Author Archives: Yasser Akkaoui

The blue appeal

The blue appeal

For many Lebanese travelers, Air France is not just any airline but an institution of memories. When times were tough, flying from Beirut to Paris represented a lifeline connection to personal safety, not to mention savoir vivre and commerce. Today, the links between Lebanon and Europe are numerous and airlines have to win over travelers

Worse than weapons

The war years in Lebanon were particularly ugly near the end. I was 16 years old when the bottom fell out from under the lira, and the currency collapse changed everything. People lost their jobs. Wealth vanished. Desperation reigned. We were used to being terrorized by bombs, bullets and ever-accurate mortar shells. Financial terrorism proved

Resolutions for 2016

The magazine proposes a few resolutions for 2016. And we’re starting the year by practicing them. First, we call on the best and brightest Lebanese minds to seize the potentially lucrative opportunities that the Paris Agreement on climate change will afford. This is why we’ve put climate change on our cover. Our second, and most

The will to prevail

In 2015, many of the reasons behind Lebanon’s built-in logjam came to the surface. The garbage crisis is the case in point that best illustrates how the whole system is rotten to the core. Beyond our government’s inability to preemptively devise solutions to imminent perils, we watched as priorities were often confused and demands articulated

Guerilla entrepreneurship

That our politicians got us into an absolutely avoidable waste crisis they have been unable to extricate us from for over three months is simply embarrassing. It’s not about garbage any more. It’s about turning Lebanon into a distressed asset.It has become obvious that our institutions, which have been running on an ad hoc basis

Real change is in our hands

The social contract between the state and the people is broken. It had been crumbling for a long time. We’re reminded of the state’s failures every month when we pay two electricity bills and every summer when we pay two water bills. For decades we’ve made concession after concession, the worst being acceptance of the

Lebanon at a crossroads

There is nothing more humiliating than watching our political class continue with its usual dirty business while young people are being beaten and shot at in the street. The complete disrespect for our health, future and nation is so vulgar and in our face that we simply cannot, and should not, take it anymore. What’s

It stinks

Driving home to Verdun after dinner in Badaro in late July, I thought I’d somehow slipped back in time to the 1980s. I looked down at my steering wheel. I was not in a DeLorean, so it wasn’t time travel. But it sure felt like a war zone. The streetlights were out, but the roads

Schizophrenic policymaking

When the economy slows, unemployment rises and consumption slumps, smart policymakers blow the dust off their Keynesian economics books and try to figure out which amount of government expenditure coupled with tax cuts would make optimal capital available to stimulate a prosperous cycle. Meanwhile central bankers decrease interest rates to make sure that this same

A hellish limbo, a darker future

There’s nothing like entrepreneurial energy — if it’s there, you feel it as soon as you walk in the room. That’s what I felt when I recently addressed the Start Up Lebanon conference in New York. The room was buzzing with creative talent — our talent — ready to storm the American startup scene. Why were

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