the movie shows an animated projection of the year 2030 assuming that the project never stopped and the Lebanese Rocket Society 'LRS' is today's NASA.
It is a beautifully done documentary that I recommend watching for it makes all Lebanese, especially Lebanese Armenians, proud and inspired.
And I think all schools should take their students to watch 'The Lebanese Rocket Society'.

Metropolis Sofil (@Metropolislb) will be the only movie theater showing it, others, till now, think it won't be a good deal.
Maybe with all this buzz, and some conscience, they will change their minds and forget a bit about the money.
You can show your support by adding a Spacetronaut twibbon to your Facebook's profile pic, or your Twitter's avatar.
Don't forget it will be released on 11th of April.

Below is the official Trailer with Arabic subtitles:

For more details/reviews:

Like them on Facebook:

And check out those cool t-shirts on Antoine Online:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The General Situation

It's been a while!
This is my first post in 2013, and unfortunately, the only thing I'm thinking about is how we are surviving this situation. Elderlies, who lived and participated in the Lebanese war, say that surviving nowadays is harder than during war.

The Situation:
  1. Most of the public sector (including teachers), except public authorities and judges, are protesting to get their new grades/salaries lists.
    The schools' parents committee refuses the teachers' protest, and threatens to stop paying to the schools.
    And students turned to vacation mode.
    In my humble opinion, only teachers deserve that raise. Most of the state employees do absolutely nothing at work, and they all leave at 2h00 PM max.
  2. Many restaurants and hotels, in and around Beirut closed or will be closing soon. Zaytouna Bay, Kaslik and Broumana had their shares. And Maameltein is a disaster (not its usual kind of disaster).
  3. Airport is empty, except for Syrian refugees, who are all over the country (Syrians now make up 10% of the Lebanese population).
  4. Gas oil prices are unbelievable.
  5. Real estate prices are ridiculous.
  6. Those public authorities (Politicians) are still living their war dreams, making all the state institutions their own properties!
    Electricity, Communications, gas oil, tobaccos, ADSL, port... and each and every big project (no matter how insane it is to invest in Lebanon these days) has to have a 51% ownership to one of those warlords, depending on the location.
    There must be a map somewhere that shows under which influence each zone falls,  for example:
    Zgharta, Chouf, Batroun, Aakkar, Tripoli, Saida... (All of them are Beiks and Cheikhs of course)
  7. People are being kidnapped everywhere, and the process is well-known now. Kidnappers demand a ransom (1 million dollars usually), the kidnapped's relatives try negotiating a bit, and then give them the amount agreed upon. This process is free of any government/Security Forces intervention, even after freeing the hostage. The same guy will be threatened again in a week or two since kidnappers knew that "2araybino daffi3a".
  8. Crazy drivers, angry valet parking, outraged neighbors...
  9. Al Assir! (No explanation needed)
And the list goes on and on.

The Solution:
None. The country is so corrupted that I don't believe there is a clear solution anymore.
The solution should start by changing how the public authorities think and how state employees work. Job descriptions can do the job!
And of course those responsible must be held accountable, no matter how equipped they were.
Not voting for the same people, trying to breathe before talking to anyone, and get a gutty minister of interior, not an "Abou Melhem" are some useful ideas too.
Note for Abou Melhem: A law is a law, even if it makes some people sad, or unsatisfied! Being a minister of interior requires making some people, especially criminals, sad sometimes!

And for some reason, it's still hard to leave this country.