This week has been a low for Lebanese ingenuity. Two stories have emerged that has made me question: have we lost our spark?

A newly-established Lebanese foundation has offered a 5-million-dollar reward to anyone, including citizens of Israel, who can provide information on Arab militants missing or buried in Israel.

Sound familiar? Kind of like the Ron Arad organization that sends mass mails through the post and uses phone bots to call every conceivable mobile number in the country. Well, maybe exactly like it:

Since Lebanon and Israel are still technically at war, the founders of the organization will seek to register it in a European country to facilitate communication with Israeli citizens.

The only difference it seems is that Israel is able to dish out more money for information on Arad, US$10 million, which is half of what this group, The Horiah Foundation, is offering. By the way, here’s the US$5 million question: What is the name of the Ron Arad organization with similar goals: Born to Freedom. Seeing the similarities?

And the cherry on top is this: Horiah’s website is http://www.5million.org/. Born to Freedom’s website is, wait for it, http://www.10million.org/.

Our next imitation had to do with visas and lectures.

Following on the heals of the UK’s decision to deny Ibrahim Moussawi a visa to the UK, our General Security decided to do the same:

A prominent Tunisian opposition leader accused his government Tuesday of pressuring Lebanon into denying him a visa for a lecture about democracy in the Arab world.

As the UK wouldn’t comment since they do not discuss individual cases, the Lebanese followed suit and didn’t comment because no one at the General Security was available to do so. Makes for a good excuse, don’t you think?

Update – March 21, 2009: OIB distances itself from rumors over barred author