Red Oak Club tackles civil marriage in Lebanon

MARCH 03, 2015
AUB Yearbook exhibits real-life
Throwback Thursday
Chermine Sleiman Haidar
Staff Writer
The Instagram hashtag
#throwbackthursday has
been widely overused, but
the AUB Yearbook has decided to bring us, in similar fashion, a stunning
real-life throwback, with
an exhibition of pictures
from 1963–2010.
The AUB Throwback
event took place in the
West Hall Common
Room, and was set for
February 23 and 24. The
Yearbookextended the exhibition until the end of
the week after the hype it
created and the large audience it attracted.
Continued on page 9
Vol.XLVII, No. 15
Malcolm X
returns to speak
at AUB
Yusra Bitar
Staff Writer
The Narratives of Hope
project hosted an event
entitled “Malcolm X Returns” in West Hall last
Monday. Fifty one years
ago, Malcolm X was rejected as a speaker at the
American University of
Beirut because he was
seen as “Un-American,”
which was considered unacceptable on American
On the 50th anniversary
of his assassination, he
returns and is welcome at
our university. Talented
actor Jamal Awar embod-
ied Malcolm X on the
Bathish Auditorium stage
last week, performing a
monologue written and
directed by AUB professor Tareq Mehmood Ali
as part of the commemorative event. Preceding
Awar’s performance was a
talk by Ajamu Baraka and
Daniel Drennan, which
began by delving into the
notion of racism today in
Ferguson and worldwide.
This was followed by a
comparison of the recent
police brutality in Ferguson to the situation in Palestine.
Article on page 3
Miss AUB 1963 holds a poster of her younger self at the exhibition in West Hall
Tamara El Jurdi
Staff Writer
Khaled was given his
father’s kiosk at a young
age, and has vowed that
the business will end with
him. A father of five, he
has been working for
years in order to educate
and care for his children.
With a kid in Dubai, another in Jordan, and the
rest with university degrees, he considers his life
a success story.
However, his success
was no small feat. Khaled,
more commonly known
as “Abou Dekhan,” owns
a small kiosk in Hamra,
next to Neighbors. He
runs it from the building’s
entrance, and works only
in the afternoon, usually
starting at 5 PM until late
into the night.
When asked what sets
him apart from other
mini-markets, he said, “I
have cigarettes that aren’t
readily available in the
market. I actually have almost every brand known
to the people here.” He
gets them from the duty
free, sells them at market price, and pockets the
But is it legal? “Not exactly,” he says, “the Darak
(army men) have fined me
multiple times. They pass
by and look through the
products. The total value
of anything they don’t
consider ‘legal’ is multiplied by five, and that’s
how much they fine me.”
He has been fined multiple times, sometimes
sums up to LL 3.5 million.
Continued on page 9
Red Oak Club tackles civil
marriage in Lebanon
Dana Kambris
Staff Writer
Abou Dekhan predicts
gloomy future
Researcher and activist
Talal Al-Husseini stood
center stage in Bathish auditorium last Tuesday as
the Red Oak Club’s guest
speaker at their second
lecture of the semester,
entitled “Civil Marriage:
Obstacles and Fate.” The
aim of the discussion, according to the club, was
to raise awareness about
Lebanese citizens’ right to
Continued on page 3
MARCH 03, 2015
Psychology not theology: How ISIS recruits
Over 20,000 westerners have been recruited by ISIS so
far according to the Associated Press. Recent reports have
indicated that the Islamic State boasts around 200,000
fighters, larger than most of the region’s available military
However, the matter of concern here is not “how many,”
but rather “how.” By unraveling the theological layer of
the process, analysts such as Arie W Kruglanksi have discovered that the answer lies not within the theology, but
rather in the psychology.
Two psychological motives contributing to the recruitment of outsiders are the “need for cognitive closure” and
the “need for personal significance.” The need for closure
results in the search for certainty and the eradication of
ambiguity. It is the need to feel reassured about the future
and the fear of the uncertain.
Waves of immigration caused a clash of civilizations
which, coupled with recent a economic depression, have
left political orders in our region to weaken, hence creating anxiety and hesitation amongst young and rebellious
men and women.
PSPA professor Lina Haddad Kreidie states that the
“men and women who join this group are those who are
facing personal uncertainty, no job, helplessness, low selfesteem, and in need of attention. Such individuals are easily recruited by groups that have easy answers: good or
evil, right or wrong, and not much to choose from.”
According to the Natural Science Foundation, a strong
correlation between the need for closure and extremism
has been found regardless of cultural background, seeing
as more than 90 countries are now represented in ISIS.
The other psychological motive is the quest for significance. This quest involves the promised status of heroes
and martyrs who have fought against the “infidels,” fuelled
by exploiting calamities that the targets may feel passionate about, such as the Muslims suffering in Iraq, Palestine,
Ali Nasrallah
Contributing Writer
Afghanistan and so on, in order to amplify the frustration
of uncertain youths who feel alienated and lack a sense of
The appeal to one’s degraded identity and the portrayal
of the group’s humiliation can entice otherwise promising
individuals to seek personal significance through expressing aggression. Nasser Muthanna (pictured center), once
an aspiring medical student in Cardiff, left his family and
education to join ISIS, and was later joined by his 17-yearold brother Aseel.
Such individuals are easily recruited
by groups that have easy answers:
good or evil, right or wrong, and not
much to choose from
ISIS utilizes these psychological impulses by offering
a quick solution to them via two primeval human instincts; aggression and sex. ISIS is strategically using sex
as a reward for the aggression that its fighters inflict and
have focused its efforts on recruiting, as well as enslaving
women, which can catalyze the drafting of more men. The
establishment of “sexual jihad” in accordance to several
new fatwas by ISIS clerics has acted as a facilitator towards
aggression and battle. Martyrdom is also associated with
sexual bliss in order to further tempt excessive hostility.
In addition to men and women joining the fighting
ranks of ISIS, some children have taken that path as well.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 194 cases of
non-civilian children deaths have been recorded since
September 2011. Child-recruits told the Human Rights
Watch that their reasons for joining varied, and included
seeking revenge against government security forces who
detained and tortured them; reacting to the closure of
their schools or being expelled for family political affiliations; and simply due to their own desire to go into battle.
The minds behind this elaborate recruitment process are
“well trained, financed, and tech savvy.” As Professor Kreidie states, “Their goal is to attract more of the delusional
young men and women, gather them in one region-namely the Arab part of the Levant, and hence change it from
the cradle of civilizations to the grave of civilizations.”
Russian opposition leader gunned down in Moscow
Cynthia Saghir
Staff Writer
Boris Nemtsov, a fervent critic of Russian president
Vladimir Putin was shot near the Kremlin on Saturday.
A gunman reportedly fired six to seven shots at him from
an open window, where the body laid for an hour or so
before placed in a black bag and driven away at 1:40 AM.
Nemtsov was a 55-year old former Russian deputy
prime minister, and the leader of the opposition movement against the Kremlin. Days before his murder, he was
meant to lead a march against the war in Kiev, Ukraine,
and had documents that proved the Kremlin had orchestrated what is now the Crimean War. He accused Putin of
“committing a crime” by annexing Crimea.
Several sources and investigators report that this murder
corresponded to a contract killing, as a part of a larger
plot to either cause greater outrage towards Yeltsin’s successor Putin, or to rid Russia of any further opposition.
However, Putin immediately sent his condolences to the
opposition, and reduced the incident to a provocation.
Putin also placed his top enforcement chiefs to investigate
Nemtsov’s killing. Dmitry Peskov, the president’ spokesman said: “Putin noted that this cruel murder has all the
makings of a contract hit and is extremely provocative.”
