Archive for the 'Nation branding' Category

01
Jun
15

People have relationships with people, not with ideas, not with programs.


Few are the opportunities one gets to meet the future head on, face to face. And fewer are the opportunities to be part of shaping that future. Last Sunday, I was blessed with both.

I was invited by “Women in Front” (look them up on Facebook) to deliver a Personal Branding presentation to women planning on offering their candidature to the upcoming legislative elections. What I discovered is simply amazing.

IMG_9897

I have never witnessed such an ardent resolve, most certainly not with men. I came to realize that taking things for granted, arrogance and prejudice provide a fake sense of security. That sense is enjoyed by some men in Lebanon; they even take it one notch higher by solemnly claiming that women are not fit for politics. I believe that the sheer fact of making such a comment voids the fitness (and right) of that man to be in politics, and on planet Earth for that matter!

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Aside from the fact that I was surrounded by over 20 amazing women (eat your hearts out!), I was surrounded by 20 beautiful intellects. That Sunday I was with human beings determined to induce a positive change in a society that claims openness on the outside, but resents change on the inside.

That Sunday I was with Women (yes with a capital “W”) who, aware of the risks, are heading straight into the maelstrom. Each has a clear Program and associated agenda. Each has the education few men in politics have today. Each has a beautiful smile that inspires trust. But most importantly, all of them are transparent, honest, real.

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These women do not deserve a chance. They deserve to be there, period.

You give a chance to doubt, to failure, to liars, to the unproven. And we have been giving that chance to “men” since 1943…

In a previous post (https://ilahoud.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/women-scare-us-and-i-love-it/), I wrote:
“We forgot to look at India, Great Britain, Iceland, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Argentina, Bolivia, Switzerland, Philippines, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Lithuania… where women were not only elected to parliament, they were presidents, heads of state.”

I never voted, never will eventually; but I would not hesitate one second to head to the polling station this time, if one of the amazing ladies I trained that Sunday run for elections.

I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to meet the future face to face, and honoured to be given the humble opportunity to be part of shaping it.

One hurdle is left. How open-minded will men be towards a brilliant future shaped by gender partnership, instead of a grim future shaped by men only?

Only time will tell.

19
Mar
14

“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…


“Good morning, you have reached Terranet, for sales dial 1, for support dial 2, for a psychiatrist dial 3. (The last one is my recommendation, strongly)
“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…

– Hello, this Rami, how can I help you?
– Um, hi, I purchased a new Cisco modem, and I would like you to guide me through the configuration please.
– It’s very easy. Just set the VCI and VPI…
– Woooa! Hold on. Set the what?

– (With an audible yawn) Set the VCI and VPI. Did you configure the modem?
– Huh? I’m calling you for that!
– Is it hooked?
– (No it’s not! It’s in the microwave getting defrosted, I would have loved to say) Yes it is. Hooked and I logged in to it via my browser. Shall I tell you the options I have and you tell what to do?
– (With the end of another long audible yawn) What do you have?
I start enumerating the options for every setting. I only heard his voice twice:
– VCI 0, VPI 35
– Is that it?
– Yes
– So now all I should do is connect to the Internet.
– Yeh
– Thank you

I hang up, reboot the modem and try connecting to the Internet. Nothing.

I call again:
“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…
– Hello, this Hussein, how can I help you?
– Excuse me, I was talking to Rami regard..
– Rami is busy on another line, how can I help you?
– Ok. So I got this Cisco modem and I configur…
– Hold on!
– Yes? This is Rami
– Oh hi! I spoke to you a while ago regarding a Cisco modem…
– Cisco modem? Regarding what?
– Configuration?
– Oh yeh. So…
– Well, it’s not working…
– Why did you get a Cisco?
– WHAT?… Because YOU guys told me, get a Cisco or a D-Link… So I got the Cisco…
– Yeh, but the THOMSON you have now is better….
– Ok. But I got the Cisco now, and it’s not connecting. The “Internet” light is off.
– Do you have phones at home?
– Yes. Why?
– Disconnect them all and retry?
– Excuse me?
– Yeh, you might have a “loop”
– A loop? Uumm, Uhun, yep. Cool. Ok.
A loop? I thought I was installing a modem, not knitting a pullover!
I disconnect all the phones at home, reboot the modem and try to connect again. Nothing.
I call again:
“For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”…
– Hello, this Samer, how can I help you?
– Can I speak to Rami?
– Moment…
– This is Rami, how can…
– Rami, it’s me again (I just mastered the cut-you-in-the-middle-of-a-sentence technique!) I disconnected all the phones, it’s still not working.
– Well, I don’t know (with such a lazy voice)… Get a technician… Or the modem is defective.
– Defective? It’s a brand new Cisco! All is working perfectly, but it stops at “Internet”
– Yeh, it might be defective. It happens…
– Oh. It does? I did not know that… Thank you anyway for your precious assistance Rami!
I hang up.
Welcome to the world of Lebanese ISP customer support!
If “For quality control, this phone call is being recorded”, all ISPs would be out of business by now…
19
Mar
14

No greetings this time…


I have a hard time greeting Muslims on Eid, and here’s why:

1- There are those who don’t live up to the meaning of Eid or even understand what it stands for.

