Two songs, from Bambi & her spouse, to her dad and father-in-law… with a thought for all the babas, papas, dads, father-in-laws, step-fathers, foster fathers, grand-fathers, pépères or jedos of the world, whether with us or already gone!

A beautiful, moving, and classical French song, to begin with. Thanks to Mr. Claude Barzotti!

Because the song above may have been too serious/emotional, let’s sing a lighter song now, just meant to wish you a Happy (and hopefully sunny) Father’s day from the bottom of our hearts with MUCH LOVE!!

A picture taken a few months ago by Bambi’s mother-in-law!

The sunset in Ehden (Lebanon) through the eyes of Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas

Thank you Roula for sharing your beautiful pictures and videos of the sunset in Ehden, North of Lebanon!

This time, Bambi got it right– These are pictures truly taken in Ehden… and not in Becharreh 🙂 (as in the earlier post below)!

A picture taken by Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas
A picture taken by Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas
Bravo Roula for this beautiful video… thanks again for sharing it!

Lebanon’s charm: Discover Ehden!

Ehden, Lebanon

Bambi concluded her last post by calling Lebanon “tiny bankrupt yet always charming“. If you thought she was exaggerating, this post will hopefully convince you that her choice of the word “charming” was VERY accurate :)!

First, you may wonder. Why is Bambi talking about Ehden today? Well, her sister Roula, once again, enriched her blog with beautiful pictures (thanks also to her other sister, Rania, for her professional pictures in earlier posts)!

Before, showing you Roula’s pictures taken today, please let Bambi introduce you to Ehden. What and where is it? According to Wikipedia (Bambi double-checked its accuracy :), the term Ehden would be اٍهدن‎ in Arabic and ܐܗܕ ܢ in Syriac-Aramaic; Aramaic was the language spoken by Jesus, which is another Semitic language. Ehden is “a mountainous town in the heart of the northern mountains of Lebanon and on the southwestern slopes of Mount Makmal in the Mount Lebanon Range. Its residents are the people of Zgharta, as it is within the Zgharta District”.

Bambi has fond memories from two of her trips back to Lebanon when her parents took her to visit Ehden and this region, namely Bcharreh, the forests of the Cedars of Lebanon, etc. They then drove through Tripoli and all the way back to Beirut. Anyhow, Ehden is the charm in itself. You are above the clouds literally (1500+ meters above sea level). You are instantly connected to nature and, through it, you feel the spirituality in the air… The smells of nature, the beautiful sound of birds breaking the charm of silence, etc. And of course, there is the smells and taste of food!! Lebanon is famous for its delicious food, as you can see in the video below by Mr. Anthony Rahael, sub-titled in English. Mmm!!!!

Now, whether you took the time to watch the video or not, here are Ms. Roula Douglas’ pictures, a highly recommended place to visit one day!

To conclude this post, if Fred happens to be reading this post, Bambi can assure him that she can be the Ambassador of several beautiful jurisdictions at the same time (this is not possible for diplomats!): Québec, as you honoured her with your title of “Ambassador” of it (even if you were teasing her about Bill 21 :), her whole Canada (including her New-Brunswick and the entire Maritimes), and Lebanon. She remains attached to the latter, especially that her immediate family moved back over twenty years ago. If you are wondering again if she is being paid by the Government of Lebanon to promote tourism, she is not either 🙂 (and no, not because they are sadly bankrupt)!

A picture taken by Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas
A picture taken by Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas
A picture taken by Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas
A picture taken by Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas
A picture taken by Ms. Roula Azar-Douglas

The Lebanese Army risks collapse: Thanks to France, along with Italy and the UNIFIL as well the 20 countries now supporting it!

Bambi toured the news from Beirut today. She could not help not to cry at the sad (and worrisome) news about the Lebanese army.

She thought of her birth country and all its soldiers and their families. She particularly thought of her friend Adelle whose daughter and son are both in the army.

Because of Lebanon’s financial crisis, among its additional multiple crises, the army cannot feed its soldiers anymore, support them with medication, and even pay their salaries. One must recall that it has been over a year that those soldiers have not been served meat because it is too expensive:

It seems that the monthly salary of a soldier is now worth US$90 in the middle of hyperinflation:

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/with-few-tangibles-world-powers-promise-help-lebanese-army-2021-06-17/

https://bambisafkar.ca/index.php/2021/06/13/how-will-tiny-bankrupt-yet-resilient-lebanon-survive-the-loss-of-90-of-its-currencys-value-since-late-2019/.

