‘Beit Beirut’ Hosts ‘Healing Lebanon’ Exhibition by Zeina al-Khalil


Beirut – “Why did the Lebanese people fight each other and commit all this cruelty against their country?” This is a question that visual artist Zeina al-Khalil has always asked herself. She did not want to surrender to this sad reality and decided to organize an exhibition called, “Sacred Disaster: Healing Lebanon,” at Beit Beirut, a building that was a major witness to the Lebanese civil war.

It is true that Lebanon survived the war and rapidly shifted to peace, but according to Khalil, the country must live the long healing process like any other patient before he resumes his daily life.

The exhibition that runs from September 18 to October 26. It occupies the three-storey Barakat building (Beit Beirut) in the Sodeco area in the Ashrafieh district. The building’s owner wanted to turn it into an artistic quarantine-like space where “patients” would be isolated for 40 days before returning to the real world. She wanted to treat the people with the main medicine of love.

Khalil hung 20 charcoal drawings on the first floor of the exhibit to address guests with their black ink.

“These drawings bring hope even though they represent scenes that I bore witness to in Lebanese regions that suffered war and total destruction. Ruined buildings remained as real witnesses to what happened in Lebanon,” Khalil, who holds a Masters in Fine Arts from New York University, told Asharq Al-Awsat

The Lebanese artist drew inspiration for her work from the Shaker palace in the town of Souk el Gharb, the Khiam detention camp in southern Lebanon, and the Grand Hotel in Sawfar, as well as her hometown, Hasbaya where her family’s home was occupied by the Israeli army for more than 20 years, and was turned into a detention camp later.

“It is not true that we have to destroy the past and build a new history to get rid of our effects on us. However, we have to review our cruel past to learn the necessary lesson to be cured from diseases that live with us, such as religious fanaticism and surrendering to party leaders and politicians.”

Khalil reflected her optimistic view in her ceramics and stone sculptures. Her golden rules “love, mercy, tolerance” were written in Arabic on a white background. She spread them on the floor of “Beit Beirut” through 324 pieces complimenting the remains of mosaic tiles covering the floor of the building, which dates back to the early 1920s.

“It is like a language of communication between the past and the present. Some pillows have been placed around the paintings so that the visitor can sit, contemplate and live the healing process through a combination of sculptures, paintings and music.”

Poetry is also been present in the exhibition her works where she spread verses embracing love and Beirut.

Lebanon Enters Guinness Record Book with Longest Iftar Table


Beirut – Lebanon bagged a new entry in the Guinness book of world records by organizing the longest Ramadan iftar table in the world at 2,184 meters, beating the former record held by Ghana at 1,928 meters.

Under the theme, “Ramadan in the heart”, the “Ajialouna” charity organization prepared the event under the patronage of Prime Minister Saad Hariri in a message of peace and love from Lebanon to the world to show the spiritual meaning of the holy fasting month.

The record-breaking iftar table brought together 5,400 people from all over Lebanon, who gathered at the wooden heart-shaped table at Beirut’s Waterfront.

Ajialouna’s Chairwoman Lina Zaim al-Dada (dentist) said that the event was not prepared with the aim of breaking the record, but it only sought to project the real image of Islam.

She told Asharq Al-Awsat that Ajialouna cooperated with many charities in order to bring together as many people to break their fast.

Some 640 people worked hard around the clock on June 9, the day of the event to ensure its success, she added.

All participants took their seats within 20 minutes, impressing Guinness’s representative, who said he did not see such organization in Alexandria and Ghana, which both staged the same event last year, al-Dada revealed.

The food was donated by various restaurants and food organizations.

Asked if Ajialouna plans to hold similar events in the future, al-Dada replied: “During the holy month, we provide iftar meals for 500 people every day, which is a tradition we have adopted for many years. We are definitely planning other projects that fulfill the same charity goal.”

The event was attended by people from orphanages, charity foundations and poor families, who were driven for free in buses to the location. Some 1,000 people arrived from Tripoli and the North, 1,000 from Aley and the surrounding region, 1,000 from Sidon and 2,000 from Beirut.

Served by 600 volunteers, they were treated to a meal of 10,000 roasted chickens, 5,600 meat pastries, 15,000 dates, as well as salads, rice dishes and the traditional “maamoul” dessert.

BIAF to Honor Distinguished Figures from 12 Countries

Beirut – The Beirut International Awards Festival (BIAF) unveiled the program for its eighth year, which will be dedicated to late PM “Rafic al-Hariri.”

BIAF will take place in Beirut on the 8th and 9th of July; the two days event will honor over 20 renowned figures who had outstanding achievements in various fields. This year’s edition will witness the participation of celebrities from 12 Arab and western countries, including Nawal al-Zoughbi.