The murder had also immediately reached the White
House, where President Barack Obama called for the Russian government to conduct a “prompt, impartial and
transparent” investigation to bring the culprits to justice.
Senator John Kerry also took to the stage to speak of
Nemtsov and is continuous attempt to establish better
relation with the United States, and further praised his
democratic intents.
Days before his murder, he was
meant to lead a march against the
war in Kiev, Ukraine, and had proof
that the Kremlin orchestrated what is
now the Crimean War.
Hours before his death, Nemtsov posted his last tweet
and urged the divided opposition to unite on March 1.
“If you support stopping Russia’s war with Ukraine, if you
support stopping Putin’s aggression, come to the Spring
March in Maryino on 1 March,” he wrote.
It was reported that Nemtsov’s call for this alliance in an
attempt to garner a crowd of 100,000 people in front of
the Kremlin, in order to convey a point to Putin and his
infamous Cronies. Ironically, he met his doom a few miles
away from the Kremlin itself.
Nemtsov murder only enraged the opposition, to which
the murder is now being seen as an assassination and has
created even more dissent and resentment towards the
Kremlin. Mikhail Kasyanov, another former deputy prime
minister angrily stated, in regard to the investigation of
Nemstov’s murder, “There can be only one version...that
he was shot for telling the truth.”
Nemtsov was known to be outspoken, in terms of his
opposition to the Kremlin, such that he often went on radio shows and once demanded, “Why do you lie, Mr. Putin, commander-in-chief?” on air. He was also seen as an
energetic figure to whom “free-thinking” Russian people
could relate.
The Russian police have not yet reached a conclusion
for the possible motive of the killing, and have not yet apprehended any suspects. Police did however, search Nemstov’s apartment in Moscow the morning of the murder.
It is hard to tell what might become of the Russian
people opposition movement, but a voice can be taken
into consideration that of Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet
Union’s last leader. Gorbachev expressed the rise of tension between Putin and the nationalist support following
his handling of the Ukrainian crisis. Gorbachev had allegedly said: “The murder of Boris Nemtsov is an attempt
to complicate the situation, maybe even to destabilize the
situation in the country.”
MARCH 03, 2015
Red Oak Club tackles civil marriage in Lebanon
a civil marriage, explain the political deadlock that civil
marriage is caught up in today, and convince the attendees to participate in a related protest on Sunday, March 1.
Al-Husseini, member of the Civil Committee for the
Freedom of Choice, began by clarifying that citizens’
faiths are still indicated on governmental records, unlawfully so. He claims that not only is it against the Lebanese
Constitution to indicate newborns’ faiths on their birth
certificate, but also against basic human rights. Al-Husseini believes that this injustice stems from the sectarian
system in place in Lebanon, which hijacked the original
civil state.
Many assume that civil marriage does not conform with
the Constitution, to which the lecturer vehemently disagrees. “The first civil marriage in Lebanon [that of Khulood Sukkarieh and Nidal Darwish in 2013] was carried
on the basis of applying the law, and not on a demand of
a new law,” he says. The aforementioned law figures under
Article 60 of the Constitution, dated from 1963, he adds.
Then why is it so hard to get a civil marriage in Lebanon?
Al-Husseini argues that this is due to the lack of a “civil
law for a fair legislative process regulating marriages.”
Moreover, he accuses the many political and religious figures that are going out of their way to obstruct the happenings of civil marriages. He gives the example of the
Minister of Interior Nouhad Machnouk, who is refusing
to give recently married couples their certificates. He referred to the minister’s viewpoint as similar to ISIS, stating “his position is very Daesh-like, he is against freedom
Continued from page 1
of choice.”
The following Q&A session reflected the passion the attendees had for this issue. One asked if Al-Husseini thinks
that those who wrote-off their faiths from their legal documents should mobilize and march to the Parliament. Others asked about Al-Husseini’s reply to those who say that
Lebanon has bigger issues to deal with, and that Cyprus is
nearby anyway. The audience left the hall satisfied with the
answers they got, clinging a little bit tighter to their cause.
However, not much was said about the fate of civil mar-
riage; it appears that it will be determined by the outcome
of the protest. When asked about how the issue of civil
marriage pertains to the mission statement of The Red
Oak Club, its president Anthony Chahine answered that
the values of equality and freedom of choice fall in line
with the club’s attitudes.
“There is also the economic dimension of it,” adds another member, “religious figures are reaping lots of profit
from religious marriages, whereas this profit should be
going to the government.”
Malcolm X returns: From Palestine to Ferguson
It was surprising to find Malcolm X in West Hall giving
a speech last Monday, seeing as he was assassinated and
died as a result of 21 gunshots wounds on February 21,
1965. In fact, talented actor Jamal Awar embodied Malcolm X on the Bathish Auditorium stage last week, performing a monologue written and directed by AUB professor Tareq Mehmood Ali, as part of a commemorative
event hosted by the Narratives of Hope project.
The main point of his monologue revolved around the
notion that Islamophobia and racism are simply inseparable as they are both the “oxygen of hate.” Preceding
X’s performance was a talk given by Ajamu Baraka and
Daniel Drennan, both humble considering their impressive resumes. Baraka started the talk by discussing racism
today in Ferguson and worldwide.
Considering the various examples of oppressed people
worldwide, from Palestine to Ferguson, Baraka said that
there is a “critical need to organize and unite among ourselves” (the oppressed against the common enemy). This
foe is rooted in the colonial enterprise and is part of a universal struggle.
Unfortunately, the marginalized and oppressed suppress
their anger, allowing for radicalization and petty crime
which sends them to jail, a pattern that Malcolm X was
no stranger to, which Baraka attributed to the psychological effect of white supremacy. Baraka adds that the only
way for “authentic liberation is if it follows psychological
decolonization”, since “whiteness” is an ideological framework and is not just a race. The concept has become so
normalized that people do not see it.
This was followed by a comparison of the recent police
brutality in Ferguson to the situation in Palestine. Ferguson’s police force was trained in Israel, which solidified the
solidarity connection with Palestine.
A question from the audience was in reference to how
fair it was to compare the complex Palestinian problem to
that of Ferguson. Baraka agreed that they are not on the
same level but proceeded to say that they are the same in
the sense that they are a result of settler colonial experience, which is all about the fundamental power dynamics.
Hashtags in reference to this issue was definitely on the
rise for Malcolm’s 50-year commemoration with #malcolmtaughtme trending on Twitter in remembrance of
him. Unfortunately, Bakara added that slogans are not
action since complaining against a system that does not
care about the oppressed to begin with is counterintuitive.
Daniel Drennan supported Baraka’s argument by elaborating on the media’s role and how it reinforces a discrimination. This is also in regards to the constant sense
of “othering” when it comes to the reductionary images
shown on TV and in movies. What is his solution to this?
Perhaps the prevalence of more non-reducible portrayals.
Another question was concerning racism in the Arab
world. Obviously there is an extent of solidarity between
Palestinians and African Americans. However, there is no
denying that racism is alive and well in the Arab world,
especially in Lebanon. Baraka responded to that by agreeing and reminding the audience to remember the history
of colonialism in the region as an explanation for it.
The world still has a long way to go in terms of eradicating racism, discrimination, and all forms of oppression,
but Malcolm X was one of few who somehow put us on
the right track.
Yusra Bitar
Staff Writer
MARCH 03, 2015
Activists march for civil marriage
Approximately 2000 people marched from the American University of Beirut’s Main Gate to the Ministry of
Interior and Municipalities in Sanayeh, to protest for civil
marriage in Lebanon. The march was set up by civil society organizations, in addition to AUB’s Secular and Red
Oak Club. It encompassed people of all ages demanding
civil rights in the form of civil marriage.
