Monday, March 18, 2019

Lebanese Forces goes after marital rape

It seems the Lebanese Forces are after incriminating marital rape. There are two modes of thinking: the first says "make a law and people will abide by it" and the other goes "fix the mentality and the law is just an addition to it". Let me show you this ad by Abaad to portray how a raped woman is seen socially. See? She was called everything - slut, easy, he fucked her and let her go, etc... Now the other aspect is - and let us be honest - the law enforcement. Let us say a woman goes there and says "my husband raped me" - can you imagine the fit of laughter? her. husband. raped. her. I mean it's a joke, she is supposed to do what her husband wants, "look at my wife, she always comes back begging for more" you can hear one of the guys already saying. Which brings us to - this is a top down approach, and no, even if we make a law it does not improve the situation if you ask me.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

In praise of AbdulAziz Wahabzadah (the ArabicTypography New Zealand project)

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
The @arabictypography has had a brilliant idea! To call on calygraphers or typographers to honor the 51 lives lost in the New Zealand terrorist attack. I applied with a special request - to honor the man who saved lives by running after the terrorist and throwing his own gun at him making him flee and saving hoards of lives in the process (read the story here). The man's name is AbdulAziz Wahabzadah. And he has my utmost respect.

Bertha Benz - that great journey

I just watched all 4 minutes of that ad!Yes, yes, it was probably done for International Women's Day but dear me, what a beautifully done one and naturally comes for the brand famous for the "other" Benz, along with his partner who was in love with the Spanish ambassador's daughter Mercedes. Truly, the construction, the direction, the whole "she's a witch" thing, and that fierce look "thank-you-I-will-do-it-on-my-own" attitude are just incredible.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The March 16th 1956 earthquake in Lebanon (Chim)

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly
Well, there you go there seems no photos detailing the 16th March 1956 earthquake in Lebanon which apparently happened at 9 P.M. (according to my mother). Per Wikipedia: "The epicenter was located in the south of Lebanon in the Chouf District. Six thousand homes were destroyed and another 17,000 were damaged. The number of persons killed was 136." Actually the whole Wikipedia entry is worth reading so why not go there? Also there is a short youtube thingy also worth checking

Friday, March 15, 2019

Eden Park and the relativity of weekends

Well, this was on instagram on the Eden Park Middle East account. In Arabic says "worn on easy Saturdays" and in English "worn on easy Mondays". Confused? Well, the point is to wear it after the weekend. In Western societies that would be "Saturday - Sunday" in many Arabic countries (Lebanon excluded) it is "Thursday - Friday". Which leads to seeing two different days in the same post as it goes to two different audiences. Well as we say in Lebanese, when something is totally out of place. "Mitl el orb3a bi noss el jem3a" translated as "Like a Wednesday in the middle of the week" or - wait - like a Monday in the middle of the week?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Women are strong not "Ikhterjel" #مش_اخت_الرجال


These women you see are: Mountaineer. School Director. Entrepreneur. Artist. They have the right to be whatever they choose to be. And does not have to be compared to a man with the ultimate compliment “IkhtelRjel” which means “Sister of Man”. It’s time we let women be strong on their own. Indeed, the term is used in a derogative way to describe strong women, or women who stand their ground, or - ooops - have clear opinions. The campaign is done by Grey MENA and is signed by Naya by Annahar (the newspaper).

14th of March - the day I blocked from my memory

Photo - Tarek Chemaly
(taken during the March 14th 2005manifestations)
Recently a friend said "my birthday is on the 14th of March! How can any Lebanese forget that date?" - my reply was "why? what happened". He side-glanced me quizzically and my reply was "OK I will look it up on google".
Flashback to 2005, on the 14th of March when Alexis and myself were heading to downtown Beirut to participate in those mega-manifestations we were so early so much that the Kataeb were still somewhere near Dora roundabout still parking their busses in the wait for their supporters to show up.
And when I left Martyrs' square, I think someone said "turn off the light on your way out" so much I was stayed late.
So it is quite telling that I ended up forgetting that date - or better yet, blocked it from my memory. The policitcal ramifications of that day were disastrous, I actually wrote a poetic prose about that day called "back when we believed" (it was part of my book "Getting The News from Poems" published in 2009), I am sharing it below. In retrospect it was a sad day, because hope it deceitful above all else.

