Tag Archives: lebanon

A Civil Marriage in Lebanon; Absolut-ly Almost!

A civil marriage happened only 22 km off the Lebanese coast Saturday noon, attended by the friends and family of Tarek Mallak (31) and Anastacia El Hajj (29) – and ofcourse the creators: the advertising agency, Interesting Times, and Fawaz Holding as the distributor for Absolut.

CivilLove_Tarek Mallak_Anastacia_El_Hajj_Husband and Wife.jpg

Instead of traveling to another country to celebrate their wedding, this young couple decided to celebrate its as close as possible to the land where they were born and raised, the land they love – the land that does not accept them falling in love.

The logistics of doing such a wedding is not easily replicable. The boat has to be registered in a separate country that accepts civil marriage, in this case in Cyprus. The minister had to be a Cypriot marriage officer.

CivilLove_Tarek Mallak_Anastacia_El_Hajj_Female Cypriot Minister_Wedding Ceremony

“When you enter international waters, you can then follow the law of where the boat is registered. This was our way of expressing that we all believe it’s high-time we bring civil marriage to Lebanese shores.” stated Rita from Interesting Times.

Coming from different religious backgrounds, these young love birds are the pioneers of An-Almost-In-Lebanon-Civil Marriage without having to lose their civil rights*. The thing is Lebanese people are getting civil married in other counties both ways and legalizing it is a win-win situation to the state and the couples in love. In addition to it being a way to express that Love should know no race, color, gender, or religion, it creates additional revenue to the Lebanese economy and minimizes the expenses of Lebanese couples.

 CivilLove_Tarek Mallak_Anastacia_El_Hajj_Birds Eye View of Wedding

‘Civil Love’ is a campaign that represents Absolut’s vision for a better, more open world. A world that celebrates human unity, diversity, champions openness, and promotes self-expression. It suggests that the best way to heal division in Lebanon is for the youth of different backgrounds to fall in love with each other. ‘Civil Love’ is the hope for a unified tomorrow in Lebanon.

 

Amen to that!
Keep falling in #Civillove!
M

 

* In 2013, a legal loophole allowed a few couples to marry civilly, but in order to do this, the couples had to erase all traces of their religion from their National Identities which led to a loss of civic rights. This act not only meant that the couples were criticized but it also cost them their right to vote, work in a public office, and meant that their child would be born with the same civic issues. This doesn’t seem suitable for a celebration of love and commitment and since 2013 there have been no civil marriages in Lebanon.

 

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15 Minutes of Fame

Saturday was crazy. I joined the NOMAD EXPEDITION and discovered the beautiful virgin lands of Akoura, reached back from Beirut at 7:30 – and I had to make it to Qanat Alfa Alyaum Channel / OSN’s backstage of the show “Baddi Ra2yak” before 8:30 – Top Camera was 9 pm! Yes, basically they did both my hair and my make up in less than 30 minutes! (thus never mind how I looked!)

The question we discussed was the below:

Do you like to be famous? (from @badera2yak’s twitter) 
| Answers & results were as follows:
– Yes, why not (19%)
– Not at all (28%)
– I don’t aim for it, but I would be glad if it happened (30%)
– I don’t like to be in spotlight (23%)

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 4.43.01 PMSince Al Youm TV is a paid television, you won’t be able to watch the discussion online, however I will break down what we discussed below:

  • Fame might sometimes cause depression – especially when achieved quickly. We all know the ’15 minutes of fame’ – generally, what comes fast also goes fast.
  • Fame should not be an aim but a result of hard work and success – or else it might get disappointing
  • Fame in modern society is measured by the number of following an individual (or company) has therefore existing on social media is not only vital but inevitable 
  • Social media also provides a shortcut to fame 
  • Fame is responsible – meaning, every relatively famous individual has social responsibility of increasing awareness to good social causes which he should advocate whenever needed
  • A famous person doesn’t need to get his followers into his house – the panelists explained privacy of a household as “red lines” – however, this is definitely the decision of every famous person – some of them enjoy it (like the Kardashians) some don’t (like Nancy Ajram) 
  • Followers are (generally) not stupid and can sense when a person is genuine or fake – a fake life on social media can be easily spotted; fake profiles eventually cease to exist
  • No matter how strong social media is, traditional tv appearances still have a huge impact on shaping a celebrity’s prestige (media needs celebrities and vice versa)

 

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I am one of the people who added to the 3rd answer. Being famous is never my aim, however success is – if fame followed, I wouldn’t mind it 🙂

What are your thoughts about fame? 

