Saturday, February 19, 2011

Internet In Lebanon: The Worst In The World

For the past two weeks I’ve been jumping from one Lebanese skiing resort to another—between Faraya and the Cedars. On those occasions I got to stay for a couple of days at the best hotels in either location. As a skiing-enthusiast and an good skier, I really enjoyed the trips. Also being with my lovely girlfriend, Zeina (a.k.a “Thee”), and teaching her how to ski, turned ordinary skiing trips to the best ones I’ve ever had.

e5473_cedars-lebanonDuring all that time, access to an internet connection was not possible, except on my last trip. Last Monday my family and I stayed at the Officers Club in the Cedars, which is one of the best hotels in that region. The place was very nice—everything from the rooms, the food, room service, house keeping, and the overall hospitality were top-notch. And what made the place even better was the fact that there was free wireless internet connection—especially since “Thee” did not accompany me on that trip.

imagesAfter unpacking my stuff, and giving the place a quick look, I turned-on my laptop and launched Firefox. Usually when I do that at home, my homepage—Google—loads in less than a second. Over at the hotel it took almost A MINUTE! Yes, believe it or not the GOOGLE homepage took almost 60 seconds to load. I said to myself this is normal. A lot of guests must be logged in, and the bandwidth is being shared by all of them. Also, since in Lebanon internet connections are very primitive—still in the range from 128 kbps to 1 Mbps—it was normal to have such a slow access to the web. The connection was so tedious that I tried to download a random file from the ne,t and the download speed maxed at 0.7 KBs(this is not a typo, the speed was LESS THAN 1 KILOBYTE PER SECOND!) I switched off my laptop in desperation, and decided to wait until after midnight, when most guests would be asleep, in order to use the internet.

Around 2:00am that night I gave it another shot; and guess what? The connection was even worse; no page could be accessed in less than a couple minutes. I decided to run a bandwidth speed test just for the hell of it. I ran the test using the website Besides the terrible results I got—4.1 Kilobits per second—the test revealed an additional sad fact regarding internet connections in Lebanon.



In brief, internet in Lebanon, in terms of download speed, is the worst in the world! The download speed of internet connections in Lebanon ranks 185th on a list of 185 countries. As for the upload speed, we rank 184th!

I’ve always known that our internet connection is pretty bad. However, I’ve never really imagined that we could be the worst in the world. Also if you consider the pricing of the packages offered by the Lebanese ISPs the matter gets even more pathetic—I’m not going to write about the pricing issue of internet connections in Lebanon because I believe it deserves a post all by itself.

When will Lebanon acquire a respectable internet infrastructure, nobody knows. I believe the ISPs are the only ones with the answer. and as long as they’re profiting from this monopoly, I’m certain Lebanon will still be lurking in the 185 for quite some time.


Saturday, February 19, 2011 by Eli ·


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twitter in Lebanon

FollowLebanonI’ve been using Twitter (@Eli_FTL) for almost a year; and until last month most of my friends, followers, and people I follow were not Lebanese. Last January, I started to stumble upon blogs of fellow Lebanese bloggers which  I really enjoy reading today. I had always wondered why there aren’t many Lebanese Tweeps around; it appeared that I wasn’t looking very well, and that their numbers are growing everyday.

I started following a couple interesting Lebanese tweeps which themselves pointed me towards others. However, I would really love to follow and be followed by many more Lebanese Twitter users. For this reason I am proposing a Twitter hashtag #FollowLebanon for all Lebanese tweeps to use in order to point to folks they know from Lebanon, and at the same time follow this hashtag in order to meet new tweeps.

I am calling all Lebanese Tweeps, who are reading this, to post at least one Twitter update with the hashtag #FollowLebanon, including the Lebanese Tweeps they know. Also it would be helpful if you could include them in the comments to this post as well.

I will start this, hopefully trendy hashtag, with a post of mine. So please start following #FollowLebanon, and help building a bigger, and well connected Lebanese community on Twitter.

Thursday, February 10, 2011 by Eli ·


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Syrian Day of Anger Limited to Facebook

(This is a follow-up post to “Will the Revolution Reach Syria?”)


