WATCH: American students sing Lebanese national anthem

(IOWA CITY, IOWA) — A foreign exchange student from Akkar, Lebanon taught 90 American students in Iowa City, Iowa the Lebanese National Anthem this week, just before Lebanese Independence Day.

“I’ve been working on a project in choir. I taught them the national anthem. It only took then a couple of days to learn it as they were very excited,” said Roudaina Al Zohby, who came to the United States through the AMIDEAST Youth Exchange and Study program.

AMIDEAST is a U.S. non-profit organization that works to strengthen mutual understanding and cooperation between Americans and the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa.

WATCH the video below:

PHOTOS: OU students celebrate Lebanese Independence

(ROCHESTER, MI) — More than 200 people celebrated Lebanese Independence Day at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. on Friday, marking the 71st anniversary of Lebanon’s Independence from France.

“We wanted to promote the Lebanese culture around campus and end the false stigmas about Lebanon,” said Lisa Shammas, President of the Oakland University Lebanese Student Association (OU-LSA). “It adds to the diversity of our university and provides students with important knowledge about  cultures.”

The student association premiered their new dabke group, which Shammas says was instructed by a choreographer from Lebanon. The group will perform at the LSA Unified Gala, which will take place on January 17, 2015.

“It’s exciting to spread the word about our culture,” said Amanda Fawaz, Vice President of Fundraising for the student group. “Even though people leave Lebanon, they still interact with their heritage.”

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam cancelled official Independence Day celebrations on Friday, citing the “current situation” for scrapping government-hosted events. Students say the security crisis shouldn’t deter Lebanon from celebrating its independence.

“I think we’re making up for their lack of celebration,” said Fawaz. “We hope to make the people of Lebanon proud for hosting events like these.”

VIEW photos of the event:


IMG_3073 IMG_3074 IMG_3081 IMG_3083 IMG_3088 IMG_3091 IMG_3099 IMG_3103RELATED: Students at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor hosted a Lebanese Independence Day celebration on Thursday. Click here to read more.

FLASHBACK: Remembering Wadih El Safi’s love for Lebanon

Remembering Wadih El Safi

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese musical icon Wadih El Safi was often called the “Voice of Lebanon.” On the occasion of Lebanon 71st Independence Day, Lebanese Examiner is remembering Wadih El Safi’s genuine love for his country.

Born in Niha, Lebanon, Wadih El Safi started his artistic journey at the age of seventeen when he took part in a singing contest held by Lebanese Radio and was chosen the winner among forty other competitors.

El Safi died on October 11, 2013.

LISTEN to Wadih El Safi’s performance of “Ya Jaysh Lubnan El Abi:”

LISTEN to Wadih El Safi’s performance of “Lebnan Ya Ote3et Sama:”

CLICK HERE for more coverage of Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day.

Lebanese prime minister cancels Independence Day events


(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam cancelled official Independence Day celebrations on Friday, citing the “current situation” for scrapping government-hosted events.

Lebanon has been without a president since May because bickering politicians haven’t been able to agree on a figure acceptable to all. Politicians are in disagreements related mostly to the war in neighboring Syria.

The president is an important symbolic figure in Lebanon selected from the country’s Maronite Christian minority.

Security is shaky in Lebanon, yet another side effect of Syria’s civil war. Most recently in October, Lebanese hard-liners inspired by militants in Syria clashed with soldiers in the northern town of Tripoli for four days.

Lebanon’s army chief on Friday described the militants as seeking to create an “emirate of darkness,” stretching from Lebanon’s eastern border with Syria to the sea.

General Jean Kahwaji’s comments echoed that of Lebanese politicians who have said that the militants, some loyal to the Islamic State group, have sought to carve out a proto-state in the country’s north, similar to the caliphate declared by the Islamic State group on captured territory in Syria and Iraq.

President Barack Obama said in a message for Lebanon Friday that the United States regrets that this anniversary day passes without an elected president, “an important but missing symbol of the unity of the nation and a key factor in promoting Lebanese sovereignty and stability.”

The message that was released by the U.S. embassy in Beirut quoted Obama as saying Washington will continue to stand with “our Lebanese partners in the face of the threat extremists pose to our countries and the world.”

The U.S. has been speeding up delivery of ammunition to help Lebanon’s military combat jihadi groups. Washington has provided more than $1 billion in military assistance to Lebanon since 2006.

READ more of the President’s remarks to the Lebanese people at this link.

CLICK HERE for more coverage of Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day.

Source: Associated Press

READ: President Obama’s message to Lebanon on Independence Day

(WASHINGTON, DC) — President Barack Obama congratulated the Lebanese people on Friday on the occasion of Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day, lamenting on the anniversary the current presidential vacuum.

READ the President’s statement below:

As the people of Lebanon celebrate the anniversary of their independence on November 22, I extend to them my warm congratulations, as well as those of the American people. The United States strongly supports Lebanon’s founding principles of sovereignty and independence, and the exercise of freedoms for all.

As a friend of the Lebanese people, the United States regrets this anniversary day passes without an elected President of the Lebanese Republic, an important but missing symbol of the unity of the nation and a key factor in promoting Lebanese sovereignty and stability. The election of a president must be a Lebanese decision only, but it is a decision that must be taken for the sake of the Lebanese people.

The United States is proud of our strong relations with the Lebanese people. These include economic, cultural, and educational ties over many generations. These ties have been bolstered by the numerous contributions of Americans of Lebanese descent. We are also proud of our longstanding relationship with the Lebanese Armed Forces, and the Internal Security Forces, and of our contributions to the development of these state institutions, which alone have the legitimacy and responsibility to defend Lebanon’s borders and safeguard its citizens, and are accountable to all Lebanese. The United States will continue to stand with our Lebanese partners in the face of the threat extremists pose to our countries and the world.