During the first day of the event, set to be held in Zaitunay Bay area, the world tallest trophy will be revealed and dedicated for the soul of late Rafic Hariri.

On the second day, figures and celebrities will hit the red carpet at 6:00 pm, and the evening will start at 9:30 pm. The evening will be broadcast on Lebanese and other channels including “Al-Jadeed”, “LBC Sat”, “Al-Mustaqbal”, “Rotana Khalijia”, Rotana Egypt’, and “ONE TV”.

Omar Talal, a representative of Guinness Group for records will attend the event to manage the registration of a new record hit of the award dedicated to honor the late Rafic Hariri.

Celebrities from Egypt and Europe were invited to attend the festival’s ceremony.

Reports stated that a Turkish star will also be among the honored figures.

BIAF program was unveiled during a press conference held at “Le Royal” hotel, Dbayeh. The conference was followed by a Suhoor evening attended by the telecommunication minister Jamal Al-Jarrah representing PM Saad Hariri, and the tourism minister Avedis Guidanian, who addressed a keynote in which he said this festival aims to honor new type of achievers who have excelled in fields like culture, tourism, and art.

Dr. Michel Daher, BIAF’s founder and organizer saw that once again, this event, will mark Beirut “Sit Dunya” with a special taste of excellence and will highlight its leading role in maintaining its position among Arab capitals as a hub for tourism and civilization.

The 12 countries that will participate in the festival to honor Lebanese, Arab, and western figures include the United States, Canada, Armenia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Dubai, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria.

BIAF will be held under the patronage of PM Saad Hariri and the ministers of information and tourism.

Eliane El-Hajj, media consultant of the festival announced that other awards will be introduced on the sidelines of the festival including “best outfit” and “best tuxedo” in cooperation with a professional jury of fashion experts.

Lebanon: Prominent Plastic Surgeon’s Image Shook by Arab Patient’s Death

Beirut – The death of an Arab woman after undergoing plastic surgery for an amount of $50,000 in Lebanon has kept the public busy.

Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani said that the woman was transported from a hospital owned by a famous Lebanese plastic surgeon in Metn district to another hospital after suffering complications resulting from a liposuction operation.

But the woman died on her way to Notre Dame Hospital in Jounieh that lies in Kesrouan district.

Hasbani on Friday gave beauty clinics a total of six months to settle their legal status.

A bill imposing more stringent regulations on beauty clinics became law in February, Hasbani said. Businesses have until Aug. 16 to comply with the new rules.

But the minister did not name the plastic surgeon, who owns the hospital in the Metn town of Naccache.

The doctor already has differences with the Lebanese Order of Physicians over his appearances on TV stations for the purpose of marketing his plastic surgery techniques.

The Order has reportedly more than once sought to suspend him over several botched medical practices but it failed to do so because of his ties to some political figures.

His hospital also lacks the needed equipment to deal with post-op complications.

Last week, a video of him with one of his patients made the rounds on social media. He was widely criticized for giving the impression that a woman is a product rather than a human being.

Reports have said that an Arab doctor has come to Lebanon to follow up on the autopsy of the dead woman, who is a mother of two, based on a request from her parents.

They said her father is a wealthy businessman.

President of the Lebanese Society of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery Dr. Elie Abdel Hak told Asharq Al-Awsat that the LSPRAS plans to issue a statement on the matter next week.

Abdel Hak, who spoke to the newspaper by telephone for being abroad, said that the LSPRAS will brief the Lebanese public opinion on the details of the woman’s death as soon as it receives the results of the investigation.

Fairouz Honored with Huge Graffiti in Beirut

Beirut- Graffiti has remarkably invaded Lebanon’s streets. Graffiti drawings appeared in many regions on the walls of buildings to replace the gloom of cement with the joy of colors. Tripoli was among the Lebanese cities colored with the magic stick of graffiti recently, when the governor of the North, Judge Ramzi Nohra, sponsored an eco- beautifying project in which 15 public schools participated to draw on their buildings’ walls.

The graffiti “From my Heart to Beirut” drawn by brothers Omar and Mohammed Kabbani on a Building in Beirut’s Mazraa area is the latest gift they introduced to the capital in this field. It came after a graffiti featuring the late artists Wadih el-Safi and Sabah in Ashrafieh, and another one featuring Ziad Rahbani on a building located at Beshara el Khoury-Basta area.

Omar Kabbani, member of ASHEKMAN crew, which manages the graffiti projects on the capital’s buildings said: “We try to color Beirut with joy through our graffiti which started in 2001”.

