It's been a long, difficult and weird year for Lebanon. We've had our share of abductions, bombings, food contamination and corruption, but it's time we put all that behind us and turn a new page... yeah right.

Lebanese Mafia Services for Hire

(Image via MTV)

In Lebanon we don't need Craigslist, we just advertise our mafia services on Facebook. In August, MTV News reported that a group of "mafia professionals" were putting up Facebook ads offering their services. These services included kidnapping, threatening, and beating people up for money. The ads have since been removed from the social media site, and the numbers originally listed are now out of service.

Education Minister: Everyone To Pass Final Exams

(Image via Annahar)

The Lebanese education system hit rock bottom this past year. The last time the government let everyone pass their final exams was during the war in 1975. But Education Minister Elias Bou Saab said in August that he would let all students who took the exam receive a certificate. The minister said his decision came after the UCC's continued boycott to grade the exams until Parliament passed a new salary scale for teachers.

Armed "Vigilantes" Break into Syrian Homes

(Image via Lebanese Forces)

With the mafia advertising its services on Facebook, Amal party militants thought they had to step up their game, so gunmen belonging to the Amal party were spotted breaking into Syrian homes in Msaytbeh and Mar Elias in broad daylight over the summer. The gunmen, acting as self-dubbed vigilantes, were allegedly aiming to "help" the Lebanese Armed Forces by seeking out "terrorists"... their own way.

Nicolas Fattoush Punches Office Worker in Throat

(Image via Lebanese Memes)

Nicolas Fattoush assaulted an office worker identified as Manal Daou at the Baabda Justice Palace after she refused to give him special treatment in October. According to reports, he told her to file a complaint immediately but she politely told him he would have to wait his turn. Nicolas shouted: "I am Nicolas Fattoush, I can't wait!" and boom, smack. Sounds like a poorly written sitcom, like "Fattoush the Barbarian" or "Beauty and the Fattoush".

Nicolas Fattoush then proved to everyone that he's a gentleman. How? Well he told everyone that Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon was cheating on his wife during a press conference... I'm not kidding.


After Zahle residents complained to the media about a new factory being built near their houses under a plan organized by MP Nicolas Fattoush's brother, Pierre, an Al-Jadeed news crew decided to go investigate, grab some footage and conduct an interview. Al-Jadeed claims its crew was met with hostility by men related to Fattoush and say they were later attacked by his men who were said to be heavily armed.

Read more here.

Tripoli Police Raid Food Vendor Cart

(Images via Facebook)

Vegetable and fruit carts are a regular part of Lebanese street life. Many people prefer waiting for these street vendors to pass by their homes to purchase fresh produce rather than visit the supermarket. According to activists who posted the incident to Facebook, a patrol in Tripoli made up of two police cars raided a grape wagon, took all the fruit, and left the owner crying. Activists say bystanders who witnessed the aggressive raid in August pitched in and collected about 100,000 LL for the cart's owner in lieu of the stolen goods.

Syrian Refugees Face Horrors in Lebanon

(Image via An-Nahar)

In Baalbeck in September, An-Nahar reported that Syrian refugee tents were set on fire and shot at in the villages of Hermel and Masharii El-Kaa. One man, identified as Mohammad Al-Salem Ahmad, was injured by a bullet and taken to Hermel Hospital. The army was dispatched to help return the area to calm.

In Tyre, Syrian refugees were given 48 hours to evacuate from Tyre's Burj al-Shemali Municipality according to notices from the police. The reason: concerns over health problems and security. Police handed out letters to the refugees in the village saying they had 48 hours to evacuate or be held accountable.

Meanwhile, a group of anonymous Bourj Hammoud residents put up flyers throughout the neighborhood that read: "We ask all Syrian residents of Bourj Hammoud to evacuate the area and that's to sympathize with the Lebanese Army martyrs. You have been warned." The paper was signed by the "Men of Bourj Hammoud." The municipality said they had idea who these people were, and promised security precautions were taken to protect all the residents of Bourj Hammoud, regardless of nationality.

Angry Man's Gun-Toting Friends Open Fire on Hospital

(Stock image of hairy man via Elite Daily)

A patient in Baalbek called his friends to open fire on a Baalbek hospital in November. Did the doctor hurt the patient? No. What he did was even worse: the doctor wanted to shave the patient's hair to prepare him for an operation. After the patient saw that his masculinity was at stake, he dialed up his friends to save him.

Read more here.

Ashraf Rifi Tries to Ban Binaural Beats, Calls Them "Digital Drugs"

(Image via
Clear Mind Meditation Techniques)

For those of you who don't know what Binaural Beats are, they're sounds that have certain effects on your brain. That's it. They're just audible soundwaves. Some claim that these beats can be used to simulate drug-like effects, and so Ashraf Rifi wanted to ban them in October. That's right, he wanted to ban sound frequencies.

