Al Mukhtaar Speaks 


From:         Matar, George  gmatar @ 
Tuesday, December 23, 2003 9:00 AM
Christmas 2003

Dear Shweirieh all over the planet

The Holidays will not be complete for this man without letting you know you're on my mind during the best of Holidays. May it bring you the best of things in life and may it find you surrounded by your loved ones. To me this year has been very special filled with so many fond memories, I hope yours was just as great . On that note I'll leave you with this message Christmases come and Christmases go and they progressively make their approaches quicker every year. So what have you prepared for this Christmas and what have you done this year to make both memorable?

Lets see, if you take a pencil and pad and write down a list of accomplishment, would it be short or long? Would it be rich and fulfilling or empty as a drum? Was there enough time in this past year for your Family and Friends or were you so involved with your work that you have forgotten the essential reason why you work so hard?

This is your chance to make right of wrongs that somehow you just overlooked the past 11 months, here is a starter list to get you going

1. Your Parents: If they are with you, do show them your appreciation and love. If they are away, don't just send them a card but rather call them they will appreciate that more, and trust me you'll do too

2. Your Spouse: Be loving and tender and if the economic situation is half good be generous, after all your spouse is your life time love and friend

3. Your Children: More than gifts, they need your time, spend a lot of it with them

4. Your Immediate Family and Close friends: Call them and wish them the best for the occasion. Do it before they call you it would be more satisfying that way

5. Your Good Neighbors: Invite them for a snack or a drink

6. Your Bad Neighbors: Point the BBQ exhaust towards their

dwelling so they can enjoy the smell of what they're missing :-)

7. Your Community: Is an extension of your home, beautify it in any way you can. Your time or investment will never be wasted.

8. Change of life style: Tough isn't it? But buy one Lottery ticket, you'll never know. And if your Ship does come, think of the Mukhtar :-)

I'll be thinking of you all on this Christmas.

"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Night" how appropriate, its playing on the radio right now. Enjoy it with your loved ones

Merry Chritsmas and a Happy and Prosperous New 2004

George Matar



Al Mukhtar walking his daughter Leila down the aisle on her wedding day

-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, George
Sent: Saturday, December 14, 2002 9:26 AM
Subject: I've Been Gone too long

It has been a good four months since my last communication with you, and I just could not help but communicate with my favorite folks on this planet.... You. Today is one of the prettiest days that Texas have seen in a long time, a sunny, clear, warm (70 F) days like today is usually common in Texas. I am teasing our folks in the northern states:-) who are experiencing frigid temperature.   So much to tell you and all of it is wonderful news (and I kept the best for last) most of this has already been posted on the web page, but I make it a habit to let you know anyway. Why? Because I love you, and because you love me (My fingers are crossed:-) ). I know that there are other new events to celebrate out there but without you telling me about it would be hard to publish it. So here is what I know:

* Congratulation to our newest PhD Rania Abi Kheir
* Congratulations to the The Moujaes Family for finding their long lost relatives (Australia)
* Congratulations to Chris and Leila Moujaes on their wedding
* Congratulations to Shane and Nadia (Matar) Cowart on their wedding
* Congratulation to our Christina Sawaya on winning the Miss World International in Tokyo
* Congratulations to Habeeb Nacol for his ordination as sub-Deacon
* Congratulations to the unified efforts the Shweirieh put together to decorate the Saha for Christmas, have you seen the picture??? It is Gorgeous
* Congratulations to Rima Matar (Our Adopted new Shweirii) on winning Miss Emigrants and is on her way to the Miss Tourism International Pageant, our best wishes. 
* Congratulations to Tony Khalil Moujaes who is graduating from Lamar  University as I am writing this message. Tell his mom & dad that Tony was offered a job in Houston, He might be my neighbor.

All these happy occasion and I still have not come to the best part yet.....

Are you still reading?

Three spectacular happening are taking place as we speak, and you, I better say "us" are in a position to do some great and historic events come true for our beloved village:

1. The community center / Library: Our vision of having it is becoming a reality, we just got news that the Baladieh (thank you Dr. Ghosn and the village council) is about to complete re-tiling and repainting the wing that is dedicated to this project. Our Shweiry architects (George Moujaes and Company) are putting all their efforts to come out with a plan and budget to help complete this project. The needs to carry on such a project are plenty and we will need your help to purchase book cases, desks, computers, light fixtures, cabinets, books, magazines, etc... When the final figures come out, we will share it with you up front and you on your part be as generous as your capabilities will allow.....

2. A wonderful Gentleman by the name Karim Nasser approached and offered his financial help to establish a scholarship fund for Shweirieh students that demonstrate good academics as well as volunteering to help our village. Jamil Bou Saab will be the Champion of the committee that will establish the guidelines for the selection process. The committee is now being formed, if you would like to be a part please step forward. This is wonderful news for you students in Shweir, start building a good portfolio and get ready for it......How Much is the scholarship, you may ask? Well, it is very generous however there is a little catch to it. Mr. Nasser would match our contributions up to $???? (I'll tell you later when all the (i's) are dotted and the (t's) crossed). And believe me it is a very, very generous offer. We just don't know how to thank Karim for his initiative and wonderful offer. The smartest thing about his offer is making sure that we work together to get the maximum...... if we collected one dollar, he will match it, if we collected $2,000, he will match that, up to his maximum. Does it get any better than that???? I don't think so.

3. In the first quarter of 2003 we will begin the process of nominating our recipients of achievement awards. SO if there is a Shweiri that you feel strongly and would love to see being on the list please prepare at least one page showing why your candidate deserve to receive the award.

There are three categories to chose from: Life, Civil, and Business Achievement awards.

Man, that George does not know how to stop when he start writing, so I am going to stop just about now, wishing you, your family, and friends the best Christmas ever, you will always be in my heart.

One Shwier, One Lebanon

Your Mukhtar Bil Mahjar

George Matar


As of the beginning of the year 2001, is embarking on utilizing a New Bulletin Board to better communicate with our readers and supporters.  We will have sections for General topics for discussion, and Forums for Al Mukhtar, Hilda and Webmaster.  This new Bulletin Board is far more interactive where by you can initiate a topic for discussion or respond to any other topic initiated by another member.   Click here to visit the > > New Bulletin Board .  

The following is a sample of the new Bulletin Board

Author Topic:   The Fantastic Journey
George Matar
posted 05-09-2001 12:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar      Reply w/Quote
It took me a couple of days to finish writing this and share it with you.

I sat down next to my wife Janice looking over the program for the night, the orchestra still in the practice hall. Wow it has been 7 ½ years since we saw his first concert when he was in 6th grade. A lot of students that were with them then have quit playing, but he didn’t. It is 7:30 PM when members of the orchestra stepped on the stage, there were about 110 members but all I can see was one, he walked in holding the violin under his right arm and was checking the crowd until he spotted us sitting in the third row. He nodded with a smile acknowledging us. I responded back by giving him the “Long Horn” sign; this is so unconventional for a symphony type crowd, but he knows his dad is a rock and roller at heart, he waved back with a more pronounced smile.

This was Michael’s last concert as a High Schooler, my son will graduate in 10 days and will be attending the University of Texas this fall (the Long Horn Sign, is a fist with the index finger and little finger stretching and spread apart resembling the head of a bull).

I am sure the music was great as always, Clear Lake High School has an exceptional Orchestra. But last night I couldn’t remember much about the music, My mind was drifting through memory Lane over the past 23 years. I guess it hit me all of a sudden that few short months from now there will be Janice and I home alone, just like it was 23 years ago!

It is amazing how fast the mind travels. I went back to 5:01 PM December 30th 1977 at Saint Joseph’s Delivery when I heard this single “Waa” come out of my newly Born Daughter Leila. The most beautiful sound that is implanted in my ears and will be there until my last breath on this earth. Her voice still soothes me to this day. The mind races…and wonderful memories are pouring back accompanied by this lovely background music coming from the stage in front of me. I remember the time, she crawled, walked, First time (1 ½ yrs) I heard her in the pantry spelling P.E.P.S.I. walking in the mall and Carrying her on my shoulders and she is sinking her only two front teeth in my head giggling and laughing as I wiggle my head; learning to swim, teaching her to ride a bicycle, losing her Mickey mouse hat in the Disney Land Lake, Afraid of Mickey but loving Donald Duck. Her & I going to the Arcade to play pinball machines …The two of us playing “More” on the piano…..Leila had my unshared heart for 5 years until Michael was born.
Now it is 8:33 PM December 12th 1982 at Memorial Southwest Delivery, I am busy with a Camera and Movie Camera and assisting my wife with her breathing. Michael was in Hurry to come out; it was 45 minutes from the time we arrived at the Hospital until he came out screaming as if he wanting to go back to where it was warm.
He walked at 8 ½ month, swimming at age two….I want to Sleep by you Daddy….Isn’t that right Daddy? Now Sports, remembering when the two of them scored their first goals, Hitting the first baseball, Michael’s first home run, his last home run. Leila rounding up the bases (she is by far the fastest runner in the Matar Family). The vacations the four of us had together, Puerto Vallarta, skiing in Colorado, Disney World (twice), Lebanon (‘95), last years cruise to the Caribbean. Leila’s artwork, Michael’s music and jaming Beatles songs with me. Oooh, those Thursday nights “Junk Food and a Movie”. The Annual Christmas trees decorations. Slow down George, those snap shots are blazing through my mind so fast.