He also told Asharq Al-Awsat: “This time we chose Fairouz as a theme for our coming graffiti drawings. We were inspired by a beautiful photo featuring the diva covering her head with a scarf that we used as a space to write Arabic expressions on Beirut”. Why Fairouz? He answered: “Because she is one of the Lebanese divas of art who always addressed messages through her songs to the Arab and Lebanese people.”

The drawing has a 14 meter width and covers a six-floor building in the Mazraa area. It is colored in yellow with a blue background, and features a photo of Fairouz taken from one of her plays.

The execution of this drawing took three days. Brothers Kabbani waited for the spring to launch this project after it was supposed to start at the beginning of winter. Omar says: “Bad weather conditions prevented us from starting the project on time, so we waited for spring to come. We lifted a huge sign during the graffiti processing entitled “we and the sun are neighbors” to highlight the person we are drawing and the efforts we are making under the sun”.

Omar adds that he and his brother Mohammed have formed a renowned art crew in the world of graffiti. They are known with their passion for Arabic calligraphy and they were invited to partake in art festivals in many Arab and European countries.

Omar Kabbani continues: “We partook in many art festivals in the UAE, Kuwait, Jeddah, Geneva, Britain, and Armenia, at the request of their culture ministries. The graffiti drawn on buildings in Jeddah were selected by employees from a local art fair, and they featured the famous character “Grendizer”.

“It is a famous character in the Arab world and Lebanon, therefore, we chose it as a theme for our graffiti in Lebanon and abroad. The latest graffiti we drew in Lebanon featured this character in the Ouzai area. This area’s popular streets and neighborhoods are currently witnessing many architectural changes through graffiti themed “Ouzeville”.

Graffiti is the art of drawing on walls in which artists use sprays. It has emerged in Lebanon during the civil war, when militias used to draw photos or write slogans that highlight their identities and convictions. This art has developed in Lebanon and become spread in Beirut and its suburbs with the support of Beirut Municipality, which saw the graffiti as a perfect way to decorate the capital’s streets instead of ads and chaotic scratches.

Omar says: “We tried to add a space of joy and freedom on Beirut streets, which give people a negative spirit.”

He adds: “First, my brother and I used to draw those graffiti based on personal initiatives after taking the permission from the building’s owner. However, today, this type of art has spread in Lebanon with the support of sponsors, Municipality of Beirut, and other interested public and private institutions, which widened the work perspectives in this field.”

Among the upcoming projects of Brothers Kabbani, they intend to draw “Abou Salim”, a series that was displayed on the national television “TL” in the seventies. “Those are Lebanese figures we would like to honor on our way, after they introduced a great art that engraved deep memories in the Lebanese people till this date”, Omar concluded.

Lebanon’s Summer Thrives with Festivals

Beirut- The summer season in Lebanon thrives with more than 1,000 festivals. Remarkably, the organizers of these festivals across Lebanon decided to mimic the big festivals like Beiteddine, Byblos, Jounieh, and Baalbeck known with their varied and fine programs. Ghalboun, Jezzine, Dbayeh, and BeitMisk festivals will host renowned artists from Lebanon, Arab countries, and the West.

Ghalboun in Keserwan district, Jezzine in the South, and Dbayeh and BeitMisk in the Metn district, recently announced their programs featuring national, Arab, and foreign artists.

Dbayeh International Festival announced its three-day program including concerts on July 6, 7, and 8. The festival, held for the second year in a row, will be opened on July 6 by the Egyptian star Sherine Abdel Wahab, while the second concert on July 7 will feature an Armenian dance band. The festival will conclude on July 8 with two concerts for two renowned Lebanese singers Melhem Zein and Nancy Ajram.

The BeitMisk festival which joined the tourism map in 2013, has chosen the international singer Garou for its opening on June 29, while its second and last evening will be starred by the Lebanese diva Marcel Khalife.

For its part, Ghalboun International Festival came up with a rich schedule including four concerts, with foreign and local programs. The first evening on June 29 will feature Helene Segara who will sing a bouquet of her famous songs including “Elle tu l’aime”.

Ghalboun’s stages will also host the Italian singer Alessandro Safina on June 30, and the Lebanese artist Marwan Khoury on July 1. The festival will conclude with an evening of traditional songs performed by Elie Hanna.

Jezzine municipalities announced the program for summer 2017 as “Jezzine Festivals”, which will run till December including many cultural, art, and sports activities.

The biggest concerts in the festivals’ program will be held on August 18 and 19 and will feature Wael Kfouri and Assi Hellani. The events will be held in different villages in the district of Jezzine.

