12 Photos of Walid Jumblatt Keepin’ it Real

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Walid Jumblatt, one of Lebanon’s most visible and outspoken politicians, is known for his lively personality — often making him the subject of amusing photos.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real on a trip in Moscow, Russia.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real in front of a portrait of himself.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real while checking his gun.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real while reading tweets on his iPad.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real while drinking traditional mate.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real with the ladies.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real while hanging out with his pet dog.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real during a press conference….with a smorgasbord of weaponry in the background.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real while driving himself around.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real when his pet dog interrupts during a press interview.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real while warming his cold hands.


Walid Jumblatt keepin’ it real during a sobhiye’ outside of his home.

Let’s just say Jumblatt adds a lot of personality to the Lebanese political system!

Baldati.com unites Lebanese villages online

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Baldati.com, Lebanon’s first social media website, is working to re-connect Lebanese villagers and expatriates to their homeland by encouraging village residents and natives to join their e-community.

Baldati launched in 2002 with a goal to virtually connect Lebanese natives and the diaspora with their home village in Lebanon by creating an account and sharing news, events, and media on the e-community page.

Chaker Noon, founder of Baldati, says the site has 1,468 village communities and several sub-projects and programs.

“Residents have a role to promote their village and submit news, photos, and videos on their page and stay in touch with each other,” he said. “Villagers now have a voice to give their opinions and engage in their community’s dialogue.”

Chaker Noon is the dynamic mastermind behind Baldati.com. (Photo © Chaker Noon)
Chaker Noon is the dynamic mastermind behind Baldati.com. (Photo © Chaker Noon)

Besides the benefit of civic participation, Noon says the dialogue serves as a regional media tool that promotes a more pleasant side of Lebanon.

“The people of Lebanon have a more accessible chance to reveal their questions, concerns, ideas, and plans for future development,” he said. “This is about promoting the natural charms of Lebanese villages through the simplicity of community dialogue.”

Baldati's infamous SUV travels around Lebanon for training workshops and wildlife trips. (Photo © Chaker Noon)
Baldati’s infamous SUV travels around Lebanon for training workshops and wildlife trips. (Photo © Chaker Noon)

Baldati also promotes rural development projects, including wildlife tourism packages, hiking trips, youth engagement, and renewable energy programs.

“You shouldn’t have to run for office to be engaged in your community,” Noon added.

After first launching in 2002, Noon began leading a small group of hikers to his hometown of Mayfouk, where he was inspired to launch a more comprehensive NGO that focused on sustainable energy and economic development in Lebanese villages.

Since then, Baldati has included every Lebanese village as part of its digital footprint — moving Lebanon into the Twenty-First Century.

There’s nothing like the charm of Baldati, or ‘My Village’.

To learn more about the organization and to join your e-community, visit Baldati.com.

Vogue ranks Mar Mikhael staircase among world’s 9 best

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Mar Mikhael’s vibrant staircase was featured among the nine “amazing staircases from around the world” by the globally recognized fashion and lifestyle magazine, Vogue.

“Staircases are normally considered simple, at times inconvenient, pathways,” Vogue wrote. “A handful of artists, though, have experimented with transforming them into alluring art installations.”

The staircase is painted by “Paint Up,” a Beirut-based organization aiming to “make Beirut brighter and more beautiful through color,” according to their Facebook page.

The so-called “Dihzahyners” are a group of 12 self-funded graphic design students from the Lebanese American University. Their Beirut-based projects include staircases in Hamra and Saqiet Al Janzeer.

Vogue also featured other staircases in San Fransisco, London, France, and Brazil, among others.


Selfie sparks debate over Lebanese-Israeli engagement rules

(MIAMI, FL) — Miss Lebanon Sally Greige came under fire after Miss Israel Doron Matalon posted a selfie of herself, Miss Lebanon, Miss Japan, and Miss Slovenia at the Miss Universe competition in Miami.

Greige says she was ‘photo-bombed’ by Miss Israel at the competition and tried to distance herself from her. She issued the following statement on Facebook.

“To all my supporters and Lebanese citizens, I would like to thank you indeed for your continuous support of Miss Lebanon at the Miss Universe contest …The truth behind the photo: Since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media…this is what happened and I hope to have your full support in the Miss Universe contest,” she wrote.

Miss Israel Doron Matalon responded with the following statement:

“It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighboring country.”

Some are calling for Greige to lose the title over the selfie, especially because any contact with the Jewish state is illegal in Lebanon.