Leila gone to college and graduated………And Now it’s Michael’s turn……WOW what a fantastic Journey this past 23 years have been. Just about then my wife seems to have noticed or read my mind: “you’re still gonna love me when both kids are on their own!! RIGHT?”
“Honey, you are the love of my life, without you none of this would have been here” Kiss.

The concert was over, we took several pictures, and headed home for the night. Deep inside I was so proud of Michael reaching this stage in his life but I could not help feeling melancholy, I just did not want Janice to notice or feel the same way. Now really folks, what could be a replacement to all this excitement, there is hardly anyth--- Wait, wait, WAIT-- Well of course, there are going to be weddings, grandkids, Baptisms, and trips many trips to see their own family and lets not forget the freedom to go to Dhour Shweir at anytime, Hey Honey we are going to be ALLLLRIGHT.


Below are select messages from the original Bulletin Board and emails ......

I am not going to say much on this message, I just read, copied and pasted a bulletin posted by Lama Katoul, our youngest Contributor to the page (13 years) and she has a question for you all...   If you care to respond, please go to the "New Bulletin Board" general discussion and do so. As for the Baaklinis, Do check Dr. Klee posting on the "Lebanese on the Titanic" trust me you do not want to miss it.

Lama's message:

hi every1! 
where are all the shweiryih??? 
ever1 is posting messages and nobody is replying!  
where are all the energetic shweiriyih?? 
mish ayb?? 
we post info for every1 to read and post a reply! 
Come on where is the spirit???  

Eid Al Mughtaribeen Committee

Posted by George Matar on January 15, 2001 at 15:11:53:

In our second letter to the Baladieh and Eid Al Mughtaribeen committee we are still asking the same question. When will the Eid be? There are many of us that must plan their long vacation well ahead of time. We just can’t up and head to Dhour on a relatively short notice.
The Eid is about 6-61/2 month-away, not a whole lot. Am I led to believe that it is not scheduled yet? Here we are planning to recruit as many Shweirieh and Lebanese as we can to this years Eid, yet we can not give them solid dates. I am telling you, if we don’t have good dates very shortly, many of us will not be able to schedule our trips and most likely will not go to Dhour. What does that mean to the town, in very simple terms “lose of revenues $$$$$.
So get organized and help us help you.

Responses to the "Shweiry of the Year Nomination"

Posted by George Matar on January 05, 2001 at 10:56:00:

Here is the first wave of people responding to the Shweiry of the Year Nomination

 From Alfred Moujaes
Dear Al Mukhtar;
You are absolutely right, Anwar is the Shweiry of the year and years to come.
Without him all this would have not happened, I second that motion.....
Anwar WE LOVE YOU !!!!!!!!
Hope to see you soon.

 From Walid and Saera Khairallah:
Kol aam w'inta b'kheir Ya Mukhtar.
Congratulations on the choice of the categories. Indeed very interesting insight. You score 10/10 for the nomination of Anwar as the Shweiry of the year. How about a special title for Habib K Moujaes whose benevolant action was critical for creating the computer purchase funds.

 From Hana Archbold
Dear Anwar,
I remember your Mom telling me that Saadeh saw you when you were a baby. Your Mom said that Saadeh told her that this baby is going to change history. I can see that you indeed did.
Congratulations! you deserve that title.
We love you indeed.

 In regards to Habib Moujaes she wrote: “How about Most Valuable Member (MVM) for this year?”

 From Nabil Matar:
I will add my vote to you both. Anwar had done a magnificent job. Thank you Sheik Anwar, also our thanks to Hilda, Rabih and of course Mukhtarna bil mahgar Abou Makhool.

 Salim Bou Chebl: How about “ e-MAN “ of the year for Habib!!??

 From Walid and Saera Khairallah: in response to Salim’s suggested title
E-man of the year sounds fantastic, and to please Hana, perhaps Most Valuable E-Man( since Anwar already has a title).

From Dcn Ihsan Bou Sader
Dear God Brother George “Al Mukhtar”
To you, yours and all the Swear people wherever you are; with aid Elghtas a special wish of every success in the that is good for you and that your treasures are everlasting.
Now to the best man of for 2000, well ANWAR is my friend and I declare this first to avoid any call of conflict of interest, then endorse all the good words said about him and add he is one and only very special and would like to see him recognised.
As for Habib Moujaes, again I declare he is family, but what he did deserves a title along the lines stated.
Being Orthodox I am always reminded of doing things in threes, so the third recognition will have to be to our Mukhtar...
The servant of Christ, in His Loving Grace,
Fr Dcn George

From Dr. Fouad Tebshrani
What a webmaster and a dedicated person Anwar is. I truly respect this guy for his character and honesty, and above all his soothing personality which I admire most.

From Henry Moujaes
*Mabrook ya ANWAR it’s good choice,
may i give you you another title? (YES)
you are the (GOLDEN BRIDGE ) also,
wiz 3aynak ya MOUKHTAR.

From Suheil Baaklini
Add my vote to Anwar and I would like to nominate you Mukhtar as a Co Shweiry of the year and Half. Thanks to your efforts and the hospitality of Alfred otherwise this thing would not even happen.
Happy New Year and come to Austin when ever you can.
Suheil in summary

Posted by George Matar on January 03, 2001 at 09:29:59:

Kil aam Wo Into B’kheir.

Remembering the Good things about the Year 2000. These are some the accomplishments that we as Shweirieh can Claim.

We started the Year with no resolutions and no commitment, here’s a look back at some the good things that Happened. For more details see

 May - Shweir on the Beach 2000 Picnic, the most successful yet.
 Close to 100 attended from across the USA, Florida to California
 $800 Contribution to the Two Charities
 Commitment to start a web page for the town

 July – was created Thanks to Anwar Shaaya Kenicer, my Nominee for “Shweiri Of the The Year” . The site is the most progressive and interactive site for a Lebanese Village, possible world wide, on the WEB.
 Active Members –
 Technical Support: Anwar Kenicer and Rabih Khoury
 All other sections: All of Us Shweirieh
 Number of New Guest 86 from all across the Globe. Here they are in no particular order: Lebanon, USA, Canada, Brazil, Germany, England, Ivory Coast, New Zealand, Australia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, France, Ibiza-Spain, Hong Kong, Ghana
Impressive don’t you think?

 We had approximately 400 Bulletin Board Entries discussing a rainbow of subjects. Memory lane to Environmental to New projects to benefit the town. All had good messages, some were constructive criticism, some offered new solution. But regardless of the subject all were done in good taste.
 We lost the input of one Shweiri; J. Baaklini that we love to have back. “J” if you are reading this please come back we know your intentions were good.
 We had some Colorful and Interesting Characters that kept us wondering who they are. Visitor # 660 (the original), # 661 & # 66?, Curious, Agree with curious, A’Zeer, Zeer #2, Skaramoosh, Sacred Mankoosh, and possibly others. It has been a while since we heard from these characters. But my personal three favorite BBs, where “What Visitor are You?” “Shweir, Population 21” both by V#660, and “Defacing Dhour” by A’Zeer. In case you missed it these two characters are the same person.
 Hilda Out wrote everybody by a wide Margin. Hands down, Our Best writer.
 Most Commented on BBS, was “Defacing Dhour” with 8 responses followed by “Does the Baladieh Know?” with 6 responses. The later started the drive for buying computers for the school.
 New Arabic Poetry by Nora Matar Moujaes and Rosalie Sawaya Khoury.
 Most Nostalgic, Nora Moujaes, with responses from Fawzi Emad, Elias Matar, and George Matar
 Most sensitive subject, Environmental by Mike Sawaya and Walid Moujaes.
 Most honest inner feeling about being away from the town, “Al Ghourbeh” by Roula Halabi, and Ghassan Zghaib.
 Tributes to lost Loved ones: Rosalie Touma Sawaya Khoury, Judy Bou Kheir, and George Matar.
 And Many Many other subjects.
 Announcements:
 Weddings
 Isa & Lillian Khoury
 James & Chantal Touma Sawaya
 Henry & Rita Bou Saab
 Ramzi & Carol Eid Moujaes
 The Engagement of Nijad Chalhoub to Rania Shartoni
 The Graduation of, Khenisser, Nacol, Matar
 The Ordination of Dcn Ihsan Bou Sader
 Eid al Mughtaribeen, including pictures of the Beauty Pageant.

 Books:
 “Saif wo Terse” in Arabic By Jamil Eid Kheniesser
 Milia by Najib Matar. This is an ongoing book presented as a series of Chapters.
 !922 Shweir Guide Book, Hilda has translated several Chapters very well written about Dhour Shweir in the Early 20th Century.
 Pictures Ranging from the 19th Century through today
 Biographies of Some prolific Shweirieh, some are still found in the BB and will be moved to the “Did You Know”? section:
 Jerjes Hammam
 Mansour Jurdak
 Dhaher Khairallah
 Daoud Mujais
 Asaad Rustom
 Antone Saadeh
 Khalil Saadeh
 Nimah Yafith
 Others are mentioned in the section”Did you Know”?
 Shweir History, by Habib Halabi, a comprehensive and well-written article.
 E Cards, Arabic Music etc..
 The Creation of the Shweir Fund, current project is providing Computers to the Shweir High School. Four Computers have been bought, additional units are in the process.

All and all it has been a terrific year for all of us and hopefully next year will be even better…WITH YOUR HELP, OF COARSE.

