Shweir News                                   







 The name Choueir, in Arabic, is the diminutive form of Chir which means cliff, thus referring to the cliff sheltering the village. It is also a variation of the syriaque word “choro” which means wall, and further also evokes cliff.

 Various Roman vestiges or traces were found in the vicinity.

Choueir developed after the Ottomans conquest of the area, as a consequence of their victories over the Mamelukes in 1517, when Sultan Selim conquered Egypt and Syria. The village, an orthodox majority, took part in the medieval political life of Mount Lebanon, opposing Emirs Kaysites and Ymnites clans. The XXth century civil war was devastating: the town was located on the front line between High North Maten and Low North Maten. Choueir still hasn’t completely recovered from this war. Summer tourism is scarce and high unemployment plagues the village.

  Surface area of the site 3,78 km2
Geographical co-ordinates lat: 33º 55’ N; 35º 42’ E
Height above sea level 700 to 1250m
Lithology  Late Jurassic for the oldest layers Sandstone with lignite (cretaceous base) or clayey sandstone (lower Apian) for intermediate layers
Population   14000 inhabitants (4000 locals and 10000 from abroad, especially north America, south America and Australia)
Population density     3.704 inhab/Km2
Average annual maximum temperatures 19,6°C
Average annual minimum temperatures 11°C
Average of maximum temperatures during the hottest month for ten years 37,8°C
Average of maximum temperatures during the coldest month for ten years -7,5°C
Average rainfall 1.270 mm
Average number of days of rain per year 77 days
Specific characteristics  Remarkable landscape, with inhabited cliff overhanging the whole locality
Traditional economic activities Farming, silk, retail trade, craft industry
New economic activities  Retail trade, small industries, hotel and restaurants. Majority of civil servants
Site’s communications with its territory

 Located 2km away from Dhour and Khenchara, Choueir belongs to the caza in Maten. It is 28km away from Beirut.

This project is financed by the MEDA programme of the European Union. The opinions expressed in the present document do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Union or of its member States. 3/3


A great number of houses (approximately 100) are uninhabited today, and are thus in rather poor condition. Traditional constructions are generally disfigured by concrete add-ons and anarchistic transformations. Restorations are seldom valid. From an economic point of view,

summer events and tourist activities improve the living conditions in Choueir. But, alas, the town suffers from significant economic and architectural decline though the Municipality made efforts in certain areas, like the little square and the cliff road...


Emir FakhreddineII introduced silk trades and developed commerce. A gradual regression due to the end of silk industry and trade pushed inhabitants into exile.  The second half of the XIXth century revived the villages of Mount Lebanon, amongst which Choueir. Cultural and academic activities developed in Choueir under the impulse of several Christian missions.

The 1930s and 40s brought about a significant increase in summer tourism.
Many middleclass Egyptians came to Choueir for summer holidays. 
From 1950 to 1970, most tourism came from countries in the Gulf.
During the civil war (1975-1990), Dhour Choueir was on the front line, and the village was partly destroyed. At the end of the war, a number of traditional houses were in ruins, while others were restored without following any adapted traditional techniques.

Today, the Souk of Choueir has lost its commercial role: the stores on the ground floor are closed and many first floors were transformed into dwellings. The causes for this transformation are initially due to a decline of the textile industry and the arrival of readymade urban products. A new main road now cuts through the village, putting the Souk on the fringe of town.


Municipality works are limited to widening roads or carrying out small drainage works. No comprehensive project was ever undertaken to promote, develop or really preserve the town.

Municipality of Choueir - Shweir
AOUN Oula, architect

Rizkallah Milad, “Massayef al loubnaniyat : dalil el choueir wa nawahiha”, Tabbara, Beirut, 1923. 
Choueiri Raja, « Dhour el choueir ou la paix des pins », Phelix Bérythe, Beirut,1998.


Nabil Matar visits NY, Switzerland, Italy, & Shweir - April 2005

I have been on the road for a long time and today is my first day back in the office. I went to several beautiful places like New York, Zurich Switzerland , Florence Italy, but the high light of my trip is spending ten wonderful days in Dhour Shweir (wiz 3aynak inta W George). I met the mayor Dr. Ghosn and  many of our old  friends and had a privilege to spent an evening with the two wonderful young Shweirieh that lit our bulletin board lately.The beautiful and talented miss Samar Kiame and the smart and optimistic young man Mr.. Mike Moujaes. I must admit that meeting these two Shweirieh really made my trip worth while.
I think I don't need to tell you that the whole time i was hanging around with my big Buddy Riad Khuneiser and his Lovely wife Loulou.
So many wonderful things is happing to our beloved town. The Saha never looked better, Baytna is receiving many patients, A new independent committee for Eid al Mughtaribeen was  established, More books in our library and above all the Swisraniyeh left.
I could write more about my trip but for now  I will settle with the attached pictures that said it all:
Nabil E. Matar

New York

going to Lebanon

in Florence Italy

Riad send me these pictures taking during the Is3af celebrating their anniversary.
Need not to tell you how many kas 3arak Abou Ziad shirib that day

April 2005

Thanks Sandy for sending these Easter holidays pictures


-----Original Message-----
From: Salim Sawaya
Sent: Tuesday, July 27, 2004 4:48 AM
Subject: 2 stories on Dhour Shweir

Here I'm sending you clips from the Lebanese media concerning two important events that were held in our beloved Dhour Shweir.

The first one is:  - The Dhour Shweir Beer Festival 2004 that outshined all the other events such like the Baccardi Night that was held a day before the Beer Festival in Biel-Beirut.

The second one is:  - The capture of the crocodile in Dhour Shweir (in Benabil / all the area is named Dhour Shweir) story that was featured in all the media.

Both stories reflected a large publicity for our village.You are kindly requested to post the clips on the forum.

Best regards,

Salim B. Sawaya



A Proposed New Common Cemetery For Shweir People

Since the welfare of Shweir and Shweirieh (in town and Mughtarebeen) and helping in solving all their problems by giving them the best way to communicate with each other, is our main aim in and because we care for all Shweirieh, living or dead, young or old, healthy or sick, etc.   we look with respect to all persons who work in or for public utilities projects and we try to help and support and if we criticize we do that with love hopping for the better.

Miss Mary Sawaya asked me to send you, for posting, this brochure about the new cemetery which will be build to replace the old one and that can be a solution for the community, many Shweirieh and friends doesn't have one.

This new project is well designed to:

First: Architecturally, environmentally and health wise are priority.
Second: There will be a "Salon" for 500 persons seated.
Third: A church for all sects to use and car parking.

For more information:
Father Antwan Nadaf cel. 03/368699,
Mr. George Abu Rizk Sawaya cel. 03/886262 and
Mr. Ziad Sha3ia (Engineer) cel 03/307049

We wish you all long live life.




Dhour is getting a Face Lift.

----- Original Message -----
From:  Habib Moujaes
Sent: Wednesday, March 24, 2004 6:24 PM
Subject: News

Finaly after one year in the planning, project submittal, and government red tape and slow moving bureaucracy the World bank financed project has begun to be implemented.

