Back from Beirut

The good news is: my presentation did not end up in a disaster. The bad news is: I did not have time to see the city. But overall it was a good trip: I met many great people and I have had fun.

On the first day we attended the 2nd Gebran Tueni Award ceremony, a big event witnessed by hundreds of dignitaries and guests. We enjoyed touching speeches by Nayla Tueni, Majida Al Roumi and others, and I was especially moved by Majida speech which demonstrated the anger and frustration of Lebanese people with the current political deadlock. The award was given this year to Michel Hajji Georgiou, a senior political analyst at the French-language daily L’Orient-Le Jour in Lebanon. He told us during the dinner party that night the he had to sell his car because he has been afraid of being assassinated by the pro-Syrian elements.

Except for one Saudi guy working for the LBC and has been living in Beirut since 1994, I was the only participant from Saudi Arabia and the GCC. Interestingly, many people came to me after the panel and said they could not believe that I was Saudi. I can tell that many in the Arab World have a certain stereotype for the citizens of this country. Anyways, I’m really glad that the session turned out to be fine and that many people liked it.

As I said earlier, I did not have enough time to go out and enjoy the different parts of the city, but I got to hang out with friends in Al Hamra, have breakfast by the Rawsha rock, and had a walk in Ashrafia and Solider. Beirut is a beautiful city, but because it has gone through a lot, it looks bruised and tired. I suspect that tourists would enjoy seeing the army everywhere searching their bags and asking them to stop taking pictures of the city’s landmarks. Let’s hope things would get better before the summer season.

Finally, I want to thank the organizers for inviting me to be part of this event and I hope to see them again in Beirut next year. I also want to thank fellow bloggers Wael Abbas and Mohammed Azraq, as well as Mahmoud Abdelfattah, the best moderator ever :-) Last but not least, I want to thank Alexandra, Hala, Maha, Mustapha, Sherif, Yumna, Rana, Zina, Adel, Virginie, Fadwa, and all those who made my first visit to Lebanon fun but I forgot their names.

P.S. The first picture is inspired by Roba.

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15 thoughts on “Back from Beirut

  1. hehe, i absolutely cracked up when I saw the picture. Beirut is awesome. There’s so much modern history there it’s crazy. I can’t wait to visit it again. You should have passed by Amman on youe way! (it’s only a few hours away by car, but well, the Syrian borders aren’t very encouraging…)

  2. isn’t it strange but me asking straight away ‘where is this blogger (Roba) from?” instead of what is his/her opinion about ‘whatever’?
    I wish we would get out of this – I am sure I am not alone in this.

    anyway: I am happy you were satisfied with you visit to lebanon and the outcome.

  3. Ahmed, Welcome home! You must post more about the sessions and especially on blogging. What kind of response, questions did you get as a blogger from KSA? What was the perception of bloggers in KSA?

    American Bedu

  4. In reply to Roba’s comment, I’d like to point out that this is the first time I hear somone from Jordan complaining about other people’s borders! It is well known that Syrian borders is one of the worst, but I guess the worse can be said on Jordanian borders..at least this is the opinion I heard from almost everyone who passed there

  5. Ciao Ahmed, we met shortly in Beirut. I’m writing a piece about the Forum for my magazine Babelmed.net and was wondering if i can use the pictures you posted. Because they are beautiful. Obviously, i would put the copyright….
    thanks !
    Catherine

  6. Dear Ahmad,
    the article about bloggs has been published today january 5 2008 .at al Nahar daily newspaper.
    check it out!
    regards

    zena the last journalist who interviewed u.

  7. I am not a blogger from long time, but within this short period since I started, I can experience the responsibility of being a writer, perhaps more than writing in a newspaper

    It is an on-focus space we publish

    This blog is a reference for me and a trusted one ..

    Wishes of more luck and success Ahmed

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