Okay so it took 4 minutes, Aamilooleh Kaffain!!!!
Your Mukhtar Bil Mahjar
George Matar 

Ya Shweirieh

I would have loved to send each and everyone of you a Christmas Card from the web page but I couldn't do it in time. I have one more day left at the office before the Holidays and I hate to leave without wishing all a Merry Christmas, so I wrote this note on the web page "New BB" but I wanted to send it to you personally, so here it is.  This Christmas  As usual it is going to be cold in Dhour Shweir this Christmas. So what's new? Well, actually plenty our mother town is much happier this year because, for the first time in her recent history, she is seeing her children getting united, her name is being echoed across the globe via cyberspace like no other time before. She has a renewed hope that she's about to be reborn again and in due time be as pretty as when she was Aaroos al Masayef. And why not, we all know how beautiful she is, and we all share that common love and drive to help her get back to her glory years.  Granted it is a steep uphill battle, considering all that happened to her in the past 4 decades, but the trip begins with a step and this year we have taken a giant one.

Your Mukhtaar is trying to be little philosophical this Christmas: Make sure you show your love to your parents and be generous with them You'll never know when you will miss them. Show your love to your children and spoil them a little on this Holy occasion, but teach them to be responsible and generous (your turn is coming). Love your partner with no reservations, the two of you got a very long way to go together. And save a little of your love and generosity for your needy town, it sure will come in handy.   So for this Christmas I pray with all my heart for your health, good fortune and great success as if it is mine. I pray that the Lord give us guidance and strength to carry our dreams and expectations through. I pray for our town to be patient with us and allow us time to continue with what we have started. I pray that this united family,, keep growing united, and I pray for your continuous feed back to let me know we are.

From my Family to yours, Milad Majeed (Merry Christmas) 
Your Mukhtaar bil Mahjar
 George Matar

Thank you ya Mukhtaar... we could not have said it any better except to add  "Amen".
The team at

Is the well Dry? Not yet

Posted by George Matar on December 07, 2000 at 14:45:04:

Shu Ya? Nash'shafna??
No more material to write about? How about the upcoming election in Dhour as Habib Moujaes has informed us. Is the Web page going to endorse any qualified person? Well we don't know who is running at this time. Who is in Dhour Shweir that is qualified and can lift the town to higher standards? Would somebody in Dhour Let us know.
For the fun of it, and if you read this BBS, Who would you nominate for Mayor, or any position for that matter. Can you name anybody?

My Biggest concern is, do we have enough qualified people in the town that can work TOGETHER as one TEAM?

To the voters I strongly urge you not to be biased this time. When you do cast your vote, like Mr. Moujaes said choose wisely.
Just remember, sometimes you have to realize that your kin or best friend may not be the right person for the job. But if you honestly believe that he or she is then, by all means vote them in.
Vote with a clear conscious that you are doing the right thing for the benefit of our beloved Town and not the individuals ego.

I am counting on you to select the best.

Mukhtar Bil Mahjar
George Matar

Al Mukhtaar and Webmaster discuss strategy and Environment inside the trunk of a California Giant Redwood tree


The New Bulletin Board

Posted by George Matar on November 22, 2000 at 08:01:01:

I have navigated through the new Bulletin Board and really like it. I just wanted you to know that from now on I will be posting my messages on it. Well I already posted an important message on it today. Read it and give me your comments and thoughts.
You really need to start getting used to the New BB it because it will be the future BBS, this one will soon be archived.
Hilda how about you make the switch to it too?

George Matar


Posted by George Matar on November 20, 2000 at 11:01:55:

I was requested to add my Thanksgiving email to the web page by some really nice folks so here it is. I also added some responses that I received. A million thanks.  You all have a great Thanksgiving this Thursday. You can be assured that that I will be toasting your health and wishing all the best.

From our Family to yours B'Suh-it-kum Ya habayeb.

The Message Another year has passed and many of us are still away from Dhour. However, Thursday of this week will be “Thanksgiving Day” in the United States. A very special day that we joyfully celebrate and are thankful for all that we have. Our families, our friends, our re-found friends, and most of all our health and wealth to enjoy it all.

In addition to all of the above I am thankful for being born Lebanese, that small nation that raised me to be proud and taught me to appreciate the value of what little we had. The country that gave me my father Elias and my mother Victoria; my Sister Nora and brothers Najib, Nabil, and specially Habib; and all my life time friends.   I am grateful and thank my lucky star for this Great Nation that opened its arms and welcomed me as one of its own. Gave me my education, my wife Janice, my children Leila & Michael, my home and the opportunity to be successful.  And Last but by no means least, I am thankful for our web page that reintroduced me to all of you and above all for rekindling my love for my birth place.

So I say to all the Abboud, Abdel Ahad, Al Khoury (Khoury), Aoun, Baaklini, Archbold, Bou Kheir, Bou Najm, Bou Rizk, Bou Sader, Bou Zaid, Chalhoub, Chedid, Dagher, Emad, Farris, Ghosn, Haddad, Halabi, Harik, Hawi, Houbaika, Jebrail, Jouby, Katoul, Kenaan, Kenicer, Khayrallah, Kheneisser, Korban, Malouf, Mapar, Matar, Mer’ai, Merhej, Mishrek, Moujaes, Nacol (Nakool), Nohra (Nuhra), Naoom, Nasr, Rehbani, Rustom, Saadallah, Saadeh, Samaha, Sawaya, Shaya, Shehadeh, Shweiry, Tabsherani, Touma, Yacoub, Yared, Zaidan Zghaib. Including all family branches and name derivatives. Have I forgot anybody?

Have a Great Thanksgiving Day and enjoy it with your loved ones. Lastly, thank you all for being a part of this guys life.

Mukhtar bil Mahjar
George Matar


From Walid Samaha 
Dear George,  Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your Family. Although Thanksgiving is something we do not celebrate here in the U.K., or for that matter in Lebanon, your very thoughtful message to all of us, has made me feel proud that there are still a few Lebanese, in the Diaspora, who think of our country with the warmth and love it deserves, instead of criticising it all the time...   We know that Lebanon, as is, leaves much to be desired, and there will always be room for improvement, but, like you, we should not abandon our esteem and respect to the land of our forefathers, just because of the few rotten apples we are lumbered with at this time of our history. I was especially touched by the few words you said about you parents and
siblings, this only goes to display your character and good breeding.
Your thoughts remind me of the Arabic poem
God Bless,

P.S. The “D” in DANNOO is the “DAD” not the “DAL”.

From Suheil Baaklini  
Thank God for friends like you Brinji. Wish you and your entire family the best as always and most of all wish you come here to see you. Are you coming for Leila's Graduation? I hope soooo. Well see you then.
Have a great day.

From Dcn George Ihsan Bosauder  
George,  I love the way you express your-self and particularly the way you listed those people dear to your heart, you remind me of Bouna Geries God rest his sole, and the way he used to recite the names of all... when preparing the Holy Gifts... Are you sure you are not a candidate for priesthood?
Thank you for being part of my life too...
Your God Brother
Fr Dcn George “Ihsan Bosauder”

From Young Lama Katoul 
Thank you for the touchy letter you sent me! but i need to tell u that i have changed my e-mail and it is: i hope u send me on the other email cause i wont check this anymore please inform our shweiry friends!  
Yours truly lama katoul! 
(Isn't she cute? Thank you Lamloum)

From Kalim Kurban
Dear George 
Thank you for your E-mail and happy thankgiving to you and your family too. You mentioned that you have two children. Give them my daughter’s E-mail so that they also can be close to each other just like you and me.
Take care  Kalim

From Laura Choueri  
Dear George
Your emails are incredible and brighten up my day.
A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Best always
Laura Choueri
ps. Shweiry is also spelled “choueri” we like to think its the original spelling (ha!ha!!!)


The following are e-mail excerpts sent on Dec. 1, 2000:

Marhaba Ya Ahalee Dhour wo Shweir

I hope you all had a great and prosperous year and saved enough money to buy gifts for your loved ones in the next 3 weeks.  For the young Generation I say: You have studied hard and well, your good grades along with your love and respect are your gifts to your parents.  That's all they ask for.  For the not so Young that have worked hard and sacrificed all year long I say: Don't forget the reason why you have put all these long hours day after day, It Is Your Family. So, take this Holly Month to rejuvenate the love you share with them. 

I was hoping to use the newsletter to send my updates but alas many of you have been so busy that you forgot to sign up for it. Allah Ya teekum al aafyeh maybe we'll use the Newsletter next month.  If you have been a regular visitor to the Web site you will notice that November has been relatively a quite month But here a summary of what has been happening:

* We received From Rosalie Sawaya Khoury (Brazil) the book about Shweir published in 1922.  Hilda Touma Sawaya has done an outstanding job translating several sections from it. The most impressing thing I noticed is the success they had in promoting the Town. We definitely can learn from them on how to revitalize Dhour Shweir.  

* We have about twelve new guests that have registered in the guestbook. Rabih Khoury is working on ways to be able to file the names in alphabetical order so we can use the section as a directory, Signing for the newsletter would help Rabih tremendously. Just for your information I have more names on my email list than we have in either section. Take this as a hint, if my computer gets zapped by a nasty virus, I could lose contact with a lot of you, and you sure will miss me.

* The page has been upgraded to make it easier to Navigate, new sections were also added.

* Now, you can use the page to send cards on special occasions, thank you Rabih Khoury.

