Lebanese MP Elie Ferzli’s meltdowns become the memes of the moment

Lebanon’s deputy speaker found himself butting heads with journalists over his inoculation ahead of others more in need. (Screenshot/LBCI))
Lebanon’s deputy speaker found himself butting heads with journalists over his inoculation ahead of others more in need. (Screenshot/LBCI))
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Updated 26 February 2021

Lebanese MP Elie Ferzli’s meltdowns become the memes of the moment

Lebanon’s deputy speaker found himself butting heads with journalists over his inoculation ahead of others more in need. (Screenshot/LBCI))
  • Lebanon’s deputy speaker went viral after butting heads with journalists over his inoculation ahead of others more in need

LONDON: Darth Vader, Bruce Lee and Elie Ferzli - only a couple of the many of crossover meme’s Lebanese social media users created following the Lebanese MP and deputy speaker’s meltdowns on television earlier this week.

Ferzli found himself going viral and becoming the meme of the moment after losing his cool in three explosive televised appearances that saw him insult journalists, leave midway through an interview and claim his word is the constitution on Wednesday.

Ferzli’s rampant and aggressive behaviour — in a press conference, on DW, and then on LBCI — comes after he and 10 other lawmakers jumped the queue and received the first shot of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine the day before.

Footage of Ferzli’s meltdown went viral across social media, as memes and posts showcasing the MP shouting dominated Instagram and Twitter.

One post showed Ferzli’s face replacing that of “Star Wars” villain Darth Sidious, with the caption reading “Darth Pfizerius” in reference to the Pfizer vaccine. Another showed stills of him shouting, with the caption reading “many have dropped out of the queue to take the vaccine after dangerous side effects were seen in Elie Ferzli.”

Others placed his comically shouting face side by side with Martial Artist Bruce Lee, with the caption reading “Ferz Lee”. 

One famous cartoonist, Art of Boo, even just placed the Lebanese parliamentarian’s name into a sole comic strip panel as his cartoon of the day.

Other posts also showed his rants dubbed with an infamous speech by Germany's Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gino Raidy (@ginoraidy)

Faced with mounting pressure to explain the jump, Ferzli figured that the best way to defend his actions was by insulting journalist and presenter Malek Maktabi on his show “Ahmar bil Khat al Areed” on LBCI after Maktabi asked Ferzli a simple question on his eligibility to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

 

“I wasn’t simply bothered by the way he was talking and from the tone in which he was talking to me, he insulted me, but I tried to stay calm as much as I can because at the end of the day he is my guest,” Maktabi told Arab News.

“I wanted to get back to my question, I was keen on getting that answer, I did my homework, I knew exactly what my first question was going to be and how I was going to proceed with the interview. So if he doesn’t answer my first question, I won’t be able to get what I want out of the interview.”

Ferzli went on to tell Maktabi: “Don’t you dare say you are not sure when you speak to me,” adding: “My words are the constitution.”

Earlier, Ferzli walked out of a live interview with Ahmed Abida on the arabic version of Deutsche Welle TV, DW Arabic.

“You are speaking with the wrong guy,” Ferzli remarked, adding: “I do not need to beg you to speak.”

 

Indeed, many politicians — including Ferzli — are used to speaking without being told to stop on several shows.

“My goal is not to grant him another press conference, where he will be speaking by himself. I kept repeating my question, stressing that I want a yes or no answer, to which he kept repeating the Ministry of Health contacted me. My issue is not with the ministry, all he needed to do was answer my question with a simple yes or no,” Maktabi said.

“This is all new to them, intervening in a short segment and asking for brief answers instead of having them going on and on for hours to a simple yes or no question.”

In a press conference at the beginning of the day, Ferzli claimed that there are “internet trolls and hooligans whose job is to attack the person they are targeting.”

He added: “Who taught them that trick? We are well aware who that person is. We are on the lookout, and we will vanquish him. Just like his peers and predecessors, thank you.” 

