13 unique and different Christmas Trees from cities around the world featured in this article of The Guardian; from Washington to Budabest to Melbourne to Byblos and other cities.
Our beloved city has had its name associated in cultural top ranks on more than one occasion. This sets the way for the best to you Byblos.
The tree in Melbourne, Australia, was constructed from over half a million Lego bricks
Byblos, north of Beirut in Lebanon, opted for an abstract gold tree
“Shine like a star in the world Byblos”
Ironically when I read this article “ISIS Burns 8000 Rare Books and Manuscripts in Mosul” of the Fiscal Times, I was just having a break from diving into the past, digging into the chests in my basement. It was still fresh in my thoughts and feelings how meaningful is this connection to the past and how precious it is to get the feel of an item, that shared a moment of your life you will never get back.
Then I looked at the photo of burnt books in the article and it burnt my heart. It is unsurprising to know this brought tears to many people’s eyes, in fact I don’t believe a human being, a creature who has a sense of the self and the collective sense of the past wouldn’t hurt to such a sight. So what is it with those aliens willingly acting for the destruction of history? What are they?
History is what defines people, nations, cultures and any group of human beings, even those united by the extremists in religion. If history is a human attribute, wars have existed since ever, between tribes, races and nations to preserve their pasts and grow for their folks future. Wars are not just human, they are also animalistic and probably relative to any living organism, but they are certainly made for existence and continuity.
Destroying history wipes of any existence and future, so once again and in that logic, I can’t help but ask myself and the world, what is ISIS and what kind of war is it having?
It just touches me deeply when I see non-native residents of Lebanon getting so attached to my country and my culture. It is wonderful to watch them appreciate the little things that are particular to us, but then again it is sad that every other Lebanese citizen is trying to be a replicate of those same foreigners on his own land, letting the opportunity of cherishing one’s own culture slip away.
Sietske is a Dutch lady who came to Beirut as a journalist with a plan to stay for 3 months; some 20 years later she is still here writing beautiful words and catching gorgeous moments on her blog about Beirut.
Maybe it’s not a bad idea at all if we make a trip to our own country exploring and digging for the essence of our culture once again just as we would when we travel the world.
As the world goes towards free trade by adopting internationals and inter-nations treaties that promote simplified formalities and exchange of goods, in spite of that, many immutable barriers remain while others keep surging.
Traders agree that severe regulations are one of the main obstacles which hinder their business often taking the shape of requirements applicable in the countries of origin and/or destination. Traceability requirements, the approved scientific versus commercial product identification, critical dates for certain goods, language labeling, and many more are examples of those regulations imposed on the importers and exporters. The consequences are certain to affect the volume of trade and the products access to many markets.
Alternatively, when such regulations are still mild on the trade operations, the lack of harmony in the applicable policies between the exporting and the importing countries present a different form of obstacles in this instance. A common illustration is when the trade involves grouping of goods destined for different countries where the operations could all the same be bound by the laws regulating the bonded warehouses and Free Zones.
The cultural aspect of obstacles is also widely represented by the mismatches between the demand and supply levels, quality or standards of the different nations. Today we constantly face the uneven quality of the same product in a market, resulting from the multiplicity of the countries of origin. From a personal perspective, I can cite the case of “Cadbury” products in the Lebanese market, where the distributor’s exclusivity is not forced, allowing the brand to be purchased from different origins and exposing buyers to irregular qualities.
It is certain that commercial barriers are continuously scrutinized and trade policies are being developed by countries sharing interests to facilitate the exchange of goods between them. Trade stakeholders need to acknowledge that culture reflects a significant challenge for them and that general behaviors and business practices are not the same everywhere else in the world. People’s cultural habits reflect their lifestyles, values, languages and ways of negotiations , which significantly increase the risk of failed business relationships with foreign partners.