* We are about 2 weeks from submitting application for a "Not for profit organization" to help establish tax deductible contribution to help the town. Stay tuned on this one. 

* The Big Story Last month we thought that we will be able to send "10 Available" computers for the Baladieh, volunteer organization and the school. The feedback from the town's folks indicated that the school will benefit the most from the computers. Somehow the word got out and the school presumed that they were promised the computers. A couple of weeks ago the deal fell through once we found out the cost of the shipping and handling and making the computers compatible is more than buying new computers. Needless to say, the school was very disappointed. Wait the story does have a happy ending..... Habib Khalil Moujaes, our man on the spot, feeling that the relationship between the towns folks and the mughtaribeen must not suffer took the initiative and bought 4 brand new computers that will be installed at the school "AT THE SAME TIME YOU ARE READING THIS MESSAGE". These computers will be used by our nephews, nieces, cousins or their children, Great Christmas gift for a great cause. 

Efforts like this are deeply appreciated and surely must be commended. Thank you Habib. We will publish the whole story with details and pictures on the web soon.

Note from the Mukhtar: Although Habib did not ask for help on this donation, I am hoping that several of us will be able to contribute and collect some money to help him once we know the amount spent. We will wait until we establish the organization so you can claim the deductions and we can tell you where to send the money. For future fund raiser, I promise that we will collect the contributions prior to committing to any amount we contribute to the betterment of the town.

So For now, I wish you all a glorious Christmas and the best of times for you and your family. Do enjoy your time with them whether you are decorating the house or shopping for gifts. And Remember to send us some picture of your family during the Holidays. would love to assign a section showing Christmas 2000 family pictures from all across the Globe. That should be our small Gift to each other that we can share and enjoy together. Think of it as a substitute for a gathering at the SAHA.  Can you do that by the end of January?

Your Mukhtar Bil Mahjar

George Matar

The following is a sample of a posting on our new Shweir Bulletin Board ... 
       To visit the new Shweir BB, click here >>>  Go to New Shweir Bulletin Board    

Topic:   The Christmas Tree
George Matar
posted 11-22-2000 07:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar      Reply w/Quote
Oh Christmas tree…..Oh Christmas tree how lovely are your branches.
Beautiful song that all of us heard or joyfully sang at one time or another. Christmas is such a special occasion that always brings lots of warm childhood memories. Decorating the tree has always been a family project, and at our home it has always been the 10th of December. We prepare finger foods, and drinks for the occasion. We put Christmas Carols on the Radio, and we even take Videos, some have been quite funny.

The decorations did not have any special rules. Hand made stuffed angels, Santa Claus, animals, stars, or decorations prepared by the children during their elementary school years are the preference. Lights, icicles, etc…a definite. We like the tree REAL BUSY. But the tree, well, nothing was compromised when it came to the Tree, Certain standards had to be met.

 The tree must be around 7 ft
 We did not cut the tree but bought it from vendors
 Green, not frosted
 Must make the whole house smell like pine, spruce, or cedar, in other words natural
 The Tree base must fit into a special container that is water filled to keep the needles moist

For safety reasons we lit the tree every night until bedtime. Christmas Eve the tree was ,and still is, kept lit all night long out of respect for our Lord Jesus Christ birthday.
Of coarse the tree was kept in the house through New Year and past Eid al Ghotaas. That is almost one whole month of enjoyment that we got out of our tree. The tree by this time is totally dead, and bone dry that friction from your teeth while taking it to the front yard could ignite it. HALT, isn’t that dangerous? Well yes, actually very dangerous.

Few years ago we went through a major rethinking of our tree selection, driven by tragic reports of several Christmas trees catching on fire destroying homes, and in cases killing the occupants of the house. Could that be a sign of the Lord that he does not approve of us cutting his trees?
Couple that with the deforestation that is happening in South America and our visit to Dhour and noticing what happened to our forests, we decided not to contribute to chopping down trees anymore, Not even for a Christmas Tree.

So what ever happen to the tradition at the Matar Home? Well, nothing happened to the tradition. We still do the same things. The tree is as pretty as ever, the pine smell got replaced with apple cinnamon, and in some instances you can even smell Arak during our dinners. But I tell you, the best part is we can sleep at night not having to worry about being “Roasted (like)Kastana on an open fire” due to the tree going in flames. I tell you those Chinese can make fire retardant artificial trees that look so REAL and beautiful year after year after year. Get yourself one you won’t regret it.

So, have we really spoiled the meaning of Christmas by having an artificial tree? Not a bit, the tree does not make Christmas, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s Birthday and what better gift to give him than helping his favorite planet stay beautiful.

In the next couple of weeks, many will be buying trees, some of those in Dhour will most likely carry their axes and head for the woods at night to cut down one. Stop, here’s something you should know. In the United State some people made a business out of selling Christmas trees. To keep their business going they plant a tree for every tree they cut down they have the land and acres & acreas of trees. Simple but a beautiful plan, huh? Not only that, after Christmas thaey collect all the trees and convert them to mulch that are used in flower beds, NOTHING IS WASTED. Nevertheless, there is a strong and growing drive to totally having artificial trees in the future.
In Dhour we need to do even better than that, for every cut down tree, two, three, even five need to be planted. If you feel you have the discipline to do that, cut yourself a tree. Better yet, buy an artificial tree and feel good about saving a part of our natural treasure and possibly keep your home from being torched.

That's all I want to say. So on Behalf of the Family we wish you all Happy and Safe Holidays and this year lets add Responsible to it.
Mukhtar bil Mahjar
George Matar



A tribute to Dad

Posted by George Elias Matar on November 02, 2000 at 11:24:35:

Elias Najib Matar (1911-1985)

November marks the 15 years anniversary since my father died.

Bou Najib, was the Eldest son of Najib Matar and Afifi Katoul. He was born to a poor family in Ain Sindyaneh at a time where it was hard surviving on your own. World War I was just about to start, and famine was knocking on every door in that part of the world. A Sack of flour was 5 kroosh, but who has that much money?
Some of the stories I remember him telling me about those times. The day there was nothing to eat and my grandmother Afifi had nothing in the Moonneh. The kids woke up smelling something cooking aa Saj. The meal looked like Mnakeesh, but what was on top looked more like ground straws. She has ribbed her pillow and took the stuffing which was “Shaaeer” (I guess Barley or hobs, or something similar) she grounded it and mixed it with some shortening and baked it. All he remembered was the “Tlameh” were delicious.
Then there was the time when he was wondering in the Ghwab and he stumbled over a tomato plant growing in the wild with four Greenish Red tomatoes hanging. He clipped them and hid them under his raggedy shirt and ran home to share them with his Mom, Dad, Sister Salma, and little brother Mitri. He wouldn’t stop to talk to anybody cause he was afraid somebody would take his find away from him.

Yes those were tough times, but the boy grew up to be as softhearted as they come. Things were still tuff when he had his own family, he taught himself plumbing as a profession but the prospects where not that great. When he did find a job he had a hard time collecting his fee. There was always a kind reason why he did not. “Haram, that poor widow needed help and can’t afford paying”. Or the “Maskeen” was sick and he needed that leak repaired explaining to mom: “I didn’t have to buy any new material, I used what he had, Ya Im Najib, can you imagine me charging him for something this simple? Maalaysh Allah B’daber”.

Him and my mom Victoria Yacoub Moujaes complimented each other real well, “He didn’t gross much and she great knowing how to budget on little”. But somehow the two managed to build a nice home over our heads and make sure all five children were educated.

He was not much of church person, but he lived Christianity. He believed the intention of Christianity is to improve the way people treat each other, “A’Deen Moaamleh”. In so many ways he is right.

I don’t ever remember my dad slapping me, he did not believe in physical discipline. He was not a confrontational person, if he ever felt he’s losing control, he will step away until he cools down.

He knew his limitations and did not ask for much other than his family stay healthy.
He loved “Arak bou Saada”, wo “Tuttleh Rafeyaa” and loved socializing with his best friends,Najib(Bou Riad) Eid, Nasri Kouyami, and Mikhael Hawi. My own interpretation is that the four of them felt stuck in this lonely town and their only escape was to vacation together over a Kass Arak and Seekh Lahim Mishwee. Now, it sure did not get any better than that. Old Milwaukee must have stole the idea from this wonderful foursome.

His favorite TV Shows were the “Wild Wild West” and watching the Pittsburg Steelers playing football. He predicted “that team with the black Shirts” will beat the Dallas Cowboys in the Superball. And They Did. That was considered sacrilegious for people living in Port Arthur / Beaumont area namely my brother Nabil.

Bou Najib biggest mistake was he thought he knew his physical health better than anybody. He would tolerate pain and keep it to himself rather than inconvenience anybody. Not a very smart way to live by, indirectly it caused him his life.

My Dad Elias Matar known in Dhour Shweir as Elias Bou Najm, died on November 22nd (Lebanon’s Independence day) 1985 in Port Arthur Texas. He lived long enough to see all his children, all his grandchildren and two great grandchildren. Three months before he died, he was lucky enough to see all of them at the Baptism of my son Michael, the youngest of the grandchildren.

I miss you Dad, and I am sure Najib, Nora, Nabil, Habib and all your descendants feel the same

YourYoungest, George.

Re: A tribute to Dad

Posted by Anwar on November 08, 2000 at 02:50:36:

In Reply to: A tribute to Dad posted by George Elias Matar on November 02, 2000 at 11:24:35:

George, what a beautiful way to honor and celebrate the memory of your father.

