Memorialization Art Project for the Families of the Disappeared

March 4, 2016
By Noura Saad | Hay Khabriyeh!
Jbeil Commemorative Mosaics

“I keep on waiting and I feel that I am lost”, sister of a missing exclaimed. The families of the disappeared are surviving, yet, their hearts and minds are with their beloved who disappeared during the war.

The families are unceasingly trying to get their voice heard in their quest to advocate for the right to know the fate of the missing and forcibly disappeared in Lebanon. Still, little has been done to offer psychological support for these families or honor those whose fate is still unknown. That is, up until recently.

The Memorialization Art Project was initiated by ACT for the Disappeared and Abaad – Resource Center for Gender Equality, and aimed to alleviate the families’ emotional isolation and empower them by participating in a collective effort to remember their loved ones and restore their rightful place in society.

Guided by art therapist Myra Saad from Artichoke Studio – Art Therapy Center in Lebanon, a group of relatives of missing persons from different regions joined their effort to design and implement a collaborative artwork honoring their loved ones.

Art therapy brings a unique approach to better deal with difficult emotions.

In a creative and playful environment, the sessions were directed to nurture a stronger sense of self, restore healthy coping mechanism and strengthen the support network of the families. For most of the participants, it was the first time that they participated in such a group. “The focus was on what the expressive work symbolized to the participants and the meaningfulness it held,” art therapist Myra explained. She added, “Taking part in such a communal art project and actively creating a personalized memorialization empower the families and help them regain a sense of control and accomplishment.”

From Tyre to Tripoli, passing by Bourj Shemali Camp, Beirut, and Jbeil, the relatives of the missing wanted to honor their loved ones publicly and encourage the local communities to recognize their suffering and their right to know.

The cherry on top was the event that took place in Jbeil last Saturday, February 26. The participants inaugurated in Jbeil’s public garden the mosaic which is inspired by their work, an event funded by the European Union and with the great support of the Municipality of Jbeil.
12728796_10156657806185360_3218271498881907838_nIMG_3228 Continue reading

The “Tarbouche”, Beyond Masculinity & Beyond the Middle East


February 27, 2015
By Noura Saad | Hay Khabriyeh!


The “Tarbouche” as we know it is a sign of masculine virility in Lebanon and across the Middle East.

Stephen Jones & Mouna Rebeiz

Stephen Jones & Mouna Rebeiz

Mouna Rebeiz, a French Lebanese artists, took the “Tarbouche” symbol beyond its established norms, and redefined it in a series of paintings “alongside the traditional nude in a contradiction of feminine and the symbol of authority. Caught between two worlds the female bodies jostle against the male trophy, expressing a powerful new freedom which is both dominant and submissive.

Above all, Mouna’s paintings represent an act of Hope – a bridge between two worlds: East and West; Man and Woman.”


Renowned artists, Elie Saab, Francesca Versace, Lanvin Paris, and Sandra Choi of Jimmy Choo, to name a few, joined Mouna in her journey and each redesigned the “Tarbouche” with a touch of flair.

Le Tarbouche by Renowned Artits Continue reading

Green Glass Recycling Initiative for Lebanon – Who says we have to wait for a functioning government?

November 5, 2014
By Noura Saad | Hay Khabriyeh!

We can be the change we want to see in our country – and that is exactly what Ziad Abichaker has been doing. He is now reaching out for all of us to act.

Dear Friends, Colleagues, Supporters:

For the last 25 years since I have been doing this environmental protection work a lot of people always asked me why don’t you collect the recyclables and process them? and my answer would always be “logistics is what drains the financial feasibility of recycling” you have to have government support to do it…But now I’ve decided not to wait for any government support (since it’s not gonna happen) and take matters to the supporting public…


[…] I am asking for your help in spreading the word about the Green Glass Recycling Initiative for Lebanon so we can raise enough funds to buy a recycling truck to close the loop of recycling and environmental protection without having to wait or resort to government support. We can do this one-to-one. Please spread this message within your online network of friends and environmental protection supporters…We have managed to raise about 12% of 30,000$ but we need to fulfill that goal before December 9. Appreciate any help you can give.

Be strong enough to stand alone. Smart enough to know when you need help and brave enough to ask for it.

Ziad Abichaker

Hidden Treasures in Byblos – A Playground for Adults

December 6, 2013
By Noura Saad | Hay Khabriyeh!

