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Strength and Vulnerability: Majd Zaher’s New Novel Looks Beyond the Veneer of Lebanese Society

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  1. Your first book ‘Borderline Love in Beirut’ explores some challenging topics and complex characters. Can you explain the inspiration behind the story? 

Growing up in a conservative family brought many challenges to my life. There was always something missing in every moment I spent living. There was a part of me that I wanted to discover and unleash yet I was afraid of judgments and backlash. Hence, I grew up as the loneliest kid in town as I had no friends and always found myself the weakest individual wherever I was. Moving out from my family’s house and starting an independent life was an eye-opening experience and the main motive that made me talk and write. I wanted this novel to be a celebration for everyone who doubted his own potential, who thought that other’s opinion would be able to dim his or her own light, and on a personal level I wanted to prove to all those who had ever bullied me that I was able to find success and peace after all.

  1. One of the themes you deal with is marginalization and marginalized groups. Why did you decide to address this topic? 

Writing has always been a way to pave the road towards a better world and an escape from the prisons we might be existing in. Talking about marginalized groups is based on my stance that everyone has the right to exist if they are not hurting or killing anyone else; and no one has the right to decide who is eligible to enjoy life and who is not. Unfortunately, in Lebanon, we have no laws to protect vulnerable or marginalized groups. These groups include immigrants, domestic labors, queer people, or any other category. In Borderline Love in Beirut, I was no longer Majd, I ascended to Joy and Adam’s soul to show the world how difficult living life becomes when no one likes you, when everyone avoids you, and when everyone judges you for what you look like and not for the real person you are. In Lebanon, we have laws that penalize love that does not protect women from harassment. In Lebanon, our system does not give any attention to the importance of mental health and does not help marginalized groups to engage in society.

  1. What is the role of mental health in ‘Borderline Love’, and what are some lessons about dealing with or treating mental health issues from the story? 

In Borderline Love in Beirut mental health is the crux of the story. I will not be able to say how this Borderline case will evolve yet I could tell you how it all started. Joy and Adam were the victims of a society that has never been able to embrace them the way they are. Experiencing death, upbringing challenges, and health concerns, Joy and Adam grew to become victims each in their own way. The takeaway is that offering mental health care and support for people who undergo a certain trauma, and even those who did not, is something critical. We can no longer sit still when almost every hour a Lebanese citizen ends his or her life. We cannot sit still when people still think seeking mental health care are mad. We should learn that the strongest of us can sometimes be the weakest and most vulnerable.

  1. Is ‘Borderline’ a cautionary tale? Or is it intended as a reflection of another kind? 

I see in Borderline Love in Beirut as many tales narrated at once. This novel carries in its pages a cautionary and reflective approach. At many parts of the story when I discussed Joys struggles with loneliness, self-hate and first love I was narrating many past incidents. However, in other pages, I detached myself from this reality and decide to go the extra mile and tell others how destructive it would be for anyone to fall in love before loving himself or herself, or how painful does it become when you don’t praise your uniqueness, or you don’t embrace yourself before listening to people’s judgments.

  1. The book is set in contemporary Beirut and focuses primarily on young characters. How do you perceive your own society in Lebanon in terms of some of these issues, including marginalized groups and mental health issues? What would you hope for the future of Lebanon in terms of societal relations and acceptance? 

In Lebanon, the lifestyle is not bearable anymore but I’m still hopeful of what is coming next because I believe one day my people will wake up to realize that coexisting and accepting the other is the only way to guarantee long-lasting peace and prosperity. It is difficult to find words to describe Lebanese society, but I will say that it is strange and paradoxical. For example, if you go to certain areas in Beirut, you’ll see people of different backgrounds enjoying their lives without the essence of discrimination and stigma. However, if you would leave the city for a less than five-minute drive, you will see the opposite. My wish and sincere hope for the future is to have a safe place for all people to live in Lebanon. To have laws that do guarantee the rights of the weak, and more laws to ensure gender equality. I do hope as well more effort will be done to abolish the rules that penalize love and strengthen the rifts in society.

  1. The past year has been incredibly hard for Lebanon, and the world. What do you hope to impart, through ‘Borderline Love’ to young Lebanese who might have struggled through the August 4th explosion, COVID, and other major obstacles? 

My message here is for those who have struggled and continue to struggle, for those who have lost and learned, for those who are still seeking to find a path to a safe shore, to all dreamers and seekers, to all lovers, to parents and youth. I want to tell them all that fighting can be exhausting but the end results will be rewarding. Let them all know that we will not rest, nor will we accept living in a place where our brothers and sisters are being killed. Not when the weak are always abused, and when all we want to do is love yet obstacles are placed in our way. Let them all know that we shall rise, and we will rise stronger than ever because after each storm there is always hope. Borderline Love in Beirut is the utmost manifestation of this idea.

Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Bigtime Daily started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from categories such as science and health.

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Lifestyle

What “Reasonable Person” Standard Is Applicable When Determining Negligence?

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In order to determine negligence, the reasonable person test asks if a person’s actions are consistent with what would be anticipated of a generally careful and sensible person in the same situation. Stated otherwise, did the accused act in a way that would have been expected of a reasonable person? 

In Florida, determining who is legally liable for an accident depends critically on the issue of carelessness. The “reasonable person standard” is the foundation of this assessment. Your personal injury lawyer can explain the “reasonable person standard” and how it can apply to your case if you are hurt in an accident in Florida. 

The Reasonable Person Standard: What Is It?

Legally speaking, the reasonable person standard offers a yardstick by which someone’s actions are assessed in cases of negligence. “How would a reasonable person have acted under the same circumstances?” is the central question it poses. Jurors and judges are asked this question in order to assist them in determining whether a person’s acts (or inactions) fall short of the expected standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would follow.

Like in many other jurisdictions, Florida does not base its reasonable person criterion on what an especially cautious or risk-averse person would do. Rather, it represents the behaviors of a composite of what the community expects of each individual. A reasonable individual would, for example, observe traffic laws when driving, heed warning signs, and refrain from needlessly endangering other people.

Utilizing the Reasonable Person Standard to Determine Negligence

The activities of the parties involved in a personal injury lawsuit are rigorously examined in light of this reasonable person standard. If it is determined that an individual’s actions do not correspond with what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation, negligence has been proven.

According to the law, proof of someone’s negligence is insufficient; strong, convincing evidence is required. Your personal injury lawyer is essential to this procedure because they have to painstakingly gather evidence showing how the negligent party strayed from what a reasonable person would have done. Piecing together facts, testimony, and any footage or recordings that can definitively demonstrate that their activities were in violation of the recognized norms of safety and care is more important than simply focusing on what they did or did not do.

This proof could take the form of eyewitness statements that refute the version of events provided by the person at fault or security footage that captures the moment of negligence. Something as small as skipping a scheduled maintenance or ignoring a warning alert might have a big impact. Your personal injury attorney seeks to establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the defendant’s acts were not just improper but directly caused others to be put in danger by providing a thorough picture of their negligence. 

How Does This Impact Your Case for Personal Injury?

In a personal injury case, knowing the reasonable person standard is essential. In the event of an accident, this standard might assist you in proving liability if you think the other person was careless.

You should be aware that your activities will be evaluated in comparison to the hypothetical reasonable person’s behavior in situations where you might be held culpable. It doesn’t matter what you meant or thought was appropriate; what matters is what the community would anticipate from someone in your situation.

Although navigating the complexities of the reasonable person standard might be challenging, Florida’s negligence law heavily relies on this standard. A fair appraisal of the facts is essential when seeking justice following an injury accident, and comprehending this criterion is crucial.

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