Our home town was allocated some 280,000,000 Lebanese Lira for reconstruction.
The council decided to put the money in Changing and repairing the main side-walks in the square from the entrance of dhour thru the main square up to Al fouar square. In addition to installing a new street lighting system with decorative poles. The uplift will also include stone tiled side walks, protective side barriers for pedestrians, Wheel chair access to the side walks, The enlargement of the Shweir entrance near the Catholic Church, A new round-about in front of (old) Cinema Roxy with trees, street lights and garden seats.
In addition the Main road from Dhour's entrance to the Main square is being enlarged for two way trafic with new side walks, parking space, and new street lighting.
All in all this will be one of most needed and long overdue reconstruction project the town have had in many years.
We hope our summer visitors will be able to better enjoy their stay with us
I will keep you posted with some pictures
Warm regards from Marhata
Habib Moujaes
Project Director
Dhour Choueir City Council


Snow Storm of February 14-16, 2004

I  want to tell you that the Valentine's Night has been cancelled due to the Storm that affected Lebanon on 14-15-16 February: 

A storm that has been battering Lebanon, call it the worst such storm in 25 years. It was snowing in all Lebanon starting areas from 800 meters. All the Lebanese towns and villages suffered from heavy snowfalls. Most roads in the areas badly affected by the snowstorms were closed to traffic. With more than 1.5 meter in Dhour El Choueir, it was closed to traffic and cut of by snow with no electricity power. We were unable to reach schools, stores and hospitals like most Lebanese villages and towns. The schools and the stores in the area stayed closed because of the bad weather.
The snowstorm eased off Monday: The tractors then only managed to clear the roads with difficulty because of heavy snow in the area, up to 1.5 meters thick, and rain on Monday caused further flooding and damage. The storm died down Tuesday.


Thanks God that all the shweiriye are well and that all of them was prepared for it. But I am still thinking that if this storm did not stopped by Monday, what could be happened to us and to all the Lebanese families were stuck with no electricity and with limited quantity of food???.


I will send you some pictures when I got some.


Silva Bou-Zeid



So, do you miss Winter & Snow in Shweir?  Here is a taste...

The first thing I did Sunday morning was looking towards the Matar's house to measure the snow level. I thought of Nabil, Elias and all the others. I took the camera and took these shots and others, to let you share with me the good feelings of the old day.  Best regards to you and the family.  Riad K.


If you feel cold while looking at the pictures, be sure that we feel warm while looking at the  Riad

Many thanks to Omar & Riad Khuniesser for the great update and photos

Read more about the storm on Shweir News web page



Read this article about the storm which I took from a Lebanese Magazine:


Lebanon Lashed by Snow Blizzards, Heavy Rains, and Strong Winds
Snow blizzards blocked mountain roads; heavy rains drenched major cities and strong winds lashed at fishing boats Tuesday as the second winter storm of the season struck Lebanon.
Many villages on the central mountain ridge overlooking Beirut were marooned by snow, prompting the army and the civil defense corps to dispatch bulldozers to open roads and rescue dozens of trapped motorists, police said.

The Beirut-Damascus highway was closed to traffic from sundown Monday to sunup Tuesday as snow-sweeping bulldozers struggled all night to get traffic to re-function, according to a police communiqué. But snow continued to fall at 900 meters above sea level through midday Tuesday.

Several Beirut newspapers carried pictures showing schools besieged by rain floods, with students trapped inside for hours before being bused home in Beirut's southern suburbs.

At least one fishing boat capsized in high seas off the northern port city of Tripoli as 90-kilometer-per-hour winds howled across the region, but all five fishermen on board were rescued safely by the army's coastal guard corps, the communiqué said.

The weather bureau at Beirut airport said the storm, which broke out at midnight Sunday-Monday, was expected to recede on Wednesday. The last previous winter storm was in December.




Shweir Christmas 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Riad Khunieser"
To: "A. G. Kenicer"
Sent: Friday, January 03, 2003 3:11 AM
Subject: Actions speak louder than words

Dear Anwar &

A brief report of good actions.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it
will be opened to you."

Working for and with non-profit organizations gives you the power and the courage to ask for help from all goodhearted citizens. If you practice what you preach, you will always find men putting hands with yours to build and help.

Christmas is love.  True, Christmas comes but once a year. True, we all feel the joy of Christmas. And true, there are warm-hearted groups and persons who make our children, parents and poor happy, pleased and delighted.  Children were gathered in the new hall at " EL-SAD" restaurant to celebrate with the Is3af ladies Christmas Eve. 

Mr. George Samaha, the owner of El-Sad restaurant, wanted to share the Is3af in giving our children the best Christmas Eve possible. The new Hall was presented free and decorated for the occasion. The ladies with the help of Mr. Saleem Sawaya, Mr. Sami Abou Samra and Est. Baroud prepared food and drinks. More than one Santa Claus was there to give souvenir gifts, the Is3af bought, to more than four hundred child.  The surprise was, when the most beautiful Santa Claus, Christina Sawaya came to the place to share the
children their joy.  I will say nothing about, Christmas at Bytna.  You will see the pictures.
Christmas else where is not to talk about, but I can say they tried to make every body happy.



Meanwhile, the residents at the Shweir Senior Center, Baytna, also celebrated the festivities as per the pictures... note: 

Thanks to everyone who helped make this Christmas Happier and brighter to many in our town...
Yes, thanks the Shweir Non Profit Organizations and to the Issa3f or Shweir Social Services and Rescue (SSSR), thanks to Salim Sawaya, Sami Abou Samra and Est. Baroud for donating their time and resources and thanks George Samaha for donating his new and decorated facilities to make all this a great success.  Thanks to Riad & Omar Khunieser for sending us this great report and pictures.  Last but not least, thanks to all the unnamed persons who worked so hard as part of this great team that is uplifting the spirit of our town and setting the best kind of example of a caring and loving community. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all...





Shweir History Night
Sunday October 13, 2002, at 5:00 p.m.
Sacred Heart School Auditorium, Madrasat al Rahbat

Thanks Oula Aoun for sending this info - we look forward to post as much of that info on this web.
Please have volunteers video tape and send a detailed report about this important event. Thank you.


Two Sawayas Marry two Zeinas 

Double Congratulations to:  
Elias Sawaya & Zeina Anis Touma Sawaya and Abrahim Sawaya and Zeina Halabi,


I hope I got the names straight, otherwise I am in BIG trouble.



Nuit de Vin - Wine Fest 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Salim sawaya" <>
Sent: Wednesday, September 04, 2002 10:47 AM
Subject: Re: Festival, programs and activities

I wish you were here on the 25th of August to watch the Chamasian's play which I organized for "Nadi Moussika Al Shweir", it was a big success, there were more than 700 people in the stadium watching and laughing to this wonderful guy and his group.

In continuity to the events that I planned to do this summer, I organized last Saturday, the 31 of August a play for "Gizele Hachem Zard" at Shweir "Al Ain" between the 2 churches for 2 hours in open air, it is a play addressed to the children. Nabil, you will not believe if I tell you there were more than 800 people (children and their parents) watching this nice play. This was a real real success. Children were laughing and the parents too.  I also talked with "Master Chips", "Poppins", "Junet" and "Pampa" and they all agreed to present juice and chips and Corn flex for all the attendants for free. The parents and all the Shweirieh were very satisfied and asked me to do more and more events for the children.

And finally, as promised, The "Dhour Shweir Nuit de Vin" or "Dhour Shweir Wine Night" is to be held on Saturday the 7th of September 2002 at the Dhour Shweir Square at 8.30 p.m. I managed to bring the Maystro "Ihsan Al Mounzir" to play music with 2 other singers as well as 2 pop dance girls to turn the night on fire. (attached is the promotional poster). In a move to attract more and more people at this night, I printed more than 4000 flyers and I asked Mrs Toni Korban and her team to help me in  distributing them in Shweir and the villages around. Mrs Korban is a very active woman and she helped me a lot  logistically during the play last Saturday. I also put an annoucements in 2 radio stations: "Sawt Al Moussika or Sound of Music" and "Radio One" in order to provide the widest advertisements.

I tried all my best  during this summer to attract people to come to Dhour, this beautiful village which was abended for a long time. This is very hard to organize a festival like the Beer Festival or the Juicy and or the Wine Night, sponsors are not easily convinced to sponsorship such events. Anyway  I'm urging  all  the Shweirieh to work hard and create ideas for the benefit of our beloved Shweir.

Best regards,
Salim B. Sawaya 


Webmaster's note: 
I came across this email and felt that it is worth posting here after some minor edit... This email reminded me of a statement made by Lee Iacoca when he saved Chrysler Corp many years ago:  "Lead, Follow or get out of the way..."