This is one of the most touching tributes I have read in a long time. You described so eloquently and masterfully a lifetime of special experiences from Shweir to USA in just a few sentences. Your tribute is now in the "In Memory of ..." web page. If you wish to provide a photo, I can add it to the text.  May his memory be eternal.


P.S. I encourage any of our readers who wish to write a tribute to a loved one to please do so. If you wish, you may follow al Mukhtaar's lead and great example.


Baskin Robbins

Posted by George Matar on October 16, 2000 at 16:47:51:

Based on a True Story

Yes, it was my first semester fall ’72 at Lamar University in Beaumont Texas. Just for your information Beaumont is not named after a mountain. (that’s another story). That fall was by far the my loneliest period in the USA. I left Lebanon in my prime (21 years old), I was in a rock and roll band, playing music all over Lebanon and lots of activities everywhere.

My skin was still dark from sun bathing in Tabarjah while diving for Tootya (Yet another Story). You can say I really did not look “All American” but like many of our kind confused for being, Spanish, Italian, Greek, or Brazilian.

It was Friday afternoon and I was sitting in the student center. Grant you Lamar is not like the University of Texas and the number of students was 10,000 compared to 50,000 but where in God’s name do they all disappear Friday afternoon. The place was reminiscing of Jwezeh in the winter at 5:00 pm. The entertainment was limited to NOTHING.
There was only this bored Lebanese sitting drinking a cup of coffee. A couple of international students that I met through the international club happened to be passing through my Jwezeh. One of them said, Hey Matar you want to go for a drive, I was in the back seat before he finished his sentence. Didn’t care where they were going just as long as it’s away from here.

“Hey Amigo Jo wanna cum wid us to Baskin Robbins” Carlos said “dey haf de best I scream in Amaeerica”.
“Thank you Thank you Thank you, and yes I will come with you”.
20 minutes later they parked the car in-front of the 31 flavors shop. Inside there were two young teenagers, seniors or juniors in high school I presume. A young lady tending the cash register and a young man standing behind the counter.
The two college students were talking in their mother tongue discussing what flavor they want to try. I was parading the ice cream containers. As I approach the register the young lady said in a soft voice:
“Are you guys foreign students at Lamar”
“Oh yes we are, I am from Columbia, My friend is from Chile, and that one over there is from Lebanon”
“ Excuse me” she said to me, “Where is Lebanon”..
Just about then the Young Boy behind the counter couldn’t hold his tongue any longer.
To the girl he said; “You Idiot, don’t you know your geography”?
“ I am Sorry But I never heard of Lebanon” she said.
So far I was still quite and just moving my head left and right (like in a tennis match) along with the exchange of phrases between the two workers.
She turned to me and said; “ I am sorry but I honestly, do not know where Lebanon is”!
I was about to say “Lebanon is ……when Mr. Geography shouted: “You Fool… Lebanon is in South America next to Brazil” then he turned to me and said “ Sorry buddy my co worker do not know these things”. I got me a HAM, I thought (lazim nistlim hal zalmeh)
I thickened my accent and said to him.
“You, you verrrry Sharpeh mon. True, Lebanon is south of Brazil but one Big Country separate us, iz called Zimbabwee”.
The young man inflated his chest and sighed “that’s right!!! Please forgive my friend but it seems she did not take the same world geography as I did. By the way I am Ed and this girl is Tina”.
“Nice meeting wiz you Ed, what is it you sell in here?” I said
“Ice Cream Man” he replied
My two friends picked up on the joke and said; “Lebanon is so far south of Brazil that they don’t have electricity. Ed, tell him what it is”
“ Oh, well Ice cream is a frozen desert that you eat, it is very good” he said
“ you make fun of me, You sell paint for interior of houses, these are samples of colors you sell” I said
“No Man be cool, this is Ice cream and we eat it” he said.
“No F%$#$*G way if I eat this I die” I said
“No Man trust me it’s gooood, here’s a sample of our peach flavor” he handed me a spoonful. In those days they used to use regular size plastic teaspoons
I took the spoon and pretending I was reluctant, ate it and started smacking my lips
“ees cold, but does taste like peach, Ed, you Americans are so smart, you squeeze natural things and make this ice cream. This one is green … must be made of grass juice right”?
“ No Buddy that’s pistachio” he said.
“No must be grass, because grass is more green than pistachio” I said.
“Pistachio, here try this” another spoonful.
“I can’t believe it, it does taste like pistachio, that brown one must be an extract from coconut hard shell and the dark brown chunks in it must be olives but what’s the white stuff” I said
“You’re wrong again, this it chocolate Almond fudge” Yet another spoonful
“I know I will guess this one correctly, This pink one with black specks must be peppered raw meat, I insist I can’t be wrong this time”
“You poor fellow I don’t think you are going to guess any of them, this is our flavor of the month creamy strawberries” he said
“No Senior you are mocking me”!!
“Don’t get angry man, have you ever tasted raw meat like that” Yessss another spoonful.
Needless to say, I complimented the young fellow on all 31 flavors and couldn’t help but show him my appreciation for taking the time to educate me. We said our good-byes and invited him to visit Lebanon if he finds himself in Brazil or Zimbabwee.
We got to the car and I just stopped turned back to the store, opened the glass door stuck my head and with my best American accent I yelled: “Hey Ed, I can’t leave you like that man… Lebanon is located east of the Mississippi”

To this day I keep wondering if he was smart enough to look east of the Atlantic or was he satisfy with the town “Lebanon” located east of Nashville.

Morals of the Story:
If you don’t know, ask and you will be answered.
If you assume, watch out for people named George.
And if opportunities like this one arise eat healthy. And remember innocent pranks like this are one in a million, and the memory lasts forever, especially when no one is hurt.

Okay, quit wondering, not all my stories are related to food

George Matar

PS Jwezeh is the forest located west of Dhour Shweir. It is extremely isolated in the winter except for the waweeyeh (Foxes).
Or would you prefer, Jwezeh is located near Bouj al Howz on the northwestern side of the Waha River…Take your pick. Better yet, you can call Ed, he’ll tell you EXACTLY where it is located.

Shweir Newsletter

Okay, so we got our web page and it is moving much better than expected.  We have connected with friends and relative from all corners of the Globe.  We have people registered from all continents, Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, North and South Americas.  Do we know anybody at the Arctic Circles?

 Now What?  

For one thing our list of Shweirieh is far, too far, from being complete, but we’re making a lot of progress hopefully you have referred a couple of friends and/or relatives that are going to do the same (pssst, have you done it?)

 Several important issues came up on the web page lately, examples, the open letter to the Baladieh to establish communication with the Town folks.  There are several others issues regarding the Environment, One regarding defacing Dhour and yet another suggestion to help set up a trust fund “Wakef” to help fix certain problem areas.   Okay, I’ll put you on the spot, what do you think of all this?

 Well, many of you probably have not had the time to check the web page, whether you were busy, vacationing, kids school etc.. I am sure you had your good reasons.  To make things even easier for you, we are working on setting up a monthly, or bi-monthly Newsletter that will be issued directly to you from the web page, via email, to inform you of the latest.  It might be a condensed version of all the latest updates and/or some important issues that will require your attention, or maybe just a special occasion like a “Happy Independence Day” (coming up Nov. 22nd, you thought I forgot)?   When we implement this, you can wait for the letter to go to the page, although we much prefer you do visit regularly.

 “What should I do”? You may ask.  Please go to this link and sign up to be included in the distribution:

Click on this è , it is important that you do this. And remember your privacy is protected.  Not everyone can use this mailing list.  This is a different set up than the guest book.

 “And Why”?   You may ask.  For one thing “Because you care and you want to receive the newsletter”.  Another is this: When and if we establish communication with the Baladieh many exciting things will begin to surface and we want ALL of us to be included.  We all will have the capability to vote on issues that we will present to the Baladieh.  I sure am hoping I got you interested.

 Shweir Really Need You and Need your Input and Feedback.

 There is not going to be Us and Them anymore.  There will be one Shweir with some of us temporarily “Hometown Challenged”.  Most if not all of us still have family, friends and property there.  The chances that many will retire in Dhour are high.  When we do return there shall be no surprises anymore because now we will be continuously updated and hopefully have a say in the progress of the town.

 Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we are creating a mini newspaper for Dhour….  

And most importantly, “We don’t want to be ignored anymore”.

 George Matar

 Copies of communications from postings on the Shweir Bulletin Board or from select emails: 

To the Eid Al Mughtaribeen Committee:  

 Dear Shweirieh 

I want to congratulate you on putting a successful festival this year for the town.  Those of us that were unlucky and could not attend had to rely on word of mouth on all the festivities.  The advertisement on the was good and described well what we missed.  We are still waiting for some of the Shweirieh to get proactive and write a report on it so it can be shared with the less fortunate Mughtaribeen that had to stay in our adopted country.

 We at would have loved to help the festival become even bigger, but the page was being born in July of this year.  All that we could do was to display the advertisement, and if I may add, not soon enough to have an impact on the Eid.  But that is behind us, it’s History.  Next year it will be different and hopefully, and if God’s willing, we should be able to promote this Event to the max.  We already have started thinking of things to do for next year’s festival that will encourage not only the Shweirieh but also all the Mughtaribeen from Lebanon to attend, after all it is their festival too.  The more we have the merrier and more beneficial for the town.