2- There are those who wake up on Eid and decide to be good… for few hours.

3- And there are those who are suffering so much that greetings would seem an insult to them. Those who live the meaning of Ramadan and Eid every day of their lives.

So forgive me if I don’t greet this year. As a Christian, I think it will also make greetings sound even cheesier and display a total lack of understanding of Islam.

Instead, I will say this: If God and the prophets knew we, as a race, will get to this, they probably would have blessed another planet…

20
Feb
13

Women scare us… and I love it!


This is to men who “wear” manhood instead of living it.

So, we give visas to every nationality; we harbor every terrorist group you can imagine; we open our border to foreign workers who flock by the thousands; we sell 100% ownership of land and property to every citizen in the world (including aliens from outer space)…

But hey! If the Lebanese woman gives nationality to her children, our social fabric equilibrium is screwed.

We elect deputies based on how much money they have, which religion they represent, how corrupt they are, how much “donations” they can make, who they follow (including which “foreign regime”), how low they can bend over…

But hey! If we bring women to the parliament, the country is screwed.

She gives birth, she raises, she cooks, she cleans, she works, she runs, she follows, she manages, she represents, she satisfies, she beautifies, she smiles, she endures… so much.

We watch her give birth, raise, cook, clean, work, run… and endure… so much.

And yet, we have the guts (no, no balls… at all), to deny her the very basic rights that were equally given to mankind.

We brag about freedom, of expression, of religion, of choice, of marriage, of political affiliation, as if we are the gods of freedom, as if we have grasped the breadth of the word… And yet, we deny her the very basic rights that were equally given to mankind.

Yes, this is manhood. We are the proud Lebanese men, those who are in the know. We are the ones who know how to harness the best of the world’s laws and jurisdictions to erect a nation.

We picked women treatment from Afghanistan, women civil rights from Saudi Arabia, women human rights from Iran.

We forgot to look at India, Great Britain, Iceland, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Argentina, Bolivia, Switzerland, Philippines, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Finland, Lithuania… where women were not elected to parliament, they were presidents, heads of state.

I pity a nation with double-standards.
I pity a country built on prejudice.
I dread the men of Lebanon, and you know why?

Because they are afraid of the Woman. They are afraid of loosing their clout and hegemony. They are afraid of being stripped naked, revealing their ignorance, short-sight, lack of tact. They are afraid of facing a peer they consider a foe; someone who might for a change use a brain instead of balls to induce change; someone who would negotiate instead of argue.

Can man do better? I don’t mind, but then again, if he could, he would have accepted the woman as equal centuries ago.

©2013 – Ibrahim N. Lahoud

Creative Commons License
Women scare us… and I love it! by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://ilahoud.wordpress.com/.

16
Aug
12

I HATE TO WRITE. I HAD TO WRITE.


I once tweeted asking if the kidnapping and counter-kidnapping thing works with mosquitoes… I had to make use of the learnings from the latest happenings in Lebanon.

We are beyond pathetic. We are beyond pitiful. We are beyond acting, let alone thinking. We are way beyond solving.

Did the Lebanese-Syrian trade treaties stipulate anything about importing and exporting revolutions? I will most certainly not get into analysis and speculations. I will leave that to the poor souls who think they are in the know, and those who have teleported their personalities straight onto the tip of their tongues.

I am not eloquent when it comes to politics, but defense strategy? Seriously? What strategy? To defend who, what?

The best defense strategy, tested and proven, is education and civic sense. Deprive people from both, and that’s you get: Lebanon. Speaking of education, teachers are one of the most under-payed categories. To make things worse, students are now a bargaining chip. If we get this far, no wonder families have their own armies!

So, I just wonder…

I wonder why since the new government came into being, theft and crime rate shot up.

I wonder why bank robberies suddenly skyrocketed to new heights.

I wonder why the electricity became inversely proportional to the pledge the government made to fix it.

I wonder why gas prices go up when worldwide oil prices go down.

I wonder why only the mentally challenged earn a place in the government.

I wonder how they could devise a long-term planning strategy when they can’t even implement a simple traffic law.

I wonder why can’t they defend the country with the same fervor they defend the “neighbors”

I wonder how they dare to speak and give lessons in patriotism when their allegiance is invested everywhere but in their nation.

I wonder where do the inter-religious feuds fit If Israel is the common enemy.

I wonder if Syrians fought amongst themselves during the Civil war in Lebanon.

I wonder where did the 10452 Km2 go if the North is an Emirate, the South is off-limits, the Bekaa is an enclave, and most of Beirut is a military barrack…

I wonder how can they lie so bluntly to themselves before lying to us.

I wonder how do they still believe that they are actually lying to us.

I wonder what they tell their children when asked about what they do.

I wonder what to say to my own children when asked why are we still here.

I wonder why I am still here.

