Archives for category: Lebanon

I have a one-month vacation before moving to my new job in Dubai, so I visited my grandmother’s house yesterday, she was watching LBC Drama.

Today, I had nothing to do as well, so I passed by her, and again, she is watching LBC Drama.

I am not a fan of TV usually, the only thing I watch is football and I use it for PlayStation.

So after asking a bit about this channel, it turned out that it only puts Arabic/Syrian/Turkish series.

As most of you know, those series are addictive to those who watch them, which for me is not a problem, since I am myself addicted to watching football for example, some American series, etc… The problem with LBC Drama is that people are getting hooked to it the whole day.  I mean I watch football on weekends, and midweek only when Champions League games are being played. I can’t imagine myself watching series the whole day, specially that kind of series. We, in Lebanon, need more educational series, brain teasing series. The last thing we want is dramatic series. All you see on local television those days are political shows and dramatic and movies.

All local TV stations belong to politicians, and they are doing a great job brain washing the youth of Lebanon. When I was at the Lebanese American University I used to get amazed on how “friends” during the year stop talking when elections come as they “belong” to different political parties.

LBC Drama is owned by LBCI which is owned by the Lebanese Forces. A political party that is one of the “liberal” parties in Lebanon who should be enlightening people and opening their minds. So instead of getting them hooked to drama, maybe it is time to get them hooked on science, civil rights, business, etc…

We, as a country, will not go forward as long as politicians runs our lives.

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After the post I wrote about the bad customer service I received from Aishti, (check here: post) I got a call from Manal, the Aishti Customer Service Manager to explain to me what happened, to apologize on behalf of the new agent that talked to me in the morning and promised to get back to me with a solution regarding the previously mentioned issue.

About an hour later, Miss Manal calls me to tell me that the issue has been solved and that I can go to Aizone and pick up a new jeans to replace the one that was ruined.

So I would like to thank Manal for her efforts and remind everyone that social networking is a tool we should use to make this world better. Whoever has an issue that he would like to address via a social network should do so without insulting anyone and the issue should be a rightful one.

Thank You.

A couple of months ago, I passed by the Diesel store (an Aishti store) in downtown and purchased a jeans. Two days later, I go back to the same store to tell them that I would like the legs of the jeans to be tightened a little bit because they were too wide, their answer was that they would gladly do that after the sales period because they are too busy now. I end up buying a new jeans that needed the waist to be tightened a little bit also.

After the sales period ended, I went to the Aizone store in Beirut Souks and told them that I would like the leg of the first jeans to be tightened and the waist of the second jeans to be tightened.

A week later, I go back to pick up my jeans. To my surprise, they tightened the waist of the wrong jeans, so basically I can’t wear the jean anymore, it does not fit. I go back to the store to explain what happened, they call for the tailor to come, and he starts telling me that it is impossible for him to tighten the jeans if there was no mark on the jeans, so my answer was that I sure did not mark it, if anything, one of the employees who were taking the marks marked it. After several minutes of dispute, the tailor tells me that he can cut the jeans and put a patch on it to return it to its previous state. My answer was: If you buy a new car, and while they are driving it to you, they have an accident, will you accept them saying: we will fix it and give it for you? Of course, he had nothing to say.

At the end, we got to the conclusion that the customer service department will call me. And let me tell you something, that department at Aishti is anything but a “customer” service.

It took them a whole week to call to inquire about what happened. (As if they did not already know). Of course no one called. I pass by the store, their only answer is, we have nothing to do with it now, and it’s in the hands of the customer service. So I take the customer’s service number and call, they say that they will look into it and call back, and again, no one calls. So today I called the customer service and their response was as simple as “sorry, there is nothing we can do about it except fix it” they were so convinced that I was the one who put the mark on the jeans making it sound as if it was my mistake. I ask to speak to a supervisor, the agent’s answer was: “it will change nothing, and that she is too busy to talk to you now.”

I am a customer, and I bought a service from Aishti that was not as the minimum requires. They made a mistake, and don’t want to admit it or at least apologize for it.

Now what will happen is three things:

1- They give me a new jeans back.

2- They give me a voucher for the price I paid for the jeans.

3- I will never buy a single item from any Aishti store. (I bet they don’t care, but hey, what do you expect from such a company.)

Meanwhile, I will wait for the supervisor at the so called customer service department to find some time to call me.

Yesterday, on March 17, 2013, and around 9:30 pm, 2 Sunni Cheikhs got beaten after the Isha Prayer on their way home by a number of outlaws. Outlaws is the least that can be said about them. Those are idiots brainwashed by their leader to do their dirty things. But this is not the point of this post. The point is that stupider people from the other sect of the Muslim religion (Sunnis) went on to start havoc in the streets of Beirut, with rumors saying that they were screaming their lungs out asking for a “Jihad”. For those who do not know, NO ONE can call for a “Jihad” except for the Mufti himself in the absence of the “Khalifa”. So those idiots will not be doing God a favor whatsoever.