Demonstrators carried banners and signs protesting for
civil rights. Chants demanding a secular state in which
the people would be recognized as citizens first, rather
than members of their respective sets echoed throughout
the march. “I feel the overall spirit of the protest was very
good, people were yelling at the top of their lungs and excited to see young students like us taking part,” said president of the AUB Secular Club Poliana Geha.
Many activists hoped that making civil marriage a regular occurrence could help facilitate the path towards a
civil state. “The protest was a first step towards our ultimate goal which is to have a civil state that recognizes and
respects every citizen’s civil rights and duties,” Geha told
Lebanese citizens regularly travel to Cyprus to perform
civil marriages, and even though it is a common occurrence, the marchers demanded the right for a civil marriage in their own country. The Lebanese government recognizes civil marriages performed in other countries, but
not in Lebanon itself.
However, there have been many occurrences of civil
Shereen El Ladki
News Editor
marriage in the country, with Khouloud Succariyeh and
Nidal Darwish being the first couple to officially register
a civil marriage contract in Lebanon. Nevertheless, since
their marriage in 2012 many other couples have tried and
failed to do the same.
Succariyeh and Darwish were able to obtain a civil marriage in Lebanon, by first striking out both their sects
from their IDs. Therefore in accordance to Article 60 L.R.,
which recognizes sects, and states that those not affiliated
with sects are subject to civil law, the couple was subject
to a few more formalities before getting married. These
included obtaining a signed form from the mayor, and
announcing their upcoming marriage 15 days prior to ensure no objections.
Many protesters targeted Interior Minister Nouhad
Machnouk. One demonstrator held up a sign with an old
Facebook post of the minister’s, in which he stated that he
supports civil marriage.
However, since then, the Machnouk has changed his
stance on civil marriage, stating, “Cyprus is not far”, implying that those who want civil marriage can simply go
to Cyprus.
Machnouk responded to the protests on Monday. In a
quote published by Al-Akhbar Machnouk said, “My position on civil marriage will not change. Civil marriage is
not an administrative decision-making. The solution lies
only with a civil law regarding personal status issues. Let
them [activists] go to Parliament and demand a civil law
on personal status, then I will be the first on to sign [the
civil marriage contracts].”
MARCH 03, 2015
Staff List
Talia Abbas
It may catch you off guard:
University students thinking
about where and when they
will be married; after all, the
average senior student is
fighting with their boyfriend
or girlfriend,typing up master’s
applications, cover letters and
attending job interviews – not
planning their wedding (even
though some are, and that’s
alright just the same).
But this isn’t about a ring on
your finger; it’s about basic
Following the Red Oak Club’s
lecture last week Tuesday
in West Hall titled “Civil
Marriage: Obstacles and
Fate,” which ended with a
call for protests, hundreds
of students and activists
marched on Sunday March
1stfrom AUB’s campus to the
Interior Ministry demanding
Lebanon’s support of civil
Huddled in front the
Interior Ministry, protesters
waved banners and hurled
and civil rights. Many of
the banners were targeting
Lebanon’s Interior Minister
NouhadMachnouk, who is
being accused of thwarting
the official recognition of civil
marriage contracts performed
on Lebanese soil.
In his latest statement
published yesterday in AlAkhbar,
his stance on civil marriage
would not change, as it is not
While the Lebanese
civil marriages between its
citizens that were performed
abroad (Machnouk suggests
Cyprus as destination), there
is currently no legal procedure
that recognizes unions carried
out in Lebanon.
There has only been
oneapproved civil marriage
in Lebanon to date: that
took place last year after the
couple removed their sects
from their official documents.
According to an article in
the Daily Star, there have
been more than 50 civil
marriages in Lebanonsince
Nidal and Kholoud; however,
the government has not
recognized most of them.
Why not? Is it because the
Lebanese government wants
its citizens to hold on to their
religious identity?
Is it because a more secular
state threatens the current
political agenda? Or does
the stalemate take root in
economic interests, where
allegedly reaping exorbitant
amounts of money from
Lebanon’s ongoing state of
affairs. These are all questions
that come to mind when
contemplating the past and
future of civil marriage in
Taking a step back, the
issue at hand is much
larger; Lebanon’s prevalent
sectarianism reinforces the
government’s legislation, so as
long as segregation prevails,
so will the rest of our plights.
Then again, according to
Machnouk, “the solution lies
only with a civil law regarding
personal status issues.
Let them go to Parliament and
demand a civil law on personal
Contact us:
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@Outlook AUB
Talal Nizameddin
Talia Abbas
Managing Editor
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News Editor
Shereen El Ladki
Business Editor
Mohamad Saleh
Opinions Editor
Azza El Masri
Arts and Culture Editor
Vicken Margossian
Community Editor
Linda Bou Ali
Lifestyle Editor
Dana Abed
Layout Editor
Maha Haider
Web Editor
Joy Waked
Social Media Manager
Hania Osta
Business Manager
Bassel Abdallah
Photography Editor
Philippa Dahrouj
Staff Writers
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Camille Mroue
Cynthia Saghir
Chermine Sleiman Haidar
Carole Hassan
Dana Kambris
Fatima Kazma
Firas Haidar
Imad El Hassan
Jane Nasr
Jason Lemon
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Lama Miri
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Meer Rashid
Malak El Sabeh
Mohamad Al Chamaa
Nerses Arslanian
Noor Barrage
Rayan Al Arab
Razan Mneimneh
Roni Rafeh
Serine Haidar Ahmad
Tala Ladki
Tamara El Jurdi
Yara Beaini
Yusra Bitar
Ziad Lawen
Outlook is a weekly publication of the American University
of Beirut (AUB) and represents the voice of the student body.
It is an independent, non-affiliated publication that favors no
ethnic, religious or political group. All columns, articles and
reports are the property of Outlook and do not necessarily
represent the views of Outlook or the AUB community. No
part of this publication may be reproduced in any way, shape
or form without the written consent of Outlook and/or higher
authorities. Outlook reserves the right to edit all material.
A. U. SHI Comics
This comics section is the result of a workshop
offered by comics artist Barrack Rima at the
department of Architecture and Design, with
the support of the Mu’taz and Rada Sawwaf
Arabic Comics initiative.
© Participants:
Sara Kishly
Diana Itawi
Aya Krisht
Karol El Masri
Elia Tawil
Riham El Ghoseini
Panel 1: “I want to ask you.”
Panel 2: “What do you think of the situation?” “Bad...”
Panel 3: “I have a college degree in banking; however, I am still working in this little shop. I also have a kid.
I am working everyday so he won’t have to go though this as well.”
“So there still is hope...” “yea...”
By: Diana Itawl
Brief introduction to the
The USFC Newsletter is a monthly publication to
reach out to the students. The newsletter will publish
decisions taken by the USFC and include the activities
of the USFC for the month. This first introductory issue is meant to elucidate to AUB students the responsibilities of the USFC.
MARCH 03, 2015
The USFC Committee
Information and Public Relations Committee
Fawzia Othman, Sarah Bahr, Nour Haddad, Hana Salem
The information/PR committee is responsible for communicating between the USFC and the student body; this includes informing the student body about the different decisions taken and the activities being done by the USFC. This
committee also assists the secretary.
Finance Committee
Who we are:
The USFC is a body made of students and faculty
members which represent all AUB students. Each faculty is represented by a certain number of students
that are elected by the students of the specific faculty
directly, and the number of students representing the
faculty depends on the size of the given faculty. The
exact composition of each faculty in the USFC can be
found in the bylaws on the AUB website. The USFC is
chaired by the President when available and by the VP
when the President is absent.
