[Published here May 25, 2014]
SYRIAN EMBASSY, Yarzeh — Hundreds of thousands of Syrians today headed to the Syrian embassy in Yarzeh, southeast of Beirut, to cast their vote for Syria’s next president. The Hazmieh highway was clogged with cars as early as 8 a.m.; drivers waved the Syrian flag out of cars plastered with posters of Syrian president and incumbent candidate Bashar al-Assad. But chaos at the embassy and a disorganized voting process complicated many Syrians’ attempts to vote.
[Published here May 15, 2014]
Driving licenses, university diplomas, and votes: everything’s for sale, even your rights. Such is the motto of Dekkenet al-Balad, which translates to “Country Store,” the newly opened storefront on Beirut’s Gemmayze Street. Neatly stacked throughout the small shop are buckets full of forged Lebanese ID cards, binders labeled “List of government positions for Maronites only,” and stacks of counterfeit Lebanese government paperwork. A young employee hurriedly sifts through a cardboard box to find a customer precisely the document she needs – for a fee, of course.