Lebanese Jester

Me, my Lebanon, and I.com weblog

From one moron to another.

With the upcoming “crucial” elections rapidly approaching our local airwaves have recently been cluttered with different (opposing is a better word) views of what our future might hold. M14, M8, the demented general, the not so doctor, the Iztaz, the goatee wearing Leb/Saudi daddy’s boy, the chouf warlord (with his ever changing loyalty)… to the sweaty turban wearing sole protector of our territory(having omitted more than a few in order to keep it brief); they all have been promising swift and conclusive victory.
In a perfect world, I might have been drawn to the idea that the day has finally come when the ballot boxes would actually revive my country from the deep slumber it has been afflicted with for over 30 years. I will still go on Election Day and cast my vote, not for “someone” but out of spite for some other; convinced that it will not fully protect my rights to live and prosper in this land of ours. The road to recovery is very long and tedious, and as far as I am concerned none of 401 nominees have the forward thinking, nor the BALLS to see true democracy implemented.
I am one of the lucky few (and that is debatable) who enjoys a steady job (for the time being) and strived to better himself (and by that I mean his income) by investing his very hard earned cash in what he thought was THE striving sector (food and beverage). So I invested in a pub on one floor and a restaurant on another in a building in Gemayzeh. I will spare you the hassles and the delays my partners and I encountered on the hands of the “Mohafez” and other local agencies (9 months). After having paid our dues (3 times fold) we finally opened.
Silly me, I thought that this was the end of our troubles. We had to readjust our figures, embrace losses, and move forward. March of 2008 our doors were open, people came in, spirits and hopes were high; then came May the 7th.
So we ride the wave (just like everybody else), and when the storm passes us by, our then minister of tourism (yes Joe Sarkiss)


decides to put another nail in the coffin. In order to truly portray what was then going on, I would ask of you to imagine the following :
On a Wednesday evening, in a restaurant, on the second floor of a building, having to tell your customers that they have to vacate the premises at 11.30 because of a law being enforced by the ISF. Knowing damn well; that no disturbance whatsoever was coming out of your place.
Those people who were responsible for such harsh actions (demonstrating in the street wearing their pajamas) are the same people who granted us the leases to premises that were unfit to even store cattle, charging us rent at inflated prices. If it wasn’t for pubs and restaurants, Gemayzeh would still be a ghost town with a price tag by the square meter similar to that of Zabougha. So kindly excuse my French when I say to the residents of Gemayzeh “you fucks do not bite the hand that feed you”.
Once again we had to pay “our dues” (free double glazing, A/C…etc), but I guess that wasn’t enough.
The cabinet of ministers changed, and we now have a new minister of tourism. A minister; who in his early days settled for having his picture taken inaugurating shopping malls in Dubai next to Miss Lebanon, while drooling over her (disputed) beauty. We all thought that the witch hunt was over, especially since genuine efforts were made in order to resolve issues pending (such as Valet Parking, Charles Helou station…etc). I guess we all underestimated the savvy of our new minister whose last name should have been shortened for moron (and sure looks like one in my humble opinion).
I fail to see the logic, when the ministry of tourism spends obscene amounts of money attracting tourists (especially Arabs, and we all know that they are not the type to go to bed at 1.30), and when we pride ourselves to have been mentioned in foreign magazines as the ideal vacation spot; and yet we let a moronic minister recall an outdated law that impossible to apply on a whimsy.


That half witted minister had the guts to go on TV two days ago and actually admit that the licensing law is not only old, but could not be applied. Nevertheless this same (lame) law is applied crating gridlock and mayhem in Gemayzeh.
And the coalition which gave him his seat has for a slogan “We want to live”.
Wlek TFEH !


April 5, 2009 - Posted by | Elie Marouni, Gemayzeh, Joe Sarkis | , ,


  1. Well … somebody is having a nice weekend … 😉

    PS : c’est les rameaux today … yallah tous à l’église … TFEH ! :p

    Comment by Ekios | April 5, 2009

  2. la question de gemmayzé … je la vois également comme un conflit de génération.
    Quand je parle à mes proches, certains, un peu plus vieux, ne réalisent pas que les prix des appartements ont parfois quintupler en quelques années. Ils citent en exemple, le cas de vielles personnes ayant acheté sur place pour vivre leur retraite et non devoir ne pas pouvoir chez eux etc…

    A la fin, je dois également dire que la mesure prise par les autorités rappelle que ceux la même ont tué monnot avec les travaux de voirie pour rentabiliser le centre ville à l’époque pratiquement vide. J’ai l’impression que c’est ce même plan qui revient. Ca avait également commencé par soit disant des habitants qui se plaignaient…

    Comment by frenchy | April 7, 2009

  3. Gemayze was for many years a ghost town (due to the civil war). Most of the tenants are from the old generation I agree with you, but it is them who rented us the premises. Those stingy arses are despicable. I also think that Gemayze might turn into another Monot.

    Comment by Marillionlb | April 8, 2009

  4. Just to mention, it’s funny but for my beloved wife Gemayze is a Beyrouth Street not a town, how is that ?

    Comment by Ekios | April 8, 2009

  5. Well, in Lebanon everyone does as they please…that is why such a law is not enforceable. Sadly,only those that play by the rules get caught!

    Comment by VOR | April 9, 2009

  6. Fred, quand Gemmayzé a commencé à monter, je bossais sur un projet de boutique hotels. Une des idées était d’investir maintenant dans le prochain axe de développement, excluant de facto Monnot à l’époque qui était en contraction, Gemayzé ou les prix éclataient déjà (je parle de choses d’il y a 4 ans aujourd’hui) et bien sur le centre ville vue que Monnot coutait pratiquement aussi cher. (cf le terrain de l’ancien campus de l’USJ ou ils demandaient 70 millions de dollars)

    Bref l’un des plans étaient Tabaris (genre il y avait un palais sursock a vendre pour 7 millions de dollars + jardin, conserver le palais, construire une aile dans le jardin.
    Le deuxième axe c’était la rue de Damas. On a exclu de facto également les quartiers de Basta, la faune “locale” ne se prétait pas tellement à ce genre de projet, sinon y avait des lieux merveilleux comme le palais béchara khoury (le poète et non le président) ou des palais du collège patriacal.

    Anyway l’autre reflection était d’acheter un sorte de Mir Amin avec un cahier de charge stricte, (genre moins de 5 min de Beyrouth). On avait grosso modo vu Baabda, et une villa à hazmieh aussi (très sécurisée)
    Mais l’une des idées à coté de ce projet était que quoi qu’il se passe, les autorités essayeront de provoquer le monopole pour le centre ville. Donc on avait inclus dans nos couts un break-even très court, genre 1 ans et demi à 2 ans … ce qui est pratiquement impossible à tenir pour un hôtel.

    Bref investir non pas la ou ca marche maintenant, mais dans des concepts proches avec une reflection sur les axes de développement à venir, ou alors investir au début mais jamais quand le lieu marche trop bien et fait de l’ombre au centre-ville de Beyrouth, dernière possibilité, investir en dehors de Beyrouth, dans un endroit ou il y aurait pas cette concurrence (ex les boites qui marchent bien en été à broummana ou batroun, ou la grande époque de Jieh avec le Bamboo bay (début 2000, océana) ou Jbeil avec le éddeh club (ou les filles ressemblent plus à des p*** qu’autre chose but money is money

    Comment by frenchy | April 9, 2009

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