The members of the USFC for the academic year of
2014/15 are:
Issam Chmaitilly (VP)
Nour El Haddad (Secretary)
Farid Khaddaj (Treasurer)
Ali Zeineddine
Anthony Abou Nader
Cesar Yazbeck,
Charbel Abboud
Fawzia Osman
Hana Salem
Jaymie Frangieh
Judy Hussein
Loulya Halawany
Maribelle Komives
Meer Ako Ali
Mohammad Chahrour
Sahar El Ferekh
Sarah Bahr
Zakaria Haidar
Charbel Abboud, Loulya Halwani, Farid Khaddaj, Cesar Yazbeck
The finance committee is responsible for reviewing funding applications, ensuring that they are complete and presenting them to the USFC in a report. This committee is also responsible for preparing the USFC budget report and
helping the treasurer in his duties.
To apply for a funding request whether it was an individual one or through a club, students will have to fill a proposal
application and send it to the student affairs office and to the USFC email address. This funding request form includes
the event’s information and its relevance, the details of the organization applying for it and a detailed prescription of
the expenses. These forms can be found on the USFC page on the AUB website.
Bylaws committee
Anthony Abou Nader, Mohammad Ali Chahrour, Issam Chmaitilly
The bylaws committee ensures that the operations and the work done by the USFC are in accordance with the bylaws
that can also be found on the USFC page on the AUB website. This committee also suggests new amendments to the
existing bylaws.
Senate Committee Representatives:
The Senate Committee Representatives are non-voting USFC members that represent the USFC in their respective
committee. They also represent all the student body; in fact, to voice any issues or suggestions in the Senate Committees, you can contact the USFC representative for it.
Senate Committee Representatives:
Freshmen: Fawzia Othman
Sophomores: CharbelAbboud
Academic Development
Mohammad Ali Chahrour
Student Affairs Committee
Maribelle Komives
Disciplinary Committee
What we do:
The USFC meets every two weeks to discuss and take
decisions on different issues that include individual
student funding, student life, AUB campus life, clubs
funding, disciplinary and academic issues, in addition
to other various topics. The authority of the USFC
covers the use of the money collected from AUB students in order to fund clubs and activities, as well as
to speak on behalf and represent the AUB community
and voice their concerns. The USFC operates and acts
in the interest of the student body and the university as
a whole. A complete and detailed list of responsibilities
can be found in the Bylaws.
Anthony Abou Nader
Library Commmittee
Sahar Ferekh
Vice President
The VP of the USFC shall serve as spokesperson to communicate decisions adopted by USFC and approved by the
president of the University. The VP shall also supervise, alongside the Office of Student Affairs, the operational administration of the USFC and its sub-committees.
The secretary shall keep the minutes of the USFC meetings. S/he shall send copies to all members of the USFC. The
secretary shall also record attendance of USFC members and also keep lists of membership to USFC sub-committees
and of USFC members on other university committees. The secretary shall also maintain and develop archives for the
Contact Us:
Email: [email protected]
Office: West Hall, Floor 3, Room 328
Phone: 01 350 000 (Ext: 3185)
The treasurer shall be responsible for the receipt and disbursement of all funds of the USFC. S/he shall make quarterly
reports to the USFC and an audited final report at the last meeting of the year, in June. All accounts of the USFC must
be cleared through the Office of the Comptroller.
MARCH 03, 2015
UEFA Champions League:
Arsenal disappoint,
Spanish Giants rally, and
an interesting set of draws.
Rifaat Fakih
Contributing Writer
The knockout stage of the
UEFA Champions league recorded diverse results, some of
which were utterly surprising.
The biggest shock to all football fans in this round of last
16 was the Arsenal – Monaco
matchup. In a match where
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger
described the team as “suicidal
defensively,” Arsenal’s hopes
of reaching the quarter finals
of the Champions League for
the first time since 2010 were
eclipsed behind a well-organized Monaco. As focused as
ever, Monaco did not waste
any opportunity; scoring two
additional goals past Colombian goalkeeper, David Ospina.
Arsenal saw a glimpse of
hope when sub Oxlade-Chamberlain scored from outside
the box at the 90’ minute.
Short after, a mistake from the
goal scorer slimmed Arsenal’s
chances of moving through
in the competition, and then
Monaco sub Ferreira-Carrasco
shot a ball that hit the wood
and landed in, bringing the
score to 3-1. Arsenal now must
score three goals to qualify.
Can the Arsenal players reconcile their fans by pulling a miracle in Monaco on March 17?
Champions Real Madrid rallied past a Schalke team that
fought hard but fell short.
Ronaldo ended a three-game
goal drought as Real Madrid
took a step into the quarter finals by scoring two away goals.
The other Spanish giant, Barcelona, dominated Manchester
City at the Etihad. The team’s
display reminded the viewers
of Guardiola’s magical tikitaka Barça technique. A brace
from Luis Suarez helped the
Catalans top the English team,
whose only goal came from a
powerful strike of Aguero.
A second yellow for Manchester City player Clichy in the
second half helped Barcelona
take home the win.
Messi fell short from scoring
a third away goal for Barcelona, as his penalty was denied,
and he failed to head the ball
into an empty net after it ricocheted off the keeper.
Juventus edged a home win
against a troubled Borussia Dortmund side. Despite
equalizing few minutes after
Tevez hit for the men in black
and white, Dortmund couldn’t
respond to Juventus’ second
goal, which came from a careful strike of former Real Madrid player, Alvaro Morata.
Week 15 of Europe’s elite
football competition also witnessed a series of draws. Shaktar Donetsk successfully held
the Bavarian giants, Bayern
Munich to a goalless draw. In
a game where nine players saw
yellow, Basel managed to hold
down Porto at home.
Gonzalez scored first for Basel
before Porto were awarded a
late penalty which Danilo converted successfully for Porto.
Paris Saint Germain failed to
beat Premier League leaders
Chelsea. Despite having seven
shots on target, the French just
scored once from a Cavani
Chelsea successfully put in
their only shot on target that
came from Ivanovic’s header
after a sublime flick from Gary
Underdogs Bayer Leverkusen outplayed Atletico Madrid.
Leverkusen recorded a 66
percent possession rate, and
Calhanoglu secured the hosts’
win when he scored at the 57’
Atletico Madrid player Tiago
was sent off with 14 minutes
to play after receiving a second
yellow, and Fernando Torres’
celebration of his fourth goal
in his second spell at Atletico
Madrid was cut after the referee ruled out his close-range
A personal account of the truth behind
the misconceptions
Salwa Mansour
“What’s the first image that
comes to your mind when I say
eating disorder?”
“A bony girl.”
My friend is sitting across
from me, chewing lettuce with
loud, obnoxious crunches. I
fight the urge to grab his face
and scream something about
ignorance and his role in the
perpetuation of destructive stereotypes. If I had the energy, I
would break something against
his head and have him feel the
impact that those idiotic words
have on people struggling in silence. Instead, I grab a piece of
lettuce and place it in-between
my lips, my teeth slowly grinding it into oblivion.
I don’t remember how many
calories there are in a piece of
I do remember spending days
and nights pinching my thighs,
wondering how much longer
it would take for them to look
I once read a book about a girl
with an eating disorder, and I
remember one part in particular where the girl was described
walking down the street, feeling
the breeze gently pass through
the gap between her legs and
caress whatever was left of her
thighs. It sounded beautiful at
the time. I desperately wanted
to feel that.
