Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Assorted news from Lebanon

A water taxi service is being proposed, to ferry passengers to and from downtown Beirut to three cities in the north, and another three to the south. Sounds like a great idea, particularly for travel to the north, where the only road is more often than not plagued by gridlock. It would use Australian-made vessels that can carry 150 passengers, for the same price as the bus! and also “water taxis” for up to 16 people.

In other news:


“Our Arabic, English and French websites were hacked several times by the Israeli Born to Freedom Foundation on Monday afternoon and later that night,” Lebanon’s National News Agency director Laure Sleiman told AFP. The hackers replaced the agency website’s news stories with a message offering visitors to the site a $10 million reward for information on seven Israeli soldiers who disappeared in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.


Thousands march in Beirut to promote secularism in politics

The march was organized over the Internet by five Lebanese who together formed the grassroots group Laique Pride. They had hoped for 2,000 participants in the march, a figure easily surpassed as hundreds turned out in the sun.

Slogans such as “Civil marriage, not civil war” and “What about freedom of opinion?” could be read from huge placards in between Lebanese flags. Dozens of protesters wore white T-shirts with “What’s my religion?” on the front and “None of your business” on the back.

“This is the biggest problem we have, not just in Lebanon but in all of the Middle East. It’s high time we did something,” he said. “I will be here every day if I need to. Politically there are messages about non-sectarianism, but most importantly [politicians] need to realize that the people are against sectarianism.”

Lebanon’s political system is divided along sectarian lines, with Parliament positions allocated on the basis of a candidate’s religion.

Miriam Rabbat, 28, was protesting the obligation to profess your religion when applying for work or university.

“That should be abolished. Your religion has nothing to do with your performance,” she said. “It’s going to be a very long and slow process to take this out of our systems.”