Tag Archives: social dynamics

What’s With Lebanon’s Cruelty Towards Animals?

BETA Christmas banner

I spent a lot of summers in Lebanon as a kid. A good number of homes in villages had dogs. Large dogs that were never vaccinated and lived on their owner’s doorsteps or caged in the back yard. They’re main purpose was to deter strangers or thieves or entertain the household’s children.

It’s a very common arrangement here, the kind where the family claims to have a dog but under no circumstance whatsoever would that dog ever be allowed to set paw in the house. The dog slept outside, ate outside, played outside and died outside, come rain or shine.

I always tried to secretly sneak the dogs into the house, would spend all my pocket money on buying them canned corned beef while everyone laughed at me, some even told me to go feed the hungry children instead. I had to get treated myself after I attempted to shower Whiskey, the village’s alcoholic’s dog with the garden hose. You see Whiskey had never had a shower in his life, he was flea-ridden much to my mother’s dismay.

I fought other kids when they threw rocks at the poor dogs or tormented them. When I asked adults why kids in Lebanon hurt animals I was always given the same absurd answer along the lines of “ Lebanon went through years of civil war were people killed each other,  we have more important issues than animals rights”

Well, kids the war is over, and  guess what, it ended in 1990 so some of you don’t even recall it, and even if you did, how on earth does that justify animal cruelty? Really?

And why can’t we multitask? Why can’t we deal with ALL our issues at once, why does it have to be either/or? Why can’t I have compassion for both animals AND humans without feeling guilty?

I write this post after we rescued a cute dog we named “Lucky” from a dumpster next to a residential neighborhood last week. She was a sweet little soul who was clearly starving with protruding bones and weighed no more than a kilo despite her medium size. It was obvious Lucky wasn’t always a stray; she looked like an older dog that wouldn’t have been able to survive in the cruel cold Lebanese streets on her own.

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We gave Lucky a hot bath and her own little blanket while she cuddled up next to the heater and wolfed down 3 bowls of food. The next day I reached out to Animals Lebanon who told me to put her in a dog motel and pay for it myself since all their fosters “who are expats have traveled”, while the amazing folks at BETA (Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) told me to drop her off at the Animal Hospital where she was examined by the vet and then handed over to BETA.

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Turns out Lucky was indeed an elder dog (10-12 years) and like many cases they have seen she was most likely abandoned because of her old age and all the “nuisances” it ensued.

So many Lebanese kids are going to receive pets as gifts this Christmas. By new year the novelty will wear off when they realize that the pet is not that cute anymore and will have to be housebroken before it serves it’s “purpose”, as a result most of these pets will most likely get abandoned. Please don’t get a pet if you aren’t 100% certain. BETA’s shelters are at over-capacity and they need all the help they can get.

And please don’t lecture me on where I should focus my compassion and instead redirect that energy on doing some good this Christmas.

Donate here to BETA which now accepts PayPal: donatetobeta@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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The Lebanese Valet; 2013′s Most Fearless Organized Crime Network

valet lebanon

What can I say we’re wrapping up a great year.

Everyone around town seems to be complaining about the same thing but like most things in Lebanon that’s as far as it goes. This post is not meant to undermine any of the other dire causes that need our attention, but I’ve personally reached the end of my rope with the valet mafia that have introduced an unofficial tax on us and have taken over our streets and claimed ownership of our sidewalks.

If licensed valet services want to take full possession of the parking spots right in front of establishments, then so be it, though I highly doubt those are considered private property on city maps.

What I’m ranting about is PUBLIC sidewalks that are meters and meters away or across the street from restaurants, shops and bars that are now suddenly proclaimed off-limits by some thug-like characters who may not even be wearing a uniform giving out generically numbered receipts. Some randoms looking to make a quick buck with no municipal badge and no registration acting like they’re in charge, telling us where we can and can’t park. It sounds ludicrous doesn’t it? But guess what, we are all taking orders from them. We’re all either driving away or handing them the keys to our cars, worse yet we are paying/bribing these nobodies money so that we can park it ourselves and keep the keys to OUR cars with us. Yes, we pay DOUBLE so they won’t take away the keys to our own car. Nuts

They want to call themselves a valet service, whatever. This is organized crime.

Because if you try to resist the intimidation you will find yourself in a nasty confrontation that could possibly lead to threats or altercations.