However, no matter how
many days and months and
years I spent with a minimal
amount of fuel entering my system, I never looked like a skeleton. My mind was constantly
calculating calories consumed
and calories burned, but people
still said I looked healthy. I exercised till my knees collapsed
in the shower every single day,
but relatives still warned me
that my butt might grow as
large as my mother’s.
If I ever opened up to someone about my eating disorder
I could feel their eyes piercing
through my skin, looking at the
molecules of fat that still existed on my arms. I wasn’t skinny
enough to be severely anorexic.
Misconceptions like these are
extremely harmful to the people who don’t fit into the mold
of what an eating disorder is
usually portrayed as. The reality of the situation is that eating
disorders are not directly related to the way a person looks,
a person’s gender, or a person’s
dying wish to be skinny.
Mainstream media has shed
light on only one particular
form of eating disorder. In the
name of raising awareness,
movies about eating disorders
are made in which the main
character is a thin high school
girl who chooses not to eat as
she looks at images of thin celebrities online.
Although this a valid example of a person with an eating
disorder, there is so much more
that is not being said about
this issue. A physically healthy
person can have an eating disorder. A person who may be
categorized as obese can have
an eating disorder. A person
of any gender can have an eating disorder. An eighty year old
can have an eating disorder. A
nine year old can have an eating disorder. A person who
experienced sexual abuse as
a child and wants to prevent
their body from developing
into something that has the potential to be sexually objectified
can have an eating disorder.
I recently came across an article on written by
Amelia Tait.
In this article, Tait talks about
her own experience with an
eating disorder, stating “I took
out the yogurt, saw the ‘168 calories’ label, and couldn’t do it.
I was so terrified of dying, but
not enough to lift a spoonful of
yogurt to my lips. It wasn’t because I wanted to look like Kate
Moss. It wasn’t because I used
to idolize Snow White. It wasn’t
because I wanted to look like a
blonde, big-titted plastic doll.
It was because my brain was
That unpleasantly straightforward sentence has been ringing
in my ears ever since.
Eating disorders are mental illnesses that come in different
forms and can affect anyone for
whatever reason. It’s as simple
as that.
Of course, recovery is possible. As I was first recovering,
I had this overly-romanticized
view of life without an eating
disorder where everything was
perfect and I spent my time
laughing and eating strawberry scones, embracing every
new stretch mark that cracked
through my thighs.
That is not what recovery is
like. Now, I look at recovery as
a struggle.
It’s something I have to work
on every single day. When I
catch myself in the middle of
a relapse, I have to make a list
of all the reasons to recover and
tape it on to my forehead. It’s
been a while now and I’m still
recovering. I don’t even know
if there is such a thing as a full
recovery with zero traces of any
disordered thoughts or actions.
I do know that there is hope
and that people have the ability
to fight back.
I have personally met some
incredibly strong people who
have overcome their eating disorders and learned how to live
If you’re silently struggling
with any type of eating disorder, your struggles are real.
Even if it may seem like the rest
of the world doesn’t get it, it
only matters that you get it.
Dig a little deeper and you’ll
find a lot of people who get it,
too. Reach out for help.
MARCH 03, 2015
Quick and easy: 36 questions to make you fall in love
Carole Hassan
Staff Writer
It is rather hard to explain what is it to fall in love. How
about summarizing it by a simple set of questions? Dr.
Arthur Aron, a professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, set out to make this
Aron went through a journey of lab experiments to find
out whether two complete strangers are able to accelerate
the intimacy between them by asking some specific set of
questions. In fact, he came out with 36 different questions,
split into three sets of questions.
When asked face-to-face, you and your date can fall in
love with each other, as if Baby Cupid just shot you with
his arrow.
The first experiment took place in Aron’s lab in 1997.
One heterosexual male and female entered the room, sat
opposite each other and mutually asked the set of questions. Six months later, the couple was happily married.
The questions kick off as basic, but they slowly escalate
to rather more intimate and personal. By agreeing to answering the questions, you are opening up to the partner,
reaching a level of intimacy within a short period of time
and reducing the time gap between meeting someone and
trusting them with your darker self.
“One key pattern associated with the development of
a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating,
reciprocal, personal self-disclosure,” says Aron. The main
theory behind this research lies on the fact that mutual
vulnerability enhances closeness. All the questions will be
listed below, quoted from “To Fall in Love with Anyone,
Do this,” a book by Mandy Len Catron:
Set I
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would
you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse
what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either
the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of
your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have
in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were
raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story
in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one
quality or ability, what would it be?
Set II
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself,
your life, the future or anything else, what would you want
to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a
long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly,
would you change anything about the way you are now
living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive
characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your
childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance,
“We are both in this room feeling ... “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with
whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your
partner, please share what would be important for him or
her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very
honest this time, saying things that you might not say to
someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in
your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to
communicate with anyone, what would you most regret
not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches
fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time
to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What
would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would
you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about
the problem you have chosen.
Will you dare to try this trick next time you are on a date
with an attractive fellow other?
Ido Portal and the art of movement
As university students and clerical workers, we often
find ourselves sitting for hours, listening to lectures, taking notes, and working behind our desks. As we complete
our working hours and seek rest for the few hours left
in the day, we lie back on the couch at home or sit with
friends in cafes.
As human beings, we have separated ourselves from
our animalistic foundations. Our capability of linking the
mind and the body is an exceptional tool only available to
us, yet we often fail to take proper advantage of it, or even
try to improve it.
A flashback to our childhood reminds us of a time where
jumping, hanging and wrestling for hours with siblings
and friends were activities we used to do on a daily basis,
and are almost extinct from our lives as adults. Everything, as a child, is interesting: a monkey bar to hang off,
a bed to jump on, someone to wrestle with.
Ido Portal does not fail to embrace his more primal human nature. In his own words, he is a “Mover.” Portal initialized a movement around the world with the purpose
of educating people about the benefits of “living life more
dynamically,” as his website explains. Portal spreads his
motivational plan through his website, blog and Facebook
page, but also through workshops around the world.
Portal grew up practicing diverse martial arts. At the age
of 15 he began practicing the martial art of Afro-Brazilian
Imad El Hassan
Staff Writer
Capoeira. The practice of Capoeira made him realize that
he is obsessed with movement.
“That epiphany got me to embark on a journey to study
from ‘Movement Teachers.’ After countless searches, I
could not find anyone who honestly could represent that
and believe me I’ve searched around the world,” states
Portal on his webpage. Portal continued to study multiple
different and diverse Movement arts such as Yoga, Dance,
Gymnastics, Circus arts and much more.
The so-called specific sports that include movement often fail to cultivate the absurd idea of movement by itself
as they lack some basic tools to deal with movement at the
higher levels, beyond the activity that is being performed.
As Portal puts it, “Movement is BIG. Bigger than any specific movement discipline and it contains within it HUGE
‘worlds’[...]. Specializing is great, but beyond our special-
ties, we are all HUMAN first, MOVERS second and only
Portal is a strong proponent for the mastery of nothing, yet the adaptation to everything. Similar to Bruce
Lee’s philosophy “Be Like Water,” Portal believes in the
capability of “Self-Dominance” or the ability to move
your own self, your own body, smoothly and efficiently.
For example, multiple MMA matches have been lost due
to a broken arm; however, multiple MMA matches have
been won despite a broken arm. You need to have “SelfDominance” over your body, your daily tool.
As the mind needs to be nourished with education, so
does the body with active movement.
to stay healthy, one should combine healthy eating with
proper fitness. So move. Move freely, and unleash the potential of your bodies which are designed to be malleable.
MARCH 03, 2015
Abou Dekhan predicts
gloomy future
Continued from page 1
So why keep doing it? “Why
else would people buy from me?
