I AM LEBANON


PassI have been contemplating on the news for the past few days, and all I could see or read was ‘terrorism’ and ‘trauma’.

It’s always been interesting how the word terrorism is used and I really can’t quite understand the proper way of using it. For instance, what happened a few days ago with “Charlie Hebdo”, to me, sounded more like murder or assassination especially when you call out people by name before committing the crime. But to add some suspense to it, it seems media outlets would rather use the word terrorism. It looks better on the news, and of course what would be better fit for being a terrorist than a so called human being who happened to be born into a family of a certain religion and has been labelled as Muslim on his documents and not necessarily by doctrine.

As for trauma, it just perplexes me even more when I hear that people were traumatized and that their lives will be changed forever and perhaps might never be able to go to a grocery store within the next decade.

Well in all honesty, if you stop dwelling on the word trauma, people might forget the incident entirely and might be able to move on with their lives. But of course it’s not good for media; they have to reiterate their horrible experience at every occasion in front of every news channel. I only think this is funny, and I am using my freedom of speech to express what I am about to say. I believe every Lebanese person born prior to the first week of 2015 has experienced either the civil war, or the war of two foreign countries on Lebanese soil, or an aggression from a neighboring country, or numerous invasions, or kidnappings or in the least some form of bombing here and there.

But of course, those do not qualify for terrorism and definitely not a traumatic experience to any of the Lebanese. It’s more like having the morning Turkish coffee.

I am sick and tired of these double standards. And it gets worse, when someone other than a Muslim commits a heinous act of mass murder at Universities and so on. Everyone seems to identify that the parents (immediate family) of that murderer have nothing to do with that person’s action and thereby try to defend them or console them. But if it was a Muslim, then all of a sudden it becomes similar to the original sin, and every Muslim has to deal with and condone it otherwise they appear to approve it.

I am against killings of any sort, I am against terrorism and anything that negatively impacts human lives, but my question is to the Lebanese who are close to 4 million in Lebanon but have managed to have 8 Million of them use all sorts of social media to express “ I AM CHARLIE” , has anyone within those past 40 years  or at least since the inception of social media other than the Lebanese themselves ever say “ I AM BEIRUT”, “I AM LEBANON”.

Raghid Khalil

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A Lebanese Political Screw


I feel for our Lebanese politicians. They have needs just like the rest of us. They have urges too. After all they’re human beings born from the same fabric into the same society of which we breathe into and exhale.

To the spouses of the politicians, I address you in particular and I say this unto you: “Our politicians need a good screw. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is the most humane thing you can do.

Please just get a good long sturdy nail & hammer and screw them onto a wall at home, and make sure they never make it to the parliament.”

The way I see it, it’s either the few get screwed one time or an entire population gets screwed possibly forever.

Of course my suggestion is with utmost respect to all.

Raghid Khalil 

Lentil & Kale Soup Recipe


This recipe is a twist to the Lebanese lentil soup recipe that mom always used to make on a cold winter day or during the month of Ramadan.

What I love about this recipe is its rich texture and ingredients that are bound to fill you up and nourish your cells…

Lentil & Kale Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

Clean & chopped Kale leaves
1 cup Lentils (baby brown)
3-4 Garlic Cloves
1 chopped Onion
1 tbsp. Coconut Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
Pinch of Salt
6 cups Water
1-2 tbsp. Flour

Directions:

1- Clean and chop the Kale leave. Wash the cup of Lentils. Chop the garlic and onion.

2- Saute the onion and garlic in coconut oil (or any other oil of choice). Add the kale and lentils and saute some more.

3- Add 1 or 2 tablespoons of flour and some salt and stir all ingredients together. Flour is used to thicken the soup. You can use any other thickener of choice or just discard altogether.

4- Add 6 cups of water and let them boil. When they start to boil reduce the heat to medium-low and let them simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are done.

5- Add the lemon juice and stir.