 


Arab News bags six indigo design awards, launches web gallery of most celebrated works

Arab News bags six indigo design awards, launches web gallery of most celebrated works
Updated 44 min 37 sec ago

Arab News bags six indigo design awards, launches web gallery of most celebrated works

Arab News bags six indigo design awards, launches web gallery of most celebrated works
  • The newspaper has won 47 international design awards since its relaunch in 2018

RIYADH: Arab News, which today celebrates its 46th anniversary, has added six Indigo Design awards to the 41 honors it has accumulated since the relaunch of the region’s leading English language daily in 2018.

The recent awards — two of each gold, silver and bronze — went to Arab News’ special coverage across its international editions - Arab News en Francais and Arab News Japan.

One gold award went to the promotional launch video of the Arab News French edition which went live on July 14, 2020.

“Selection of the quintessential French song “la foule,” interpreted with Arabic instruments, lent the video a unique element, bringing East and West in beautiful harmony,” Ali Itani, Region Head Japan & France, said of the first place-winning Arab News En Francais promotional video.

Commenting on the Japanese edition, he said: “Japanese and Arabic calligraphy are world renowned for their unique styles.

“Incorporating the two with the rising sun of Arab News Japan was not only appreciated but also presented to the former Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, during his trip to Saudi Arabia.”

The new design was presented by Editor in Chief Faisal J. Abbas and Ali Itani (left) to then Japanese PM Shinzo Abe in 2020. (Arab News photo)

Ever since Arab News announced its new digital transformation strategy in 2016, importance has moved towards design and innovation, with the appointment of the publication’s very first creative director as well as a focus on commissioning award-winning designers around the world to make this happen.

“For Arab News to be recognized with six Indigo Design Awards is a brilliant achievement,” said Creative Director Simon Khalil. “ Winning 47 design awards to date is remarkable and it reinforces the creative vision we have at Arab News.

Arab News Creative Director Simon Khalil.

“Our mission is to inform and delight our readers around the world and these awards will push the whole team to be even more innovative.”

Indigo also took pride, saying in a statement: “We are very proud to have such a big media company as Arab News among our awardees. We are impressed with what they do as a publisher, especially their value-added content that contributes immensely in social change.”

As part of its 46th anniversary announcements, Arab News also today launches a new section on its website which houses all its award-winning special editions, covers and videos in one place to serve as a resource for students, news designers and editors alike. This can be accessed by visiting www.arabnews.com/greatesthits.

 


Arab News, FII Institute partner to shed light on the future of regional media industry

Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J, Abbas (L) and FII Institute CEO Richard Attias.
Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J, Abbas (L) and FII Institute CEO Richard Attias.
Updated 19 April 2021

Arab News, FII Institute partner to shed light on the future of regional media industry

Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J, Abbas (L) and FII Institute CEO Richard Attias.
  • Cooperation to produce research, panel discussions and industry level, government white papers

Riyadh: Arab News — the Middle East’s leading English language daily — is partnering with the Future Investment Initiative Institute to shed light on the future of the regional media industry. 

The year-long cooperation — marking the newspaper’s 46th anniversary — will see the co-production of a series of expert panel discussions, surveys, white papers and recommendations of how the industry can survive the digital disruption and create sustainable models for the future. 

“The past two decades saw traditional media dramatically impacted by rapidly developing technology. The rise of tech giants, social media platforms has created an uneven competitive environment and curtailed many traditional media outlets ability to have a sustainable growth model, be it through advertising or subscription models,” said Faisal J. Abbas, Editor-in-Chief of Arab News. 

“While technology has had a positive impact on many new businesses and individual content creators/influencers; it has meant that established, credible media organizations are left with no means to sustain the costly process of producing, editing and disseminating credible news. It has also made it easier for other entities to illegally benefit from, infringe on these organizations copy rights.” He added. 