I have products no one else has,
that’s why my customers come
and that’s how I make a living.”
Abou Dekhan is also known
to be one of the only dokha
suppliers in the area. Dokha is
a form of tobacco commonly
consumed in the UAE. “The first
time someone came and asked
me about dokha, a few years
ago, I threw a fit and kicked him
out. I thought he was asking me
for drugs. Only later on did I
find out what it was and that it
was legal. I started shipping it
in from the UAE. It’s becoming
more common here.”
Khaled has seen many other
things become common in recent years. “I’m a traditional
man,” he says, “I don’t understand how young men these
days don’t pay for their girlfriends. I’m not denouncing
women, I’m just wondering
where chivalry has gone. Every
time a couple pass by the store,
she pays. It’s something I cannot
He also claimed Beirut is suffering from a serious drug
problem. “I sell rolling paper
and filters—for the tobacco I
also sell, known as ‘Dekhan
Arabeh,’ but I can tell who
AUB Yearbook exhibits real-life
Throwback Thursday
buys rolling paper for different
purposes. What shocks me the
most is how many young girls,
probably in their first year of
university, buy consistently. A
few years back, whenever someone would ask for rolling paper,
they’d come close and lower
their voice. These days, no one
cares anymore, no one has a
hint of shame.”
Khaled sees things going from
worse to worse; “I only see darkness on the horizon,” adding
that “the economy is plummeting.”
“Stores in Hamra open and
close in a matter of months.
It’s as if owners are trying their
luck, and lately there hasn’t
been much of it.” Khaled, very
much a patriot, has given up on
the country. “I used to feel like
I was immigrating if I stood at
the other end of Hamra, but the
future is so bleak that I’m hoping to leave soon. There’s nothing left for me here anymore,” he
says with despair and sadness.
The conversation was then
interrupted by a couple who
wanted two packs of Marlboro
Lights. “6500,” Khaled said,
handing them the packs. Sure
enough, she paid. He turned to
me and said, “You see? There is
no hope in the country, because
there is no hope in the future
Continued from page 1
The exhibition was not an
arbitrary series of vintage photos appended to blackboards,
but rather a conscientious edit
of archives, hand-picked by
members of the Yearbook Club.
The images, as seen at the event,
were organized in a way that
take you on a stroll through
AUB’s memory lane.
The photos that were displayed
put in evidence, for each and
every one of us, how times have
changed, and how everything
now is almost radically different from how it was in 19th
century. The students dressed
differently—no skinny jeans, for
instance—and wore their hair
and makeup differently. The
logos and posters of AUB slowly
altered with time.
The quality of pictures evolved
year after year. What seems to
have remained the same are
AUB’s buildings, what we might
be calling monuments in a few
Not only did the exhibition attract a large number of students,
but it also generated some excitement and media exposure.
The event was covered by various media outlets, such as AlHurra TV, Télé Lumière, Al Nahar, and Orbit TV, according to
Meer Ali, Editor-in-Chief of the
AUB yearbook.
The guests who were most
lured by the exhibition were the
AUB alumni members because
it allowed them to find their
Cherry on Top: not your average home bakery
Tala Ladki
Staff Writer
Have you ever had an aspiration that you so desperately
wanted to achieve but were afraid to? It’s people like Farah
El Mawla who show us the importance of pursuing what
we believe to be impossible. With her new concept, Cherry on Top, Farah has managed to win Lebanese hearts
with her delectable and one-of-a-kind desserts.
Cherry on Top is a play on traditional home bakeries.
Started and owned by Farah, who is currently a business
junior at AUB, Cherry on Top officially launched a few
weeks ago.
“I’ve always had a passion for baking,” says Farah. She
explains that baking was a significant aspect of her childhood, and something she was constantly praised for by
her family. The irony is that she never tries her desserts,
as she fears not meeting her own expectations. Yet, when
more people started trying her desserts, she finally received that push that she needed to go ahead and start
her own business. She knew the risks, and after a lot of
thought and nights of crunching numbers, Farah decided
to dive into it.
The name Cherry on Top came to be after Farah and
some of her friends brainstormed different ideas. With
help from her friends, Farah managed to create a logo,
start an Instagram account, and attract hundreds of followers all in just a few days. With social media being so
accessible to everyone, it is no wonder that orders have
been pouring in since day one.
What differentiates Cherry on Top from other wellknown home-based bakeries is Farah’s concept of customization. Alongside her standard cakes, chocolate bar
cakes (Lion bar, KitKat, etc) and cookies, Farah offers her
customers the simple choice of choosing their base, chocolate and any frosting or topping they desire. Through this
method, Farah is baking your cake, the way you want it.
Cherry on Top will be catering an event held at OSB
soon, and hopes to take on more business ventures. With
the support of family and friends, and a future in business ahead, Farah hopes Cherry on Top will not only be
another thing to add to her resume, rather something that
will grow with her dreams; “there’s nothing more satisfying than doing what you love, and for me, it’s baking.” And
she is right; when we follow our passions, the only outcome is excellence.
You can follow Cherry on Top on Instagram @ordercherryontop, and place orders by Whatsapp at 70337500 and
by email at [email protected] Orders should
be placed between 24 and 48 hours ahead of time.
friends and classmates in pictures they thought they would
never see again.
They reminisced about a time
that might have been one of
the best in their lives, and were
struck by nostalgia. In one
memorable instance, Miss AUB
1963 eagerly posed with a picture of her younger self for the
yearbook’s Instagram account.
“Many alumni of AUB
showed up for the memories
and were delighted to share
their AUB stories and see old
friends,” explained Ali. Just imagine, after decades of leaving
your university, you come back
for a day and it all comes back
to you: the campus life, your
friends, the funny— or not so
MARCH 03, 2015
‘Bio-Politicizing Cary Grant’: a fresh look at a Hollywood legend
In the words of 18th century French naturalist GeorgesLouis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (Buffon for short), “The
style is the man himself.” In the case of the transatlantic
and debonair 20th century screen legend Cary Grant, this
could not be truer. To many of us, Cary Grant is remembered as the face behind some of Alfred Hitchcock’s most
memorable films, including “Suspicion” (1941), “To Catch
a Thief ” (1955), and “North by Northwest” (1958).
To Dr. Joshua D. Gonsalves of the AUB English Department, however, Grant’s forays into Hitchcock’s wacky and
labyrinthine world of crime and mistaken identity signify
no less than Cold War anxieties about race, class and ethnicity held by 1950s America. Gonsalves discusses this at
length in the very intricately titled “Bio-Politicizing Cary
Grant: Pressing Race, Class and Ethnicity into Service in
‘Amerika’” (published by Zero Books), which launched
last week at Dawawine in Gemmayzeh.
A very loaded title indeed, but Gonsalves is a Romanticist-cum-cultural critic who takes his movies very, very
seriously. “Bio-Politicizing Cary Grant” embarks on an
analysis of Cary Grant the star, an intricate construction of
a man, wrapped up and ready to be bound across the projected film reels of the mid-20th century. And ultimately,
that is the most important thing about him.
“Cary Grant is about style,” says Gonsalves in an exclusive interview with Outlook. “He teaches us that it is better to be a vampire lover [referring to the wildly popular
book/film series and pop culture phenomenon “Twilight”
or the more recent—and, in Gonsalves’ opinion, vastly
preferable—“Only Lovers Left Alive”] than a hipster.”
What exactly that means depends on one’s definition
of a hipster. If, as “Bio-Politicizing Cary Grant” argues,
“American, Americanized and Anglophilic audiences
have always looked at Grant so as to look away from other
things,” a hipster would represent the break with the aesthetic of style. But Cold War America—the “Amerika” of
the book’s title, qualified in the Rammstein song of the
same name as being “Coca-Cola, sometimes war”—didn’t
mesh with that sort of thing.