Enjoy 🙂

Rasha Nasser Khalil 

Hit List


Fotor0524101740If every Lebanese was asked to write down the names of five people he/she would like to see dead before the end of the day, knowing that their request would be granted, I guarantee you that the following morning we will wake up to a country with not one politician left. Now one might think that every Lebanese person hates the entire political crew, but this is where you’d be wrong. They only hate the parties that do not represent their religion and sect in particular. If they have it their way, they would rather eliminate any obstacle or in this case any other party that stands in their affiliation’s way.

Being a Lebanese myself, I think I can somehow project how the majority of Lebanese think.

Here it goes, if I have a list of Five:

To begin with, I will keep two names aside just in case something arises at a later point. Those would be like the Jokers in a deck of cards that I can use whichever way I want and whenever I please.

So now I am left with three names to write down.

I can’t just go ahead and write down the names of the high ranking politicians, because one way or another it would be redundant for I am sure someone else will have them on their list. Why one might ask? Simply because that person might have had a project that was turned down, or was asked for some percentage in return for a simple signature on a form. I guess you get the point; these officials have their own haters.

So those high ranking ones will be cleared out by others, if not, that’s where my two jokers will come into play. I would only need to choose only two names simply because any Lebanese will select only two of the top three but never all three at the same time.

Next we’re left with the parliament members. There are only a few of them compared to the 4 million people in Lebanon and the remaining 6 million outside of Lebanon who have a list of 3 blank names left, which makes up around 30 million variations provided they all keep two names as backup jokers. But we all know that the Lebanese don’t trust each other. So even if you write a name down, another person will definitely write it down too, just because you can’t be too careful and it’s better to be safe than not. It’s like double checking.

Since the Lebanese are known to be very smart, they know better not to waste their time with a name of a politician that represents a section, a city or a village other than theirs because they know for a fact someone from that area will get to the name, so they try to keep it local.

If however, the politician that represents them has won the last election and is currently a parliamentary member, they would then write the names of his 3 top members of the opposing party. If their representative failed in the last election, then it goes without saying that the currently serving will make it to their list.

Fotor0524101536In some cities and villages or sections of Lebanon, there is an overwhelming majority of one party. Of course those choosing the names wouldn’t wish anything bad to their leaders, so they will start writing down the names of the leaders of the opposing parties.

So far, we have the top 3 positions eliminated, then the leaders of all the parties, then all the parliament members as well as their next in line or their competitors. But what about the politicians that still exist, those we barely hear their voices or see their faces, they could very well surface when the dust settles?

Again, the Lebanese have a solution for that. And with that solution comes money. So just like money floats around during the election season, money will start playing an important role. You will see people filling out the list  of five names and will actually buy a couple more lists from people who are financially in need. They would manipulate their cousins and family members to fill out names they haven’t selected themselves. After all it seems like they want to diversify their lists.  That way, they can surely get a goodnight sleep knowing that every name they can think of, gets shot, stabbed, or blown up.

The end result will be a new day with no politicians, but the question remains, how long before we see the same flags being raised again and a new government with new names being formed? If I were to answer that, I would say before sunset of that same day, because our governments are not formed within, they come pre-packaged and poorly wrapped from the different corners of the world.

Raghid Khalil

The Versatile Blogger Award


We are very honored and appreciative for being nominated  for the Versatile Blogger award. We would like to thank everyone that has passed through our blog and enjoyed our articles, left comments, shared our page and followed us.

We would like to thank FitnessLovingMom for nominating us.

The rules for the award are:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass the award on to 15 more bloggers that You enjoy.
  4. Contact the bloggers that you have chosen to let them know that they have been nominated!

Here are 7 things about us:

  1. We are originally from Lebanon.
  2. I was born in Liberia, and my husband was born in Beirut, Lebanon.
  3. I love working out (cycling, boot camp, running)… My husband loves playing Call of Duty on his Xbox 360.
  4. We are Windows Phone 7 users 🙂
  5. We like to travel.
  6. We like to watch movies.
  7. We love sushi.