The partnership between Arab News and FII Institute will see the larger impact of technology on economic models of media businesses discussed. It will also cover topics such as the negative impact of social media platforms on matters such as the rise of fake news, increase in hate speech and loss of personal privacy. 

“As part of the FII institute commitment to empowering the world’s brightest ideas to materialize and scale sustainability, we are delighted to partner with Arab News on this deep dive into the media industry, and find solutions to help the industry evolve and resolve its digital transformation issues,” said Richard Attias, CEO of the FII Institute.

“As such, we invite all key players — be it traditional media, tech companies, social media platforms, advertising agencies, government officials — to take part in the discussions as per the year-long agenda which will be announced soon. By including the relevant stake holders, we are sure our Institute and Arab News can help bringing points of view closer, identify exact issues and hopefully come up with creative solutions to all of them,” added FII Institute’s Richard Attias. 

The first deliverable of this cooperation, will be a white paper produced by the Arab News Research and Studies Unit (RSU) based in London. The paper, to be released in May, will be published under the title of “The Myth of Digital Transformation” and will seek to explain in detail the technical problems that face the media industry from a commercial perspective and what impact do they have on various levels. 

The paper will be available for distribution via Arab News and the FII Institute websites, and a panel discussion will be held following its release to shed light on its findings. 


Ramadan series ‘Al-Tawoos’ to be investigated in Egypt over use of ‘inappropriate’ language

Ramadan series ‘Al-Tawoos’ to be investigated in Egypt over use of ‘inappropriate’ language
Updated 19 April 2021

Ramadan series ‘Al-Tawoos’ to be investigated in Egypt over use of ‘inappropriate’ language

Ramadan series ‘Al-Tawoos’ to be investigated in Egypt over use of ‘inappropriate’ language
  • Egyptian TV soap “Al-Tawoos” has become the first Ramadan series to be investigated by Egypt’s media regulatory body
  • The council said it had received “numerous complaints” about “the use of language that does not agree with the council codes”

CAIRO: Egyptian TV soap “Al-Tawoos” has become the first Ramadan series to be investigated by Egypt’s media regulatory body for its alleged use “of language offensive to family values.” 

The Supreme Media Council issued a statement Sunday saying it had launched an urgent investigation with those who produced the show and the television channel airing it, Al Nahar TV. 

The council said it had received “numerous complaints” about “the use of language that does not agree with the council codes.”

The regulatory body added that while it respects freedom of expression, it insisted that Egyptian family values must remain “a priority for purposeful art” in order “to preserve the identity and cohesion of families and move away from any image that distorts it.”  

“Al-Tawoos” – Arabic for The Peacock -- is set in a social context dominated by mystery and suspense, and stars Syrian actor Gamal Soliman, Egyptian veteran Samiha Ayoub, Sahar Al Sayegh, Khaled Alish, among others.  

Soliman plays the role of a veteran lawyer Kamal El Ostoul who specializes in compensation cases, but circumstances force him to investigate a rape case that turns his life upside down.

When the promo of the series first came out, it started trending among social media users who said they saw a huge resemblance between the show and the infamous Fairmont rape crime.  

The notorious case involved a group of men accused of drugging a girl and raping her as she lay unconscious at a private after party at the five-star Fairmont Nile City hotel. 

The crime has become a case of public opinion and has received international criticism. Some preparators remain outside Egypt and some others who were under arrest were released on bail. 

Though in the TV series has changed the occupation and socio-economic class of the survivor, yet the show still appears strongly inspired by the hotel gang rape case.