Set A Goal, being famous is not one!
With Love,
M

#STOPTheBurning! Lebanon, SIGN THE Petition!

Sign The Peitition NOW!

I watched the screening of the documentary “An Incinerator for Beirut” last week;
Our government is planning to acquire an incinerator or two from Denmark, to deal with the waste issue. However for the time being we are burning waste out in the open or throwing it into the sea, Ziad Abichaker traveled to Danemak and investigated on spot what’s going on. Here’s a few things I learned while watching the documentary:

Before 1970, Danemark used to throw their garbage in the sea because they didn’t know any better, out of which they are still suffering till today the consequences – 40 YEARS LATER!!! 
Non-recyclable wastes and relatively small-metal wastes get burnt in full combustion chambers; recyclable wastes get recycled not burnt. Danemark do not have any procedure that decomposes huge metalic objects, nothing remotely close to “thermal disintegration”. A huge part of the burned wastes are used in the building of infrastructure, particularly the foundation of roads.
Danemak itself sends some of the recycled wasts to Norway (wastes that contain high dosage of toxic gases and metals like dioxine); Plasma is not applicable in Danemak and does not work efficiently on recycling household wastes. The most toxic residue of non-recyclable & metallic wastes is dioxine. We do not have any laboratory that tests for dioxine in Lebanon. The cost of such a factory costs around 1.5 million dollars.
According to the study of a professor in the American University of Beirut, we will be highly effected by the waste problem in Lebanon. Demographically, the radius effected extends to Achrafieh/Dora (40%) and Antelias (10%); consequences include genetic deformation. 

As mentioned in the Human Rights Watch, despite protests calling for an end to the garbage crisis, more than 150 dumps across Lebanon are openly burning trash at least once a week. Older people and children are most at risk. Doctors say the burning leads to respiratory illnesses and could increase the risk of developing cancer as a result of sustained inhalation of smoke. The government of Lebanon can and should stop the burning and manage the waste in a way that respects health and meets environmental standards.

Our parliament is finally considering a national solid waste management law that would ban the open dumping and burning of waste. Take action today and tell the government to #StopTheBurning! Sign The Peitition NOW! 

https://www.hrw.org/stoptheburning 

Having said that, every “recyclable waste” we do not recycle today is a step closer to getting cancer and having our genes deformed. Before just implementing the incinerator in Beirut, we should start by recycling our wastes! Again, those combustion chambers only burn NON RECYCLABLE wastes. Enough of thinking it’s nerdy or not-cool to recycle, RECYCLE NOW! 

 

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#MyVisionMyLife Collection of Hoodies @mayaacra

Motivation Hoodies; 10% of the overall proceeds go to Children Cancer Center.

You probably saw these posts (of the cover photo) on my instagram, their basic goal is motivating people to envision their future and achieve their goals, to believe in their inner beauty, to never let their insecurities and fears stop them, and to be faithfully strong.

The reason I started designing these hoodies though, is because I would really like to inspire others. The second reason is because I often go shopping and I never really like whatever I see. Hoodies with slogans like “Hate Mondays – Today’s Off, Go Back To Bed” is all I see and those do not really describe what I aspire to be – and what I believe life truly is: Life is about hustling, is about loving what you do and waking up every day to do more of. It’s about achievement, success, love, security, and strength.

And since I believe that Children with Cancer are the strongest and most inspiring people of all, this project is not solely for profit – since the profit is minor, 10% of the gross amount is given to charity – to Children Cancer Center. Since most of us really love to help, but we do not often have the time to, by buying a hoodie, you are inspiring whoever sees you wearing one, and you are somehow contributing a fair amount to the strongest kids in the world.

The Cost of one Hoodie is 50,000 LBP. (10% of whatever you buy goes to charity)

You can DM me on Instagram or Whatsapp me on 03366729 to Reserve Yours!

#YourVisionYourLife #MyVisionMyLife #mayaacra #mayaakra08

“7kita 3ala facebook w maraddit” is not a business approach

So is “Ba3atella DM on instagram w ma raddit”
Being A digital consultant, I find it often that people are interested in working with bloggers, digital influencers, or talents. Sometimes directors would find an actress so fitting for a specific role, that they send her a private message.