This was the America of the nuclear family (two-and-ahalf kids, a house in the suburbs and a white picket fence),
“I Love Lucy,” and the inspiration behind the retro décor
at Roadsters. Real counterculture—the beats and the hippies and punks—did not come about until the 60s and 70s.
So when “Amerika” went to the movies, it did not want to
gaze at the emerging sociopolitical unrest (Communism!
Blacks! Homosexuals! The horror!)—it wanted an escape.
Enter Cary Grant, who was racially flexible with his ungodly tan, represented the pinnacle of capitalist ideals in
his myriad of film roles in which he is always pretty darn
wealthy, and got all the beautiful blondes that Hitchcock
could hire—and was thus perfect for “Amerika.” That’s the
“Bio-Politics” part of the book, the “individuated control
of populations through cinema and its fantasies,” according to Gonsalves.
If you consider yourself a Hitchcock aficionado or think
you know movies, or just really love them—or literature,
or race studies, or cultural studies, or American Studies—
check out “Bio-Politicizing Cary Grant,” on sale now at
Dawawine. It’s quite a trip to see how truly intertwined
Hollywood and politics are and have always been—such
as the most amusing fact that Grant spied on his politically suspect wife to obtain an American citizenship.
twists and turns they give the audience a headache (hear
that, “Now You See Me”?), this one’s lack thereof protects
it from that same unwanted outcome.
Even the humor works without imposing itself.
That said, the movie’s light-hearted approach is not its
best feat. Will Smith and Margot Robbie not only heighten our expectations for their roles in “Suicide Squad,” but
they also give this movie a much needed edge to make it
what it is. Their characters were fun to follow and their
chemistry was entertaining to watch. The other two interesting characters were Owens and Liyuan, played by
Gerald McRaney and BD Wong, respectively.
In fact, the latter’s time on screen was probably when the
movie reached the peak of its potential, which proved to
be rather engaging.
“Focus” does not really live up to be one of the best of its
genre, but it does a good enough job to serve the purpose
of a movie meant to entertain. I say watch it.
Sarah Khalil
Lacking ‘Focus’
Like an unusual cocktail mix that tastes surprisingly
good, Will Smith and Margot Robbie hit theaters in their
newly released film “Focus” to their fans’ delight. Con and
trickery movies almost never work, and although this one
doesn’t really amaze, it still manages to do a good enough
job to entertain the people watching it.
It honestly didn’t have to be anything more than a preview for the two stars’ 2016 “Suicide Squad,” but a pleasant surprise is a pleasant surprise.
The story is that of Nicky (Will Smith), a pundit con artist, who meets and falls for an amateur con-woman called
Jess (Margot Robbie), agreeing to let her into his group of
tricksters. The two go on to deceive, steal, and manipulate
a whole bunch of people, including themselves.
“Focus” is unpredictable, which is good; however, at
times, it’s so unpredictable that I would consider it borderline misdirection. For starters, it’s fun to be actually
caught off-guard when watching a movie; it’s even more
fun when it feels obvious afterwards and “Focus,” on multiple occasions, does that right.
However, on other occasions, it gets so jammed in its
own charm, the twists are no longer that enjoyable.
The pacing also doesn’t work in favor of the movie.
Though the transition between tense and comedic sequences is smooth, the overall ride felt a little off-balance;
nothing too serious to actually ruin the movie, but still an
element that could have been done better.
However, both weak links are overshadowed by the movie’s light approach. Directing duo Glenn Ficarra and John
Requa’s decision not to let “Focus” take itself too seriously
saved the movie. While most con and trickery movies try
so hard they get caught up in the tension of their own
Firas Haidar
Staff Writer
MARCH 03, 2015
Ziad Lawen
Staff Writer
Big L is not a name that rings bells. When street dabble debates or online blogs battle over who rap’s greatest
artist was, the chances of hearing names like Nas, Jay-Z,
Eminem, Biggie, or Tupac are quite high. However, there
is a name that should have joined this sidewalk debate,
but, due to certain misfortunes, never made it. Unlike the
common tragedy of a star disappearing or passing away
early, Big L had promise the Rap world waited on.
Big L, born Lamont Coleman, was born and raised on
139th st and Lenox Avenue—dubbed ‘The Danger Zone’
—during the 1970s Harlem era of projects and increasing
He was the youngest of three brothers (Don, the oldest,
and Leroy “Lee”, the middle child). In times of hardship,
their mother turned to “number-running” or illegal-racketed pseudo-lottery drawing; they were raised on fraudulent money. Big L’s mother was the block leader and would
close off streets for block parties and Lenox Avenue gatherings.
When Big L turned five, his eldest brother snuck him
into a Run-DMC rave—his first exposure to real musical hip-hop where a lasting impression can be heard in
his beats and flow. On the high of the DMC concert, Big
L’s mother bought a DJ set for Don and him, and from
there on out Big L was on the block spitting freestyles and
memorizing verses at the age of seven.
As Don and Big L dabbled in flows and cyphers, Leroy—
the middle brother—became the thug of the block. As
Don put it in Complex’s Big L special, “[Lee] was mean
with his hands, man. He was really dangerous. He never
smiled; he never laughed.”
While Lee was getting into constant scraps, L was engag-
ing in quick rap quips along the block called snappings. L
was a student of rhymes and raps; he was known for his
notepad, his pen, and his vocabulary.
With their growing confidence and skill, Don and L
started to camp out shows in hopes of landing a natural
‘interview’—a spontaneous freestyle delivered to any established rapper.
Finesse and Fat Joe, before “Lean Back,” were the first to
hear Big L. From there, it was history—Big L and Fat Joe
became a dangerous stage duet.
As L gained fame, the Rap community began to call him
the Harlem Renaissance man, as he was the first person
to put Harlem on the map. L is accredited with Harlem’s
rap fame.
Then there was the famed Big L vs. Jay-Z radio station
rap battle. Before Jay-Z was a mogul, before he was Beyonce’s husband, before the Brooklyn Nets and his several
platinum albums, Big L brought a shaky, courageous kid
by the name of Jay-Z onto the once-famous Stretch-andBobbito radio show for what became a historical rap battle—the Jay-Z welcoming party.
Big L had a wizardly flow. Raised in Harlem, supposedly
“uneducated,” he brought forth the first compound rap
style – the style that Eminem is famous for (think: “Lose
Yourself ”). However, unlike Eminem, Big L was rapping
to jazz beats with strong drums and instruments. The rapper’s “Put It On Big L” is easily his most famous rap song,
one of catching verses and mesmerizing flows.
After his first album debuted in 1995, Big L began to
travel worldwide representing Harlem, Lenox Avenue,
and his brothers. On the verge of becoming one of the
greats, Leeroy’s gangster lifestyle and Harlem’s Danger
Zone caught up with his brother. When a cross-town gang
went searching for Leeroy after the mugging of one of
their members, they fatefully fell upon L walking along
Big L: Rap’s unknown great
his block – the block he was raised on. Within moments of
a drive by shooting and nine shells lodged into Big L, his
career, life, and Rap’s spoil came to an abrupt halt.
For those of you looking to dabble in rap other than
what is already famous, download a Big L track or two
and allow yourself to enjoy the flows of someone who was
once the king of rap.
‘Suicide Squad Volume One: Kicked in the Teeth:’ beginning of a legacy
“Suicide Squad Volume One: Kicked in the Teeth” is the
first in a series of five volumes that have been released
so far in the comic book series that began publication in
1987. It has since garnered a cult following, with a widelyanticipated movie, aptly entitled “Suicide Squad”, coming
out in 2016 .