Thanks to France, along with Italy and the United Nations forces in Lebanon, an international virtual conference was recently held to try to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF).

As explained by the Chief of the LAF, if Lebanon’s army collapses, it is not just Lebanon that suffers… but also the entire region. Indeed, the army is the symbol of unity in the country of the Cedars. It is like the last red line to preserve in order to keep Lebanon united. It has the respect of all. There is a reason why people patriotically call a soldier “Watan” (= the country or homeland). In their mind, he/she represents the whole country.

Remember Lebanon has a powerful group within it that is like a state larger than the official state. There is also the ghost of civil war when the army was too weak, became divided and when communitarianism (or sectarianism) resulted in each group with its own security forces… and then all began fighting each other.

Below you can find the appeal of the Lebanon’s army Chief (starting at 15 seconds into this video and in English):

To conclude this post on a musical note meant to honour and thank the Lebanese soldiers for their service/sacrifices, here is a song that Bambi just found. It is by Ms. Hiba Tawaji. Bambi would like to dedicate it to each person serving in the army and contributing to the unity and stability of tiny bankrupt yet always charming Lebanon.

Why are our Canadian politicians fighting over the Middle East?

Bambi is asking this question in relation to the Green Party of Canada.

Although it is hard to understand what is going on within this party, it is a sad to see internal divisions, particularly when we know that it is related to the Middle East.

https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/06/16/la-cheffe-des-verts-se-dit-victime-dune-fronde-raciste-et-sexiste

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jun/17/annamie-paul-justin-trudeau-green-party-canada

It must have been hard to be in the shoes of Green Party Leader, Ms. Anamie Paul, this week. She also saw one (out of three) of her members leaving to another party (the governing Liberals). However, she seemed to have managed the situation in a competent, and surely dignified, way. Plus, she is quite fluent in French. Good for her.

Back in May, during the last armed conflict between Israel-Palestine, it was sad to read about a Bloc Québécois (BQ) motion calling for peace rejected by some lawmakers from other parties, despite its common sense  (https://www.blocquebecois.org/2021/05/14/motion-sur-le-conflit-israelo-palestinien-lappel-a-la-paix-du-bloc-quebecois-rejete-en-chambre/).

Anyhow, Bambi will stop her blahblahblah to allow a beautiful song about love and peace to have the last word. This song was written by Mr. Raymond Lévesque who sadly left our world in February (taken by Covid-19). This song is entitled “Quand les hommes vivront d’amour” [When men will live for love]. It is interpreted by Ms. Marie-Élaine Thibert.

When will men finally live for love in the Middle East? And when will they allow others to live in peace?

And when will we have the wisdom to prevent the Middle East issues from migrating to our institutions and political parties?

Don’t we have enough of issues to deal with and past errors to fix?  

Some dates are unforgettable, June 17, is one of them!

Like today but 31 years ago, in 1990, Bambi and her family arrived to Canada. First, they all arrived to the welcoming Québec. Then, she moved to the fascinating Ontario. From there, she arrived to her beautiful New Brunswick. See, all Canada is beautiful :)!

Every June 17 and every July 1st, Bambi thinks of her parents. She thanks them for having brought their family to Canada’s safety and welcoming arms.

Of course, the day before, June 16, she thinks of the start of her family’s long trip: Leaving Lebanon and all their loved ones behind where they escaped perhaps the ugliest round of the civil war (i.e., street war in addition to the usual shelling…). One song comes to her mind on that day. Of course, it is: “J’ai quitté mon pays” (“I left my homeland“). Some of Bambi’s childhood friends recall having listened to this song while their boat was taking them away from Lebanon’s shores toward the island of Cyprus (and from there to France). This must have been a very moving moment.

Well, to come back to June 17, the song that comes to Bambi’s mind to highlight this beautiful day is again by Mr. Enrico Macias. It is entitled: “Les gens du Nord” [“People of the North“] on how one’s host country (in his case, France; In Bambi’s, it is Canada) is welcoming to those who have suffered in other places of the world.