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matar, Nabil" <>
To: <>
Cc: <>; "'Khunieser Riad'" <>
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 6:16 AM

Dear Salim, First, It gave me great pleasure to have the chance to meet you and your lovely wife this summer. Second, you can't imagine how grateful we are to you for giving us the opportunity to be part of your success projects that benefit Dhour Shweir. During my visit I found out who are the talkers and who are the doers. My friend, definitely you a doer that we are proud of. 

You spearheaded projects to bring  to Dhour some things that the town desperately needed. You brought action .You brought people and you brought revenue to that forgotten town. Salim, I feel very good about our new Council and leadership.  With their leadership and your participation, I look forward to a brighter future for our town.  The Baladieh and Dhour Shweir needed people your caliber to lift up. I noticed during the beauty pageant that you were not given the credit you deserved. I am here to set  thing straight and admit that you were a primary force in its success. My friend please no matter how much things gets tough don't ever stop what you are doing. you are credit to our town and we are with you all the way.

God bless you and your family and Ya3eesh Day3itna Al Hilwi.  One additional thing, before I left we tern in to the baladieh an
application to establish community center I would appreciated if you find out where does it stand. This project if it comes through will benefit many of our youth.
Nabil E. Matar


Did they have fun or what???  Take a look at the pictures and decide...

Chin Chin a la Sante

Congratulations to all who organized, supported and participated in this event.


Shweir Juicy Nites

----- Original Message -----
From: "Salim sawaya" <>
To: "Matar, George" <>
Cc: "'Matar, Nabil'" <>; <>
Sent: Tuesday, August 27, 2002 9:39 AM

As promised, the "Dhour Shweir Juicy Night 2002" was held on Saturday the 24th of August .
It was really a great and successful night.  The attached pictures will tell you more about this event.

P.S.: Dhour Shweir Nuit de Vin will be held on Saturday the 7th of September.
I'll keep you posted about the program as soon as I'll set it.

Salim B. Sawaya




Beer Festival in Dhour Shweir - July 14, 2002



-----Original Message-----
From: Salim sawaya []
Sent: Monday, June 24, 2002 9:40 AM

I'm preparing the "Beer Festival 2002" on the 14th of July in the "Saha" of Dhour Shweir. This is a dream that came true. Many beer companies will be
selling beer to the crowd and they will be entertained by several bands (rock - funky - hard rock - pop music) and we will end the night with two arabic
This project is launched and organized and supported by me.
In my due as a vice president I’m planning to do many events every week to encourage people to visit our “Daiaa”.
Attached the 5 x 4 meters poster that will be placed in Jal El Dib Highway and another one will be placed in the SAHA. Also 50 x 70cm posters will be hanged on the walls all over the places as well as flyers will be distributed in many points.
A radio and a television channel will be promoting this event. 
Miss Lebanon 2001 Christina Sawaya will be the honour guest and will drink with me a toast to the ever made event in Dhour.
So Nabil, George, Anwar change your flight dates and meet me in the 14th of July night to celebrate this wonderful event.

Best regards,
Salim B. Sawaya


Salim, this is very tempting... oh, we cannot make up our minds whether it is the poster, the girl, the cowboy hat, the beer, the guitar, the "Open invitation" or that it is happening or Dhour Shweir, or Miss Lebanon would be there or a combination of the above...
even for those who have not planned to go to Lebanon, this is one more good to reason to reconsider. 

Promise us that you will take lots of pictures and send us a report that we will post on the web. 


----- Original Message -----
From: Salim sawaya
To: Matar, George ; A. G. Kenicer ; Nabil Matar
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2002 9:35 AM
Subject: Dhour Shweir Beer Festival 2002 part 1

As I promised you, the Beer Festival was held last Sunday, 14th of  July.  I wish you were here George, Anwar, Nabil, it was a great event. The crowd was large as I expected, people from all over Lebanon came to Dhour to celebrate, drink beer and enjoy the oriental, armenian and occidental program. You wont believe if I tell you that I met a group of 20 persons who came from KHIYAM (south Lebanon) to have fun with us.  People gathered in the SAHA  from Hazmieh, Jounieh, Kahhale, Bourj Hammoud, SinElFil, Achrafieh, HAMRA... from everywhere...
The majority of the Shweirieh were excited for this event (some are not adapted to stand up all night and listen to pop bands).

Miss Lebanon Christina Sawaya came at 8:30 p.m to drink a toast with the Shweirieh, Mr Pierre Chamassian the famous comedian came with her too as well as Mr Antoine Makssoud (the man behind Miss Lebanon and Miss Europe). I invited them because I needed famous people to back me up in this “Dhour Shweir Beer Festival 2002”.

People from the Netherlandian TV came especially to Dhour when they heard that a beer festival will take place in our village as this is a traditional festival in Germany and they wanted to see how is going to be in Dhour.

The best of it is that I had received a lot of phone calls from people who really enjoyed and admired that festival, and they told  me that it was very exciting and they’d love to see more events in Dhour.

Yes I can say it was really a success. I attached some of the first photos so you can judge it by yourself, additional photos will be available soon.

I promise you that the best is yet to come.

Best regards,
Salim B. Sawaya





Rahbani Marries Halabi 
Bassam Nadim Rahbani marries Micheline Samir Halabi 
September 30, 2001

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Congratulations to Bassam Rahbani & Micheline Halabi and their families

  -----Original Message-----
From: rabih halabi []
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2001 10:11 PM
Subject: Micheline's wedding pictures!!!!!
Hey Waleed, I got the pictures scanned at last. It was pretty tough to pick what pictures to scan because they're all gorgeous, and so i've scanned 16 of them, and they can choose as much as they can (hopefully all of them).
Bassam Nadim Rahbani marries Micheline Samir Halabi.
In the first 5 pictures Micheline got her pictures taken in front of our house in Shweir. Picture 6 shows Micheline with her maid of honor Layale Nadim Halabi (Micheline's cousin). Picture 7 shows Micheline with my parents Samir and Nawal Halabi, and picture 8 has my brother Wissam in it too. What's missing in this picture is us Rabih and Rony, but you can see our pictures in the corner. Picture 9 was taken when Micheline was escorted from our house on her way to the church, and you can see Fouad and his nephew Phillip playing Seif Wo Ters. Picture 10 shows the arrival of Micheline to the church where her broom Bassam Nadim Rahbani was waiting ALA NAR. Picture 11 was taken in the church, and picture 12 shows the newly wed in front of the church right after the wedding.
The wedding was held at Dayr Mar Elias in Dhour. Bassam's parents: Nadim and Laudi Rahbani, Micheline's parents: Samir and Nawal Halabi.
Alf Mabrook my beautiful angel,
Rabih Halabi
P.S. Thank you Waleed and please make sure to thank all the working team at

 Hi Anwar,Can you please put some of those pictures in the next update. They got married on September 30.Thanks.Waleed.

Shweirieh Mughtaribeen making news  

Here Naamet Yafet (Brazil) and Jamil Eid Khonaisser (Canada) 

Al Anwar Yaffet 1a.JPG (163467 bytes) Al Anwar Yaffet 2.JPG (147922 bytes)   Al Anwar Jamil Eid K 1.JPG (105809 bytes) Al Anwar Jamil Eid K 2.JPG (119542 bytes)

Also from Al Nahar Newpaper 

Khalil Hawi Jamil Eid Khonaisser
August 12, 1998  August 11, 1998
Al Nahar Hawi K.JPG (240874 bytes) Al Nahar Jamil Eid K- 1.JPG (116289 bytes)

Al Nahar Jamil Eid K- 2.JPG (440601 bytes)




New Miss Lebanon, Christina (Nassif Asaad Abou Rizk) Sawaya, is from Shweir... 