 

I also hear this often “I sent her a message on instagram and on facebook, she did not reply, she is probably sheyfeh hala”, while on the other hand there are numerous numbers of bloggers waiting for sponsors, for content, and there are so many talented actresses and models feeling unappreciated.

 

What should you do?
– Every blogger/ actress has contact information on their socials: Send them an email or call their personal numbers. Don’t just wait for a message on Facebook. That is you being unprofessional, not them being cocky.

 

– When not getting a reply, send a reminder after 3 days, then another one after 2 weeks.

 

– (If you still did not get a reply and you are still after this specific person) Figure out a medium. Think of a person who would know her personal number or email and contact that person.

– Contact Talent Agents and Agencies for assistance (they usually have contact information of talents)

Tips:

  • The new instagram links you directly to a person’s contact
  • Many professionals have their numbers put on LinkedIn
  • Bloggers that do not have a contact number on their socials probably do not want to be contacted (so if you are a blogger and aiming for sponsors and proposals, put it there!)
  • When signing deals and talking MONEY with the assistance of a talent agent or medium, ask for a meeting for the 3 of you together. Chances are big that some projects do not go though because the “person in the middle” wants a bigger commission or is not transmitting the right info about a specific activity

 

While mostly all businesses exist on facebook and instagram, both are still NOT BUSINESS platforms. You want to raise a complaint, send an inquiry, or ask for a favor SEND AN EMAIL, CALL THE NUMBER, and ASK FOR A F2F MEETING.

Goodluck!
Much Love!
M

Women, Homosexuals, and Artists as Politicians in Lebanon – @theKIPProject

… following my Not Your Ashta Blogpost..

I was happy to be invited to the KIP Project this year held at the American University of Beirut (AUB), since I was extremely sick for the past week, I could only attend it on the 1st of April (I missed the first day).

*Whereas all the panelists truly inspired me and scratched my head, I will only mention those who somehow triggered my senses more than others.*

Panel (Highlighting Discrimination through Art & Media)

One of the panelists, Bahaa Harmouche, is a creative director and works on the stigmatized HIV Positive outcasts in our modern societies – more specifically the homosexual HIV Positive people in the Middle East. He speaks on behalf of them saying “Accept Us and Love Us, we are not your enemy.”

Homosexuality is still an extremely controversial issue in the Middle East where all religions completely reject it as being un-natural and devilish. Individuals are living an internal conflict day after day, especially those who belong to extremely religious families. HIV patients – often persecuted by (somewhat) hypocrites that mainly engage in the same actions they did, but were luckier to not contract such a fatal disease – victimize themselves due to their little awareness, education, and luck.

“The gay society is already marginalized in our societies. The homosexual HIV Positives are even marginalized in the gay society itself,” claimed Bahaa during his panel.

It was definitely the first time I hear such a panel – a taboo, an unspoken battle, and a condemned group by even the minority sub-culture – a courageous topic to address.

Heather Jaber, an independent researcher, discussed the fact that homosexuals are often portrayed in Lebanese series as depressed, and are sent or exiled to other countries. While this portrayal of reality has its positive aspect where it shows that these individuals are unaccepted in society, other questions arise like: why isn’t the media showing us the successful happy homosexuals in Lebanon as normal characters living with us everyday – and are WE  giving them the option of either living with depression, committing suicide, or unintentionally sending them to extreme exile? Why is the sexual orientation the only layer a character is described with in Lebanese cinema and why is homosexuality the only artifact that is leading gay characters into depression?


Panel (Marginalized Groups in the Lebanese Political Sphere)


Carmen Geha and Krystel Tabet shared with us the findings of their research of the little engagments of females in the political life. “Politics is masculine” she said, “women are usually brought up in Lebanon to be honest, thinking about the benefit of the community rather than personal benefit whereas men usually possess more ego, aspire to be powerful and are more interested in politics.” Other reasons discussed were the patriarchy of sectarianism and the (debatably) little resources of women, their little effectiveness in national institutions, and their less availability (since they are mostly also mothers and house wives).


Reem Saab’s research highlighted a slight difference in the degree of political voting among men vs women (men are more likely to vote by 1.2% than women) yet a rather great-low representation of women in politics, due to lack of interest, lower chances of employment, and lower education levels.


