My exposure to Print Journalism has been confined to my private bathroom. In the 1970's and 1980's the market was evenly split between Lebanese and Egyptian (Arabic) magazines. Whether the subject matter was political, social or celebrity gossip no one did it better than the venerated publishing houses of Beirut. Until one day, petro-money was channeled into something else besides soliciting the coveted services of prostitutes. The Lebanese print media degenerated into sectarian partiality, lost their credibility and died of absurdity while the Egyptians continue to publish verbose magazines that look and feel as if they've been printed on toilet paper.Khaliji tycoons dumped their cash in Dubai and flooded the Arabic speaking world with glossy, colorful and extremely well produced gibberish and, along with the onslaught of hundreds of television satellite channels, became the trend setters of the Middle East, North Africa and, alas, the Levant.
Like their audiovisual counterparts, Khaliji magazines walk a tight rope. The vast majority of them, on the surface, targets women. However, they are also "watched" by men. They seek to convey an image of self-righteousness and abashed modernity to their female readership while simultaneously providing mild masturbatory material for the libidinous males. It's in Al-Sada magazine that my bodily constipation was cured with a dose of a diarrheal critique of a TV show called "Hadith Al-Balad" hosted by Mona Abu Hamze. First I need to point out an obvious fact of life. Mona is one of the most gorgeous creatures to ever walk the face of the earth. I've only seen glimpses of her show while jumping sports channels. The woman is arrestingly beautiful. My finger stops clicking the remote control button when I see her. I have no idea what her entertainment program is about as I'm really not into talk shows. It takes will and determination to escape her spell and return to the saga of the 22 men fighting over a ball.
The critic wrote and I quote: "Mona's latest blunder toward her "Arab" audience, she who is being watched in every single home of our "Arab" society including the conservative ones, was a public invitation to her Italian guest Savina to drink Arak in some Lebanese town. The worst is yet to come. Her invitation was echoed by the Lebanese Minister of Culture who was her other guest. Within seconds the conversation turned from art to wine making, which the minister confirmed that he is very good at."
How hard is it to understand that Arak, among other wonderful delights of life is part of our cultural heritage in the Levant. Lebanon, in its splendor and glory cannot be better appreciated than with a dainty table of Mezza and a dewy Kass of Arak. So it is in our dazzling Syrian coast, where a mouthful of Baladi Burghul topped with a piece of country chicken melts in the mouth and mingles with the homemade moonshine made of golden grapes and aniseed. Once they leave their scorched desert, the bastards drink Scotch from the red pumps of whores yet they deem it inappropriate for Mona's sweet lips to sip the lucky Arak and to make it more divine for the rest of us.
From the thirsty sands of the Persian Gulf to a conference hall in CNN headquarters in Atlanta where the decision to fire Octavia Nasr, Senior Editor of Middle East Affairs, was reached. Octavia tweeted: "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah.. One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.." CNN, being a mere toy in the hands of AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee, succumbed to a phone call. In the USA one can get away with almost anything politically as long as he doesn't piss off the pro-Israeli lobby. But who is this Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah and why has the British Ambassador to Lebanon, Frances Guy's blog posting about his death been deleted by the British Foreign Service? I'll answer the easy second part first, Israel was angered and when Israel is angry, as it often is, the UK government wets its pants. Ms. Guy wrote: “The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints. May he rest in peace.”
Two prominent Western women, a world-renowned journalist lost her job and a diplomat in the service of her Majesty the Queen was shut up because they wrote the truth about one of the most tolerant, open-minded and intellectual clerics in the world. Claiming that the Sayyed was not a most admirable human being because he considered Israel as his mortal enemy is as bigoted as insisting that Einstein could not be a genius because he was a Jew. In a time when most religious figures are ignorant idiots, child molesters and hate mongrels, Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah was an enlightening man, a champion of women's rights and a fierce defender of his country against Israeli aggression and occupation. I wonder what scares the "free" democratic western governments more, a tolerant and moderate Islam that appeals to the mind and conscience or hordes of shapeless women in Burkas? Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah was the better face of Islam and this is exactly what Israel cannot allow the rest of the world to see.
I read with fascination and disgust the Western hate literature against Islam. I'm also puzzled and offended by the Islamists' literal interpretation of the Quran and the way they've degraded it by insisting that it is a rigid book, immune to discussion and human questioning. I live in an age where true temperance is not tolerated because the pervasiveness of moderation could shake the foundations of the remaining apartheid countries in the world after the demise of racist South Africa. The Saudis pump oil and money to remain while the Israelis threaten to sneak in a Monica Lewinski anywhere, anytime and bring anyone down to their knees.