Alf Mabrook


Christina Sawaya, Miss Lebanon 2001, surrounded by Bethany Kehdy and Nisreen Azizi, first and second runner-ups to the queen

Suspense at Miss Lebanon Pageant 2001 runs right to the end
Winning contestant displayed not only beauty but soul, strong nerves and intelligence

Elizabeth Abi Khalil
Special to The Daily Star

Lebanon is a country where beauty is observed not only physically, but also within the soul. Twenty women aged between 18 and 24 and hailing from all parts of Lebanon participated in the annual Miss Lebanon Pageant 2001 Friday. Numerous political and media figures attended the event, which was organized by producers Starwave and broadcast live by LBCI, from the Salle des Ambassadeurs at Casino du Liban. Even before the evening got under way, guests were examining the brochure displaying the competitors and speculating about who the next Miss Lebanon might be. Tourism Minister Karam Karam said that “the story of Lebanon is with beauty … as ancient as its history.”
Miss Lebanon 2000 Sandra Rizk made a spectacular entrance onto the stage. “I entered society to deal with the young and the elderly, and it was an amazing experience,” said Rizk. “My life changed through the past year and it was great to be able to participate in such an event,” she added. Hostess for the evening, Miss Lebanon 1995 Dina Azar, was as usual shining with beauty and glamor. “As you know the decision will be very difficult, for they are all beautiful,” said Azar. Introduced by Azar, the contestants gave an amazing display, parading elegantly in bathing suits and evening wear. After the contestants paraded, a 10-member jury consisting of Mona Fares, Sheikh Nassib Gemayel, Souad al-Achi, Markram Abi Fadel, Julia Boutros, Yahya al-Bishri, Carla Yardemian, Anachar Basbous, Raoul Verney and Wajih Nahle narrowed the contestants down to 10. 

After responding to randomly selected questions from the jury members, the participants were whittled down to five:  Jeanne d’Arc Sakr, Mireille Ziade, Nisrine Azizi, Bethany Kehdy and Christina Sawaya. Suspense filled the room. The final decision was only moments away. Azar asked each of the five contestants a final question and each answered in her own way, displaying nervousness. In the end, Christina Sawaya, 21, from Dhour Choueir with a BS in business from the Lebanese American University, answered with the most confidence and was crowned Miss Lebanon 2001 by last year’s winner, Sandra Rizk. The first runner-up was Bethany Kehdy, 20, from Baskinta, while second runner-up went to 18-year-old Nisrine Azizi from Zghorta. Justine Daoud, Cynthia Kiame and Mireille Ziade were respectively selected Miss Personality, Miss Elegance and Miss Photogenic.


The following is a copy of an email I received about Christina's visit to Shweir.

Thank you Rouba, I will forward this to Anwar and see if he has any input from any body.

-----Original Message-----
From: rouba khairallah []
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2001 4:34 AM
Subject:  Big Welcome To Christina in Dhour Shweir

hi matars, how r u guys, long time no speak ...
anyway i wanted to let u know that on staurday 13 dhour el shweir made a very warm welcome to our miss lebanon . i wasn't there to see i was in beirut but mom told me all about it.
she came with her family. they escorted her from shweir to dhour. the tour began from the road under our house in shweir , all the shweiriyeh were on the balconies shouting and throwing rice at her (the old tradition) and she was welcomed by all the associations in dhour and in the saha she made a little speavh , so impressive and some of the shweiriyeh made her poems . she was so happy and she bursted into tears. it was so moving .
i hope u can get pictures or more details from anyone active on the web who was really there and maybe took pictures.  take care 
Rouby K.
Thank you Rouba for taking the time to tell us about this important event... even though you did not see it...  I first heard about it from Habib Halabi who sent an email to me telling me that such an event would take place and assumed that there would be someone to take or send pictures to us.  



-----Original Message-----
From: Rosalie Sawaya []
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2001 5:31 PM
Subject: Congratulations

Dear Cristina,

 I am Rosalie Adib Touma Sawaya from São Paulo, Brazil. I am very happy that you won the contest for Miss Lebanon. I am proud of you, you are very beautiful. I told to my all relatives here about you. Everybody sends their regards. Congratulations to Sawaya's family. Best regards to your family, 

Love from Rosalie

----- Original Message from Paulo Sawaya in Brazil-----
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2001 2:23 PM
Subject: Miss Lebanon 2001
My name is Paulo H.Sawaya Junior, my father was Paulo Sawaya and we are living many years here in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I was informed about Miss Lebanon 2001 , Miss Christina Sawaya and I would like to send my congratulations to Miss Christina, could you do that for me ?
Any answer my e mail is:
Thank you
Best regards
Paulo H.Sawaya Jr 


Hello Paulo,

With Pleasure.  We will post it here on website and hope that Miss Lebanon will read it and possibly respond to you and/or to the readers and well wishers of the family.


Miss Lebanon visits Shweir   by Fadi Abdel Ahad  sent on October 28, 2001

shweir1.jpg (30553 bytes)On Saturday 13th of October 2001 the new Miss Lebanon 2001 Christina Sawaya was received in the arms of her town people (the famous Shweirieh). As a matter of fact, a ceremony for the honoring of our Shweirieh Miss Lebanon 2001 was prepared by all the committees in Shweir. The ceremony started at 3:30 p.m. in the Saha. Arriving to the Saha (coming up from Shweir,) she stepped out of  her car and walked into the Dhour El Shweir hotel passing under a bow that was made by the scout girls holding red and white flags (as shown in the first photo) 

 In addition to that, the ceremony included speeches by Mr. Shawki Sawaya (our Municipality President,) Christina Sawaya, Chistina's father and Glades Bou Saab Baraket (who represented all the committees of Shweir.)

 Then Christina and her family went into the hotel's lobby where they were greeted and congratulated.  The second photo is a picture of Christina along with her parents.

Note that these photos are courtesy of Raymond Moujaes who presents them to the family.

Thank you Anwar and keep the Good work up.  I'll keep in touch, Bye Bye


Thank you Fadi Abdel Ahad for your report and thank you Raymond Moujaes for the pictures...

OK young people of Shweir... Who has some good pictures that would like to share with the Shweirieh around the world?  

I bet Christina Sawaya has some great pictures.  

An open letter to Christina Sawaya

Dear Christina, 

On behalf of the Shweirieh in Lebanon and around the world, we congratulate you on your achievement.  You give aspiration and hope to the young generation and pride to all.  

We invite you to sign the Guest Book and communicate with Shweirieh from around the world on Bulletin Board.  

Also, if you have some favorite pictures that you would like us to feature or have any questions, please email them to and or our Al Mukhtar bil Mahjar, George Matar at

Best wishes and good luck on representing Lebanon at the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. 

Your support team at 

Again, young people, that letter does not mean that you do not have to send photos or report.  We still need some photos that you or someone you know took of that visit and a detailed report... any volunteers?   


From Mike Sawaya:

During the Program of Miss Lebanon, each of the beauty contestants was asked a question, concerning the equality of women and men, Christina Sawaya explained the importance of women in our society and gave an example of Salwa Nassar that shined in all the Middle East for she was the first to enter into the Atomic experience.


From Habib Halabi:  

"We are a nation that Adores beauty. "

From the heart of Lebanon, our Al-Matin girls made it to the top.

During Miss Lebanon 2001 beauty contest, All Lebanese were anxious who she's going to be ?
Twenty contestants from all over Lebanon did their best to win the title that took place in "Casino de Liban" on 21st of Sept.
Miss Christina Sawaya from our beloved Shweir was elected as Miss Lebanon 2001,
Miss Bethany Kehdy from nearby Baskinta was elected as first runner-up,
Miss Nisreen Azizi from the north as second runner-up. 
It seems that Miss Sawaya has a history of winning some other beauty contests as you can see under this link:

Author Topic:   Miss Lebanon 2001 (Update)
posted 09-25-2001 04:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ayman      Reply w/Quote
Hello everyone, This is a small Bio for Miss Lebanon 2001 (Shweirieh !!!)

