The modern face of Armenian music: Sirusho

So as I was watching some videos on youtube (and wasting time as usual), I found the new video of Sirusho’s song. “I like it” is her new single and the singer released the music video on November 10.  For those of you who don’t know her, Sirusho is an Armenian singer who represented Armenia in the 2008 Eurovision Song contest.  It was in that year, that people around Europe started noticing Armenia in the contest, and started waiting for their choice of singers and songs ever since.  Sadly, the quality of songs chosen has gone really bad ever since, especially with this year’s song (*vomits*).  This artist, born into a family of artists (as you’ll notice in the second video of her singing with her parents), has been singing since she was a toddler.  She is known for composing songs of her own since the age of 9, and successfully competing in international contests.

Her new music video is pretty decent for an Armenian artist who is not backed by a major international label company.

Also, there’s an old video of her singing with her parents, it looks like she was preparing for a contest or something.  You can see how much her parents encouraged and believed in her, it’s a must see video for all her hardcore fans out there.


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Filed under Armenia, Entertainment, Eurovision Song Contest, Music

Arabian Hulu: Cinemoz

Cinemoz is a website, founded in June 2011, offering on-demand streaming video of movies, TV shows and other media clips from the Arab world.  So basically it’s the Arab version of Hulu. It was set to launch at the end of this year’s summer, but the project is still in the making.  It is obviously an interesting project, but the question is: Are people still interested in Arab cinema?  Well, maybe not as much in Lebanon as in other Arab countries, especially in the Gulf region and Egypt.  Another question concerns me: How will people be able to enjoy Arab entertainment with a shitty internet connection?  But, Karim Safieddine, founder of the website, says that the project is projected to be on a global scale, meaning that everyone anywhere in the world can watch and enjoy the website’s content.  Let’s hope that Arab TV networks and production companies will understand the project and give Cinemoz the right of streaming their  shows and movies without making such a big fuss out of it.  I’m not even sure if the presenter at LBC understood what this project was all about, she kept on asking Karim on how the website works and questioned the purpose of the site.  Are people in the middle east ready for changes like these: watching Bab el Hara (Famous Syrian TV series) on a small computer screen? I don’t think so!  Family and friends gatherings are the quintessential characteristic of an evening plan in most of the Arab world.

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Filed under Entertainment, Lebanon, Movies

Fanaticism to the extreme

We all know Lebanon is definitely a mess, but it is a hot mess for sure.  It’s been 20 years or so that the civil war has ended, but we have no constant supply of power, no water (even in a country renowned for its abundance of fresh water in an area as arid as the middle east), very poor infrastructure and telecommunications system (no need to elaborate about the traffic, internet and wireless telephone communications situation in Lebanon).  On top of all this, the socio-economic relations in a society governed by tribalism and sectarianism get worse each and every day.  You may or may have not heard, but a week ago, a Christian Maronite young woman by the name of Myriam El Achkar was killed in a convent in Sahel Alma (Mount Lebanon) by a Syrian worker who is claimed to be an ex Syrian intelligence officer.  I can not even begin to describe the amount of fanaticism this incident brought up after the news spread no thanks to our religiously opinionated Lebanese media.  Of course the Christian mainstream media (LBC, MTV, OTV), and the Lebanese Christians (I don’t know how we can define that anyways) treated her as a “Christian martyr”, anti-Syrian sentiments and xenophobia came to the surface.  For people who claim to be following the teachings of the Christ, the amount of hatred that was out there was just immense.  Yes, I do understand that this was a horrific act of murder and I am very sorry for her family’s loss, nothing replaces a child that you spent your whole life raising and caring after her.  But, people, she is not a martyr, she is just a victim of a disturbed person who murdered her because she resisted his attempt of raping her.  Now, was he drinking? I don’t know; was he doing drugs? still don’t know; was he a muslim fundamentalist? beats me!  All we know is that this man was probably a disturbed rapist/killer!  This does not have to turn into a religious confrontation between Muslims and Christians, we already have a lot of that as it is!  And another thing, the term martyr is used very loosely in Lebanon, it seems that every person who dies of murder becomes a martyr in the eyes of his religious community only, his/her martyrdom is not accepted by the other party!

Another incident that showed us how primitive we still are in matters of religion is the issue of the flip flop with the cross.  Here’s the short version of it: A very cheap ass store, in Beirut’s suburbs, called Big Sale (obvious by its name) was caught by the right-winged Christian (extremist, some may call it) Lebanese forces party’s media selling flip flops with a spooky Halloween theme, featuring graveyards with crosses.  The wave of insanity (yes INSANITY) that came with the spreading of the news was out of this world.  People went crazy, Christians gathered in front of the store (that is ironically owned by a Muslim Shiite), they protested, began chanting Christian chants and prayers, sprayed Cross graffiti on the store’s doors until they were able to close it down.  The store reopened a week or so later.  Hysteria was at its peak. I mean really? It was just a flip flop with a graveyard, the cross was not there as an insult!  And the media as usual made things worse, by portraying this as an attack on Christian holy symbols.

I believe that these two incidents are very similar, in their theme, to what happened in Ashrafieh in February 2006, when Muslim Sunni extremists attacked Beirut’s Christian neighborhood and ransacked the building of the Danish embassy amidst the Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy.  Yes this last one is a bit more barbaric and medieval, but Christian fanaticism in Lebanon is in no way any better.

You’ll see what I mean by this video that depicts the reaction of Myriam El Achkar’s family’s and friends’ statements in a report on Lebanese TV (LBC).