The Lebanese people are among the most resilient in the world. I am confident that, with the support of the international community, they can continue to overcome adversity and build a path to stability and prosperity in the face of the numerous challenges Lebanon is facing in the region today. The Lebanese people deserve this and more. On this happy occasion, I pay tribute to them and to the enduring ties between our two countries.

Barack Obama

CLICK HERE for more coverage of Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day.

RECIPE: Lebanese Independence Day Cupcakes

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Lebanese Dietitian Nicole Maftoum of the “Eat Like a Dietician” blog, shares a special recipe on the occasion of Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day.

“I got inspired by the flag’s colors and decided to prepare a lighter version of red velvet cupcakes decorated with a green leaf of parsley, symbol of our famous national dish, tabbouleh,” she writes.

VIEW the full recipe below:


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup skimmed milk
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp red food coloring
  • 1 tsp white  vinegar
  • vanilla

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 box of Philadelphia light cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat butter
  • 2 cups sugar



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, milk, flaxseeds (already mixed with water) food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes. Remove and cool before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth.

Add the sugar and on low speed until you get a fluffy frosting!

CLICK HERE for more coverage of Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day.

HISTORY: How Lebanon gained its independence


(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — The Lebanese Independence Day, on November 22, 1943, is a national day celebrated in remembrance of the liberation from the French Mandate which was exercised over Lebanese soil for over 23 years.

When the Vichy government assumed power over French territory in 1940, General Henri Fernand Dentz was appointed as high commissioner of Lebanon. This new turning point led to the resignation of Lebanese president Emile Edde on April 4, 1941.

After 5 days, Dentz appointed Alfred Naccache for a presidency period that lasted only 3 months and ending with the surrender of the Vichy forces posted in Lebanon and Syria to the Free French and British troops.

On July 14, 1941, an armistice was signed in Acre ending the clashes between the two sides and opening the way for General Charles de Gaulle’s visit to Lebanon, thus ending Vichy’s control.

Having the opportunity to discuss matters of sovereignty and independence, the Lebanese national leaders asked de Gaulle to end the French Mandate and unconditionally recognize Lebanon’s independence.

After national and international pressure, General Georges Catroux, a delegate general under de Gaulle, proclaimed in the name of his government the Lebanese independence on November 26, 1941.

Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, the Arab states, the Soviet Union, and certain Asian countries recognized this independence, and some of them even exchanged ambassadors with Beirut. However this didn’t stop the French from exercising their authority.

On November 8, 1943, and after electing president Bechara El Khoury and appointing prime Minister Riad al-Solh, the Chamber of Deputies amended the Lebanese Constitution, which abolished the articles referring to the Mandate and modified the specified powers of the high commissioner, thus unilaterally ending the Mandate.

The French responded by arresting the president, the prime minister, and other cabinet members, and exiling them to an old citadel located in Rashaya. This incident, which unified the Christian and Muslim opinion towards the mandate, led to an international pressure demanding the Lebanese leaders’ release and massive street protests.

After the imprisonment of the Lebanese officials, the Lebanese MPs reunited in the house of the speaker of parliament, Sabri Hamadé, and assigned the two uncaught ministers Emir Majid Arslan and Habib Abou Chahla to carry out the functions of the government.

The two ministers then moved to Bechamoun and by so their government became known as the Government of Bechamoun. The Government was provided shelter and protection in the residence of Hussein El Halabi.

Finally, France yielded to the augmenting pressure of the Lebanese people, as well as the demand of numerous countries and released the prisoners from Rashaya in the morning of Monday November 22, 1943.

Since then, this day has been celebrated as the Lebanese Independence Day. This historic site of Lebanese Independence and residence of the Halabi’s continues to welcome tourists and visitors throughout the year to celebrate national pride.

In 1945, Lebanon became a member of the Arab League (March 22) and a member in the United Nations (UN San Francisco Conference of 1945). On December 31, 1946, French troops withdrew completely from Lebanon, with the signing of the Franco-Lebanese Treaty.

CLICK HERE for more coverage of Lebanon’s 71st Independence Day.

Content validated and reprinted via Wikimedia’s Creative Commons License.

U of M students celebrate Lebanese Independence

(ANN ARBOR, MI) — The Lebanese Student Association at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor hosted a Lebanese Independence Day celebration on Thursday, inviting students of other cultural backgrounds to learn about their Lebanese heritage.

“We want to educate others about our Lebanese culture,” said Ayah Anani, president of the student-run group. “It is a chance for us to exchange cultural identities with other students and show them what Lebanon is about.”

John Akouri, President and CEO of the Lebanese American Chamber of Commerce, spoke about Lebanese-American success stories and the importance of IMG_2985preserving a cultural heritage.

“We see successful Lebanese-Americans in almost every sector,” said Akouri. “From business to law, medicine to technology, Lebanese-Americans have built a strong reputation across the country.”

Donations from the event were given to the “Giveback Lebanon” project, which aims to serve underprivileged Lebanese children and seniors this Christmas, the group says.

Anani says the group is busy planning for the Annual LSA Unified Gala, which will take place on January 17, 2015.

Four universities — University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Wayne State University, Oakland University, and University of Michigan – Dearborn — participate in the gala, which draws 800 people annually and awards four $1,000 scholarships to Lebanese students.

RELATED: The Oakland University Lebanese Student Association will also host an Independence Day event on November 21. For more information, click here.

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