Over 400 People Fall For Fake MEA Instagram Scam

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I love these pranks. It goes to show you how naive people can be, and the Lebanese mentality of saying “I didn’t lose anything” instead of “I can’t believe I actually thought someone would spend $500,000 for an Instagram account”. 7arba2a style.

It’s sorta like the New 7 Wonder Jeita scam. Like, they knew it was bullshit, yet still thought they could be the “7arboo2s” and I can’t help but laugh heartily when it fails and say “I told you so!”

Anyway. We got confirmation from Middle East Airlines that this is not a real campaign (thanks Asmar!), and the fake account has deleted the photos it posted. The hashtag though is still very much alive on #meairlines and #meaairlines.

So, remember, you were silly enough to fall for this, even a year after the Emirates and Turkish Airlines identical instagram pranks… Hahahahaha

 

Who Do You Want As President?

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So, the presidential election is supposed to happen within the next 2 months. But, it’s Lebanon and nothing will go according to the law and constitution.

The scenarios all seem bleak, with either a colorless, tasteless, gutless president that won’t bother any of the political parties, or yet another career military man… The kind that has so far only brought disappointment and corruption to Lebanon in our recent history. But, there is a slight chance our illegitimate “representatives” will actually do the job they gave a raise to themselves to not do after extending their terms… And NOW and LBC have set-up a cool new website where you can vote for your favorite candidate based on the merits they have in your opinion.

My vote is no secret, and I very proudly chose Ziad Baroud as my top pick, who is currently in the lead with a score of 65, followed unfortunately by former militiaman Samir Geagea with a 49, Lebanon’s astute top banker Riad Salameh at 33, and yet another general that has brought only disappointment, Michel Aoun at 28.

What’s amazing is that genuinely good candidates like Ziad Baroud, get traction here. What’s sad though, is that he’s competing against the wartime warlords that have caused most if not every single Lebanese person great hardship for their personal agendas. It’s sad to know that names like Geagea and Aoun and Gemayel will keep haunting us till they die or hand over power to their sons or son-in-laws. That’s why, vote for a proper candidate, show the scumbag MPs what the people want. Please let us move on from the war days, let Aoun and Geagea be old names we prefer to forget, not barking on our TVs every other hour.

Let’s hope we do have a presidential elections. Let’s hope it’s not a military man or former warlord. Let’s hope he actually represents anyone.

Vote here.

President’s Son Instagram Account Joe Maalouf Appreciation Post

It’s no secret I am no fan of Joe Maalouf or his shows. The deliberate misinformation, cheap tricks and bigotry we got used to on his old show (and many parts of his new one) make him a controversial figure, with its ups and downs.

I am also a fair person. I will acknowledge and give credit where credit is due, regardless of whether or not I like the person or not. Joe Maalouf’s piece on the president’s insane Instagram account, earned Maalouf respect from my part, and for several reasons.

For one, I’ve been following Charbel Sleiman’s obscenely flamboyant and inappropriate, formerly public Instagram account for months. I saw the Rolexes, the cars, the disturbingly morbid captions like “baby glock meets its daddy smith & wesson” and boasting about being able to get them through customs after disembarking from a private jet.

But, I didn’t dare shed light on it, even though it kept eating me up inside. Why? Because the president threatened Jean Assy with 2 months in jail for a tweet. Imagine what he would do if I’d suggested something was not right when it comes to Charbel Sleiman’s lifestyle.

I am a very tolerant and liberal person. I don’t care what you like or do on your own time. I respect people’s right to bear arms, and I feel it levels the playing field in many cases. I also respect people’s impulse purchases of 50 thousand dollar watches. However, when all that is on my tab, then hold up yo!

There is absolutely no fucking way he can afford that on a president’s salary (gigantic as it may be compared to civilized nations’ heads of states’ salaries). So, as taxpayers and voters, we have every right to ask where that money came from. But, if you do, you’ll get sent to jail, so for legal purposes, I personally am not asking that, never did, or never will.