I give my car to valet drivers all the time, but only when they work directly and exclusively (licensed) for a place and even then I do it with a heavy heart since they exempt themselves from all responsibility for loss or damage to your property. I refuse to pay them if I park it myself on what is considered designated restaurant/store parking spots, and if they do complain then I complain to management. I don’t do this to save LL 5,000 I do it because I refuse to enable this entitlement mentality.

I won’t give my car to valet services that have set up camp on a street and decided to tax customers and citizens. And you shouldn’t either. Maybe if we drive these mafias out of business and walk a little bit more, (like we happily do when we travel abroad) we could rid this city of these sidewalk parasites. Or maybe we just need Batman.

Join the Fight Against Tattooed Eyebrows

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Alright. So I’m about to acknowledge the elephant in the country. Someone’s gotta do it already, and I’m taking one for the team.

Two words: Tattooed Eyebrows. We all breathed a sigh of relief as we bid farewell to decades of notoriously pin-thin over-plucked half-moons, little did we know we’d only be paving the way for these jumbo eye-staches? When did it suddenly become cool to have creepy caterpillars on your forehead? Dark, moist, ridiculously thick and worst of all, supernaturally defined and straight substitutes or deformed arches of what was once, hair.

I must have missed the memo, you know the one that incited these poor unsuspecting women to go out in flocks, shave off their eyebrows and replace them with absurd PERMANENTLY tattooed marks on their heads. I woke up one day and everywhere I looked there they were, red ones, gray ones, brownish-orange ones, and very very black ones. The Horror.

No tattooed eyebrows do not look natural. No matter how many times you ask or what ridiculous sum of money you paid for them. No matter what that beautician told you. They just don’t. And they never will. You’ve been punk’d.

Besides, the point of recreating a look is to emulate something that actually exists in the first place. I promise you, the last women that probably sported those things were living in caves and even they felt insecure about them when they discovered the mirror.

And what about when they peel ( yes, those things peel!) if it were up to me, it should be illegal for women to go out in public when they’re freshly inked and their new creatures are covered with this nasty coat of gunk.

I thought long and hard before writing this post. Because I thought of all the women that got them. That’s a lot of women to piss off. But you know what, they should have listened. They had done no justice to their once beautiful faces. You may tell me my opinion is uncalled for. Perhaps.

But there’s one thing I’m sure of, Tattooed eyebrows should be criminalized, if not for the women who wear them then at least think of the  people who have to withstand the pain of looking at them. Because we all know that when you’re speaking to someone with tattooed eyebrows, you can’t look anywhere else but at those things. It’s all you can focus on. And you get caught so many times doing it. And you try and try to look away but you end up staring right at them the entire time.

So ladies, enough is enough, you can fight this, resist the urge to go in for that retouch session, let them go , and in a year or two,  they will fade away like a far distant memory. And if you’re lucky no one will remember that you had the same facial expression for an entire year.

Sign the petition today by leaving your name in the comment section below!

The 4 Characters You Will Meet On A Flight To Beirut

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1)      The Trouble Maker with the belly in a tracksuit

You know shit is about to hit the fan as soon as you spot this one making a fuss at check-in. He’s already cut-in line twice while his poor wife and kids tag along, no one has the guts to stand up to him, so they end up giving them the dirty looks. He’s 27 kilos over the limited baggage allowance but he won’t budge. He’s been holding up the queue for an hour until the supervisor gave him the ultimatum ( pay or leave the bags behind) while he glares at him murderously. Back in Beirut, he would most likely have whacked the guy or called-in wasta, but he’s still in Rome and he’s on his best behavior. So he decides to take it all out as soon as he boards the Lebanese flight. He spots an East Indian man on what is supposed to be the seat next to him and flips out. He announces to the flight attendant that he will not be sitting in his assigned seat with no justification, just very matter-of-factly. Things get very tense and messy before the short older male attendant that-looks-like-a-captain-but-is -not-the-captain intervenes, refers to him as “Monsieur” and offers him a seat in the exit row isle. Impressed, trouble maker leaves his entire brood behind as he nestles in his comfortable new seat.

2)      The Flight Attendant en route to an 80’s Glamor Shoot

Fuchsia. That’s the first thought that pops in your head when both her and her lips welcome you on board. She wears her scarf and outdated green ensemble proudly as she ushers you to your seat.