Back when we believed
By Tarek Joseph Chemaly

Back when we believed,
And I can't believe,
That we don't believe anymore.

What shall we do with the slogans now?
What shall we do with the pins?
Or the wristbands, or the T-shirts or the scarves?

So many flags waved,
So many fears braved,
How do we get rid of them?
Where do we bury them?
And what if we need them once more?
In case we go back to believing.

Back when we believed,
We chanted and shouted,
And talked to strangers,
And mocked the dangers,
With luster in our eyes,
We claimed that we believed.

And now, we believe no more,
And wonder how come we once did,
Back when we believed,
And I can't believe,
That we don't believe anymore.

Mondays for manifestations,
And Tuesdays for sit-ins,
Wednesdays for night shifts,
Thursdays and Fridays for anticipation,
And then the weekend begins.

I think we eventually got sold,
I just hope they got a good price,
But well, for a time at least, it was nice,
Just to think that we actually believed.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Terranet lands an excellent copy!

Terranet has an new ad with exceptional copy! "An offer - not even seen in the movies". The "not  not even seen in the movies" means "out of this world" or "unbelievable", that they are marketing a service that allows to see shows and movies" makes the copy such a good one, as a side note "3ard" or offer also means "show" in Arabic! Hats off to whomever came up with this!

Budweiser kills it revamping old ads with a feminist twist.



Yes I know I am late with these ads (supposedly launched on International Women's day). Still, this bud is no longer for you! Budweiser looked back at its own older ads, tried to imagine them done today (but kept the old illustration charm - nice touch actually) and figured out that "bam" women actually changed through the ages - no longer need men in the same way they were potrayed before, no longer need marriage or be cooks (take away is just as good!). Well, progress for sure - oh and this comes with #seeher hashtag. Truly cool ads!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Burger King vs. McDonald's - compare and contrast

Ok so as I said before, some outlets are now mentionning lent by name and others are still using the code word, "fish". Burger King just released a "fish-y" offer with a nice copy "b-fish el khele2" literally means "relieves you". The double entendre has been used before though in 2013 by a certain McDonald's.

Converse - love the progress: On redefining what "woman" means.

Converse "love the progress" new sneakers line wants to pay tribute to women and redefine what it means to be a female, literally.
Dictionaries around the world define women as the “weaker sex.”
As much as we want to blame the institutions, their definitions are actually based on how we as a population continue to use these terms.
Lexicographers determine what is changed and make their edits based on the world around them.
Definitions in dictionaries, remain this way because consciously or subconsciously we continue to define ourselves that way.
To ignite the movement, 20 impressive Lebanese women were selected to help redefine what it means to be a ‘girl"; and were provided with a blank canvas to write their own script via blank chucks and a stand at ABC Ashrafieh. All this happened on International Women's Day mind you.
By providing a canvas, Converse is empowering females to take back the narrative and redefine the gender, aiming to inspire the next generation of girls.
These definitions will be photographed and sent to lexicographers around the world.
It will take many voices to fight the cause but you have to "love the progress".
Converse - you kick!

Donner Sang Compter - right question to the wrong audience!