Full Name: Christina Nassif Sawaya
Age: 21
- High School: Jesus & Mary (Rabieh)
- University: Lebanese American University (Jbeil) BS in Business Administration

Her grandfather is Asaad Abou Rizk Sawaya (Nicknamed Asaad "Al Kawass", a title given to the person who helps the Arbishop in the old days, he used to work with the Arbishops of the Royal Catholic Sect).  Her family currently doesn't reside in Shweir but in Rabieh.

Note: The info is courtesy of Mr. George Rizk and with the help of Miss Mary Sawaya.

From Grace Halabi:  
This email was form my uncle Barnie Hatem..just an FYI  :) Grace

Miss Lebanon, as you may well know by now, is a Shweiri.  Nada and I were rooting for her (on LBC), of course, due to our common interest in Shweir.  What was so funny though, as we went to church the following morning, we discovered that a young man, Jean Claude, who has been coming to our church for the last few months turned out to be her half brother!  He was telling us how thrilled he was, and how he was even more thrilled to see his mom and dad on stage alongside her!

You can pass this tidbit to the Shweir website, since I am not a registered member to do so myself.

Uncle Barnie

Thank you to Habib Halabi, Mike Sawaya, Elias Khonaisser, Souheil Khonaysser, Fadi Abdel Ahad, Ayman Chalhoub, Grace Halabi, Uncle Barnie and many others for calling, contributing information and/or pictures about this GREAT NEWS. 


On behalf of Shweirieh in Shweir and bil Mahjar and on behalf the family of, we offer our heartfelt congratulations to Christina Sawaya.... 


To see many other beautiful and talented people of Shweir, go to Eid al Mughtaribeen by clicking on the symbol below:  

Congratulations to Farid Sabbagh and Rana Rahbany  
Daughter of Joseph & Maggie Rahbany)

These pictures are courtesy of Nabil Matar... 

  Saggagh Wed 1.JPG (23136 bytes) Saggagh Wed 2.JPG (17654 bytes) Saggagh Wed 4a.JPG (24217 bytes) Saggagh Wed 3.JPG (28131 bytes)
Saggagh Wed 4.JPG (73308 bytes) Saggagh Wed 7.JPG (26512 bytes)   Saggagh Wed 6.JPG (16279 bytes) Saggagh Wed 5.JPG (18771 bytes)
Saggagh Wed 8.JPG (27958 bytes) Saggagh Wed 10.JPG (22455 bytes) Saggagh Wed 9.JPG (42845 bytes) Sabbagh N Matars Mirhej.JPG (42170 bytes)  

Ya Aroose and Areese, Alf Mabrook... 

We invite you to send your comments, thoughts or report about your special day and any pictures you would like to add... 

Wishing you much Happiness, Love, Health and Success.  





30 Hours worth of behind the scene emails  starting on June 18, 2001...:

Subject: RE: Communication w/ Elie bouKheir

 The communications we had over the past 30 hours were so profound that I felt it worthwhile to  post them on, possibly Shweir News web page.  I compiled these messages and so they are in one place... if I missed an important one, please bring it to my attention so I can add it.  

 The beauty of these kind of communications is that they are written from the heart and telling it like it is.  Granted, the truth will hurt sometimes.  However it is far better to speak the truth rather than color it to avoid the hurt.  When we color the truth, it serves no one and we would be only fooling and hurting ourselves, our loved ones and our town.  The consequences of the past and the wrath of the war are staring us in the face in the sad conditions of Shweir. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, Nabil []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 10:19 AM
To: 'Kenicer, Anwar'; 'Moujaes Alfred'; 'Matar, George'; 'Bou kheir Elie & Judy''; 'Moujaes Waleed.'; 'Moujaes Waleed'; 'Moujaes, Habib K'; 'Shurbaji, Hilda'; 'Khoury Mona Czarnecki'; 'Samih Baakllini'; 'Kheirallah Saera and Walid'

HI guys and Girls
 Dear Anwar,
I received your email this morning, I am so glad that you and the family enjoyed the video of Shweir on the Beach 2001.
Big buddy, have you received any email from Elie Bou khayer yet? I need to know if he did contact Eid Al Mughtaribeen committee as we discussed during the picnic. Time is running short and I need to order the trophies.
By the way, What do you think if we do show the picnic tape there? 
Guys and Girls,
This is what I have in mind. if there is any other suggestion please advice:
*       one basketball trophy
*       one tennis trophy
*       one volleyball trophy ( if they have a game)
*       one plaque and a musical instrument  to the Nowbi  (I already purchased a trumpet ).
*       one plaque to the boys and girls scout
*       two life achievement award Plaques. one for Loulou Harik ( former sayidat al bechara president) and one for Salwa merhej ( the president of jun3iyet al aghathy)
If you and Eid al mughtaribeen committee agree I will proceed. I also need the correct names for these two ladies and an idea what to scribe on their plaques.
By the way this is some thing I do annually and does no cost Shweir. com nothing....
Please respond A.S.A.P.

Nabil E. Matar

-----Original Message-----
From: A. G. Kenicer []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 11:40 AM
 Subject: RE: Communication w/ Elie bouKheir

Hello everyone
Elie has been trying for the last 4 days to communicate with us. He sent his first test of an email on his new address to me but when I responded, his system was not set up to receive. Today, he sent another test and I just responded to him.

-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, Nabil []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 2:52 PM

Dear Anwar and Elie,
I am so glad to hear that Elie is trying to communicate with us. I can't wait to hear of what he has to say.  Day after tomorrow I will be going to Chicago in a business trip, I might stay a week there. Mean while I am sending Elie the same massage I send to you all hoping that he will respond A.S.A.P.
Samih, Bon voyage my friend, I hope you will enjoy the trip

-----Original Message-----
From: Elie BouKheir []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 2:54 PM
Hi Guys,

I finally got my internet connected as you may notice. It just feels great to be here and very sad to see the destruction of our glorious historical traditions, Shweir has suffered a lot during the last fifty years and continues to suffer, ever since I got here, I couldn't but immediately got involved in learning about all organizations and their missions and their roles in our town.
I am focusing hard on the educational, athletic and musical activities. It is sad to say that we have now two athletic clubs, and they are both in desperate need for help. The first meeting was to try to combine both athletic clubs in one, after listening to both sides, I realized that there is a need for helping our groups in establishing a healthy plan with objectives, by laws and business plans aimed to maintain continuity and strength to rescue our town. At least I can say that the momentum is positive, and I will be submitting a plan this week for the one athletic club. The Music Athletic club has been inactive for three years and the consequences were disastrous.  A committee was formed to look into the situation, and we are members of this committee, it is too early to submit their needs, a certain capital is needed, but we are requesting a well thought of plan to bring trust and cooperation among our people. So wish me
luck Guys, several plans are prepared and I will present them the next two meetings. Lets us hope that we will make a positive impact.

As far as the trophies go, the next two meetings will decide what the rescue plan will be and the events that will take place during this summer starting next month.

The music band is in a similar situation, major plans have to be formulated to rescue our band, it is not a deficiency of instruments but a program that will maintain continuity and independence.

I will also be meeting with miss Mary Sawaya this week and our Mayor Shouki Sawaya before the end of the week. The Baladyet today has little authority to handle large scale projects.  Will meet with the Mughtarebeen committee after I talk to the Mayor.

I am planning on putting an invitational tennis tournament for the big event, that is the only thing that is certain for the moment. Nabil if you want to bring the trophy, that will be fine, we also suggested to have a Volley ball tournament sponsored by Al Mughtarebeen or may be, what do you think Guys about that, you know the tricks by now, the objective is to raise operating capital for the club, our demand is basically a formulated plan to assure a healthy successful plan.

