Dr. Anthony Rahayel and Dr. Marc Beyrouthy collaborate for a better Lebanon. by Houda Harb, Sydney, Australia
When most people around the world think of Lebanon, they think of conflict, political volatility, and social and economic turmoil. Somewhere in between these is the image of Lebanon, the sexy tourist destination and home to one of the best nightlife capitals of the world, Lebanon, the place of amazing culinary experiences, and Lebanon, the natural wonderland.
In a country as complex in its diversity, history, natural resources, and external influences as Lebanon, this leaves little room for common meeting points for its inhabitants on a social level. And in today’s social media powered world, there is no single platform out there today for Lebanese to come together and connect to engage with one another on issues and subjects that unite them such as food, history, art, agriculture or the environment.
No platform that is, until today. The NoGarlicNoOnions vlog, now in its eighth year, has evolved to become a platform that has brought together a growing community of people from Lebanon and all corners of the world, to interact, engage, learn and share insights and knowledge on many of these subjects.
Anthony Rahayel’s NGNO YouTube channel serves up rich content that is in one word, eye-opening. Its focus is to show the audience the Lebanon “as not seen on TV”. It does this brilliantly, often leaving the audience mesmerized by the country’s natural beauty video after video. Moreover, it’s an incredible source of education and insight as it brings together people from all walks of life across the country to tell us their stories, from your ordinary everyday bakers, farmers, restaurant owners, to your individual field specialists and experts. It also raises awareness on important social and environmental issues that would otherwise remain hidden from the spotlight.
What we have is a platform that has become a place for people to build great relationships between one another, a place for collaboration, and a means for breaking down barriers and building trust between people so they can come together at a common meeting point. This platform is a pathway for positive change in Lebanon on all these fronts.
One of the latest collaborations, in a series of collaborations on the NGNO channel, is that with Dr. Marc Beyrouthy, an Agricultural engineer, specialized in Ethnobotany and Biodiversity, and Green Management and Chairman of NatureByMarcBeyrouthy. This collaboration of over 80 videos has transported us to many parts of Lebanon, from the north to the south, to discover forgotten natural landscapes, unique forests & forest ecosystems and learn about many different types of agriculture.
I think it is appropriate to pause here for a moment to consider the role of nature and our environment within our world. Maintaining nature’s integrity is the basis for economic prosperity and for society to flourish. When we fulfil our responsibility of preserving nature, then ultimately what that means is we’re looking after ourselves and each other. We owe nature at least that since it forever bestows upon us its generosity, providing us with abundant resources, all while silently enduring the ravage of human exploitation.
It was Albert Einstein in the early 1900s who wrote: “Look deep into nature & then you will understand everything better”. And it was Vincent Van Gogh who 30 years earlier said that “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
Reconnecting not only with one another but also with nature is key to our mental health and wellbeing. It’s worth pondering that and taking the opportunity through this powerful platform to share these very important messages. So we invite you to join the growing NGNO community, become a part of this impactful social change movement and let’s all make Lebanon better together.