Along with those two concerts, the town of Jezzine will witness “Rally of Lebanon” for the second consecutive year on June 3-4. For its part, Roum village will sponsor varied events including a donkey race and a beauty pageant to elect “Miss South” in August.

Third Middle East Social Media Festival Concludes in Beirut

social media

Beirut – The Middle East Social Media Festival concluded its third version this year in Beirut on the 10th and 11th of May. During the festival the Lebanese capital saw one of the most important activities through lectures and workshops that highlighted the importance of social media in the world of business today.

The festival’s participants explained the role played by social media outlets through their content, which has become a dilemma for most of people using them.

Joe Ghantous, one of the festival’s organizers told Asharq Al-Awast: “These activities require expertise and knowledge. We opened wide discussions about people’s involvement in those outlets today. However, many of them do not know the best way to attract the client through an efficient and luring content”.

“Whatever was the user’s nature of work, he has have required experience in this matter, or he would fail. So, we launched this festival, and held workshops, free spaces, and interactive dialogues to highlight the secret of successful and special content, so we can stay in this big world and convoy it,” he added.

What is the real story behind this world? How can it affect the other? What is the role played by social media in the marketing process and the work of big companies? How can we protect ourselves from hacking? Those headlines and many other social media-related topics were discussed in the festival.

The event stressed the right means to use social media without making huge mistakes. It also offered graduates and businessmen the chance to learn about the modern trends in this field which witlessness quick developments.

Organized at the Beirut Arab University (BAU), the Middle East Social Media Festival lured Lebanese celebrities including media figures, politicians, and artists. It arranged lectures and round tables for the attendees so they can acquire the needed expertise to use social media.

Among the festival’s attendees were many media influencers who succeeded in attracting thousands of followers and they were honored for their achievements in the field.

Ghantous continues saying that the awards went to Lebanese figures who left a mark in this field. He added that influencing people on social media websites requires special manners in interacting with the other and selecting attractive topics.

Seven awards were distributed during the festival and went to the former minister Elias Bou Saab, and media figures Rima Njeim and Hicham Haddad. Many other awards were also dedicated for bloggers and social media influencers.

The event included cultural and educational activities that provided brief instructions on how can regular people use social media and benefit from them in finding job vacancies. It also held forums and meetings with politicians seeking to improve their performance on social media websites.

Ghantous considered that those politicians should set a strategy and an agenda for a proper start in this field. For this purpose, they held workshops dedicated for politicians to shed lights on the change that can be achieved by these means and on the common factors between politics and social media.

The festival also hosted social media influencers from other countries like Roland Abi Najm from the Kuwaiti Information ministry.

Beirut to Host First Edition of ‘Arab Nation Music Awards’

Beirut- Beirut’s schedule for this week is almost full with many sports, artistic and cultural events; the Lebanese capital was selected to host the first edition of the “Arab Nation Music Awards” on April 23.

This award will be introduced in a massive gala at the Casino du Liban, hosted by Razan el-Moghrabi and Mohammad Kaiss, and directed by Elie Aramouni. The award, which will take its first step in Beirut, has become an annual tradition, and will be organized in another Arabic country each year.

Organized by Music or Media holding owned by Jihad el-Murr, this award adopts global standards in selecting the possible candidates, and this edition will include all music celebrities who had an outstanding performance in 2016.

Talking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Carole Maroun, head of the technical committee at Music or Media holding, said that the awards were chosen objectively, by adopting top-ten lists from nine broadcasting stations in Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, UAE, and Oman in order to track the high-rated musical works in 2016. Maroun added that the committee preferred the results be based on the real performance, therefore, no jury was assigned to assess the selected works. Accordingly, winners were selected based on the rates in four standards: 25 percent for the broadcasting stations’ lists, 50 percent for observation rate on YouTube and Anghami App, and 25 percent for the audience’s voting on the award’s website.

The Arab Nation Music Awards will cover many categories including: Star of Year, male and female stars in the hosting country, best Arabic male and female artists, song of the year, best duo, best song of Egyptian singer, best song of a Gulf singer, best song in the Maghreb, and best song in the Arab East. The categories will also include the most seen music video on YouTube, and the best music video, in addition to many honoring prizes which will be awarded to the poet and composer of the year, best concert, star of social media, best album, most downloaded song, and best single.

The preparations for the event are ongoing, but all the details concerning the stage’s décor and the guests are kept secret.

The Arab Nation Music Awards differ from any other musical award in Lebanon or the Arab World. It is more like the western music awards, as winners are selected based on the audience’s choice, performance, and success. Maroun said, however, the award is not a 100 percent western concept, but it is just more accurate than others.