The following list explains the rules of Lebanese-Israeli engagement, courtesy of Beirut-based media outlet, NOW News:

Rules-of Lebanese-Israeli-engagement

The 63rd Miss Universe pageant finale is scheduled to take place on January 25 at the US Century Bank Arena at Florida International University.

What do you think? Submit your comments on our Facebook page.

RELATED: VIDEO: Jon Stewart responds to Miss Universe selfie debate. Watch here.

Canadian-Lebanese community host annual levee

(PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND) — The Canadian-Lebanese community hosted an annual levee to celebrate their cultural history and emigration to the city of Charlottetown at Prince Edward Island on January 10.

More than 600 people packed the Delta Prince Edward for authentic Lebanese cuisine, belly dancing, and a video documentary detailing the Lebanese community’s journey to Prince Edward Island.

Nick Tweel, master of ceremonies, said the levee began in 1963 and became an opportunity to celebrate the past year’s accomplishments in the Lebanese community while also looking ahead.

“It’s been going on for many, many years,” Tweel told The Guardian. “And the reason why we put this event on is that so we can celebrate with each and every one of you a couple weeks later than New Years.”

The major accomplishment celebrated through the evening was the completion of the documentary “A New Place Called Home,” which was shot and produced by David Rashed with funds from last year’s levee.

The documentary explains the Lebanese community’s journey to the province.

“(The documentary shows) what they went through what their families went through to come here to give their children a chance for a better life,” said Fadi Rashed, president of the Canadian-Lebanese Association.

Rashed said the group purchased a Lebanese-Canadian clubhouse late in 2013 and part of the funds raised from the levee would go towards the clubhouse.

“It’s been a work in progress and with the support of everybody that comes here tonight we get a little closer to achieving our goal, which would be a place to teach our children Arabic, a community centre for us to get together, just something to call our own.”

WATCH belly dancer Carole Dahab perform at the levee:

Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa sparks controversy in Lebanon

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — A “Lebanese born and bred” porn star sparked controversy after topping the charts as one of the biggest names in online porn.

21-year old Mia Khalifa reportedly grew up in Lebanon and moved to Maryland as a teenager before enrolling in University of Texas at El Paso as a history major.

Khalifa signed with an adult film agency and quickly grew into a top star, sparking controversy and mixed debate among Lebanese natives.

Beirut-based blogger Gino Raidy defended Khalifa, saying her career choice should be her own decision.

“I don’t really care what any of you think about her career choice, after all, it’s her body to do whatever she wants with,” he wrote.

Other Lebanese natives are upset and offended by her work, especially because she often boasts her Lebanese heritage on Twitter and Instagram, posting PicMonkey Collagephotographs of her Arabic tattoo that reads: “Koullouna lil-watan, lil’oula lil-‘alam.”

She also has another tattoo of the infamous Lebanese Forces cross on her wrist, the symbol of a Lebanese conservative Christian political party. When questioned about it, she replied: “I was born and raised there, I’m entitled to an opinion on the politics just like everyone else.”

According to Newsweek, Khalifa got the cross on her wrist two years ago after the October 2012 Beirut bombing in support of her father, “to show him, I’m on your side.”

In recent days, Khalifa has been under fire after several Beirut-based newspapers published news about her, and revealed photographs of her tattoos. She responded to negative articles by questioning the news value of her story.

“Doesn’t the Middle East have more important things to worry about besides me?” she asked on Twitter. “How about finding a president? Or containing ISIS?”

Khalifa’s parents have since responded to the story, blaming life “away from our homeland” for her career choice.

“We are probably paying the price of living away from our homeland; our kids had to adapt to societies that don’t resemble our culture, traditions and values,” the family statement said.

“Hence, we emphasize that we disassociate ourselves from her actions which do not reflect her family beliefs, her upbringing or her true Lebanese roots. We hope that she comes back to her senses as her image does not honor her family or her homeland — Lebanon.”

In September, Ogero Telecom, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Telecommunications, issued a decision requesting that six porn sites be blocked.

The said decision has sparked a series of comments from critics on social media; some considered the decision as a violation of their personal freedoms, deeming it as part of the series of rulings issued by ministries and other directories imposing censorship.

Lebanon is widely viewed as one of the most liberal countries in the Middle East, but the subject of adult film is often considered universally unacceptable.

But young Lebanese natives say they would rather see a Lebanese porn star then a “theocratic, extremist state.”

“I prefer to follow a Lebanese pornstar rather than a Lebanese politician anytime,” wrote Emma Freiha on Twitter.

What do you think? Submit your comments on our Facebook page.

WLCU unveils Gibran Khalil Gibran statue

(LOS ANGELES, CA) — The World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) unveiled a long anticipated sculpture of Lebanese-American poet Gibran Khalil Gibran at the Los Angeles Central Library in Los Angeles, California on Dec. 5.