The 15 bloggers that we want to nominate for this award are as follow:

  1. FitnessLovingMom
  2. Bucket List Publications
  3. BermudaOnion
  4. inpursuitofmore
  5. ediliociclostile
  6. l’armoiredelana
  7. ginosblog
  8. chicquero
  9. underjuiced
  10. stay healthy with Samantha
  11. eat cake and loose weight
  12. alternate economy
  13. mary, mary
  14. creaturewiththeatombrain
  15. cut the crap movie review

Thank you again…

— Raghid & Rasha Khalil

The New Seven Wonders of the World


Many of you have seen some form of notification either by email, or on the news about the new 7 wonders of the world. We are just a few days away from selecting the seven new ones. Believe it or not your vote counts.

Here’s a percentage perspective on the matter.

A country as tiny as Lebanon, who has 4 million in populations ( the 2008 consensus is 4,242,000 ) can only hope to have its Jeita Grotto selected among the winners. Why? Well let’s do the math. Assuming that 100% percent of the Lebanese people vote for this truly amazing wonder, and only 15% of the Canadians vote for the “bay of Fundy” which looks no better than the “Raouche Rock” that also happens to be in Lebanon. In that case the “bay of fundy” will advance into the list with  no real merit, but simply because of the percentage in respect to the high population which is at around 30 million (the 2011 consensus put the population of Canada at 34,636,000 ) .

If India dedicates only 1% of its 1.2 billion people ( the 2011 consensus marked the Indian population at 1 ,210,193,422)  to vote for “Sundarbans”; their 1% (12 million) voters are still three times larger than the entire Lebanese population. Where is the fairness in this?

To add salt to injury, there is another giant market anxiously waiting to vote for “Yushan”, in case you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s China  who is still holding the title in population size. (2010 consensus ranked them as number 1 with a population of 1,339,724,852).

Solution:

I suggest to have what we call a curve, or matching votes; meaning every vote from Lebanon counts as 7.5 Canadian vote , 302.5 Indian or 334.9 Chinese  votes. Look at the numbers, does anyone doubt that “Sundarbans”  from India and Bengladesh won’t make it to the list, or Yushan for that matter?

For the theorists:

Some might argue that each person gets to nominate 7 locations, which could tilt the odds. Still that doesn’t make sense, because you still have all the Indians unanimously selecting “Saundarbans” and spreading their remaining 6 votes across the 28 other nominees, and of course  their main opponent China with a population of more than one billion doing the same.

Dead Sea ?

To top it all, you have three countries Jordan, Palestine and Israel whether at peace or war, voting for one dying sea, the “Dead Sea”. Why? Simply because each one is claiming it to be their own wonder. I can’t see what wonder it has, eventually with the global warming we will have several “Dying Seas”, just be patient and every country will have one.

Uniqueness:

How about nominating a wonder that is unique to one country!

Look at the Amazon for instance. It extends over seven countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela). It is  magnificent, there is no doubt about it, but when people decide to have an amazonian experience, which country will they choose as their destination? Is it well maintained across all seven countries? Is it easily accessible? Those are the things that matter to me. I believe in a one to many “relationship” only in the case of a country having several wonders on its territory, but not when one wonder extends over several different countries.

There isn’t much decisions to be made here, I am sure each country has its own wonders. What we are looking for is objectivity. Do the right thing, Vote Jeitta. I am not trying to show favoritism here, I am simply trying to shed some light on a hidden jewel. The Jeita Grotto, is truly a wonder. It has survived wars over the years and still has managed to fascinate millions of people. What is even more fascinating about it is that just like the “Pyramids” it still holds a few secrets that keep on getting discovered even as we are voting.

To all the people out there, one thing you need to know about the Lebanese people; they are caring and more importantly they love to share. This is their legacy. If Jeita doesn’t make it among the top seven wonders, it will be another disappointment to the world but not the Lebanese. They have it, they have seen it and they have enjoyed its mysteries. Now it’s your turn.

Follow this link to  Vote:

http://www.new7wonders.com/archives/wonder/jeita-grotto

Pictures From top to Bottom (Jeita Grotto, Bay of Fundy, Raouche Rock, Sundarbans, Yushan, Dead Sea, Amazon and Jeitta Grotto).

Images can be found at  this link:

http://www.new7wonders.com/28-finalists

Raghid Khalil