20131205_144513Byblos (Jbeil) is well know for its ancient treasures: Phoenician temples, Crusader castle, Roman amphitheater, and many others.

Fast-forward ten thousand years, Byblos is now the home of a modern treasure: the first outdoor gym in Lebanon, a concept found in cities like London, so adults can have their own playground.


This past October, Mars Lebanon donated to Byblos municipality 8 outdoor gym machines part of its campaign “Move it Lebanon”. The machines are installed and fully functional in Byblos public garden, The Wagon Garden. Anyone can now enjoy a free workout, from bicycling to abs and arms exercises.





To be continued with more hidden treasures from Lebanon…

How Hind Hobeika Created the Google Glass of Swim Googles

September 11, 2013
By Christopher M. Schroeder |

instabeatOne part wanting the money, one part looking for cheap and efficient marketing, entrepreneur Hind Hobeika turned to the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo this past spring.

Her new product, Instabeat®, is a revolutionary swimming device that can seamlessly and instantaneously track an athlete’s workout. Mounted to any pair of swimming goggles, it displays conveniently, Google Glass-like, your heartbeat, calories, and number of laps and flip turns, giving real-time feedback and syncing to your mobile app or computer to track progress over time.

Little surprise that her target goal of raising $35,000 was more than twice surpassed in the first days of her campaign. Contributors came from the U.S., Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

What might be surprising is where she is from. Silicon Valley? San Diego? New York? How about Beirut, Lebanon.

In the midst of the political instability we most often see in the headlines, Hobeika is leading one of tens of thousands of new, tech-centric startups from across the Middle East. The daughter of academics, herself an engineering grad from the American University of Beirut, she once presumed she would become an executive in a larger global company in the region like Procter & Gamble. But she was also a fiercely and passionately competitive swimmer in college, and she saw a market for an unmet need.

She and her teammates were long frustrated that they could only track their heart rates by counting them manually at the end of the race, or by using heart-rate monitors that presented drawbacks for swimmers. “Most of them were designed for runners and bikers,” she told me, “and even when adapted for swimming, none of them were truly sensitive to our sport’s unique biomechanics. Heart-rate watches and other external chest belts were cumbersome and all but impossible to check while training.

What if she could integrate a monitor into an accessory swimmers already wear? By conveniently mounting a small screen onto any type of swimming goggles, swimmers would have invaluable data while reducing any friction to their training routine. In addition to the raw numbers, she also plotted to make it even easier by color coding the workout: blue if in the fat-burning zone, green if in the fitness zone, and red if in the maximum performance zone. Continue reading

Underwater environmental activists give seabed a deep clean

September 11, 2013
By India Stoughton | The Daily Star

207293_mainimgThis weekend Lebanon is set to witness a unique form of eco-adventure. Scuba divers from all over the country will come together to clean up the seabed as part of a worldwide initiative to keep the oceans uncontaminated by human waste. Each year in September, divers around the world set aside a day to pick up the rubbish that has accumulated on the ocean floor. This garbage may be out of sight – and correspondingly out of mind – for most members of the public, but its presence in the sea pollutes the waters and presents a danger to marine wildlife.

In Lebanon, Bubbles Club for Divers – a scuba diving and marine activities club located near Jbeil – has organized cleanup events for the past two years. Divers will make their third foray Saturday as a deep-sea garbage-disposal team. Divers are invited to meet at La Rochelle Resort in Amchit to help the underwater activists.


“We have a very dirty seabed,” says George Assaf, founder and owner of Bubbles. “There is debris all over the world but in our country, unfortunately, because of the lack of culture, we have garbage dumped there. So we’re trying to do the best we can, not only to clean but to educate people not to throw [rubbish] in the sea, and to respect our nature.”

Assaf says around 25 divers are expected to take part in Saturday’s cleanup operation. The dive will be followed by a barbecue, to which members of the public are invited. In previous years, he says, they have filled around 30 large garbage bags with rubbish gathered from the ocean floor, and up to 60 bags during tandem sessions conducted by nondivers collecting trash along the nearby seashore. Continue reading

This weekend, Mar Mikhael is all drama

September 07, 2013
By Niamh Fleming-Farrell | The Daily Star

205982_mainimgIt’s back. For the third consecutive year the Collectif Kahraba theater company is calling Mar Mikhael residents and visitors to the streets after dark for its annual “Nehna wel Amar wel Jiran” (“We and the moon are neighbors”) festival.