NEOM CEO talks AI health care, flying taxis with WIRED Middle East

Nasr — who will be appearing on a magazine cover for the first time — shared new details about the use of AI-powered health-care systems and flying taxis. (Supplied/WIRED)
Nasr — who will be appearing on a magazine cover for the first time — shared new details about the use of AI-powered health-care systems and flying taxis. (Supplied/WIRED)
Updated 18 April 2021

NEOM CEO talks AI health care, flying taxis with WIRED Middle East

Nasr — who will be appearing on a magazine cover for the first time — shared new details about the use of AI-powered health-care systems and flying taxis. (Supplied/WIRED)
  • Saudi Arabia’s Chief Executive of NEOM Nadhmi Al-Nasr has shared new details about the ambitious mega city project
  • The cover issue, which will be released this week, features interviews with key executives from NEOM

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Chief Executive of NEOM Nadhmi Al-Nasr has shared new details about the ambitious mega city project changing the landscape of tackling environmental challenges in urban planning.

“I dream of 200 or 300 years from today, when there is a NEOM model being developed worldwide that has helped reduce emissions, reduce the environmental challenge,” Nasr told WIRED Middle East in a rare media interview.

Nasr — who will be appearing on a magazine cover for the first time — shared new details about the use of AI-powered health-care systems and flying taxis, a press release shared with Arab News said.

The cover issue, which will be released this week, features interviews with key executives from NEOM who paint a picture of how urban planners are attempting to create a city that is expected to span centuries with the use of new technologies.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman first announced the project NEOM at the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh 2017. The crown prince said that the 170-km coastal strip in the northwest of the country would be free of cars and streets, with zero carbon emissions.

The smart city will be powered entirely by clean energy, a major step in Saudi Arabia’s shift away from an oil-based economy.

The first phase of the $500 million project is scheduled for completion by 2025.


Veteran producer, cameraman in Iraq dies of COVID-19

Veteran producer, cameraman in Iraq dies of COVID-19
This 2003 photo shows Khodeir Majid at the AP office at the Palestine hotel. (AP)
Updated 17 April 2021

Veteran producer, cameraman in Iraq dies of COVID-19

Veteran producer, cameraman in Iraq dies of COVID-19
  • He went on to cover the breakdown in security and the sectarian bloodbath that prevailed for years, as well as the US occupation, the rise of the Al-Qaeda terror network, and finally, the war against the Daesh group

BEIRUT: Khodeir Majid, who covered Iraq’s numerous conflicts as a video producer and cameraman for The Associated Press for over 17 years, has died, relatives said Friday. He was 64.
The cause of death was complications due to the coronavirus. Majid had been hospitalized for about three weeks, but his condition rapidly deteriorated in the last few days and he died Friday morning.
Majid joined the AP in Baghdad in March 2004, a year after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. He went on to cover the breakdown in security and the sectarian bloodbath that prevailed for years, as well as the US occupation, the rise of the Al-Qaeda terror network, and finally, the war against the Daesh group.
Killings, kidnappings and bombings were an everyday occurrence, sometimes with multiple bombings on the same day.
Through it all, Majid, known as Abu Amjad to family and friends, was a beloved colleague and a calming presence in the Baghdad bureau. He was a dedicated journalist and a good friend to many, working quietly and behind the scenes to make sure accreditation and paperwork were secured, badges were collected, interviews were nailed and stories were covered. “Abu Amjad was a rare source of joy during difficult times working in Baghdad for the past 17 years. He will be remembered as a kind and dedicated professional,” said Ahmed Sami, the AP’s senior producer in Baghdad.

BACKGROUND

Majid was buried in Iraq’s Shiite city of Najaf Friday. He is survived by his wife and five children.

Samya Kullab, the AP’s correspondent in Baghdad, recalled Majid’s dedication and commitment toward getting evasive ministers and officials to grant the AP interviews. “He chased the Transport Ministry for months recently. ‘He keeps saying next week but don’t worry, I will not stop calling’ — such was his dedication to getting the story.”
“I never forget,” he would say.
Kullab and other Baghdad colleagues also recalled his kindness.
“His wife would make these date biscuits he shared with me on one occasion. I mentioned casually that I liked them,” Kullab said. “The next day I had date biscuits to last a month.”
Majid was buried in Iraq’s Shiite city of Najaf Friday. He is survived by his wife and five children.