Friday, December 19, 2014

Gay Marriage in Lebanon II

Saja kindly translated my remarks from Arabic about the TV show on New TV in Lebanon, which dealt for the first time with gay marriage.
"Some remarks with regard to the “Lilnashr” show on gay marriage:
1)    Did you notice the episode’s formal title? It was “First public gay marriage for the eyes of Lebanese society.” What does “for the eyes of Lebanese society” mean? It insinuates incitement as if to call on Lebanese society to assault the two young men, or worse.
2)    Dear Pierre [Abi Sa`b, culture editor of Al-Akhbar] did a great job raising important points and answering questions but he wasn’t allowed to complete his points. Contrary to some inaccurate impressions of Pierre that stem from his civility and democratic spirit (in a positive way), Pierre is actually assertive in debates. I’ve seen him defend the resistance at a conference in Berlin and you would’ve thought he was about to brandish a sword.
3)    Why do religious figures get invited to discussions of this type? When did religious figures become experts on various life matters? Why do religious figures make the topics of food, drink and especially sexuality repulsive? This is their objective even if they don’t know it. Religious figures should only address their own fields of expertise albeit the orientalist Philip Hitti used to say that Muslim religious figures do not enjoy privilege over laypersons in religion (Abdullah Alayili shared a similar opinion).
4)    Who is this physician, George Yarid, who talks at the beginning of the show and compares the homosexual to the “normal person”? He said it twice. If the “physician” thinks this way, what would one expect of laypeople?
5)    What did Rima Karaki mean when she spoke of the gay “composition”? Is there a composition that differs from everyone else’s?
6)    Equality between homosexuals and heterosexuals requires avoiding both demonization and romanticization of homosexuals. They’re like everybody else; there are good and bad, funny and unfunny. Male chauvinism manifests itself in gay couples as it does in heterosexual couples. In the show Muhammad is insufferable and treats his boyfriend “Jennifer” with the same repression and control that a traditional man would display towards his wife. Frankly, I fear for “Jennifer” vis a vis both his boyfriend Muhammad as well as the rest of society. He didn’t let him speak and he was rude and admitted to his possessive drive in relationships. I’m concerned that “Jennifer” could be the victim of taunting in the relationship, which of course exists in homosexual relationships according to numerous studies in several societies.
7)    I fear that our racist society would accuse Syrians of bringing homosexuality to Lebanon since Muhammad is of Syrian origin. In fact, in his outstanding book, La Personnalité et le devenir arabo-islamiques even the unparalleled historian, Hisham Djait, blamed Persians for historically bringing homosexuality to Arab society. Seriously.
8)    The agenda behind discussing such topics in sensational shows (in both the west and east) isn’t a noble one, unfortunately. "