Nada Anid, representing the NGO Women In Front, shared with us her findings of Lebanon being ranked 180/187 (in Women Parliament Representation) and 143/144 (in Women Governmental Inclusion). She states that a better Quota of women will only happen under one condition: Real Political Will.


In addition to the absence of a Feminist Block and the misconception of the role of politics, one can not but note that the seats in the Lebanese Parliament are barely fitting our politicians that are almost devouring each other for one seat, what if a WOMAN was to take that seat? Unfortunately, giving a seat to a woman is regarded as more of a gentleman act than anything else in the Lebanese government.

Perhaps these issues are disregarded in oppose to what our country is facing these days, however there exists a definite misconception of the role of politics.

Women and activists are less likely to consider politics due to the global interests/lobbies that do not appeal to the interests of such individuals. However, the KIP Project reminded all its attendees that politics is not about Russia, USA, France, or the Middle East, it is about our daily life struggles.

The representation of labor in the syndicates and unions has a direct effect on the rights of the practitioners of a certain labor force. The municipalities are responsible for the concerns of its citizens and we (and our votes) are to be blamed for the traffic jam we are stuck in every day. The government is held responsible for the tax, the double-electricity, and our endless expenses. Politics is not whether Iran and USA are on in “tsingof” or “TGIF” mode. Politics is the daily stress or distress we live with every single day.

The panel  (Art as an Alternative Catalyst for Change In Lebanon) featuring the Kesserwany sisters reminded artists that usually have no interest in politics to address social change in their own creative way. Yes, even artists are responsible for fixing Lebanon, no one is exempted – not the women, not the homosexuals, and not the artists. We are all in this together.

I hope one day all Lebanese People find this as interesting as the numerous pointless memes circulating our useless whatsapp groups,
With Love!
M

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From the book Louder Than Hearts Poems – Zeina Hashem Beck Winner of the 2015 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize

MOVIE VI: NEIGHBORS II (2016) M REVIEW

You can totally rap up the whole movie by saying Zac Efron is effing hot, and you should watch him strip – almost rocking some Magic Mike moves – but I’ll go further in this. For the guys and men who are into lil’ girls, there is a bit of Selena Gomez there too. It’s not the brightest of movies, but since I watched it, here it is:

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Zac isn’t in college anymore, his gay-best friend is getting married and he has to move out. He finds the perfect refugee: A House where Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and two other freshman girls (Kiersey Clemons and Beanie Feldstein) are starting a cool-sorority “Kappa Nu” that actually throws parties unlike other sororities that can only attend frat parties (organized by guys).

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Next door however, are Zac’s former enermies: the Radners (Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne). Those who have seen Neighbors 1 know a bit about their psychology, I’d advise watching Neighbors 1’s trailer, however you can totally catch up if you haven’t.

The Radners are expecting a baby and are trying to sell the house. According to them, there is no way they can sell it with crazy sorority parties happening in the house near them.

Zac starts out helping the Sorority raise money and get big, then he takes the old people’s side and decides on tearing it down with the Radners.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 3.37.59 PM

This Movie is 18+ at Cinemall and definitely targets university students; not a lot of wisdom messages there but here are a few things you might learn from Neighbors II:

  • Zac Efron is hot
  • You should grow up, life is not college
  • Zac Efron is hot
  • When your best friend(s) gets married or falls in love, you don’t have to feel left out – they would still love to have you there (third wheeling or being say, a maid of honor)
  • When you do the right thing, it pays off – sometimes, literally; in money buckets
  • Your cannot control kids, the belong to LIFE (Boom!)

Moreover, this movie shows all the homophobes out there that a homosexual guy can still be (best) friends with a straight guy. It exists and you shouldn’t be so paranoid and narrow-minded about it. Chill, no one’s going to rape you.

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Two, this movie caters to those female college students that are not bimbos and hoes. They Exist. Somehow, college movies always classifies the girls into either lifeless church nerds or straight dumb b*tches. This movie is an Easy-A kind of college-movies that show girls who love to party but don’t need those 7-minutes-in-heaven and tequila-punches kind of parties.

Also, (unlike Hollywood movies in the 90s) the three girls starting the sorority (or is it Sorortity?) are not all blonde; one is blonde, the other is African American and the third one is ‘fine’ looking and overweight. They’re all cool. The blonde is still the dominant leader, but they’re all best friends and there is no bossing around. I love that Hollywood is shifting the 90s stereotypes and being more real.

 

Enjoy the strip!
Much Love!
M