Post 2Friday’s headlines and tweets were packed with highly emotional news on the latest protests in Tahrir square dubbed “departure day”. However, nothing significant was being reported on the demonstrations that were supposed to take place in Syria that same day—around 15:00. According to many Syrians, tweeting live from their country, the unanswered calls of the “day of anger” echoed in the empty streets of Damascus; the Syrian anti-government protests were limited to the virtual world—Facebook.

Since the main focus of the media was Tahrir square, I had a hard time following-up on the what was happening in Syria. I was able, however, to stay up-to-date via the two hashtags #Syria and #Feb5.

I have gathered a list of links to the only worth-mentioning news snippets related to the “failed” Syrian demonstrations:

- Possible internet cut-offs in Syria:

- Syria blocks Facebook:

- Security was tightened in Syria in fear of contagious riots:

- Photo of empty square, where demos were supposed to take place:

- Human Rights Watch urge Syria to free activist who called for demos:

- Syrian supporters of Egyptian demos were assaulted by gang:

You can follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date with the latest news on Lebanon and the Middle-Eastern region.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 by Eli ·


Friday, February 4, 2011

Will the Revolution Reach Syria?

Whether you’ve turned on your TV in the past couple weeks, read the papers, or been on any online media website, you are certainly informed, then, about the grim situation in the Middle-East: anti-government demonstrations have been going on for almost a month, with more countries joining this contagious pan-Arabic revolution every day.


.Having its birth in Tunisia, in December 2010, through what was dubbed the “Jasmine Revolution”, this epidemic of protests against dictators of the Arab world was successful in infecting several other Middle-Eastern and North-African countries: Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Algeria, Sudan, Oman, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Djibouti, and Mauritania (read this article for brief descriptions of the uprisings in each different country)

 (Text continues after video)


One more country seems to be on the waiting list: Syria. While Egyptians were crowding Tahrir square during last Tuesday’s “million man march”, the Facebook page ”The Syrian Revolution 2011” was gathering thousands of supporters. The page calls for a “day of anger” to take place, today, Friday February 4, after prayer time in all Syria. So in less than 24 hours, we’ll know whether this call will be answered by the oppressed Syrian populace, or whether they will decide to avoid another terrible February, that of 29 years ago.

sy01_06aIn February 1982, history recorded one of the most atrocious massacres in the Arab world: the Hama Uprising. The Syrian army exterminated more than 40,000 people—members of the Muslim Brotherhood. For a devastating three weeks, the town of Hama was bombarded by 12,000 soldiers. Using air and ground attacks—jet-fighters, tanks, artillery, ground infantry—the town of Hama was pulverized, and the “infidels”—men, women and children—were all executed in cold-blood. The government of Hafez el Asad, the father of Bashar the current president, intended to send a very clear message to all the Syrians: not even a tiny complaint—against the ruling government—shall be tolerated! And his message has been keeping the people’s mouths shut during all these years.

The question remains whether the people have reached their breaking point; and if so will they be able to overcome their dire memory of February 3, 1982, and raise their voices on February 4, 2011?


After submitting this post, I stumbled upon the following video, released recently by Mamoun Homsi, a former Syrian MP who was imprisoned by the government for politically opposing the ruling party. Below it is the English translation of his public address to all the Syrian, to join forces in the revolution against tyranny and oppression in Syria.
To be honest though, the video is a bit funny. However, you can’t deny that it is somewhat impressive to watch someone uttering a direct opposition to the Syrian government after so many years of oppressed silence.

English translation by

Oh, great people of Syria
Oh, gentleman, scholars and clerics of Syria
Your country and your people are calling out for your conscience
Stand by your young men and your young ladies
Those that aim at supporting the Syrian opposition
To start the Jasmine Revolution
And to face the unjust and oppressing dictatorship
Rise for your dignity
Rise for your own living
Say no to corruption
No to deprivation
Say we want life
Walk out of the mosques and churches
And walk together hand in hand
From the different religions and affiliations
Arab, Kurds, Assyrians
Hold up the nation’s flag
Say altogether
Down with the dictatorship
Down with the dictatorship
Long live Syria
Long Live Syria
Long Live Syria



Photo Sources:
-Protests in Egypt -
-Damaged Hama in 1982 - http://

Friday, February 4, 2011 by Eli ·


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