The premise of the opening volume follows a secret organization operating under the guise of ‘Belle Reve mental institution,’ where the criminally insane are kept. The
organization has assembled a task force by the name of
Task Force X, aka Suicide Squad.
Suicide Squad consists of criminals who shave off years
from their sentences by going on missions to fight off
threats to the general well-being of the city—the dirty
work that superheroes would rather not do. Suicide Squad
is under the command of Waller, who acts as the warden
to the members of the task force, which includes Harley
Quinn, Deadshot, El Diablo, King Shark and, sometimes,
Black Spider.
The plot is quite convoluted due to the fact that it attempts to cram a great deal of information and backstory
into a very limited amount of space.
This makes for whirlwind setting shifts that might leave a
reader disoriented, especially since this is a comic rather
than a traditional novel.
Pacing and framing is key in keeping the audience both
interested and well-informed. That is slightly lacking in
Fatima Kazma
Staff Writer
this first volume. The panels are oftentimes cluttered with
background elements and dialogue bubbles that distract
from the actual events on the page and are in some cases
just plain bewildering.
Regardless, the art itself and the plot are both compelling. There is a tone of wit and sarcasm that delights and
enthralls, and also manages to alleviate the doom and
gloom of the settings—most notably Belle Reve mental
institution and the perpetually rainy Gotham City.
The most used color in the drawings is red. It is a rather
gory graphic novel, considering the main characters are
essentially a group of assassins assembled to carry out
dangerous missions. Moreover, they are essentially coerced into this sort of lifestyle by the allure of a reduced
sentence, only to find out that the situation is far more
complicated than they initially thought.
This lot of shackled do-gooders could be pegged antiheroes, a group of hardened criminals exploited into doing what is right. Even then, they do it because they have
something to gain from helping others and not because
helping others is what ought to be done.
The first volume ends on a strategically heart-wrenching
cliffhanger that baits the curiosity of its readers to find
out what happens next. Although deep down the reader
knows what the next step in the storyline would naturally
be, the narrative leaves room for other options, making
the cliffhanger appropriate rather than unbelievably clichéd.
Should the film be a hit, lots of people will be going back
to the origins of the story, and in that, “Suicide Squad Volume One: Kicked in the Teeth” is a debut that intrigues
and excites, one worth going back to, over 25 years later.
MARCH 03, 2015
‘American Beauty/American Psycho:’ a hint of beauty
In 2013, when Fall Out Boy made their long-awaited return to the music scene with their fifth studio album, “Save
Rock ‘N’ Roll,” which debuted to massive critical and commercial success, their fandom exploded with thrill.
That excitement was catapulted further with the release of
their post-hiatus sophomore album, “American Beauty/
American Psycho,” released on 16 January 2015.
With all of its hits and misses, the album is not your
usual Fall Out Boy. Going in and expecting to find classics like “Infinity On High” or “Take This to Your Grave”
would be akin to expecting the Mona Lisa and ending up
with a collection of strategically placed scribbles.
That is not to say that the album is bad.
On the contrary, it’s catchy and in some instances I would
even say upbeat. However, this does not exclude a certain
ennui that I felt while listening to it.
The lyrics are well-written and coupled with amazing
vocals—the songs have the potential to be great.
The only problem is that they lack what makes a song
stand out from the sea of noise that is the mainstream music scene. That is, they miss emotion.
Typically, what distinguishes one song from the rest is
that it possesses what others lack; these songs sound familiar and have the quaint familiarity of being unremarkable. The songs are much more pop and radio-friendly
than what one would expect from a pop-punk band. The
lyrics are the only thing that set this album apart from
other such recent mainstream music releases.
Fatima Kazma
Staff Writer
Patrick Stump’s vocals are as always superb, hitting a
multitude of high and low notes, and overall, sounding
soulful and dulcet.
With a catchy, quick beat, “Uma Thurman” is an ideal
dance track.
“The Kids Aren’t Alright” and “Twin Skeletons” showcase Pete Wentz’s lyrical talent, while “Fourth of July” has a
thumping beat coupled with melancholy lyrics filled with
longing and regret. “Centuries,” however, has a captivating
beginning that hooks you in and demands your attention.
The highlight of the album by far has to be “Twin Skeletons,” harkening back to the golden days of Fall Out Boy,
with lyrics reminiscent of “XO.”
Wentz’s blend of sharp wit and sarcasm, and the meaningful message of past mistakes and regrets; this closing track
does not disappoint.
In fact, it will likely make up for the more lackluster
tracks on the album. Overall this is a feel-good album. Is
it a work of musical genius? Not likely; but it is fun to
listen to.
Firas Haidar
Staff Writer
“If you’re committed enough, you can make any story
work. I once told a woman I was Kevin Costner, and it
worked because I believed it.” – Saul Goodman, “Breaking Bad.”
During the six wonderful years it aired, “Breaking Bad”
made history. From screenplay to cinematography, it’s almost unanimously agreed upon that this masterpiece of
a series joins “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” -- among
others -- as television’s best ever.
Because of that, it was both excitement and worry that
crept into the hearts of fans when Vince Gilligan, the mastermind behind “Breaking Bad,” announced its spin-off,
“Better Call Saul.”
Was the creator of the television phenomenon committed enough to make another story work? The answer is, in
the carefully put words of Jesse Pinkman, “Yeah, bitch!”
“Better Call Saul” is the story of James McGill, as was his
name before he became the famous Saul Goodman, and
the series of events that lead to his descent from an honest, hardworking lawyer to the charming, talkative criminal we all grew to love in the original series.
“Better Call Saul” borrows only little from “Breaking
Bad.” The theme of the degrading man may be the same,
but the premise itself is different. For starters, “Better Call
Saul” takes a lighter, less tense and more comedic look at
things than its predecessor did.
It’s also dialogue-heavy, so much it feels like James
McGill is trying to make up for every moment of silence
Walter White portrayed. Due to that dialogue, the comedy, never misplaced or misused, works wonders in re-
ducing tension without killing severity.
The pacing is also different from what “Breaking Bad”
adopted, but the fun’s all the same.
So far, James still isn’t involved in something too dramatic, i.e. Walter White’s Krazy-8 situation, and the series
focuses more on his struggles in personal life, while keeping the criminal element a hovering presence that could
hit at any second of any episode.
And, in fact, when the plotline does pick up, it hits us right
where it should. Nostalgia, excitement and surprise combined result in thrill rides “Breaking Bad” fans would love
and appreciate.
The characters are also well-invested and brilliantly developed over the few episodes that have aired thus far.
James McGill himself is a work of art that keeps on giving.
Everything fans loved about Saul Goodman is present, but
with the added perk of more screen time and an abundance of the character’s iconic sentences.
The new characters, on the other hand, are promising to
be as eccentric, interesting and wonderful as the ones that
shaped “Breaking Bad.” However, those are not forgotten.
Fans are in for a treat regarding old characters and the
very significant cameos they make.
“Better Call Saul” is not completely detached from
“Breaking Bad” as it appears, and the latter still holds the
right amount of relevance to give the show the freshness
it needs while remaining a spin-off/prequel. The great resemblance between the two, and the magic behind “Breaking Bad’s” captivating visuals, is the peculiar camerawork
and the unusual angles: “Better Call Saul” is equally delightful to look at.
Therefore, without revoking its ties to its predecessor,
“Better Call Saul” lands on its own feet, and after a fifth
fantastic episode, it’s safe to say that S’all Good, Man.
Vince Gilligan’s alchemy brews yet another feat with “Better Call Saul”
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