Can you still give blood while observing lent?
Great question from DSC (Donner Sang Compter). The small issue? In the copy accompanying the ad they say "min ba3 ma toftar" (after the meal). The word toftar which is the verb which engendered the word "Iftar" is now known as the evening meal during Ramadan among the Muslim communities. I personally cannot fast, I am diabetic and this can trigger episodes of hypoglycemia, but what I do know for sure is that the Christian communities do not use "toftar" - the most commonly used jargon is "tekol" (eat), "tfek syamak" (literally break the fast), or "etghadda" (have lunch - which is common to be early among people observing lent). Pity the ad was interesting but certainly the copy seemed ho hum.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Talaya Water does teachers' day

Ah "thank you to any teacher who taught us that glass is better than plastic" - there, this is how you integrate your brand with subtelty with an occassion. At least there was not direct sale there as all other brands tried to do! Smart.

The Aintoura girl guides stand up against bullying

Let the girls show us how things get done! The Aintoura girl guides staged a powerful manifestation against bullying right there in downtown Beirut with some wearing masks (becauses bullies hide in plain sight!) and did interviews with passerby people (such as myself) - and the girls focused on cyberbullying because we know they come from a generation which is connected to social media. Do note I am not related to any of them but was proud of how they made themselves be seen and heard. Should you wish to follow them on Instagram they are on @for_who - so check them out!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Sensodyne does what it does best.

"Sensitivity can get worse. Don't ignore it" - simple, clear, and to the point. And it's Sensodyne the toothpaste known for sensitivity teeth. Why complicate a message when it can be simple. And yes, the ad exists in Arabic and French as well.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Google goes berserk on international women's day - with a glitch in Arabic

Google just went berserk on international women's day but whereas it managed to write "woman" in all possible languages it wrote "women" (plural) in Arabic (Nissa2 instead oX Imara2a). Still here are the quotes (sorry the numbers are jumbled due to me saving the quotes per the person's name).

Malak al Tawouk goes lent without mentionning it.

Malak al Tawouk, went with a lent ad without mentionning the word, opting for the code word "fish" instead. "3mol mnih w kol min el ba7r" which is a twist on the classic expression "3mol mnih w kib bil ba7r" losely translated as "do well and throw in the sea" - meaning "do not wait for a return (in the jargon of Malak al Tawouk it means "do well and eat from the sea").
All this reminds me of another major brand that played on the same expression. Byblos bank whose selling line was "do well and do not throw in the sea" (meaning "keep them safe). The ad dates back to circa 1993, so yes people - this dates me.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Little Angels - Animal Rescue League - Man's Best Friend

So here's an ad that ticks all boxes and does so brilliantly - and it comes from DDB Dubai. "Adopt responsibly" and done for Little Angels - Animal Rescue League (see full ad here). Really, when it gets to the punch line "you may have forgotten them but they haven't forgotten you" - it's all engines going on turbo melting. Brilliant and incredibly moving.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Wooden Bakery - lent edition

So lent is upon us, Wooden Bakery is no exception mentioning it. "At2in ma3kon" (we are fasting/abstaining with you - a small double endentre "we are passing by"). Ad is nice with one small issue - the image is so incredibly unappealing! As it shows the sandwich does not tempt me in any way sadly.

Jalsaghar album Atypicalman is out!

And here we are, the Jalsaghar album "Atypicalman" is out.
Check it, sample it & buy it here!
Jalsaghar (The Music Room in bengali, inspired by Satyajit Ray's film) is the solo project of Parisian-based composer, producer and performer Jérémie Regnier.
Born of a passion for theatrical performance and 1960 and 70's psych, rock and baroque pop, Jalsaghar's songwriting and performances explore an intimate aesthetic of decadence and washed-out splendor.
You might remember Jérémie Regnier as part of the local Lebanese sensation "The New Government" in the mid oughts, or as composer of the Haussmann Tree (a rock project which was built around my own poems, humbly) along with his brother Thimotee (now known as indie artist "Rover").
Now all on his own, Jérémie is out with his own debut album. And yes, some lyrics are indeed mine.
It's been a long ride, but here we are.  The sound is louche, lugubre, and certainly adult, which is forged by age, experience and that sensation of wandering that engulfs the whole album. I am glad I was part of this project - even from afar.