Today's International Happiness Day (Yes, it's a thing). A group of young Lebanese will be in Hamra today at 5pm to spread some joy. Here's their message: Fear has taken over our Lebanese life. A rational fear of war. A rational fear of death. A rational fear of getting severely injured walking down the street. A fear of explosions, sniper bullets, stray bullets, all sorts of bullets really, knives too, and whatever home appliance our violent minds have been able to turn into deadly weapons (a pressure cooker if used "right" can also take away a human life we've learned). These rational fears have developed over years of being fed the news about the tragedy that surrounds us. But also irrational fears have surfaced. A fear of phone-calls (announcing a tragedy), a fear of beards (and what's hidden underneath them), a fear of bags (and what could be inside them) and so on and so forth. How can you smile when everyone around you is pondering whether he deleted his browsing history in case he is taking his last ride? How can you smile when people are dying, starving, suffering, living in miserable conditions? Are you inconsiderate of others for being happy when everything around you tells you to accept your fate and die miserably? Hell no. Today is the international day of happiness, and we will be going to the streets to tell people it's okay to smile. Your life is precious _ more-so when you can lose it at any moment _ you MUST enjoy every second of it. A genuine smile is universal, heart-warming, and most of all contagious. We are going down to Hamra at 5 pm today, to give out smiles to people, to entertain them with clowns, jugglers, and live-acts. Let's start a wave of heartfelt happiness for those that have shared our miseries and struggled with their own. Let's make our country better! Join us making other people happy for the sake of happiness. If you could help us in any way that would be awesome!
As promised, Boulos Romanos from Publicis, updated me a few minutes ago with:
Hey Joey! Basically we went down, as Publicis with some help from friends such as the Clown Around organisation, to Hamra and handed out smiles to people. The reception was amazing, people were genuinely happy to see us and even though we were not many we managed to gather quite a crowd. We had jugglers, a unicycle (i'm the one in the video pondering if i should break my neck trying to ride it or not) and musicians entertain all the passers-by. You could tell people felt so relieved to see us. Basically you'd see them walking down the street frowning the whole time until they reached us then when we explained what we were doing their face would just light up with joy. Personally it was also very gratifying to put a smile on so many people knowing the stress everyone has been living under the past few months (years? decades?) This was a little initiative by Publicis to show how easy it is to make people aroundyou happy. A smile is the universal language of kindness, and people needed to feel kindness! Ps: Here's the report LBC did about us in their evening news last night.
Lebanon is Happy too
As you all know by now, Pharel Williams’ “Happy” inspired hundreds of covers from around the world, including Lebanon. You can also check out my post “Happy Middle East and North Africa” for Global Voices Online. Here are the 8 Lebanese covers of “Happy”. Please let me know if I’ve missed any.
2. Blog Baladi, directed and produced by Joy Zeinoun.
3. Mazzat, directed by Elias Abou Jaoude.
5. Cre8mania, shot in Beirut, Jounieh, Byblos, Dbayeh, Bourj Hammoud and Dora.
7. I Am Other Entertainment
8. Gael Choueiry