I will have more news about the Library, I have sensed lots of excitement from our people about, I suspect if all goes well the next project will be a rescue financial plan for the Athletic Club.

Will keep you informed as we achieve progress, I am sorry Nabil the Volley and Basket Ball trophies will not do the club any good when there is no club yet. Will keep you informed, hang in loose.


Elie BouKheir

-----Original Message-----
From: A. G. Kenicer []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 3:35 PM

Thank you for the update ya Elie, and thank you Nabil for forwarding your email to Elie and for your effort on providing the trophies and good ideas.

Elie, it looks like you have your hands full with so many people to meet and goals to achieve.  For those of us who are going, we are anxious to lend a hand when we arrive.  I know Samih will be going soon and I pray that our al Mukhtaar and Waleed Moujaes can overcome their respective obstacles and be there with us.

Is it possible to delegate to someone who has good drawing abilities to do a sketch of roads and hiking trails that connect Dhour, Shweir, Mtull, Khinshara, Dayr Mar Elias, Mar Yohanna, Ain el Hanoote, Nahr Abu Dawoode, Ain Al Kassis, Al Kassouf.  Ideally, we hope to have a trail & hiking map identifying important areas of interest like the Ains (springs), churches, Dayrs, historical places, and rest places, approximate distance and the time to walk or hike each segment.
If such a map or guide can be prepared within the next few weeks in order to be tested, fine-tuned and updated so that it would be ready before Eid al Mughtaribeen.  That would be wonderful.

Imagine what a positive impact this would have on visitors, whether from Shweirieh or from anywhere in the world, to be able to explore the town and its surrounding with confidence and lasting memory.

Elie, again I stress that you already have a full plate and I would only recommend this if you can delegate it to someone who is talented and capable.  It would be an opportunity for such a person to show us his or her abilities which could lead to more rewarding proposals for them.  Also, we can feature such work of art on with a bio of the designer / artist / author.  Good luck on your efforts,


-----Original Message-----
From: Mona []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 6:56 PM

Hi all
I guess going to Shweir could get overwhelming.  So many positive things are happening.  This is good forward thinking from Elie, I guess helping establish a good foundation means they will be independent and in the future may not need us as much.  And please, do not get me wrong, I am not patronizing anyone in Shweir.  I know that the economy is not good and this is our way of feeling that we can still make a bit of a difference.

Nabil and Anwar, I hope you enjoy your trip to Lebanon.  How long has it been since you last visited Anwar?
Best regards

-----Original Message-----
From: A. G. Kenicer []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 4:00 PM
It has been almost 30 (Thirty) years!
When I left, Cinema Roxy, Radio City and Florida were in full swing.
Café al Hawie and Café Nasr featured live bands and on the weekends, if you stood equidistant between the two, you can hear the live music from both and then gravitate to the tunes that suited your fancy.
I guess, you can say " those were the days my friend..." and we hope we can recapture or bring back some of that tradition. 

----- Original Message -----
From: Walid Khayrallah <>
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 9:37 PM
> I am really shocked to know that you have not been back to Shweir for thirty  years. Your reminiscing about the live music from Café Hawie and Nasr, > reminded me of these days when I used to go to sleep on the roof of our home to the sound of these live bands at the early hours of the morning. Yes, Anwar those were the days, we thought will never end. Well my friend I am > afraid you will be disappointed at what you see today, to say the least. But hey those days were good because there were good energetic people full of life that made them that way. And well may be we can't be so lucky to go thru the experience as intensely as we did when we were younger, but I surely would like to at least feel that our grandchildren would be able to enjoy the same feeling, and with a little bit of luck, perhaps our children themselves.
For wherever there is good seed, there will be fruitful plants, and it surely looks like and its sponsored projects and ideas are fertile ground to nourish the good seeds to fruition, and the dream will become a reality one more time. It is very exciting to read what Elie BouKheir has written, and we can only hope that he succeeds in cultivating good local ground for the good seed.
> Walid & Saera  Khayrallah

-----Original Message-----
From: Waleed Moujaes []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 8:11 AM

Those are great ideas. Thank you Nabil.

Most probably, I will cancel my trip to Dhour this summer. That's sad for me, but hope you'll have a great time, and that you'll find the support we need back in Shweir. 


 -----Original Message-----
From: A. G. Kenicer []
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2001 3:42 PM
Subject: RE: Hello

Hello Waleed,
I was very much looking forward to see you in Shweir.  I hope you can still be able to make it.  At least give it the good Shweiry try.  You have so much valuable information and know current key people... your sharing of information is very much appreciated. Do you know who is the best person to write about the Nawbeh, and the Kashafeh?
It was a great pleasure to meet you in Texas, although it was for a short while.
Best regards,

-----Original Message-----
From: Waleed Moujaes []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 10:03 AM
To: 'Elie BouKheir'; 'Matar, Nabil'; 'A. G. Kenicer'
 Subject: RE: Communication w/ Elie bouKheir

Was the plan for building Europe after WWII called "Marshall Plan"? I am not sure if I still remember the name (from my history classes  around 15 years ago), but we will call the plan to revive our town "Elie Plan". A good name. Right!!!

Elie's first impression is the sad story of our beloved Shweir. I think I am the only one from the list ( in addition to Habib) that lived the problems of each and every club in Shweir, starting from my teens around 84-85 until I left in 1996. Let me give you some background, although a bit boring, but informative:

1- Scouts... They are "politically" the least affected of all the clubs. All of them are young, with very good families (bala zeghra bi kil al Shweiriyieh), good education,... They can be our ambassadors and field force in some of our projects, especially environment and reforestation.

2- Music Band (nawbeh)... It passed through different stages during the last 15 years, and unfortunately, after we set up the way with "GREAT SUCCESSFUL CONCERTS" on Christmas of 1990 and 1991, the "political cancer" started attacking its body. Just to let you know that in 1990 and 91, we had a chorus of 60 girls with a band of 25-30 musicians playing the best Christmas songs that you can now see in the USA or Europe. I am copying Mike Sawaya who was also a member. Now it is alive, but on antibiotics. It needs a drastic plan or it will not live more than 3-4 years to come. the only way to see this band revived is to set a plan for it to become a small music school for our young Shweirieh.

The first step is to get back Mr. Hagop Arslanian. Since he was really hurt by the "soft tongues" of some Shweiriyieh, I am not sure if he would come back. However, giving him a trophy in the name of his late father and our band founder, Mahran Arslanian, might be a good respect, 'APOLOGY" and a first step to try to get him back. Nabil, since you are preparing the trophies, I urge you to prepare a "Thank You Trophy" from the Shweiriyieh to Mahran Arslanian and to be presented in a small ceremony "haflet takreem" to his son, Professor Hagop Arslanian. Elie, you need to put this high on your agenda. You are a good friend and neighbor of Hagop. Please ask him to show you some pictures of our concerts in 1990 and 91 and you'll realize what I am talking about.  Please pass my best personal regards to him.

3- Environment... What a disaster!!! From fires during the war, to irresponsible and unplanned cement blocks, cutting trees without  mercy,...  We might be able to plenty thousands of trees, but with no responsible "baladieh" to stop illegal buildings, without a plan for the while town, a tree which is planted now and would take 25-30 years to grow, could be cut in 5 seconds. Here, I insist that there is no "mafia" or any of those stupidities. The "baladieh" is the sole responsible for this mess.

If you were able to meet with the mayor and the council, an urban plan is the best way to preserve whatever remains. Whoever is trying to build now can do because there is no law!!! Let's be realistic. A square meter of land on the "Mtull" or "Burj" now costs $200-250. Nobody on earth, especially those days, will leave his land like this when it values a fortune. They will try to take advantage. This is human nature. Nobody can stop it except a clear law.