 Eid Al Mughtaribeen is a golden vehicle to help us bring new visitors and new investors to our town.  It should be a goal we should strive hard to accomplish by heavily advertising and promoting our town and activities.  We can start by informing the Shweirieh overseas, and they will inform their Lebanese friends, and in turn they will inform their friends.  “The Ripple effect”.  With time everybody will know.

 If I may suggest:

·         Shweir should compile a directory of all the Shweirieh locals and abroad

·         I recommend the Baladieh, issues a monthly, or quarterly, newsletter to all the Shweirieh, informing them on activities, plans, needs, social life, weddings, births, deaths, etc.. This is an inexpensive way to maintain a line of communication.

·         A copy of this newsletter will be posted on the web page for all members that have internet access.  However at this time I believe, hard copies of the Newsletter should be mailed. This newsletter will be a common link and will make the Shweirieh in the Mahjar feel that they are still part of the town.

·         The Mughtaribeen have learned a lot from their adopted countries, they are invaluable resources that should be tapped into.  When they feel they still belong, they will volunteer to help in one way or another.

 Now Back to the Eid:

 The Date:  
For so many years, many Shweirieh, like myself, living in the southern parts of the USA unwillingly deprived themselves from attending Eid al Mughtaribeen because its timing conflicts with our children’s school.  For example schools in Texas starts around the 10th of August.  I talked with Mr. Nabil Ghosn, in 1995 about trying to make the festival the last two weeks of July or at least last week in July and first week in August.  Five years later nothing has happened.  To be honest I don’t like going anywhere without my children and I definitely will not allow my children to miss two weeks of school to attend the festival.   How many Lebanese do you think fit this description?   You can be assured plenty.

 One thing for sure, diehard Lebanese, with children, will keep going home.  It would be very beneficial to attract them to Dhour Shweir each time they go back.  If we can attract them even for one day of festivities the rewards will be great. 

 The Plan:  
Let us set the festival date and schedule it real early, maybe as early as November to make sure all permits and paper work are in order. 

 The Activities:  
Scheduling early gives us the luxury to recruit the top artists that the budget will allow.  Same with the sport teams.   In addition to all the already wonderful activities, let us:

·         Set at least a day that the Shweirieh living home and those living outside join hands on a mini project that will improve a section of the town. Example planting trees, or clean a major street, or plant flowers.  We have many ideas we can recommend.

·         Talent show for the Shweirieh, locals and abroad.  Again we have several ideas we can share

·         Games for ex athletes.  example a day of volleyball for people over, 40 years old (Shabak Watee, of coarse).

·         There are a lot of talented young Shweirieh bil Mahjar that would be willing to participate in the activities, we should locate them and encourage them to do so.

 The promotion:  
We will use our combined resources to strongly promote it.  We can start at the beginning of the year if not sooner.

·         By mentioning in the news letter as early as January, and repeat it in March and June.

·         By using web pages like , , and the likes of those.  Will will utilize our web page the fullest on getting the commitment of many Shweirieh and their Lebanese friends to plan their family vacation to accommodate the festival’s date. 

 We are not asking much Just that Eid al Mughtaribeen 2001 to be the best ever. 

 United we will make Dhour Shweir Aaroos al Masayef and the envy of all towns in Lebanon.

George Matar 

 Webmasters note:  
I recently spoke with the founder of the Lebanese American Association, Mr. Fouad Maalouf, and he also agrees about the date for Eid al Mughtaribeen.  He, and many others, usually visit  Lebanon in July and missed the festival because they left Lebanon the end of July. 

To top of page

The following is a copy of a posting from the Shweir Bulletin Board:

Does the Baladieh know?

Posted by George Matar on October 11, 2000 at 08:52:34:

It is only the 11th of the month and I can tell this month has the most interactive BBs, an absolute delight to my eyes. Maybe there is hope for the hometown Ya Mr. Zeer (You too Mr. Zeer # 2). Now, if only we can get somebody from the Baladieh to join in.

This bring a very important question: Does anybody know if the Baladieh has a computer? If yes, do they have an internet connection? I consider contacting the baladieh, on regular bases, as very important to this web site.

I know for a fact that some of the local Shweirieh have their own unit, but we rarely hear from them. How expensive is it to get on line on the internet? Do they charge a monthly fee or by the minute? How much does it cost? Are my expectations of contacting the town too high?

Surely the Baladieh has a budget for at least one unit.

If no, here are few propositions.

Every now and then we tend to upgrade our personnel computers to faster and more versatile unit, bigger monitor, better scanner, printers etc…. What do you do with your old unit? How about if we package these and send them to our schools, baladieh and people that can use them in Shweir. Do the schools have computers?

A better option is for those of us working in high tech companies, Your company do upgrade its units regularly, I can bet if you approach them about the purpose and use of these slightly outdated units, they will donate them to the town. All we have to do is pay for packaging and shipping. Not bad for helping the town.

Is there anybody among us that deals with exports, I heard, in the USA, you can not ship units of the latest design, is that true? Your input is very much appreciated and extremely important.

Now, I admit I am talking from a point of ignorance. I don’t know if these are an expensive options or if any of you will be willing to pitch in financially.

Could it be that the computers are cheap in Lebanon?

I am looking for a volunteer, in Shweir, to study this issue report back to this site, and hopefully champion the effort to line up options or a plan to rectify the problem. And hopefully we collectively can help. How about it? You can answer me on the BBS or mail me direct to or email the webmaster .

I am hoping you all will light up the BBS with your feedback.

George Matar

Re: Does the Baladieh know?

Posted by Ihsan Bou Sader on October 11, 2000 at 14:44:45:

In Reply to: Does the Baladieh know? posted by George Matar on October 11, 2000 at 08:52:34:

Alah Maak Ya George,

I agree with what you said and wish to add,


My rotary club had a brain waive, they collected 10PCs INM real thing and said we will do a project in giving them to a school, "Ihsan you do it since you are in the IT business."

That was three years ago and my garage is full of redundant PCs.

We need to identify the recipients, and who will train them on the basic use. Then we can go to Internet.

If my memory serves me right from Beit Kyameh there were people in the IT Business...
come on let's have some one say I will do the Job in Shweir.

Best wishes to all


Re: Now this is quick

Posted by George Matar on October 11, 2000 at 15:33:31:

In Reply to: Re: Does the Baladieh know? posted by Ihsan Bou Sader on October 11, 2000 at 14:44:45:

: Ihsan

Wow this is quick, I love stuff like that. Ihsan, Possibly Nijad Chalhoub or Ayman Chalhoub would be good candidates, I'll see if they would carry on with this. Well done, my God brother.

October is here and Texas is grateful for the nice weather we've been having. Thank God we do deserve this relief.

How about your part of the world?

Here is the latest, I'll start with the important issues: I am soliciting your feed back on this.

We sent a letter to the Baladieh via Nijad Chalhoub to discuss with them and the committee of Eid al Mughtaribeen. It is our understanding that Mr. Nabil Ghosn will be the organizer of next tears festival.

In the nut shell we requested that the Baladieh: 
* Create a directory for all Shweirieh
* Until the web page reaches everyone, they should send by mail a monthly or quarterly basis a  newsletter to keep everybody up to date. The web page will post this news letter regularly. 
* We requested rescheduling the Festival to the last two weeks of July so there will be no conflict with our children's schools (Example schools in Texas start early August) 
* Start promoting the Eid Early, not just to Shweirieh but to all Lebanese. We will do what ever we can to help from here. The Idea is to bring Mass Mughtaribeen to Dhour
* Include in the festival activities that the locals and the Mughtaribeen can do together, we have many ideas. 
* Co-ed Volleyball tournament for the over 40 people. Sha-bak Watty, of coarse.

If you want to see a copy of the letter please let me know and I'll email it to you.

Other things happening at <> : 

* Thanks to Rabih Michel Khoury, we are testing a new and more versatile Bulletin board, please give it a try and let us know what you think 
* Again, thanks to Rabih Khoury, we have the capabilities to send
cards through the web.
* Rabih is also working on building us means of sending newsletters (like this one) for all registered Shweirieh. That means we will be creating an email directory for all our members.....Starting with you, you gorgeous Shweirieh (HAVE I TOLD YOU LATELY YOUUUU LOOOK MARVEOULS )?.  
* See Rabih's explanation and ways we are taking to protect your privacy(attached).  


* New updates include: 
* pictures of a picnic in Ain Assis (1952) and
* the "Mid term exams" in the Carslo Building (1963 / 4).
* The Matars trip to San Francisco.
* Numerous Enteries in both the Guest book and the Bulletin Board.

REALLY GOOD STUFF, check the little story "Beyaa al Garabeej" the writer is a wiz kid, not as good as Hilda, but nonetheless a good wizz. (definitely not the kind of wizz boys do). 

Hey if you have not checked the page lately, you will be overwhelmed. Pour you some coffee and enjoy the latest. The best way to catch up is track the weekly updates posted by Anwar, or better yet, uh, find your own way it's more fun.

B'Salameh ya habayeb

George Matar 

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October 2000

Hello Ya Shweirieh,

Our web site is growing and the credit goes not only to those who worked hard to bring it into existence, but to a great extent to all the Cyber Shweirieh who made it as enjoyable and as successful as it has become. None of that would have been possible without the contribution of all Shweirieh, be it through actual contribution, input or just visiting the site.