For those people who don’t understand Arabic, her mother is saying that their region is a friendly and tolerable neighborhood that is being filled by strangers and aliens day after day.  Then, the people surrounding her promise that they will catch the murderer and beat him before “others” (I don’t know who) will help him escape.  And, her fiancé swears by his name that he will gather all of Zahle and Deir el Ahmar (probably where he comes from) and close down all of Lebanon for her (sounds romantic, doesn’t it?).  Her future mother in law continues by saying: “How dare a Syrian (meant in a pejorative way, as always in some parts of Lebanon) come and kill our girl?  We will slaughter him the same way he slaughtered her!”. Then later on, some woman in the back shouts: He’s a filthy man! He’s Syrian! He’s an animal!”.  At the end, the mother of Myriam tells the reporter:” I’m a Christian woman, my religion is about forgiveness and not violence like his!  I hope that God will avenge me!”.

I am in no way belittling the pain that her family is going through, but this attitude that some Lebanese have really makes me wanna puke.  No, you’re not of more importance of Syrians because you’re Lebanese and Christian.  What is wrong with being a Syrian or an Arab?  Are all Syrians filthy and criminals?  The family of the victim should have only addressed him as a criminal, murderer, not as a filthy Syrian or a Muslim.  And, Shame on LBC for being a medium of religious and racial hatred.  We’re a superficial society that cares about looks, we claim and we are proud that we are very open-minded, westernized and secular, but when it all comes back to matters of religion, we’re as primitive as the people that lived a thousand years ago.

R.I.P Myriam.

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Filed under Crime, Fanaticism, Lebanon

The battle of the Snow White(s)?

Hollywood is frequently accused of lacking original movie ideas, this statement is becoming more and more true lately as they are getting back to revive old classic fairy tales.  And 2012 is the year of the battle of the Snow Whites!  Why? you say,  because 2 hollywood studios are going face to face in the production of 2 movies based on the tale of “Snow White”.  The first one, produced by Universal studios, is entitled “Snow White and the Huntsman” starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth.  It is set for release on June 1, 2012.

So, we all know Kristen Stewart for her role in the Twilight saga movies, and quite frankly a lot of people thought that she wouldn’t be able to get out of that character as it would hunt her down for the rest of her career, as it does to many successful child actors and stars who can’t get out of a character that they have been playing for several years.  Truth be told, K Stew has tried to diversify the roles she’s playing while shooting Twilight movies but none of them caught the mainstream attention as much as the role of Snow White she’s portraying in the movie “Snow White and the Huntsman”.  People have already started hating on her claiming that she can’t be more beautiful than the evil queen in this case, Charlize Theron, and that she is not the typical Snow White they/we all had in mind as we were growing up on these tales.  To be honest, I didn’t have a Snow White model in my head as I was growing up because I always thought of her as the cartoon character from the Disney movies.  Yes, we can’t deny that Charlize is a very beautiful actress despite her being 15 years older than Kristen, but this is the cycle of life.   SWATH has more of a medieval, action packed feel, basically it is more dramatic.  But there’s one thing that I don’t understand: Why does Snow White look like Joan of Arc in this version?


The second, entitled “Mirror Mirror”, is produced by Relativity Media, an independent production company, and it features Julia Roberts as the evil queen, Phil Collins’ daughter Lily Collins as Snow White, Armie Hammer and Sean Bean.  This version is set to have more of a classic Disney movie feeling, focusing on the funny feel that was the reason of the success of Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” movie in 2010.  So basically, comedy is the hallmark of this version that is set for release on March 16, 2012.

PS: There’s also a TV version of Snow White portrayed in the series “Once upon a time” on ABC (started airing on October 23, 2011).

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Filed under Comedy, Entertainment, Movies

Talbibé’s new school

Talbibé is a village in the northern part of Lebanon, a region that is simply forgotten by the government: Akkar. Talbibé’s public elementary school that accepts students till sixth grade has only 2 classrooms, and I don’t even think that we can consider them classrooms.  This looks nothing like a school that offers the right atmosphere for students to grasp the information that they are given and concentrate on their studies.  The classrooms are very tight, humidity is eating up the walls, the window glasses are shattered, hence rain, sun, wind and pretty much everything disturbs the poor children.  Can you imagine a class made up of 5th graders and 6th graders sitting in the same room altogether?  The teacher would teach the 5th graders for 30 minutes and then would proceed to teach the 6th graders for the other 30 minutes.  Can you imagine a school that has no WCs?  This situation moved young members of the Farah al Aata’ foundation to come to Talbibé and build a new school to the village’s students. 37 young men and women spent 2 months last summer in the process of constructing this new establishment.  Surely, this is not the only area of Lebanon that suffers from neglect.  I’m sure Lebanon’s politicians have better things to do, than to look after the needs of the people they represent.

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Filed under Education, Lebanon

Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne: Yeni konsept

‘Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?’ dizisinin yeni bölümü yeni bir konseptle Kanal D’nin ekranlarına gelecek.  Yeni bölümde, televizyon dünyasından ve ünlül yüzlerden Fatmagül’e büyük destek geliyor. Mehmet Ali Birand, ana haber bülteninde davayı seyircilere anlatiyor. Okan Bayülgen, Gülben Ergen, Saba Tümer, Petek Dinçöz ve Cüneyt Özdemir de, bir bir, kendi programlarında Fatmagül’ü davet ediyorlar.  Yani artık, Fatmagül yalnız değil.  Bakalım artık reytingler nasıl gelecekler?

Daha fazla detaylar için, okuyun: Herkes Fatmagül’ün yanında / Kanal D Haber.

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Filed under Türk diziler, Türkiye

Mustafa Alloush and Fayez Shokor: Now with English subtitles

For those of you who don’t understand Arabic and want to understand the reason of the “infamous battle” that took place 2 days ago between former minister Fayez Shokor and MP Mustafa Alloush, here’s the video subtitled in English. Enjoy!

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Filed under Lebanon, Politics