Adonis Diaries

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3 Lebanese Women Make it to BBC’s 100 Women List: Who They Are

It’s almost painful to see 3 out of the 100 women on BBC’s 100 Women are Lebanese, when Lebanon ranked among the worst countries in terms of gender equality (135/142), check out BlogBaladi for more information on that report.

But, it’s also amazing that 3% of the BBC’s 100 Women list of 2014, are Lebanese. It’s also doubly amazing because one of them is a scientist, and a good friend, Hind Hobeika!

Hind Hobeika

hind_hobeika2I remember when Hind pitched her idea of goggles with sensors in them to monitor heart rate and other realtime data (as if you were on a treadmill) for the Stars of Science show on TV.

I remember how we all voted for her. I also remember a year later, sitting in a restaurant in San Francisco’s Market Street with another amazing Lebanese woman, Jessica Semaan, and finding out how Hind’s invention was ready to go into mass-production.

Now, Hind’s Instabeat goggles are poised to go on sale in 53 different countries around the world.

Proud of you Hind, words cannot begin to explain. Here’s a TED talk by Hind

Bahia Shehab

3723b538f9d86a88e9e5636d982ac6176622c879_254x191Bahia changed the entire meaning of the word “No” in Arabic, “لا”. No, and a thousand times no.

No is a very important word for an Arab in the past few years.

No to dictators. No to oppression. No to inequality. No to sexism. No to extremism.

Bahia’s work manifested itself on the walls of Cairo, and the series of “No”s became a regular fixture in Tahrir Square and other notable public spaces where they embodied the many horrifying incidents in Egypt’s tumultuous revolution and post-revolution troubles.

Remember the blue bra? Watch Bahia’s awesome TED talk to jog your memory.

Wall.JPG.scaled500

Bushra El Turk

Tala_Bushra_154nI adore classical music, especially ones with a twist. Bushra’s masterpieces are a trip in themselves, and while writing this, I’m listening to her website’s streaming music.

Often, my preoccupation with science and technology makes me forget for a second how important and powerful art can be, and for this Lebanese-Egyptian, it sounds pretty darn good.

Check out Bushra’s website to know more, and here’s a video of her work behind the scenes

One of the last open spaces in Verdun, which is already crowded with shopping centers, will be cleared for yet another ABC mall.
 in his The Beirut Report posted this February 7, 2014

Rare Verdun greenery cleared for another mall

Photo: Qaph blog
Have a good look at those trees– they’ll be gone soon, if not already dumped somewhere.  Construction has already started according to fellow blogger Gino, who posted this picture today:
Photo: Gino’s Blog
For years the site had been gated, but the gate seemed rather old.
Here is a picture posted by blogger Qaph, who was the first to break the story earlier this month:
In his post, Qaph wrote that the site was formerly the grounds of a St. Joseph school, and judging by the sandstone, it was probably quite old. So why was it demolished? And who sold it to developers?
I had driven by the lot for years but paid little attention to it until I heard Abir Saksouk-Sasso‘s talk about the lack of public space in Beirut at the DiverseCities conference earlier this year.
Saksouk-Sasso, who is part of the amazing performance activism group Dictaphone, argued that despite state efforts to control and limit public spaces, the public has appropriated “left over spaces” and one of these was the Verdun plot.
So why couldn’t the state or the municipality of Beirut (which has an estimated wealth of near $1 billion) save one plot for its citizens?
Photo: Skyscraper City
Plans to build a park were once announced by late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri–at least according to Qaph’s post.
But ironically those leading the mall project are Hariri-owned companies. Did the late prime minister change his mind?
First announced in 2005, the mall complex was to be built by Hariri son Bahaa’s firm, Horizon and Kipco, which is largely owned by the Kuwaiti royal family. Here is the initial press in early 2005:
Photo: Skyscraper city

But those plans, which included a hotel/residential tower and cineplex, have changed markedly over the years. From 2005:

Photo: Skyscraper city

To 2008, where the tower seems to have been reduced significantly, according to this picture posted on Skyscraper city, which still exists on the Horizon website: To no towers at all in 2013, according to this rendering published by Beirut.com early last year:

According to a piece in business magazine Lebanon Opportunities, the Kuwaitis are apparently out, and are now replaced it seems by Lebanon’s ABC group at a 40% share.
Meanwhile Hariri’s son Bahaa has switched from Horizon to his other construction company, Verdun 1544 Holding. The project is reportedly worth $200 million.
Do all the changes indicate a decrease or renegotiation in capital or relationships?
One thing is for sure, no company in this eco-system represented Beirut residents’ rights to green spaces or the fate of these trees, which are all probably firewood by now.

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