 With growth comes changes to accommodate it and if I may say so we are growing at a fast pace. A big Horrah to all. Some changes we implement will not be felt by our visitors, some like our New Bulletin Board will be brought forward for all to share.

 Any and every change we make is done with the utmost consideration of protecting the Privacy of Shweirieh, our visitors, users and itself. Also those changes will be made to make visiting and surfing our site easier and more enjoyable.

 When I first set up our New Bulletin Board, I made it so the Email address of the users will not be displayed. That was done to protect the Privacy of the users. But our Mukhtaar and Anwar mentioned that some might want to display their email address in their profile so others can email them. A good point, with that in mind I set up the program with an option to do so if the user wishes to display his/her email address.

 Why a New Bulletin Board you ask?

 The decision to set up a new and more powerful Bulletin Board is a two fold one. The first is to make it more enjoyable to Shweirieh and also for privacy reasons. This Bulletin Board is set up in such a way that it will only allow ONE USER NAME, also it will only allow ONE UNIQUE EMAIL ADDRESS. In other words if someone wants to register under someone else’s User Name or Email address they can not. But we are one big happy Family you say, why would anyone do that? It’s sad to say that the Internet could sometimes be used by people (other than Shweirieh) for extraneous purposes, from spamming to inappropriate emails to email harvesting etc. Better safe than Sorry. The second reason is to make managing the Bulletin Board easier for those who manage it. Underneath all the cool and fun features such as the Smiling Faces, lies a very powerful program. It offers the webmaster a great deal of options from setting up new Forums, to making announcements to archiving posts etc.. The link to our New and Improved Bulletin Board is 

 A note about Registering:

 When you bring up the registration page for the New Bulletin Board and after clicking on the Agree Button, the next page is the Registration Form. The Only Fields required to register are the first Three, the ones with a * next to them, the other fields are optional. I will be setting a forum for questions and comments about the New Bulletin Board and The Shweir E-Card page, which I will tell you about next.

 We thought to bring some fun to our page, so we set up a page to where Shweirieh can send Electronic Cards or Cyber cards as some call them. The link to the page is and it’s pretty much self-explanatory. Again any questions or suggestions please let us know either through our New Bulletin Board or email.

We need your help in further testing those programs, so go give them a good workout.

 God willing we will be setting up a subscription to a Newsletter where the subscribers will get a Monthly or Bi-Monthly letter of  updates, news, announcements or whatever the Mukhtaar dreams up.

Happy and Safe Cyber Surfing Ya Shweirieh

Rabih Khoury  

Beyaa al Garabeej

Posted by George Matar on October 03, 2000 at 15:57:35:

Based on a True story:
Many Years ago when most of you were babies, just about the time H was born, a Garabeej vendor from Homs used to come to Dhour to sell his Garabeej. He would have a tray that has an assortment of bite size garabeej filled with Tamr, Fistoq halabi, or Jouz, and a bucket filled with the pure white Garbeej Dip yum yum YUMMMMM. The Beyaa considered himself smart because "HE had a Gimmick". The deal was: If you "serve yourself (5) garabeej from the tray then scoop the dip from the can and eat them all while your INDEX FINGER AND THUMP touching and separating in a rythmic motion, tick,tick,tick,,,,,continuously until the last garbeej is swallowed, YOU WILL PAY NOTHING. Otherwise you will have to pay for all five pieces, khamis franqat (0.25 Lira). He was doing real well with the game the and business was booming...For the first week.
I went home cut me several pieces of khoubiz placed them on the table, filled a casseh with Labneh and placed it on the floor, and practiced. I found out it really was not hard.
Next Morning I skipped breakfast and lunch and went looking for Beyaa al Garabeej. Two Thirty, I caught him infront of Cine' Roxy getting ready for the 3:30 movie goers. He's looking for a sale, and I am Darn Hungry.
"Sh'loonak Ya zegheer, eh moo tale3 aa balak takool GARABEEJ? kil wihde' B franq wahid" He said.
"Ya aamo badi Jarib hal le3beh maak. Ana Maa3ee rubi3 lira (L 0.25)" I said
"Akhiiii, sho Yaeni Rubi3 Lira? Inta assdak khamis franqat?" he said.
"Aye Ya aamo, khamis franqat".
And the game began......Tick...tick,(1), tick....tick (2)...tick..tick,(3), tick tick ..(4), (5). Allah that was soooo satisfying. "Ya aamo baad marah?"
Tick...tick (1), ..(2), ,,(5).
"Akhii Sho Ummak ma b'titaamak bil beit!!!?"
"Allah aamo baad marah? Wo hayatak isbaee sar rah youjaani, feni jarib 3 badil 5?" I said.
"La ya Habibi Ya b'takool 5 ya bitdfaa 5 franqat, sho fihminaa? he said with a wicked smile.
"Tayib mitl ma bitreed" Oh yeah He fell for it, and we started again: tick..tick(1), tick..tick (2), 3, 4....."Wheysh!Wheysh Yelaan Deen hali tarak Akhii!! Wo Kous Ikhit Hal Bayaa, Ma tikhalini Shoof hal wij Baka!!" That Was the last summer this vendor came to Dhour.
I headed towards the Roxy licking the cream off my right hand fingers, lick...lick...lick and my left index finger and thumb still going tick,tick, tick..

along the way i met my cousin Sallouma(Dr. Salim Khalil Moujaes in Chicago)and we headed for our daily summer routine the movies. As I was about to enter the theater, I turned towards the concession Stand waved at the young man and said, Keefak ya Anwar?.

The moral of the story is, for the young ones, "practice makes perfect".
For the not so young, "Don't eat more than three Garabeej, your metabolism can not handle it Anymore.
And lastly, This is such a small world, Ladies and Gentlemen, that Anwar at the end of the story is non other than our beloved Webmaster.

Look for the Baskin Robbins Experience coming your way... SOON.

Re: Beyaa al Garbeej

Posted by Mona on October 03, 2000 at 17:46:38:

In Reply to: Beyaa al Garbeej posted by George Matar on October 03, 2000 at 15:57:35:

: Ya George, you always were the analyst, and it paid off.
reading this brought another memory. You all know we used to get our milk in the DURF carried on a Donkey. I forgot the name of the vendor, but he used to come all the way from Btgreen. anyway, my father once asked him: How many liters of milk does your cow produce. The vendor answered very proudly, OH about 6 liters. then my father asked him, and how many liters do you sell each day. The vendor proudly answered, Oh about 10 liters. So if you were wondering why our milk tasted like water back then. Now you know why.

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The Nafoura

Posted by George Matar on September 01, 2000 at 08:06:14:

I can't help but compliment Souheil Khonaysser and Elie Baaklini for the new photos they sent us as featured on the "Photos" web page. One presented us with the history of Deir Mar Youhanna and it's great history, love to see those dates on the pictures, I already added this Deir to the list of places I will revisit when I go back to Shweir (possibly next year).
Elie's pictures were done very tastefully (good Eye Elie). They actually are very upbeat, from what I saw, there was a good harmony between nature and the Architecture as shown by the Villa on the Mtull picture, by the way that is Adel Merhej's villa.
The Nafoura and the flowers brought life to the old Saha, I LOVE IT.
I did not like the place where the Taxi's were parked in the middle of the street!!!! tsh..tsh.. tsh..
The Dhour Shweir Hotel looks vey elegent, I noticed there is a parking lot on the south side of it, that is good. However, I did not see the Mahleessi tree of Emil Farah (num num , it was goooooood) I hope it is still there hidden behind the hotel.
The angle of one picture got me confused until I recognized beit Beder. Then I realized that Elie was on top of the same building where he took the picture of Adel's Villa but turned towards the Saha.

I read the Articles that were attached to the Saydeh pictures (thanks to Nijad Chalhoub) and one paticular story brought a lot of memories. The year was 1905 when the Bell cracked. My grandmother Melia (sister of Khalil G. F. Moujaes Featured in Saif oo Terse) used to tell me the story about my grand father Ayoub Yacoub working on bringing the bell down to be sent to Beit Shabab to be recasted. Wow, I never expected to read something about it.
My Grandfather Ayoub Yacoub was a crafty man that was taken by the Turks, "Safar Barlak" when my mother Victoria was an infant, and either before or right after my late uncle Souliman was born, sometimes around 1915.
When I was Child and I would do something good my grandmother used to call me Ayoub Yacoub, she said I reminded her a lot of him..... he must have been a good looking man.
This is exactly what this web page was intended to do, I have so much fun with it. I hope you all are having the same satisfaction.
Thank you all for these precious moments
Your Mukhtar bil Mahjar
George Matar  

Shweir in a Catch 22

Posted by George E. Matar on August 24, 2000 at 08:44:34:

The two reports by Waleed Moujaes & Mike Sawaya do reflect a sad reality in Shweir. Shweir, has no businesses that generate new revenues (new money) other than attracting summer rentals. This is 3-4 months of new income due to what the Misayfeen and diehard Shweirieh returning to spend their summers in our Shweir.
To the locals, more housing, is a potential for more money. Can we blame them for building? Well, No! Unfortunately, construction is done on the expense of defacing the land. The Shweirieh home owners should never forget what made our Dhour Shweir so special. They have got to realize that: Their commitment to the “Summer Occupants” is really not the two, and three bed rooms housing, but the view they see when they open the windows.