Things did not stop here, the problem is that the whole country got all angry and excited about the two cheikhs being beaten labeling it as “touching the holy” that no one took notice of innocent civilians being beaten yesterday in the streets of Beirut.

A friend of mine, YZ (I will mention only his initials) got stopped on the street near Sodeco Square by a gang of armed men who asked him where he was from. When they knew from his answers that he was a “Chiite” they started to beat him, damaged his car and took his phone then left him on the street in his blood. The WORST part is that the LEBANESE ARMY were standing on the side watching this man getting beaten just because of the way he prays. Note that that man may have different political views than the ones of Hizbollah for example, but regardless, if he is a Chiite, then he is not one of them, then he is entitled to the “punishment”.

Now let me make one thing clear, I myself, am a Sunni living in Lebanon (unfortunately) and this by NO MEANS mean that I accept what those men did. And more people than you think agree with me and don’t care for the religion or sect of other people. We want to live in peace, I don’t care if my neighbor is a Sunni, a Chiite, a Catholic, a Jew or even a Buddhist. The way people pray is their issue and is none of my problem.

Politicians go on preaching about the civil war, and how we should avoid it while they are themselves the ones putting the wood in the fire to ignite it more. And by politicians, I mean ALL politicians, those from March 8 and those from March 14. All of them are preaching, but none is doing anything to stop it. And would really like from the Minister of Internal Affairs to also give orders to those who beat my friend because they are no any better than the ones who beat the two Cheikhs. Both groups deserve the highest level of punishment.

As for our dear Lebanese Army. Please, next time you see a Lebanese citizen getting beaten, please interfere and help him out, he pays your salaries with his taxes.

Finally, I would like to wish my friend a speedy recovery and wish that those who beat him are brought to justice, something that I unfortunately am losing faith in its existence in Lebanon.

Lebanon is politically divided into two clans, the ones who love Americans and want to follow in their footsteps and the ones who “claim” to hate Americans and want us to believe that the United State of America is the master devil running the world to its destruction. On a side note, most of those are holders of American Passports and one should not spit in the plate he eats from, that’s what my grandmother raised me to.

To those who think that the USA is the devil, here’s what happened with me some days ago.

I am a consumer, I buy goods from wherever I find the best price, and I wanted to buy a snowboard. And since my favorite snowboarding shop in Lebanon did not get this specific board, I went online to find my need. On Tuesday the 11th of December, I googled the board I wanted and found it at a specific website which had a “Live Chat” section. A certain Bob who was a very pleasant person to talk to answered my inquires and gave me his input on the board that encouraged me even more to buy it. After some Q&A with Bob, I ended up purchasing the board for the amount of $449.95 and I got a “FREE 2-Day” shipping to my P.O.Box address in Ohio. The board was delivered on time and I ended up shipping it to Beirut via Borderlinx/DHL.

If you are still reading, you would say ok, what’s special in that? In Lebanon this could happen. Well to start with, No, this does not happen in Lebanon, first there are nothing called Live Chat and there is nothing called Free Delivery and to buy a product you need to go through a hassle. Anyhow, now comes the good part.

Yesterday, a friend of mine told me that he wanted to do the same and purchase a board online, so I went to the same website to check out what boards suits him and if it is in stock and as soon as I get into the website, a banner saying “Burton. 2013 Gear on Sale Now. Up to 20% off the hottest new goods. Dec 18 – 24 Only” pops up in my face. So out of curiosity, I look for the board I purchased a week ago to see that its price dropped to $382.46, that’s a saving of 15% which is equivalent to $67.49.

So I click on the “Live Chat” icon and get to speak with a representative of the website. I start by thanking him for the delivery of my board and ask him about that discount I saw on their website. I explain that I purchased my board on the 11th and the discount started on the 18th so if there was a way I could benefit from that discount. So he asks for my Order Number and when he saw that I indeed purchased the board on the 11th, he tells me that of course I can benefit from that discount. Whenever the price changes within 30 days, I can benefit from the lowest price. So he did his calculations and debited my card with the amount of $67.49.

Now imagine you purchasing a good in Lebanon and going a week later to tell the salesman I would like to benefit from the discount you started AFTER I made my purchase. What would his/her answer be?

I will leave that to you 

And then they ask why we love Americans.

As I was checking my timeline on twitter, a tweet by @MTVLebanonNews caught my attention:

“آل المقداد توعدوا بخطوات لاحفة لم يفصحوا عنها وأكدوا أن الاعتصام يفك فور إطلاق سراح الشباب”

So it seems that we still have to hear from the Mokdad family after all. On top of having the guts to go on TV and say that they have an armed legion, then go on to kidnap more than 20 Syrian citizen in Lebanon (regardless of the Syrians’ political affiliation) and a Turkish citizen, they now decide to close one of the most active roads in the Beirut Southern Suburb.