4- Athletic Clubs... I guess what Elie said is more than enough. Ya Elie we trust you. See what you can do, and hope you'll find somebody to listen and UNDERSTAND what you are talking about. By the way, there is a group of guys, 15-20 between the ages of 18-25, who were able to organize themselves without the help of any of the existing clubs (who were actually abandoned by the existing club committees), who are very good. It is worth it meeting with them. They are sponsored by the Carnaval Restaurant in the saha. You
can ask up there for them. I can give you the name of Ziad Nicolas Moujaes. I can say, he was their leader!!!

5- Al Beshara and The Igatha... They are somehow organized if we are to compare them with others. I can say, they are surviving...

6- Al Isaaf Wal Khadamat... I guess they are the strongest. They are very good, have great members, are planning some good projects.

Sorry for writing this long message (do not imagine that I'll be like our dear mukhtar). Please do not misunderstand me. I am not pessimistic, but you need to have a true picture.

Good luck guys. Again, I am really disappointed that I won't be able to make it, especially this time. Hope you'll have a great time and that your trip will be successful.  Awaiting your updates!!!


-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, Nabil []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 7:31 AM
 Subject: RE: Communication w/ Elie bouKheir

 Thanks Elie for this detail report, it seems you are going to have your hand full, I hope Samih will lend you a hand. I think focusing on Music, sport and education is the right approach. I do agree with Elie that they need a good solid plan and most of all they need a good follow up plan. I can't imagine or see Dhour Shweir without Nowbi, sport and good education institution. These valuable Shweir  traditions must not die.

Elie, Anwar and all Tomorrow morning I will be leaving to Chicago, I might stay there a week. By then I will be waiting for Elie's report. I know the time is short and we are limited of what we can do. At this time, there is not much we can do except spiritually support the effort. I liked Anwar's idea of having a person draw a hiking map. And like I mention in the picnic of What I think our involvement in Eid Al Mughtaribeen should be.
As Elie said; the home folks must have a plan, we too must have a plan, therefore I am suggesting a plan for your approval of what our involvement in Eid Al Mughtaribeen should be, hoping you respond. 

I am keeping in mind that this plan is realistic and achievable:

1. We need to advertise, so I suggest some body in Shweir make some banners or signs and hang them in the Saha during Eid Al Mughtaribeen
2. With the help of Nowbit Shweir or some shweirieh who has musical talent like  Farid Ni3mat Sibagh and his friends. We could have one evening in Eid al mughtaribeeen designated to these talented shweirieh and the mughtaribeen. Where in the name of we present some of the suggested items I mention in the previous massage or what Elie propose.  We could honor the Nowbi, Kishafi, sport and the two ladies I mention. We could also show a video of some mughtaribeen, like the tape we made in Shweir on the beach or some thing else, Farid and his friend shweireh could have a concert like the on they did three years ago. Guys I have been attending Eid al mughtaribeen every year since 1993, I will tell what, that concern Farid and his Shweirieh friend did was the best I ever seen, these guys and girls were wonderful.

3. With the help of the boy and Girl scouts we could have a day where we pick up trash from areas like the mtill, Dhour Saha Shweir Saha, Fowar, etc. or we could like Mike Saway said plant trees

4. And as Elie mention we could have a volleyball game between Mughtaribeen and home folks. 

5. We could initiate the Shweir library.

Guys and Girls, I know you have many many simple ideas that could have a major impact to Eid Al Mughtaribeen. Keep in mind that the idea should be realistic and achievable.  Hope to hear from you, especially Elie


-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, Nabil []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 8:33 AM
Good points my friend, I noticed the same thing when I was there.  I agree with you, honoring Mr. Mahran Arslanian ( god rest his soil) and his son Mr. Hagop Arslanian is over due and a must, he contributed a lot for Nowbet Al Shweir, He taught the music to so many generation of Shweirieh including me. Five years ago during Eid Al Mughtaribeen, I tried to present Mr. Hagob with a trophy, unfortunately due to the negligent of the baladiyeh it didn't work out. We could present him with an achievement award Plaque during the evening I proposed. Walid I would appreciated if you could tell me what to scribe in the plaque.

-----Original Message-----
From: Elie BouKheir []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 2:06 PM
 Subject: RE: Communication w/ Elie bouKheir

                Thank you for your e:mail, I wish we could have all been together during this time, but at least we can communicate for a good purpose, the plans we are submitting is not only a rescque plan but a very effective futuristic successful plan to lift Shweir to a recognizable spot on the world globe and will provide free continuing education to our young lads in the US. The SSSR organization is working hard and started a senior home project near Deir Mar Elias, The Orthodox Monstery contributed the land indefintely with no  time cap for the project. This is a great effort of all the Shweireyeh that have contributed to this project, however we need to find solutions for our youngsters and in turn they will secure the elderly. I am almost done with the plan and will follow the guide lines of mission, which will be quite exciting if we get the cooperation I am expecting from the rescque committe.

I did forget to mention that I have met with Mr Hagob Arlslanian and discussed his situation with the Nobeh, Waleed is right on target with his thought, I have suggested to our scout leader Mr Issam Sawaya if we can utilize our ambassadors to do some thing special to honor  Mr Hagob and his blessed father, take an initiative to make him feel speicial in our town, may be clear the road from Ain Al maasara that leads to his house, make the Baladieyeh aware of this road during the summer, this is still in the works.

The trail idea is good, however I realized that the thrown trash is a bigger problem in our town, the two roads in AL Ghwab are popular and used by all people, the lower and the upper, they run parrlallel to each other, all other roads are now covered with asphalat including Ain Al Assis. I sugest that we make signs, "please no littering". If we create trails in town we might invade private properties rights. This can also be discussed with the Baladyeh.The trash in Lebanon is a major problem, I wish the goverment inforces giving tickets so people can think twice before they litter, this is another way of reducing deficit.

I will share with you the plan as we make some progress.

Thanks to your support,


-----Original Message-----
From: Your Name []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 9:08 AM
To: A. G. Kenicer

Subject: Re: Good News

 Shweir Foundation Inc., paper work has been filed on Monday June 18, 2001 with the Secretary of State, State Of Texas. We requested priority handling, hopefully we get to hear from them this week. I'll keep you updated.

Elie, I'll see you soon.

Best regards to every one
 Samih Baaklini 


-----Original Message-----
From: A. G. Kenicer []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2001 5:41 PM
Subject: RE: Shweir Foundation, Inc Filed on June 18


That is great news. 

Thank you for all your effort. 

Sorry that I initially bypassed your message thinking it was unsolicited mail with a subject as “Good News” and in the “from” box it listed “your name”, that is how many spammers try to get your attention.  Good thing I gave it an extra second of review when I was considering deleting it. 

Please give our thanks and appreciation to Christian Larsen for helping us along and I know that our Shweirieh and Lebanese community in Texas would refer business his way.

Bon Voyage Samih,



  Thank you all for sharing and caring.  Beautifully stated.  Great communication.  With such spirit and growing good seeds as Walid Khayrallah so nicely stated, and with active participation of the proud and hard working Shweirieh in Shweir together with those abroad, we can recapture Shweir's glory days and make Shweir again as al Mukhtaar said, " Arouse al Masayef". 


More Important emails:  

-----Original Message-----
From: Elie BouKheir []
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 2:10 AM

I know Elie will be e-mailing you later today to give you his input about the awards, plaques, trophies.  I read through this e-mail and wanted to put my "American" two-cents in in response to the following messages posted in this "RE" e-mail.  I feel the town is in desparate need of educated, well intentioned men (and women of course!), that can motivate the townspeople to reorganize, unify and start to work together in rebuilding their community.  

Everything Waleed said I couldn't agree more with.  The environment also has the problem of garbage lining the streets, thrown from passersby's, and needs an awareness from the whole community regarding this (in my opinion).  The people are somewhat discouraged, with a resolve that there is not much they can do alone; red tape from bureaucrats in neighboring towns is said to keep them from rebuilding, and yet you have many well-to-do townspeople that have built gorgeous villas in Dhour-el-Shweir.  I'm wondering whose motivating these "rich" townspeople to provide some benevolence to the rebuilding of the town?  Or perhaps it's the lack of a proper vehicle with which to help
the town.  

