24 Nov 2015
From Roger Moore in The Man with the Golden Gun encountering a belly dancer in an ‘exotic’ Orientalist nightclub to Chuck Norris storming through civil war Beirut to rescue American hostages, Hollywood has had a tortured relationship with Beirut. Its depictions of the capital have almost always been widely inaccurate, distorting the geography and character of the city. But this is about to change with the upcoming release of a major Hollywood production set in Beirut, The Torn Identity.
The Torn Identity promises a more honest and authentic representation of Beirut and the lives of its inhabitants, in a spy action film that will reportedly star Matt Damon in the lead role of Jason Torn. Gone are all the Orientalist clichés and lazy depictions of a lawless war-torn city, instead The Torn Identity will present a realistic depiction of the vibrant metropolis, enlivened by tastefully- done action scenes.
18 May 2015
The uncontested queen of the conceptual art scene in Lebanon is Haifa Wehbe, a pseudonym for a collective made up of 32 artists who alternate in playing the role of ‘Haifa’, seemingly a seductive pop singer but in reality an elaborate artistic project that was started nearly two decades ago. ‘Haifa’ has spawned many imitators over the years, which is a testament to the group’s success and popularity.
13 May 2015
What are British values though? I have a compiled a useful explainer about the core British values and identified the ways in which dastardly extremists are trying to undermine those cherished pillars of British culture. This also doubles up as a guide to tourists to minimise friction during your stay here.
6 May 2015
You won’t read about this in any urban planning magazines, but this is the latest trend to emerge in city management and development circles. Mayors around the world are discovering that flashy, modern and functioning cities are just too boring and they are failing to attract the core hipster labour force required for a modern city to function. Keen observes have noted that hipsters, the fastest growing demographic in the world, don’t like living in comfortable surroundings and they much prefer to live in run-down areas that feel more authentic.
5 May 2015
Having lived in the UK for over a decade and studied local politics, culture and society closely, I decided that I am qualified to write an easy guide to explain how British elections work and what are the constitutional parameters that will play a factor in determining who comes to power next.
30 Apr 2015
At the press conference held at the Washington DC Marriott, the only venue available at a short notice, God outlined the reasons for his resignation citing primarily the deteriorating situation in the Middle East. God spoke at length of the region’s significance to Him, having chosen it as the place to launch three monotheistic religions. God spoke bitterly of his disappointment and pain over the wars that continue to plague the region which He had had high hopes for.
23 Apr 2015
‘It’s all about the oil’
This is the mother of all phrases about Middle East politics. It is one of the most effective phrases in the context of Middle Eastern geopolitics and one that can explain everything. It has even been used to explain Saudi Arabia’s 8-0 defeat at the hands of Germany in the 2002 World Cup and the backlash against Haifa Wehbe’s latest video clip.
16 Apr 2015
Problem 1 from Iraq.
There are five thieves who have 100 gold coins. They want to divide the coins among themselves but not all of them participated in all five robberies. Four of them participated in four of the robberies, three of them participated in three, and so on. How should they divide the coins fairly amongst themselves?
14 Apr 2015
What Timothy did next changed his life forever. He shared the article on his Facebook page with a heartfelt message about the sad fate of the Middle East, an area he had grown fond of since spending a week in Morocco. Timothy wasn’t prepared for what happened next as his friends, and gradually strangers, started mocking him in the comments box, telling him that the article was satirical and ridiculing him for his gullibility. Timothy deleted the post but it was too late, someone had already taken a screen shot of his post and it was shared widely on social media and he was bombarded by sarcastic messages for days.
10 Apr 2015
The situation in the city has been getting worse for a number of years and the government couldn’t cope any more with the constant complaints from residents and visitors and finally decided to turn to this radical solution to end the problem once and for all. It is understood that the scheme will be offered to a private company through a BOT deal, where the company handles the demolition and the construction of the parking and is then able to charge people for parking at reasonable rates.
7 Apr 2015
Much like with Middle Eastern geopolitics, controlling resources is crucial to increasing your power in the corporate world. Be sure to get a desk near the water cooler where you can observe who’s talking to whom and what they are discussing. Coffee is also another important geopolitical commodity, and if you can work your way to controlling coffee supplies in the office it will go a long way towards earning you favours and consolidating your power. Office workers will do anything for a good cup of coffee in the morning.
26 Mar 2015
18 Mar 2015
16 Mar 2015
12 Mar 2015
It has become customary for Western media to identify the religion of people that appear in stories and photographs about the Middle East in a very precise manner. This is a very helpful development, that allows the audience to form a complete opinion about the issues being discussed. For example, a story about a patient getting into an argument with a dentist would be different if the two were Sunnis or one was Sunni and the other was Shiite.
10 Mar 2015
9 Mar 2015
4 Mar 2015
27 Feb 2015
25 Feb 2015
19 Feb 2015
17 Feb 2015
This is the first time I speak about my ordeal with Twitter mobs in public, and I do it with a sense of duty and to raise awareness about the dangers of this kind of online bullying, in hope that we could learn something from this unpleasant episode.
The story begins yesterday around six in the evening, when I came across a website called It's Back To The Future Day! which proclaimed that today (yesterday) was the day that Marty McFly went forward to in Back to the Future, along with a picture of the dashboard of the car showing the actual day. So I tweeted the image with a line that said "If you want to feel really old, today is the 'future' in Back to the Future", not expecting that this single tweet would change my life forever.
13 Feb 2015
11 Feb 2015
After the end of the ten-year Trojan War, Odysseus is trying to return home to Ithaca to be reunited with his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus. Fearing that Odysseus had died, Penelope and Telemachus are in agony. They are tormented by the prospect of life without him. Fortunately, after half an hour of this mental anguish they receive a text message from Odysseus saying that he is on his way home. Odysseus books a trip on his mobile phone app and manages to return home in time for dinner that night.
30 Jan 2015
*By which we mean the food of the Levant**, but we said Middle Eastern to draw you in.
**It’s really Lebanese food that we are talking about, but we don’t want to alienate Syrians and Palestinians.