Time really flies in life. Already over three decades of discovery and enrichment in Canada . In addition, Bambi remains under the charm of our winter :)!

To conclude this post on both a musical and a funny note, here are the two songs mentioned above (the first sub-titled in English. The lyrics of the second are shared below). Following these songs, Bambi will share an older post featuring Mr. Gad El Maleh in his first one-man show, which was about Mirabel airport (closed now). It is there where the KLM airplane, transporting Bambi and her family from Amsterdam (as well as her new friend Carla and her family :)), landed on June 17, 1990. It is not surprising then that Mr. El Maleh’s jokes remain particularly meaningful to Bambi.

Anyhow, many thanks to Mr. Macias as well as Mr. El Maleh, for their inspiring talent… and thank you Canada!

The people of the North

Have in their eyes the blue that is missing in their decor

The people of the North

Have in the heart the sun that they do not have outside

The people of the North

Always open their doors to those who have suffered

The people of the North

Don’t forget they’ve been through hell

If their houses are lined up

It is for the sake of equality

And the peniches

Poor or rich

Bear the fruit of their efforts

The people of the North

Bend your back when the wind blows too hard

The people of the North

Get up early because it depends on their fate

At the horizon of their campaign

It is the coal that makes mountains

The streets of the cities

Sleep well

Rain falling on the fields

The accordion makes them dance

And then the beer blackmails them

And when the party

Turn your head

We see two of them getting married

The people of the North

Have in their eyes the blue that is missing in their decor

The people of the North

Have in the heart the sun that they do not have outside

(English lyrics taken from: https://lyricsaround.com/en/enrico_macias/les_gens_du_nord/).

Bambi is grateful: Thank you for the overwhelming support!

Bambi would like to dedicate this post to each one of you wherever you are, whomever you are. She is grateful for every gesture of support and kindness…

She remains too busy, sending personalized thank you notes to everyone through all the platforms where you kindly reached out to her (Go Fund Me website, by email, by mail, on this blog, on her new professional website, and through text messages). Clearly, no word, in any language, can express her gratitude for your humanity and generosity. Thank you for standing up for free thinking and academic freedom/free expression in Canada!

THANK YOU/MERCI!

Your support is an honour for Bambi!

Once again, Bambi would like to thank Dr. Jordan Peterson, from the bottom of her heart, for having invited her to an interview on his amazing platform (shown in the earlier post further below and in the “About” section of this blog). She wants to extend her thanks to all of you who listened to this interview, from Canada or literally from around the world. Many have recently kindly supported her after watching this interview. Merci/Thanks for your time and kindness.

By the way, as announced in the last “thank you” post shown below, please stay tuned for a video-message (by Rima Azar) in English, French, and Arabic… It is on the way.

Until then, and to conclude this post on a musical note, here are two YouTube videos shamelessly “stolen” by Bambi :):

The first one has a timely message that could have been prepared especially for you; Thank you “tiger5188” for publicly sharing it.

The second video is a children’s French song entitled “Merci“; Thanks to Jo Akepsimas for posting it. Bambi hopes you like Babar, the elephant, as much as she does :).

Earlier similar posts!

A society is democratic inasmuch as it respects and protects its minorities, but what about the respect of minorities for the (often silent) majority?

Bambi thanks her friend Fred for his comment about yesterday’s post (as shown further below). His comment, which inspired the current post, reads like this: “Maybe the crowd simply does not believe in the sincerity of Charette, especially given the passing of Bills 21 and 96 by his government”.

For those who are not familiar with Québec. Mr. Charette is the Minister responsible to fight racism, among other files. He has been booed for six minutes during his whole speech by a crowd turning its back to him at times, applauding to prevent him from speaking, and insulting him in English… at an event meant to be commemorate the horrible crime (of hate and terror) of the Afzaals on the streets of London, Ontario. Why? To cite Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté once again, most likely because “the crowd seems to believe that there is a link between the attack in Ontario, Bill 21, and the refusal of the Government of Québec to submit to the theory of systemic racism” (https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/06/15/lintegration-au-quebec-est-un-echec).

Bill 21 is about Québec state secularism (no religious symbols for public servants whilst in position of authority, that is, representing the government, NOT all public servants. No one will lose his/her current job because of this bill, thank Goodness).