She thoroughly enjoys going though each aisle to check if passengers have in fact followed the rules. And she lives for the moment when they don’t so she can finally practice the executive powers bestowed upon her. She is especially nice to the gentlemen and especially unpleasant to most women. She has a way of making chicken or meat sound like cocaine or hash. She’s happy to serve you but NEVER make her feel like it’s her job, just pretend she’s some hot chick that randomly volunteered to be on this flight and you’ll be fine.

3)      The Lebanese expat

He’s the most successful of his class having moved to Rome for university, landed a great position in his field and never left. He travels back and forth on occasions to visit family and friends but he spends most of his time in Rome. He’ll never move back home and every time he gets on this flight, he  reaffirms it. He dreads the noise, the chaos and the fact that he never gets any room in what is supposed to be his overhead bin space. Yes, he’s Lebanese, but he’s 100% converted to civilized. His strategy is to make the least eye contact possible and minimum interaction with his surroundings. It helps that he could easily pass for an Italian and he will not utter a word of Arabic. He dies a little inside every time passengers applaud post-landing.

4)      The Negligent mother

She has to put up with her brats every day, so cut her some slack if she decides to disown her children on this one and make them everyone else’s problem, alright? Besides, she’s been dying to watch that flick starring Catherine Zeta Jones playing on the flight. And while everyone else is complaining about her kids kicking their seats and screaming, she hasn’t had this much quiet time in almost a year. Not only does she watch the entire movie unfazed by the ruckus, she is also impressively immune to the judgmental stares of fellow passengers urging her to control the situation. They can hate all they want. She allows those kids to roam the aisles and bump into people’s arms or legs as long as they don’t interrupt her until the attendant finally corners her into seating them for landing. Even then she considers letting them loose.

Have I missed any?

Ask Ivy: Should Marriage Come Next?

ask ivyThis week on my Ask Ivy Column on Beirut.com I discuss an issue I know many ladies may be going through at some point in their lives.

Picture this, you’re in a steady relationship, things are going great, you love your man but that’s it. Suddenly you’re asking what’s next and he’s acting like you just betrayed the “agreement” you had, whatever that was. In fact he’s even disappointed you asked. So before you overreact click here to read my advice…

Many of us grow up believing we’re attracted to bad boys. But what happens when your girlfriend is dating one of the biggest jerks around. Do you stand back and watch it all go down or take matters into your own hands? Here’s what I think

You can email all your questions to tell.ivy@gmail.com

Ivysays Bisoux

LAU Hotties; The New FaceMash?

Remember how Facebook started off as Facemash, a tool Mark Zuckerberg developed for Harvard-only students that allowed them to rate each other on attractiveness?

Well, let me introduce you to another little thing I came across on my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, it’s a page called LAU Hotties (yup straight to the point) an unofficial fan page (950 likes) that I’m assuming does not officially represent the Lebanese American University though it does use their logo as their profile picture. This page posts pictures of “hottie” LAU students and allows people to like them. The picture that gets the most Likes has the honor of being selected on the cover page.

Lebanon’s love affair with beauty pageants baffles me, think Miss Mermaid Jounieh, Miss Lebanon 2011, Miss Lebanon Battle of the Twins, Mr. International, Miss Lebanon World Super Model.

I have a feeling LAU officials are not going to be too happy when they get wind of this, but for now I’ll say this, those are some good looking students! Students seem to be having a blast on the page and I’m hoping they’ve given page admins permission to publish their pictures.

Here are some pictures posted on the wall, I’ve blurred out the faces, although the page is open to the public I didn’t think it would be fair to publish the students pictures. To view the original photos click here

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WTF of the Day

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Damn you Photoshop.

No Auto Khaled did not commission Nigella Lawson for their latest campaign. At least I hope they didn’t.

Some bright graphic designer thought it would be a brilliant idea to paste her photo in there and call it a day. I’m really curious as to how that process went down, are they even aware who Nigella is or were they just randomly googling an image say “women holding bag of crisps” and found Nigella handling some buttered cream puff or about to stuff her face with a ridiculously roasted lamb shack and so they intricately replaced it with a truck like it’s the most natural thing in the world?

Lebanese brilliance at it’s finest hour. Brands take note of this. I want to nominate them for an SMA.

Speaking of SMA did you vote for me? Best Fashion Blog, it’ll only take a sec here you go http://www.smabeirut.com/

I’m Not Flirting, I’m Just Being Nice!

I don’t care how friendly and hospitable foreigners find Lebanon, people are just not as nice as they used to be. Everyone’s constantly on edge, drivers won’t stop for thirty seconds to let you reverse and staff won’t bother greeting you when you walk into a store.