The unveiling, which happened during the week of the WLCU World Council Meeting at the Millennium Bitmore Hotel, commemorates the 130th anniversary of Gibran’s birth in Bsharri, Lebanon in 1883.

The statue of Gibran was sculpted by Lebanese-American artist Victor Issa at the LA Public Library, which is the largest library in the United States. Nearly 13 million people visit the library each year.

“Unfortunately a city like Los Angeles is honoring famed Lebanese people than Lebanon itself is getting an opportunity to,” said Metn MP Sami Gemayel, who attended the unveiling. “Lebanon needs the teachings of Gibran.”

Watch MTV Lebanon’s news report:

Beirut named as one of the world’s “7 wonders”

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Beirut was among seven cities selected as a “New7Wonders” city, beating out more than 1,000 competitors, the organization said on Sunday.

The New7Wonders Cities was created by Swiss-born filmmaker and explorer Bernard Weber, who has been on the hunt for the best new spots across the globe for years.

The campaign passed through several rounds of voting before reaching the election of the top seven cities.

“For the first time in human history, more than half of our planet’s population lives in cities and this election emphasizes the dramatically challenging character of our changing world,” said Weber.

28 cities were selected in the final round by a “panel of experts,” including architects and urban professors. to pass through three shortlisting votes before the seven were decided on.

Voting was then opened to the public on the “New7Wonders” website, mobile phone app, by calling in, or by sending an SMS.

The other wonder cities are: Doha in Qatar, Durban in South Africa, Havana in Cuba, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Vigan in Philippines, and La Paz in Bolivia.

Weber announced the results from Dubai.

Watch the announcement here:

Thousands join hands in Lebanon to create human chain

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — A Lebanese NGO gathered 200,000 Lebanese natives to create a virtual human chain and join “hand in hand, united for Lebanon” on Sunday.

People joined hands from Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli to the southern city of Tyre, passing through Beirut’s Raouche.

Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon joined the “United Hands” project, stressing that the state should believe in the civil society despite the ongoing paralysis at state institutions.

“The Lebanese should have faith in the civil society despite the deadlock in state institutions,” he said at the opening ceremony.

The event was held under the patronage of Pharaon and in cooperation with the Lebanese Army, the Municipality of Beirut, the Ministry of Interior, the Foreign Ministry, the Lebanese Red Cross and the Civil Defense.

“The aim is to break the boundaries between our divisions and show the world that we can unite, beyond religion, beyond politics and beyond the odds,” the project says on its website. “In creating this human chain, citizens will be able to stand side by side marking their place in history in a demonstration of pride that will potentially last forever.”

Sunday’s ceremony is the third in a series of initiatives organized by the “United Hands” project in commemoration with the 71st anniversary of Lebanon’s independence.

The first event, United Hands across the Web, took place in October, and used Google maps to join Lebanese from across the world.

In the second event, nearly 2,000 people gathered in Martyrs Square in Beirut on Nov. 22 to form a big letter “U” for united.

See photos below:

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VIDEO: Thousands bid farewell to Lebanese icon Sabah

(BEIRUT, LEBANON) — Thousands of mourners gathered in Beirut on Sunday to celebrate the life of Lebanese singer and actress Sabah who died this week at the age of 87.

A military brass band played in the street outside St. George Cathedral in downtown Beirut, where fans clapped and sang their favorite Sabah songs.

Earlier, a troupe of dancers in traditional dress performed to the diva’s music played from loudspeakers.

Her coffin, which was draped with a Lebanese flag, was brought to church where Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai presided over the religious ceremony.

“I will call it celebration, not a funeral,” said Lebanese actress Ward El-Khal. “We feel today that we came here to share her feelings and to remember her. We will miss her.”

Sabah was buried on Sunday in the village of Bdedoun, where she was born.

The iconic singer and actress was beloved throughout the Arab world, with her seven-decade career and her colorful love life keeping her in the headlines until the end.

Born Jeanette Gergis Feghali, she later took the screen name Sabah, but was affectionately known as Sabbuha, or the nickname Shahrura, or songbird.

She began performing in the 1940s, earning a reputation for her renditions of patriotic songs as well as folkloric ballads. She was also an icon of the big screen, appearing in more than 90 movies.

Watch Part 1 of Sabah’s funeral below, courtesy of MTV Lebanon:

Watch Part 2 of Sabah’s funeral below, courtesy of MTV Lebanon:

RELATED: Lebanese icon Sabah dies at 87. Read more.

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