Bill 96 is about the protection of the French language in Québec (it came after 44 years following Bill 101). Bambi is not an expert of linguistics. However, she read an interesting interview of Dr. Bock-Côté with Dr. Guillaume Rousseau, a Professor of Law, who believes Bill 96 to be insufficient although necessary and a step in the right direction (https://www.journaldemontreal.com/2021/06/12/le-projet-de-loi-96-est-insuffisant-mais-necessaire-et-va-dans-la-bonne-direction–entretien-avec-guillaume-rousseau).

As for Bill 21, Bambi easily saw its merit at first for all the positions of public servants in position of authority, except teachers. She took the time to think about the latter and saw the whole logic. She especially saw the strong, and at times nasty, reaction of the rest of Canada toward this bill. Who knows? Perhaps this has influenced her acceptance of the whole bill? Indeed, many of her posts are supportive of Bill 21, which is made by Québec, in Québec, and… for Québec. It is a bill that respects Québec’s history, culture, and a (10-year) public debate on reasonable accommodation. As a reminder, even the Liberal Party of Québec endorsed it.

Mind you, not all her relatives in Montreal agree with this bill. Most do, but not all. However, whether with or against it, they all RESPECT Québec’s democracy, in addition to being grateful as well as in love with their province.

Why do we easily accept to live under truly restrictive laws of other countries when we are working abroad (e.g. in Saudi Arabia or other countries of the world), but not with moderate bills in Québec? Does that make any sense?

Immigrants and newcomers usually take an active role in their adaptation to their new country. It is called give and take. Yes, your host community/society has to learn to know you and to accept you. However, you also must have the wisdom to know how to change your mindset, as needed, to fit into your new society; the one you chose to come to, precisely because of its beautiful values. Adjustment to a new country is not an easy process, perhaps harder nowadays than ever. Of course, there are also homesick feelings or nostalgia to one’s birth country. Plus, it takes time to adjust and integrate to a new place.

In Bambi’s mind, a society is truly democratic if it is welcoming (or accepting) to all its citizens. Stated differently, a society has the duty to respect, protect, and even honour (all) its minorities. However, minorities (perhaps especially radical voices within any minority) have the duty to listen to and respect the silent majority. Bambi is not talking about Bill 21 only. She is talking about other forms of apparent secular ideologies, like the wokeism movement, or like any other movement. Enough of disrespect for the silent majority, please.

Indeed, we are increasingly observing the entitlement of some voices. Some of which impose their views on others. Some of which shamelessly resort to censorship, or other means of intimidation, of this or that citizen. They do so because they are unable to simply hear voices telling them “what they do not want to hear” (Hello Mr. George Orwell!). Is this how democracies work in life?

To come back to your comment Fred, how can bills democratically voted for in the National Assembly of Québec be correlated, even mildly, with a horrible hate crime in Ontario?

It is not Ontario, and surely not Québec’s, fault if one citizen behaved in this violently barbaric manner.

Should we stop and reflect on possible factors related to this tragedy. Of course, we must do so. However, there is a difference between explaining and exploiting a human tragedy.

Furthermore, despite any noble intention, it is irresponsible for our political leaders to attribute violence in Ontario to a bill in Québec.  Could they please refrain from doing so?

To come back to the incident in Montreal, sadly, the crowd forgot that this event was meant as a vigil to pay tribute to the innocent victims; This was not a political/ideological (or impolite) platform. There is a time for grief and a time for grievance.

Even Minister Charette kindly reminded the crowd of the reason of their gathering (a vigil to commemorate the victims). Some would say that he may have not been assertive enough in his reaction. The latter is understandable as it must be intimidating to stand up in front of such crowd for six long minutes whilst you are speaking one language (French and common sense) and they are speaking another one (English and anger).

To conclude this post, East is East and West is West, we get it, but why can’t both meet… at least during the time of silence in a vigil?

Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté is right: An innocent family is massacred in Ontario, but a crowd is booing a Minister in Québec… and in English. How can that make any sense?