But my please and thank yous have not faltered, nope, they’re so deeply ingrained in me, that at times I automatically thank a customer rep for bad service.

Now that I gave you a little background, get this-  it seems people are a little taken aback by nice people, and tend to misinterpret my politeness and general niceness (yes, I’m actually a nice person) with flirtation and naivety. That’s right.  Men often confuse my behavior with me hitting on them. It’s only when I frown and grunt that I seem to create a sort of unapproachable vibe.

So here it goes:

I’m not flirting if we happen to be seated next to each other and I make small talk. I’m not flirting when I reply to a guy’s funny tweet. I’m not flirting when I greet a parking guy and wish him a nice day. I’m not flirting if I answer  the cab drivers questions about where I’m from. I’m not flirting when I ask the bartender to fix me something different. I’m not flirting if I express my gratitude to the gas station attendant who wiped my windshield. I’m not flirting when I ask the waiter to give me his opinion on the best dish. I’m not flirting when I ask a police man for directions. I’m not flirting when I laugh at an old man’s cheesy joke. I’m not flirting when I ask the hairdresser if a hairstyle looks good on me.  I’m not flirting if I made eye contact by mistake with a guy while stuck in traffic.

I’m just being nice so stop being so conceited!

Have I missed any?

kindness for flirtation

Sex And Burgers Are More Alike Than You May Think

ask ivyOn my relationship advice column on Beirut.com this week, I get asked two very interesting questions:

Dear Ivy,
My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. I’m 28 and he’s 30. Recently, I decided to talk to him about our general lack of sex. He said that I turn him on, but he just doesn’t get horny that much because he’s spent so much time in the past watching porn (he’s given up porn for a few months now) and also, he said he gets self-conscious about finishing too quickly. I’m sexually frustrated and for some reason a part of me doesn’t believe him! But I don’t want to accuse him of lying after he’s opened up to me. What should I do?

Dear Ivy,
I caught my boyfriend looking at pictures of his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. I confronted him about it, and he admitted he looks at her photos every once in a while, but says it’s because he’s being a Facebook voyeur – just looking – but that it doesn’t actually mean anything to him. What do you think, Ivy?

What do burgers have to do with your sex life and why your man is facestalking his ex? Find out HERE

 

Could Myriam Klink Save Lebanon?

Queen Mryiam Klink

So Myriam Klink is scaring the hell out of us now by promising to run for politics. And like anyone living in this country the thought of  someone with her judgement in parliament terrifies me. And no I’m not gonna jump on the let’s hate on Myriam Klink bandwagon, I’m guessing she has enough of those.

To me the idea of giving power to a woman with such heinous fashion taste,  bad PR and disastrous image management decisions to make vital decisions on a national level makes me slightly uneasy. I’m sure you can relate.

I watched her on AlJadeed’s new show Al Za3eem “الزعيم” which seems like an Arab Idol for aspiring politicians who present themselves in front of a panel of judges and get eliminated accordingly. (a very badly produced concept and show might I add.)

Contestants were tested on their speech skills. Some yelled, others threatened, a few seemed to think they were auditioning for a cheesy Lebanese play only to get royally butchered by the panel of judges who showed no mercy.

And then there was Klink. She stood there, fully clothed, looking mighty professional and gave a very well-rehearsed speech ( you’ll be surprised how good she was compared to the rest) with dramatic and funny hand gestures on two issues she plans to run on. Her first choice impressed me. The environment. She seemed to have a special relationship with nature as her Facebook bio puts it so eloquently

“Myriam Klink is a Lebanese girl from the mountains raised between animals and natures by a loving dad and grand pa who teach her the meaning of respecting life in all its ways….”

But then she said the words I dreaded. Something about women, their rights and well she summed it up with something along the lines of “men have to not forget that they all came from women!”  You know, just in case some men were doubting the birds and bees theory.

But I’m approaching this with an open mind. Of course I’ve made prejudgments based on everything I see about Klink online; the distasteful photos, her obnoxious behavior and the baffling video clips. Does she stand a real chance of winning? Probably not. But could this be her moment to give us something more than Made In Lebanon Paris Hilton, and perhaps even use her star power to bring attention to issues that should really be high on this country’s priority list such as our depleting environment and animal rights? Perhaps. As long as she steers clear from women’s rights.

Myriam Klink AlJadeed New TV 2

Myriam Klink AlJadeed New TV

Myriam Klink AlJadeed New TV 3