The event will run for less than two hours and it will include many shows performed by the honored figures and the guests, she added.

The event will be broadcasted live on the Lebanese MTV, the Egyptian CBC, and the Algerian TV in Algeria.

‘Zapping with the Stars’ Returns Hope to Lebanese Children with Heart Defects


Beirut – One more time, the heart of Beirut will beat with music to save 300 Lebanese children born with heart malformation. Seeking to achieve its humanitarian goal to treat children suffering from heart diseases, the Heartbeat Foundation organizes its annual musical event “Zapping with the Stars” at the Biel center in Beirut.

For two consecutive evenings, 22nd and 23rd of April, more than 100 artists including singers, musicians, and dancers participate in the concert.

The event will be preceded by a diner and an auction featuring old antiques and drawings. The auction, aiming to collect donations for children, is expected to host around 1,000 person.

Concerts will include special musical shows to honor late stars like Elvis Presley, Dalida, and Zaki Nassif – in addition to many other currently active stars like Beyoncé. Lebanese talents like Anthony Touma, Manal Mallat, and Ingrid Nakkour will have special appearances during the event. Many doctors and students also volunteered to sing in those evenings to fulfill their promise in helping children suffering from heart conditions.

Heartbeat is a Lebanese association with a mission to treat children with heart diseases. It was founded in 2005 by a group of medical doctors from Hotel-Dieu de France Hospital. After facing difficulties in providing free treatments for many children, the foundation decided to organize an annual musical event that could contribute in saving those little patients who represent 1% (up to 600 Lebanese children) every year.

Concerts’ tickets are sold at all Virgin Megastores branches for $25 up to $100.

The treatment of one child suffering from a heart birth defect costs around $5000. Till this date, Heartbeat secured the treatment for around 2,500 children, who received all kind of procedures including surgeries, catheter processes, and all the required follow-ups and medication.

All cases usually end up with success, however, five percent of the conditions can be complicated, and persist because they require long-term treatments.

Three medical committees are assigned to study the portfolios of children without receiving any information on their identities. The first committee prepares a report on the case, the second assesses the social status of the kid, aiming to give priority to children of families with lower incomes. The third committee is assigned to tackle managerial missions, as it includes doctors who supervise the cases and give the approval to asses the chronic conditions which require immediate treatments.

As per the musical concerts, they are set to include many dancing shows including the Lebanese Caracalla theatre.

The event will also feature visual shows performed by students from the school of medicine, the Saint Joseph University (USJ).

Rim Baltaji, director of production affairs at the foundation said the concerts are expected to attract over 2000 guests. Heartbeat has set different timings to hold its two concerts.

Till today, the foundation didn’t reject any case that it had received, and further seeks with hope to grow its financial capabilities so it can treat more kids suffering from heart diseases.

‘Museums Night’ Highlights Lebanon’s Historic, Modern Faces


Beirut – The Ministry of culture is organizing the 4th edition of “Museums Night” which will kick off on Friday.

This year, the anticipated event will embrace 13 cultural sites in many Lebanese regions offering everyone free entries from 05:00 pm until midnight.

The Ministry of Culture promoted the event on its official Facebook page in an announcement that highlighted names of the 13 museums taking part in this cultural evening, in addition to a map featuring the different regions of these sites including Beirut, Balamand, Koura, and Byblos. The ministry has also announced providing free transport means (buses) for people willing to participate.

Participating Museums

Beirut National Museum , Minerals Museum, AUB Museum, Banque Du Liban Museum, Saint Joseph University Prehistory Museum in Huvelin Street, Villa Audi, Nicolas Ibrahim Sursok Museum – all located in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Among other participating museums: The Cilicia Museum in Antelias embracing the Armenian people’s memory and telling stages of their arrival in Lebanon. The museum includes many religious treasures reflecting the history of the Armenian Church Catholicosate of Cilicia and the tragedy of its people.

Alita’s Modern and Contemporary Art Museum (MACAM) in Byblos, which will participate in the event for the first time exhibiting a rich collection of artworks from the past six decades; this museum was built by an initiative launched by the Lebanese Artist Cesar Nammour and the German researcher Gabriele Schwab, in correspondence with the foundation of Alita’s Foundation of Modern Art. The museum comprises two sections, one dedicated for the Lebanese modern sculpture, while the other features modern artworks.

Other museums held in Balamand and Sidon will also participate in this cultural event and offer people the chance to visit many historical sites.

Noteworthy, artistic and musical activities will also be held in this cultural evening in some museums – one will be held at the Ethnology Museum in Balamand and the other at the MACAM Museum in Byblos.