Bambi just listened to an interesting interview by Mr. Richard Martineau with Dr. Bock Côté on QUB Radio:

https://www.qub.radio/balado/richard-martineau/episode/pourriez-vous-nous-m-priser-en-fran-ais-s-il-vous

It was about how a Québec Minister, the honourable Mr. Benoît Charette, was booed at a Montreal vigil for the Afzaals (the London, Ontario, victims). Mr. Charette is the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change,  the Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, and the Minister Responsible for the Laval Region (http://www.assnat.qc.ca/en/deputes/charette-benoit-195/biographie.html). At the end of this post, if you wish, you can watch a video of this sad incident that took place in Montreal on June 12, 2021.

Of note, Mr. Charette seems like a reasonable, competent politician whose own spouse happens to be of Haitian origins, by the way. Bambi listened to him once in an interview from which she learned the latter detail about his family. In the same interview, this politician explained the position of his government that there is no “systemic” racism in the province of Québec. It is precisely this point that seems to perhaps upset this crowd, as per Dr. Mathieu Bock-Côté.

As for the demonstrators, Bambi is always fascinated by how they seem to be available to take the streets of Montreal at any time, as needed, almost always using English signs (Dr. Bock-Côté is right to point to this), whether the theme of the demonstration is BLM, anti-Asian racism, or Islamophobia, etc.  

Like both Martineau and Bock-Côté, Bambi is both fascinated and shocked by the level of contempt of this crowd, which does not have the decency of booing this Minister in the official language of his (or their?) province.

Who knows? Perhaps these demonstrators are not from Québec? Perhaps they live in Montreal, but they keep “forgetting” that their island belongs to the province of Québec 😊? Could it be? Mind you, here we can perhaps draw an analogy with the Mayor of Montreal, Ms. Valérie Plante. As a reminder, the latter made her inaugural speech in English, not in French, which is her mother tongue.

Anyhow once again, to conclude this post, Bambi cannot help but to agree with both M. Martineau and his guest: this story appears like a form of “neo-colonialism” against the historic French-Canadian population of Québec. For Bambi, this also seems like a form of unacceptable “group racism” that sadly seems to be tacitly endorsed in our contemporary society.

Does this incident in Montreal also indicate a failure of integration of immigrants to use Dr. Bock-Côté’s own words? Maybe. Anyhow, the powerful key moments of this interview is his following reflection: “Québec bashing made in Québec”… “Can you please insult us in our language”?

Food for thought all this, thank you Dr. Bock-Côté.

Thanks to Mr. Erick Tremblay-Dionne for sharing this video publicly

How will tiny bankrupt yet resilient Lebanon survive the loss of 90% of its currency’s value since late 2019?

From a Reuters article (https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/lebanon-currency-drops-new-low-financial-meltdown-deepens-2021-06-13/) we learn that “Lebanon’s currency crashed past a milestone on Sunday reaching a new low against the dollar, as the country’s financial meltdown and political deadlock linger”.

In addition, we read the following: “market dealers said the Lebanese pound was trading at around 15,150 to the dollar, losing around 90% of what it was worth in late 2019”.

Given all this, it is not surprising that some Lebanese hospitals are now “ruling out elective procedures and only performing emergency surgeries to ration what is left of medical supplies”.

Moreover, the majority of pharmacies closed their doors to stage a two-day-strike because medications run out. Indeed, Bambi’s parents have been recently visiting up to 10 different pharmacies in Beirut in order to find their badly needed medication.

Even gas is running out. Sadly, Lebanon lacks a fully functional transportation system. Luckily, some citizens are increasingly relying on a “Vespa” or their bike to get to work. Of note, both citizens and their hospitals need gas to keep their generators turned on because the government’s power is available only for a few hours per day (and this is not a new story!).

According to Reuters, “hours long car queues for gasoline have frustrated motorists causing squabbles”. Sure the latter is frustrating, but for Bambi, perhaps the most disturbing part of this article is the the endless irresponsibility of the Lebanese political “leaders”: “The financial collapse is taking place against a backdrop of fractious politicians bickering over cabinet formation”!

To conclude, Bambi is lacking words to end this post. What can she say more about this ongoing Lebanese tragedy, ranked among the world’s three worst since 1850s (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/world-bank-lebanons-crisis-worlds-worst-1850s-78013372)? If you do not mind, she would like end this post, devoted to her birth country, with a famous song by Fairuz, which is entitled “I love you Lebanon” (sub-titled in English)…