But beware, we all can wonder this much. We soon will ponder, and when we do, your lies, schemes and petty strategies will rule our leftovers. Our leftovers.

The thing is, we live in a rat hole where every family can have one army instead of having one army for all the families…

17
Dec
11

All I Want for Christmas – The Last Post of 2011


For this Christmas, I want the driver of that modified Subaru Evolution with a loud exhaust as wide as his empty brain cavity, to beat him till he begs for mercy.

I want the driver of the tinted-glass Picanto, to humiliate him till he decides to spend the rest of his days walking, and I want his car to set on fire.

I want that woman in the black Range Rover with a four digits plate number, to tie her hands behind the wheel, put a brick on the accelerator and watch her fly and hit a wall, and I want her cell phone to dial a long distance number and leave it on for a week, and her lipstick to… you know what!

I want that policeman playing G.I Joe on the intersection under my office with a finger up his nostril and a beer belly down his pants, to glue him in the middle of the road, hands shackled behind his back, and watch him scream like a baby girl watching the Subaru Evolution guy rushing straight at him.

I want the electric generator guy to teach him manners, the hard way and make him understand that his generator has more power that all his neurons combined.

I want the bank teller… To tell him who the client really is, hold him by the necktie and hang him from the top of his ego.

I want a gum-chewing clothing shop saleswoman to be sentenced to chew the same gum for a year while smiling and saying “how can I help you”.

I want that disgusting ugly castrated macho with mustaches like a floor mop to stick his lit shisha up his… you pick a hole!

I want the owner of the double parked Mercedes in the hospital parking to stand on the white line divider of the parking lanes, take the space of two cars, and get a first-row show of the insults he usually gets but doesn’t hear.

I want that Neanderthal bastard who pushes through the line at the ticketing counter of the movie theater to be squeezed between two gays till he feels something hurting his throat!

I want that bunch of botox-filled women talking loudly in the restaurant to have their ears stuffed with hearing aids with the volume pumped to the max till violent noises and squeaks melt what’s left of their brain.

I want the group of nouveau-riches, talking politics, drinking expensive Scotch and smoking fake cigars they never knew they are fake, to put each and every theory of theirs to work, and make “only” them live through it.

I want every Facebook user who presses the “Like” button on a group to swear they really like it. I want them to prove to me that their 1432 friends are really friends.

I want a restaurant owner to eat from his own restaurant kitchen.

I want a Muslim to read the Holy Quran and a Christian to read the Holy Bible, and then dare to talk about true tolerance.

I want an illiterate politician, any politician, to make him listen for a whole day to his own speeches on loud speakers.

I want every “Patriotic” Lebanese who lives in abroad to come back to Lebanon, stay there, and then tell me they’re patriotic.

But I’m easy… So I will just settle for a pair of ear-plugs, and one of those blindfolds they provide for free on long flights. That’ll do.

Happy Holidays!

p.s. I don’t really hate this country. I just hate it’s geographical coordinates, and the fact that unlike a zoo, the animals are on the loose and the visitors in the cage.

Creative Commons License
All I want for Christmas, the last post of 2011 by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at ilahoud.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://ilahoud.wordpress.com/.

©2011 – Ibrahim Lahoud

10
Nov
11

Shame…


Shame on the country where religion is politics and politics are religion.

Shame on the country that doesn’t protect those who protect it.

Shame on the country that doesn’t advertise from what it creates.

Shame on the country that doesn’t say what “it” thinks.

Shame on the country that doesn’t believe in what it preaches.

Shame on the country that doesn’t respect what it forces others to respect.

Shame on the country that doesn’t aim as high as those who carry it far up.

Shame on the country that doesn’t breed from within.

Shame on the country that doesn’t put rights above privileges.

Shame on the country that doesn’t punish those who punish for the fun of it.

Shame on the country that doesn’t force respect instead of respecting force.

Shame on the country that doesn’t dare look me in the eyes when speaking to me.

Shame on the country that exports what it should retain and retains what it should expel.

Shame on the country that brags about it’s grottos instead of its flag.

Shame on the country that puts civil servants above their employers.

Shame on the country that uses the illiterate to educate its intelligentsia.

Shame on the country that uses inertia as its way forward.

Shame on the country that buys its dignity instead of earning it.

Shame on the country that yields to threats and cheers its oppressors.

Shame on the country where I am me on if I am someone else.

Shame on the country where politicians are hired, creeds are slogans and “I” is “Him”.

Shame on the country where you’re as important as your plate number says you are.

Shame on the country that still debates the rights of women to full equality.

Shame on the country where civil marriage is a political bargaining tool.

Shame on the country where schooling fees are a hundred fold the salary of teachers.

Shame on the country where criminals are free and the free are criminals.

Shame on the country where your opinion is owned… but not by you…

Creative Commons License
Shame by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at ilahoud.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://ilahoud.wordpress.com/.

© 2011 Ibrahim Lahoud




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Reason To Believe by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at ilahoud.wordpress.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at htt://ilahoud.wordpress.com.

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