Everyone remembers what happened three month ago when the Syrian Free Army abducted a member of the Mokdad clan in Syria after they claim he was helping the Syrian Army which prompted the Mokdad family to retaliate and abduct Syrians in Lebanon and a Turkish.

Back then, the army was not given the “political cover” to do anything about it because Hizbollah did not allow it of course, and things stalled for almost 20 days until suddenly the Lebanese Army miraculously started to arrest the armed forces of the Mokdad clan and throw them in prison.

Now here comes the tricky part. Those people were arrested and thrown in jail, everyone obviously knows why, but this is not how things work. When the police or the army detains someone and put him in jail, that someone has to stand in front of a jury to be trialed. The problem is that those persons were not accused of anything; they were just caught and put in jail for no legislative reason. The reason for the public is clear, but the reason for the law does not exist, not until they are accused and then shown to a judge for a trial.

I understand the frustration of the Mokdad family as their sons have been in prison for over two months now without even being accused, let alone judged. But didn’t they see it coming? What did they expect? To go all commando on the streets of Dahyeh kidnapping people as if it was the most normal thing to do without consequences? We were taught in school in the physics classes that for every action there is an opposite equal reaction. Well that applies to social life too, not just to science. They made an action of kidnapping people that triggered a reaction of them being arrested.

To be clear, the government, the judicial body, the police, the army or whoever is responsible (because he have no idea who is responsible for what in Lebanon) have the obligation of accusing the detainees before judging them. But for the Mokdad family to go and decide to close a road in Dahyeh until their sons are freed? Come on, is there no decency anymore? Do they think that us, Lebanese, are idiots? Do they think that they can do whatever they want without being asked why?

After the Asir/Hizbollah incident in Saida; the Minister of Interior Affairs, Mr. Marwan Charbel promised that whoever is seen holding arms will be detained. If no arms are shown in Dahyeh now by the Mokdad family, I’m sure that it won’t be long before they show up. So I think that the Mokdad family will put the words of the minister to test.

The Mokdad family have all the right to ask for their sons to be accused and sent to trial, and the government has the obligation to see the detainees accused and trialed; but this is NOT the way to ask for it.

 

So here we are, November 20th getting ready for the big event of the so-called Lebanese Independence Day on November 22nd where our beloved army will parade in front of the Beirut Naval Base in Downtown in the presence of the three presidents in a time where the country is living in a turmoil of events.

Our beloved army decided to get prepared today, a Tuesday morning, when everyone is coming to Beirut for work. So it closes roads in Beirut for it to prepare for the great event on Thursday to create a killer traffic that reached Dbayeh. Please keep in mind that a HUGE number of people drive daily to come into Beirut from its southern and northern entrances between 7 and 9 am for work.

By doing so, they created an immense traffic that got people stuck in their cars for hours. It took a co-worker of mine two hours to get from Tabarja to Ashrafieh. I called a customer of mine at his office and his assistant answered to tell me he is stuck in traffic, so I call his cell phone, he tells me he has been held in traffic for almost three hours. I live in Beirut so it takes me five minutes to get to my office; while driving, I heard Gavin on RadioOne reading text messages he received and one of them was like: “I ordered breakfast to my car while stuck in traffic”; I find this sarcastically sad.

The bellow picture was taken from a tweet by Annahar Newspaper

To start with, the entrances to Beirut on a regular day are packed with cars and traffic is already a problem for most Lebanese, almost everyone gets to his/her office mad and frustrated and can’t be spoken to before having the morning coffee to feel relaxed (although I doubt that coffee makes one relax). So how about closing the roads for a drill that 90% of the Lebanese population don’t even care for on a Thursday morning when everyone is driving to his/her office.

Has it crossed the mind of the big bosses and decision makers at the Lebanese Army that such a drill is better done on a Sunday when everyone is enjoying his morning at home with his family and kids? Wouldn’t it been better if people were at least notified of the situation so they can take precautionary measures to get to their offices without cursing the country, its army and their lives?

The Independence Day should be a day that makes every Lebanese citizen feel proud of his country, safe in his country, taken care of in his country. Unfortunately, most of the Lebanese feel the complete opposite and got to a point in which they would not give a rat’s ass about November 22nd. Or maybe they do since it is an official holiday and most of us will be going on hunting trips that day.

In other news, news agencies announced ( see the link http://mtv.com.lb/News/138654 ) on behalf of the Internal Security Forces (for some reasons www.isf.gov.lb seems to be down) the measures that will be taken on Thursday, November 22nd in regards to parking cars in downtown and closed roads, so I invite everyone concerned to read it to make sure they know what roads to take if they decide to go out that day.

Happy Independence Day with the hope that next year will witness a more organized drill.