I don’t want the president’s son to be a good role model. I don’t need a “za3im’s” son of a military person to be my “example”, that’s not my main beef. My main beef is, that’s my money… So, didn’t particularly agree on that point he raised. Also, I think the comparison with Fazaa wasn’t a prudent one. It’s good to have a benevolent monarch, but he’s still an absolute monarch, and that’s not viable in today’s world anymore. We need democracies, and propping up an absolute monarch as a good example, though very relevant here, wouldn’t be my main talking point.

Corruption is so commonplace now, that the president’s son only made his profile private after Maalouf’s segment… Disgusting. Allah yestor from our next president!

So, respect from my part to Joe, for having the balls to do what we didn’t. Of course, this doesn’t mean that I agree and respect everything, but, Joe didn’t self-censor despite the legal headache he’s going to get for this. Here’s to someday having enough money and clout with the corrupt judiciary to be able to survive an legal attack from a sitting president, which normal, online folks like us obviously cannot do without being humiliated and bullied by the president of the republic. (btw, remember when I told Obama to shut up his mouth at the White House? Lo and behold! Still walking free!)

Disclaimer: I never insulted or slandered the president. I respect him utterly, like I do this glorious nation of tigers and men. Utmost respect and glorification for our leaders. God Bless Us All!

Introducing the “Events Calendar” Page on Gino’s Blog

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So, I’ve finally managed to move the blog from its old location to a new, much better one, with improved layout and almost endless possibilities to play with.

The first such roll-out of a new feature is the brand new “Events Calendar” which you can find in the Main Menu above.

It’ll feature all the events I personally endorse and recommend, mainly parties at night, but occasionally with cool cultural, live and NGO/charity events I believe in as well.

It’s a super-easy way to figure out what you’re doing tonight, this weekend or throughout the month of months to come.

Events feature all the details you need, a map, a number and a link to the Facebook event with a music selection I embed so you get an idea about what to expect. I also add my personal input/previous experience.

So, check it out here. And here’s a sample event page (scroll down for all the details)

Let me know what you guys think, and if it’s a good idea.

PS, I will only put stuff I personally would go to or genuinely endorse. This isn’t a comprehensive calendar of everything happening in Beirut!

Mothers of Murdered Lebanese Women’s Extremely Powerful Call to Action

I cannot begin to describe how brave these women are. How much they’ve suffered with the tragic and horrifying murders of their daughters at the hands of their husbands, and adding insult to injury by letting the murderous husbands stay free, even have custody of the kids.

You must go down to Adlieh on Saturday. If you won’t listen to me, or KAFA or any other concerned person, listen to these brave mothers. Do it for their daughters. Let our pig politicians and religious authorities stop this madness. Be many. Good luck!

RSVP here.

Another Great Vice Piece on Tripoli: Illegal Arms Bazaar

A fighter and small-time arms dealer mentions that a box of bullets used to be 50,000LBP, but now it’s 20,000LBP thanks to funding from Lebanon’s political parties and politicians.

What’s really scary for me, is the complete hopelessness and nonchalant attitudes many of the fighters have, and I quote “if I die, I die. If I live, I live” which was a followup to a hateful threat to return Lebanon to 1975 (reference to the Lebanese Civil War) which goes to show how deeply divided the two sides are, and the level of resentment they have for each other…

Another horrifying thing you see is how the Lebanese army’s hands are tied, and how it’s being dragged into the sectarian conflict that has the rest of the country in a cesspool of religiously-fueled hatred.

One thing I was impressed with was how Vice was able to take video in Dahieh, which has always been a very difficult endeavor which could get you into a ton of trouble.

The gun that caught my attention most? The Styer Aug (known as B-44 to all you Counter Strike fans). Its price is also the same as I remember it for a story I was working on in 2012 (7000USD) so at least that luxury gun hasn’t fluctuated much like the other weapons.

The most ironic part? Both sides blame the opposite one for the arms flow. The Sunni militants admit they buy their weaponry from the Alawites, who got it from the Assad Regime. The Shiite arms dealer claims that the weapons were sent by Saudi Arabia to the FSA before ending up in Dahieh.

For more information on the most common type of street weaponry in Lebanon, here’s a post I wrote 2 years ago summing some up.