In other news, the old man who lives next door to me was heard screaming: "Turn down that goddamn garbage you kids call rock 'n roll!" out his balcony earlier today.

Lebanese Child Urged to Beat Syrian Child in Video

In a video posted to YouTube on July 18, adults can be heard prodding a Lebanese child to beat a Syrian boy. “Hit him Abbas, hit him on the head with the stick,” says a voice in the background believed to be a family member. During the nearly two-minute assault, a number of adult voices can be heard instructing the child to engage in specific acts against the victim, including: beating him with a stack, slapping him in the face, punching him and kicking him.

Read more here.

Last Piece of Public Beach in Beirut Sold and Privatized

(Image via Sietske in Beirut)

Wissam Ali Ashour, a former member of the government and real estate investor, was announced the new owner of Ramlet el Bayda beach in November after a deal had been quietly completed a few months earlier.

Ashour purchased the 28,000 square meters of land from the Beirut municipality. According to reports, he is going to have a large wall built around the purchased land to demarcate it as a private area.

Read the full story in Arabic here.

Six Porn Websites Banned in Lebanon

(Image via Annahar)

Abdel Moneim Youssef, director general of state network owner Ogero, blocked six porn websites based on a decision from the Telecommunications Ministry.

While one source told The Daily Star newspaper in September that the decision to block the sites was made after complaints were issued by concerned family members of the "content" and "impact on society decency," a report in An-Nahar tells a different story.

The news site reported that the decision was made after a Lebanese man in the UK was arrested by Interpol for allegedly molesting a child. The investigation found that the six porn sites being banned by the Telecom Ministry are the same six sites the man admitted to frequenting on the web.

Parliament Raise Request Denied

(Image via Moulahazat)

According to a report in Lebanon Debate, some members of parliament had the audacity to demand a raise after they elected themselves to a new term earlier this year. Had Speaker Nabih Berri named the extension a "new" term, every MP would have received a 65% increase in their long term pay. That means every parliament member would be getting an extra 7,000,000 LL per month. Multiply that by the number of MPs and you get 10,750,000,000 LL.

Read the full story here.

Lebanon Ranked 10th Unhappiest Country in the World

(Photo via NOW Media)

International pollster Gallup released its latest edition of the “Negative Emotion Index,” and ranked Lebanon as tenth in the world in June, reported NOW Lebanon. The Index measures the frequency of negative emotions in countries around the world by asking 1,000 adults in each country if they experienced any anger, sadness, stress, physical pain, or worry the previous day.

Woman Refuses to Sell House, Crane Plows Into It

(Photo via Facebook)

According the group, Save Beirut Heritage, in June a construction crew plowed through a Mar Mikhael woman's home after she refused to sell it to a developer and move out. The developer was destroying a home next to the woman's building and wanted to add hers to the project. Despite two walls on the upper floor of her house being torn down, the woman remains in the building, according to the Beirut Report blog.

Jumblatt Supports Legalization of Medical Marijuana
(Image via The Daily Star)

In May, Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said he supported the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes. In an interview with Al-Jadeed TV he said he never smoked marijuana in his life, “but I support growing cannabis for medical use and to improve the living conditions of farmers in North Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley.”

Pregnant Woman Delivers Baby on Zalkaa Road

LBC News obtained footage of a pregnant Lebanese woman giving birth on the side of the road in the region of Zalkaa. Footage posted in April to the popular video-sharing website You Tube showed the woman lying on the ground and wrapped in a blanket as members of the Red Cross helped her deliver the baby.

Teenager Kicks His Mother in The Face on Lebanese TV

On March 31, a Lebanese teen identified only as Ahmad appeared on the Lebanese talk show, Al Akeed with Zaven Kouyoumdjian. Ahmad shocked viewers with his disgraceful manner, at one point approaching his mother, Dunya Al-Asaad, kicking her in the face and calling her names. Dunya explained that she hadn't seen her children since her divorce four years ago. She also mentioned on the show that her ex-husband was verbally and physically abusive, and her son was apparently following the example of his father.

Abu Faour Publishes List of Tainted Food at Restaurants and Markets

(Image via Blog Baladi)

You know what's worse than the guy who walks up to your kid and crushes his childhood by telling him that neither Santa Clause nor Darth Vader exists? The guy who says all your favorite restaurants are violating health regulations. Don't get me wrong: I'm still going to eat a cheeseburger at CBJ this weekend... but I'm going to feel guilty about devouring that juicy, allegedly feces-laden goodness. I'm not even going to type the list because of how large it is, almost every restaurant has shit-contaminated food, according to Health Minister Wael Abu Faour after a series of press conferences he made in November.

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