One thing is certain, the people have been wounded from the war with scars that go much deeper than the physical wounds you might see with your eyes; there's an air of distrust from emotional scaring here.  

The best  thing the Shweir Foundation can do is to DO what they say they will do and stay focused on their mission, stay focused on their unity, and resolve not to let any divisions sway them from their task:  the rebuilding of their beloved village.  

I've met with the Ain al Assis (sp?) director who is rebuiding the center there.  They now call it the Dhour-Shweir Evangelical Center, and they are more than anxious to meet with the Shweir Foundation.  They are Protestants, which immediately raises a red flag of distrust in the townspeople, however, I met with her twice and believe she is unbiased in her desire to help this town.  She believes it is a mission from God that they don't just talk about helping, but that their actions would speak for themselves.  She has met Elie and myself; I would suggest that the Foundation might like to use Elie as the liason in this relationship, mainly because it focuses on sports and possibly music at a later date (my field of
"expertise").  Elie was extremely excited to speak with her, again I reiterate I do believe their is no concern with these people to "evangelize" the town, other than to love the people and help as best they can.  I
believe they feel this is what God would have them to do.  

Okay enough said from me.  These are just my observations; 
Who would not visit this town and fall in love with it and it's people?  
Take care, hope to see you soon, here or in the States. 
 Judy Bou Kheir

-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, Nabil 
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 9:01 AM

Dear Judy,
I couldn't agree with you more of all the things you mentioned. I noticed the same thing during my several visits to Dhour Shweir. Any way, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your deep concern toward our and your beloved town. I shall stress of saying your beloved town because you are a very important part of us. Dear Judy, one thing I need to tell you about the Shweirieh. They are smart, stubborn and very proud people. Some times this quality in a person hurts more than it helps.  

I think we all the Shweirieh home town and over seas needs first to admit that our town have many problems, we all need to work hand in hand to solve these problem and if the Dhour Shweir Evangelical Center want to lend us a hand, we need to put our pride aside and excepted that like our grand parents did in the past. I and many Shweirieh who graduate from the great Shweir Secondary School are grateful and must not forget that. Now I know that there are many things must be done to bring back the glory to our town.
I also know that this required hard work and cooperation from every body, but I also know too that we the family to be soon Shweir Foundation, Inc. are limited of what we can do. Therefore we have to be cautious of every step we make. we need to be like you mentioned very sensitive to the home folks feelings and be careful of how much we can get involve. we are a very young organization and we need first to establish our selves. Any way enough said.  

Now I hope you and the family are having fun there.  Elie is doing a great job there, I hope he will succeed.  Elie I am still waiting for your respond to act please harry up.
Finally; One more month and Anwar, George and I will join you there. we can't wait  Sincerely 


-----Original Message-----
From: Waleed Moujaes 
Sent: Monday, July 02, 2001 6:56 AM

Thanks Judy for your explanation. I would like to add few questions which I
hope somebody can ask whoever speaks against the "Protestants"!!!

_Aren't the Protestants the ones who opened the SSS long time ago?
_Whoever now thinks that he/she is " men wojaha' al day3a", where were you
educated, and who educated you? Aren't they the Protestants?
_When did Dhour Shweir start to decline? Isn't it when SSS started facing
problems which resulted in its closure? ... 

We are in desperate need of education in Shweir. If the people with high
responsibilities do not realize that one way of success is to develop a good
relationship and friendship with the Dhour Shweir Evangelical Center, we are
in a very deep trouble.  Have a good week...


-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, George []
Sent: Tuesday, July 03, 2001 4:52 AM

This is probably the best summary I've read in a while, Good to hear from
you.  I am back in the States after about three weeks absence and what has been happening is actually very exciting.  It is going to be an uphill challenge and a very steep one if I may add, but time is on our side and hopefully we will in due time turn a corner in our village.  We have to be very, Very, Very focused on well define course.  The pace we take can be the make or brake of this united group that so far has been  very united in our effort.  We can not raise the town's people expectation more than we can deliver, very important to stick to this.  The needs are many, but the resources are still few so lets be very careful here.

Your contact with the Dhour-Shweir Evangelical Center is wonderful  initiative and will lead to nothing but positive results.  By all means we should explore and work with what they can offer that would be a mutual benefit to both them and the town, after all their location is the center of gravity of Dhour Shweir.  Elie of course will disagree with me on this because it is not based on any scientific evidence and would claim that I missed drawing the “X”s correctly.  Really there is a lot a big potential in what you have started, thank you.

It is looking better and better that I will be in Dhour around the 3rd of
August, Janice wants to follow me a week later, we both eill return around the 25th of August.  We'll see you there hopefully.
George Matar   

October 2000  George Matar did a cyber search on the internet and found the following article... we are featuring the heading, title, first paragraph and ...the two paragraphs about Dhour Shweir...  if you wish to read the entire article, click on the link below...  again, thank you George... 

Middle East Studies Association
Swimming Against the Tide:
Personal Passions and Academic Fashions

(1997 MESA Presidential Address) Leila Fawaz

Reprinted from the Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Summer 1998 (with changes in orthography to HTML conventions).
Copyright 1998 by the Middle East Studies Association of North America

A new academic fashion in the disciplines of history, anthropology, and cultural criticism is to "foreground" authors in works of scholarship. But it is not in imitation of what is currently fashionable that I have chosen to make my address autobiographical. I am a historian who enjoys writing narrative history and who elsewhere has argued that the narrative remains as valuable and as legitimate in modern scholarship as theory. So here I wish to tell a story that may hold some lessons for those scholars who seek freedom from the constraints imposed both by the norms of Middle Eastern societies and by the rules of the western academy. In our post-modern, post-structural, post-colonial world, all the certitudes have been shaken, and the narrative might well be the only kind of story that we can relate to with any kind of authority.

... The best and most memorable times were the carefree summers spent in the mountains.  In those days, middle- and upper-middle-class families practiced "estivage," leaving the capital in the hot summer months for villages and resorts in the cool Lebanese mountains. In the Matn district northeast of Beirut, offering spectacular views of both the Mediterranean below and of the snowy mountains above, the village of Dhour Shweir provided a life that was the epitome of happiness to generations of Lebanese youth who continue to cherish it in middle age. My love for that village was put to the test by Edward Said's criticism of it. When we gently argued about it, he joked with me why don't I just write his memoirs for him, while I took pleasure in reminding him that some of his own relatives had the good sense to buy a home there. A great many of us still keep the warm memories and lasting friendships we associate it with.

Dhour Shweir branched off from a small village center, where a few churches, grocers, barbers, and cinemas clustered, to neighborhoods of stone houses and small apartment buildings, or terraced fields in the midst of limestone rocks and pine forests. There were no prefabricated games, no computers, televisions, no V.C.R.'s; we had virtually no schedules for leisure time -- art or sports lessons. What we had were a great many pine trees, hills, and valleys for picnics, walks, bicycle trips, and to play in. We could cross the whole village in no time and either go to the old Shweir or continue along the main road from Beirut to the Mountains to the local "Bois de Boulogne" or in the opposite direction towards the village of Bikfaya. We invented games, play acted, stole fruit from the apple orchids and green grapes from the vineyards, built bonfires, and read voraciously. We felt very grown up when on occasional Saturdays our fathers would take us with them to eat eggs with qawirma (meat, fat, and onions) served in the pan at al-Sarfad, a small cafe overlooking the valley where they and their friends would discuss politics. I would also try, without success, to join my older sister and her friends on their outings, or would tolerate, or oppress, my younger brother.  ...   

Thank you Laila Fawaz,  please visit our web site, navigate through its pages and sign in our guest book.  Better yet, participate on our bulletin board and submit some in depth articles.