The Misayfeen and Mughtaribeen, return to Shweir to forget the 9 month of being confined within their offices, having their vision shocked by high rise building, traffic, zmameer, chaos, and their day to day complex life. They come to Shweir to be closer to nature, and for a short two weeks to 3 month live a simpler and more meaningful life. If we can not provide this to them, they will go somewhere else.

Mike & Waleed, are quite right in their analysis of the situation, or, they might be like the rest of us romantic fools that want to see Shweir like we remember it, beautiful. But, what is great about what these two guys, and their likes, is that they are visionaries, they saw an alarming situation and started doing something about it. My friends whether you know it or not, you have started to educate the rest of us Shweirieh on the importance of the environment and keeping our Shweir beautiful. So don’t let an ignorant truck driver killing few trees dampen you enthusiasm, your efforts is setting the stage for keeping our beloved town exactly how we want it, BEAUTIFUL. Just remember, the truck driver you mentioned might not know what he’s doing…….But his offspring will know.

If we collectively agree on how we want our Shweir to look 20, 30 50, 100 years from now, then we don’t need Mr. M. Mur or the Government to impose restrictions and limitations on how we should or shouldn’t build our homes. Now that I said that, the hardship of selling the “collective” idea to the rest is where the battle will be. Remember, education is a slow process, we’re on our way. So Hang on.

But until then I pray that when we Build we will build responsibly so that our home, our neighbor's home, and the environment are in harmony, because that's all we got, it will be a darn shame to lose it.


Re: Shweir in a Catch 22

Posted by Hilda on August 24, 2000 at 13:01:18:

In Reply to: Shweir in a Catch 22 posted by George E. Matar on August 24, 2000 at 08:44:34:

I cannot agree more with George. I wish as people plan and build their homes, they are concerned about the outside landscapping and appeal. The town as a whole needs to be concerned about its natural beauty. Some of the trees were destroyed by the war, as I understand, and that kind of reforestation can be adrressed as a voluntary community effort. Adhering to a certain building code surely helps.

What Visitor Are you?

Posted by George Matar on August 03, 2000 at 14:19:42:

In Reply to: What visitor are you? posted by Visitor # 660 on August 03, 2000 at 08:41:42:

Dear Visitor # 660

On behalf of the family I thank you with all my heart for your spirit, and above all for sharing your thoughts with us. But I beg of you to be a little patient, this web page is just began to crawl, it is not going to be long before it is running.
It is true that its audience is growing, grant you not too many sign the guest book, but we do receive emails with a lot of support. We believe that in due time we will locate Every Shweirieh around the Globe, if they want to be found, and the Shweirieh will no longer be fragments but one entity.

We love your attitude and appreciate your concerns. We would have loved to know your identity but that is okay, we all need someone to remind us when we deviate from our intention.

Mr., Mrs, or Miss V # 660 Welcome aboard. The Shweirieh will not let you down.

One Shweir, One Lebanon
Mukhtar Bil Mahjar
George Matar

Web Masters Community Program.

Posted by Gerji on July 23, 2000 at 11:03:37:

Hey, Web Master, I read your introduction to the Community on "Announcements" section, by the way the Touma Sawaya wedding pictures were a great addition, congraulation to the newly weds.
Back to the subject, Nabil Matar started a "Life time Achievement Award" program a couple of years ago. Each year he went to Dhour he presented a plaque to a person that fits the citeria. The first Person awarded was "Elie Nihra" for all the support he gave to the Volleyball program. The Second was Miss Mary Sawaya (Milhem Sawaya's Sister)She's the one that kept up the school, and youth programs in Shweir. Last year it was Anwar Sawaya (Makhoula's brother) for all his work in the Baladeeyeh, and helping all the locals in legal issues.
I don't know if he did one this year, but here we might be able to help or maybe expand on the idea. Nabil is a little shy on writing on the web. But he does read this web page religeously maybe we can get him involved in this.  

Re:  Web Masters Community Program.

Posted by Web Master on July 24, 2000 at 01:16:14:
In Reply to: Web Masters Community Program. posted by Gerji on July 23, 2000 

Thank you Gerji for your comments. Indeed, we are very proud of the achievement of our people. Nabil, we appreciate your efforts and facilitating such recognition. May we ask of you to provide, us via email, info or bio on Elie Nihra, Miss Mary Sawaya and Anwar Sawaya. Or possibly tell us who in Shweir can provide us with same.
Can we get a volunteer from Shweir to answer some of our readers questions?

Achivement Awards & Donating Musical Instruments

Posted by JouJo on July 23, 2000 at 11:31:45:

Nabil, I heard you have been giving "Life Time Achievement Awards" to people in Shweir. This is so wonderful, can you share with us who has received these awards so far?
I also heard you have been donating a musical instrument to the "Nowbeh" every year you go there. This is another honorable effort on your part, we really should encourage all Shweirieh to do the same. Music is so wonderful and every kid should learn.
Do you know what are their current needs? I am wondering if Shweir. com can help promote this. There are probably a lot of Shweirieh in the USA that played in High School Bands and are not using their Instruments any more. Maybe this Page can coordinate, or put an effort to encourage these people to ship their musical instruments to the Nawbeh (how about that Web Master?)
One thing we can try to do is locate someone that would/can donate a book of new material / songs that marshing bands can play.
More instrument might encourage more youth to Join the Nawbbeh. This is a good an not an expensive way to help the home town youth........
Way to Go...

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Re: Achivement Awards & Donating Musical Instruments

Posted by Web Master on July 24, 2000 at 00:59:51:
In Reply to: Nabil Matar / Web Master posted by JouJo on July 23, 2000 at 11:31:45:

Both of these topics are so wonderful and are just what we are looking for to feature in this web site. readers are quite interested to learn about our silent heroes and heroins. Any information, profiles of individuals and photos will add depth, diversity, acknowledgement and appreciation to those fine people. We will anxiously await more info.
Web Master 

To Nora, Fawzi & Elias

Posted by George Matar on July 21, 2000 at 17:48:50:

Ohhhh Boy, those days were kind of wonderful weren't they? Yes I remember being a (cute) little boy 4 0r five years lod always anxious for his sister to taking him with her to school. Allahhhhhh all the attention I used to get from the older girls like (with all due respect) Nouhad Yared, Samira Baaklini, Zayneh Rehbani, and many many others...I can remember them saying "Shu Hilo Khayik ya Nora, Lameen taallaa shaaratoo shukir (blond)? Shu hal ghamzat il hilween (i told you I was cute). Wow what a feeling,I felt like a little prince surrounded by the prettiest girls in town. And oh, I can't forget Emily Dirghan I always related to her because altitude wise she was the closest to me. I can almost hear all the older Guys saying "what a lucky guy he is...." But what was better than the pretty girls were the boys (my sister's age). Why? I'll tell you why, not only were they nice, When Fursit a sa aashra came the took turns walking me to Ramiz el Jurdi Cart, parked between the road and the tennis court, and bought me what ever my heart desired. "Maakroon, Khams kroosh; mishabak, aashir kroosh, Tamreih ,just fried, khamstaashar irsh" Said the man with the hemishperical hat with a ball on top (Ramiz il Jurdi). Some how they convinced me that the maacroon was the tastiest and best sweet since my small hand can hold it better mitl al aaroos izgheereh!!!. I guess that explains why I am partial to that sweet. Yes I loved the guys, I remember Aziz Touma buying me "fistkuyeh". Nora is and always will be the special person in my life, and she "Loves me she really loves me".. She even wrote a poem about me... maybe one day she will publish it on this Web pag.
A year or two later I started school, and my sister's friends became my teachers, Miss Yared, Miss Kurban, Miss Sawaya, Miss Dirgham, Miss Rehbani, They were classy,they cared and taught us to be the best...(If any of you happen to be reading this I want you to know, that you are still in my heart).
The electricity for my generation was a little more reliable, but we still had one room heated during the day. On a good day I would wake up early in the morning to start the Sobia. But Bou Najib would win most of the time.....Wouldn't you like to have some kastana cracking on top of the sobia's or furn al hatab? aw shee ras batata ow basleh, being rosted bil remadat?.. Snow Days were holidays...Talj wo dibs, writing our names on the snow using------ "eat your hearts out girls".
In the fall was the Gilal season. Each week I had a special Tuss. The agressive player will use the Nutta style, the thinkers will use "sahloobeh" (Walak Yaaaaaa Michel Nikola Touma Wayanak these days???). Then the blabel season starts ( I bought several from Maalim Spiridon). Then Manara, wo Taka Ibrih, But the Best Game was Ghameeda, at night in front of our house next to Cinema Roxy....Khalil Miraaeh Moujaes was the king.

And then the School closed, and we became fish out of the water. You three did not experience this. I tell you THAT WAS HARD. But that's another Story

Missed you

Posted by George Matar on July 08, 2000 at 10:03:01:

Ya Anwar, you humbled me Man. I Can only take 10% of the Credit the other 90% is due to the man that has the drive and momentum of an 18 wheeler going 90 mph on interstate 10 (I-10). Need I name him???  Best part about all of this is that I found you (although you were not lost).
I was going to call you (it's 8:00 AM Pacific) but, I figured you will be sleeping since all your work is
done after midnight. Maybe a little later on. 

Suggestion===== In the photo section: Why don't we do the same as you did in the Texas page, i.e. try to fit all the pictures on one page and enlarge the one to view by clicking on it ( that the terminology?)

See other articles by George in the Memories and Environment Web Pages