This year’s edition, which runs Friday through Sunday and opens at 7 p.m. each evening, returns once again to the Vendome stairs with photography, theater, dance and music lined up.

But if you missed Friday’s opening night, fear not – most of the performances and events, are scheduled to play all three evenings, and all are free of charge.

Festivalgoers are invited to peruse what organizer Aurelian Zouki says is a real highlight of the event – photography and video installations exhibited throughout the neighborhood.

The subjects of the photos are the “neighbors” themselves, Zouki said, adding that the local residents “really played the game” over the past two months as photographer Rima Maroun, alongside fellow photographers Lara Tabet and Elsie Haddad, met, interviewed and was inspired by their stories and memories.

Zouki adds that it’s significant that the exhibition was supported by the contemporary art gallery Galerie Janine Rubeiz, claiming that this is a step toward building bridges between the contemporary art scene and the world of popular expression. Continue reading

The birth of the Lebanese bike messenger

August 29, 2013
By Rayane Abou Jaoude | The Daily Star

203256_mainimgPerceived as a menace to cars and a hazard to pedestrians, the bicycle messenger has been characterized as a road villain in many parts of the world. And yet, regardless of this carrier’s imperfections, he has found his way into the urban jungle that is Beirut.

Deghri Messengers, which will officially launch in mid-September, is set to become the first bicycle messenger service in Lebanon. The Arabic word “deghri,” which means “straightaway” or “quickly,” is a reflection of the initiative’s aspiration: to deliver packages in Beirut by bicycle as fast and as efficiently as possible.

This is certainly not a job for the fainthearted. Cycling on Lebanon’s streets, which are not bike-friendly, requires know-how and good reflexes: navigating through zooming taxis and buses that abruptly stop to pick up passengers, swerving past trucks barely capable of squeezing down narrow streets, veering past herds of speeding cars and dodging innumerable potholes.

Deghri Messengers was created by Matt Saunders and Karim Sokhn, cycling enthusiasts who have dedicated their lives to the two-wheel transport. The project is an affiliate of CyclingCircle, founded by Sokhn, which organizes bike rides across Lebanon.

While most city residents and motorists complain of stifling traffic, Saunders said if it weren’t for the substantial number of cars, the potential for successful bike messenger services would not exist.

[…] The British-born Saunders has been living in Lebanon for the last five months, and was himself a messenger in Switzerland. An Arabic language major, not to mention a fluent speaker, he decided to transfer his cycling experience from Europe to Beirut, a loud and active city where bike messengers could really make a difference.

“There are customers and there is a niche [in Beirut]. Bicycles can get through anywhere, fill all the tiny gaps,” he added.

Riding a bicycle for a living sounds appealing, but it’s important to keep in mind that one needs to know the way around the city and ride with a certain effortlessness. While not many have applied for the job, Deghri has still had to turn a few people down for not having the right qualifications. For one thing, patience is a much-needed virtue.

[…] The messengers are currently being trained on asserting their space on the road, filling out receipts, setting the pricing, fixing punctures and changing tires and chains, and dealing with customers on the phone. But of those, the most imperative is good riding skills.

Mohammad Cheblak is likely one of Beirut’s most experienced cyclists: He has been traversing the city by bike for 15 years.

Cheblak has a full-time job working at a local nonprofit organization, which he commutes to on his bicycle every day, and he is set on working with Deghri Messengers on weekends.

“I heard about cycling messengers a long time ago and had dreams of doing it because you have your passion, you can extend it, and messengers have a kind of freedom; you’re kind of your own boss,” he said enthusiastically. “You’re also doing something that you love, and it’s beneficial for the community that you live in.” Continue reading

Food leftovers to be distributed to poor families

July 31, 2013
By LBCI Report

Leftover goods and foodstuff will be no longer be left to go to waste in various Bekaa restaurants since a plan to distribute these items to needy families has now been put in place.

Food will now be packed and distributed during the Holy month of Ramadan to the displaced Syrian refugees and other Lebanese families whose income has been deemed below with the poverty line.

This report will shed light on the food packing process, as well as the number of families that will benefit from it.

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