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.


Gabriela said…
What an interesting melange of news.
And, about football, from a feminine perspective... that's a wonderful medium to rejoice us watching the most gorgeous men on earth.
Unknown said…
Ya, how about those Spanish players, eh Gabriela! ;) Eh hem...great post Abufares. I agree with you that there is a lot of crap being published out there. The thing that scares me the most is the number of people who actually read it. The lies and the biases so easily shape people's perspectives and those who want to know the "real" truth have to dig for it. I'm sorry to hear about the death of this Hesbollah leader. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Gabriela said…
Yes Isobel... but not only the Spanish ones!
KJ said…
I agree with Isobel, what's worse than printing crap on toilet paper is people who swallow it.

As dangerously ignorant of me for my unwillingness to indulge myself in politics and deep analysis of materialistic worldly matters and conspiracy theories, I am glad I do not engage my brain resources in ultimately unexplainable crap and decide instead to attend to the finer things in life, namely good novels and food and when a woman comes along.
Abufares said…
Not only the Spanish ones!?
You got me thinking which "men" you found most gorgeous? Or is it in the absolute sense of the word that football player in general are the most gorgeous men on earth?
The reason I'm asking is that I sometimes get myself in trouble making such statements :-)
Abufares said…
So you liked those gorgeous Spanish players!?
It must be the legs! I mean that's about all we see of them.

Sometimes I read comments on articles or bits of news published on BBC or CNN websites. The hate rhetoric in some of them toward Islam and Muslims is appalling. I wonder how this new trend of bigotry is tolerated by the Western media institutions. The problem is compounded when Islamist extremists convey the message that they are "typical" Muslims. No it's not typical to wear the Burka. It never was. It never will. No blowing up trains and planes is not typical Muslim practice either.
However, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Extremists gained momentum because of the draconian, dubious and doubtful handling of 9/11 by the neoconservatives when instead of restricting their repercussion to those directly involved in the crime they went ahead and invaded 2 countries, toppled governments and killed thousands of innocent people along the way.
I don't often quote Karl Marx but "Religion is the opiate of the people" and I'm not talking about one religion only. Remember that dazed look in George W's eyes!!!
Abufares said…
I always liked you, even before you agreed with Isobel. Now I almost love you :-)
One of the main reasons why I liked you in the first place is your unwillingness to waste your time on politics and that you prefer a good novel, delicious food and/or a gorgeous woman.
In my case, I have to settle for a book and an occasional good bite. As for the company of women, I'm afraid it's out of my league. I'm so owned I cannot even let the thought pass through my mind without getting caught :-)
Gabriela said…
You made me laugh, Abufares.
I meant, and maybe I failed, that World Cup is the best chance we women have to see gorgeous men. You see: athletic, sweaty men fighting with other men, equally athletic and sweaty.
You guys have lots of beauty pageants every year. What's left for us, women? We have to wait 4 entire years. Think about it.
Abufares said…
You know what the problem with you women is?
You want athletic and sweaty men. Being just sweaty won't do it for you.
Picky, soooo Finicky and Picky!
Unknown said…
The sweat defines their muscles know...they glow. :D Not that I noticed. I wouldn't really know...I'm just that right Gabriela? ;)
Abufares said…
Thank you for you lucid explanation.

I wonder what the sweat defines and makes glow more on the female body?
Not that I noticed. I wouldn't really know...I'm just that right KJ? ;)
Anonymous said…
I'm confused with your news on Mona Abu Hamze...

Was SHE invited or did she invite Savina to drink Arak and then was not permitted to drink herself? I know this just a small point in your blog, but I was lost in that paragraph... and what is the minister making wine!!!

The written word is a very powerful and scary tool. It is a fact that most people will read and believe anything on paper or the Web without taking the precaution to find out the credibility of the source. A lot of hate and discord is achieved this way. This, mixed together with the fear of the unknown is what feeds the masses. Hope lives within honest people like Octavia Nasr and Frances Guy who will speak truth in world dominated by intrigue.

w.b. yeats
Abufares said…
@w.b. yeats
Mona hosts a Pan Arab Talk show on one of the "bigger" TV satellite channels.
In one episode her 2 guests were Savina and the Lebanese Minister of Culture. Savina was talking about the delicious food of Lebanon (Mona's home country)...
Mona invited Savina to come over, perhaps to her own hometown for a glass of Arak. The Minister joined her and invited Savina to Lebanon too then all 3 of them talked about the art of wine and arak making.
This pissed off the Sada journalist as she considered that the conversation about "alcohol" is not suitable for the Arab household. Apparently Mona should just look pretty, shut up or talk in line with the Khaliji culture (The Arab Gulf area).

Octavia Nasr and Frances Guy are Israel's worst nightmare: High profile and "credible" people who know the truth AND dared talk.
Karin said…
Brillant Abufares ... and right up my alley!! When people are not free to voice an opinion anymore - regardless of person and content - something is seriously wrong! This applies not only to private folks but as well to governments who, as you so wonderfully describe, piss in their pants the moment Israel is angry!

Who cares if Israel is angry? WHO or WHAT is so special about Israel that almost all western government sink down to their knees and censore everybody who dares to speak out? They're occupiers ... THAT's what they are! A country where one can't call a spade a spade anymore, became pitiful, a jumping jack of whoever pulls the string ... but that's just what's happening!

Octavia as well as Frances Guy didn't support nor promote Hizbolla's ideology nor glorify anything they did or do, all they did is eulogize a human being - and as such it needs to be perceived and accepted.

Personally, I lost a LOOOOT of respect for CNN ... and I guess I am not alone with this satatement. They should be ashamed.

"Octavia Nasr and Frances Guy are Israel's worst nightmare: High profile and "credible" people who know the truth AND dared talk." ... you are SO RIGHT!!

And about those football (Gabriela & Isobel) players - there is definitely something to it ... hahaha!! ;-)
Abufares said…
Hello there and so nice to see you.

This is it. You summed it up:
"Octavia as well as Frances Guy didn't support nor promote Hizbolla's ideology nor glorify anything they did or do, all they did is eulogize a human being - and as such it needs to be perceived and accepted."

Only the truth could scare someone so bad as to make a respectable TV media giant and a leading Western government turn against their declared principles of freedom of speech and choice.
Being scared of a dead man? A very moderate and reasonable Muslim cleric who doesn't fit the stereotyped image they worked so hard on conjuring and drawing for the masses to see.

And finally... I think the summer heat is getting to you girls (all 3 of you so far)... Did I tell you that I played as a goal keeper once? Well I didn't quite make it to the World Cup but I wore shorts. And in my days... the shorts were much shorter :-)

PS I had a better defined muscular structure then and I used to sweat when I played :-))))
Karin said…
... and where is a picture of you playing football while sweating as well?? ;-) Now you, the soccer player or rather goal keeper, got my full attention and I am anxious to see that - here on the blog ... hahaha!! GOTCHA!!! :-)

And BTW, the summer heat here in Albuquerque is really bad even though the humidity is LOW, which makes an almost continuous sitting-in-the-over bearable!
Unknown said…
Ever seen a photo of the moon, Karin? There's our Abufares at the net. :D Talk about a glow...

Loved your comments on the post!

Hi Abufares! ;)
Karin said…
I'll pay particular attention to the next full moon and it's glow, Isobel ... and will try to detect Abufares' features in it!! I love your idea!!!

YOUR turn Abufares ... :-) !
Abufares said…
@Karin & Isobel
hAhAhA "He who laughs last, laughs best"
I need to find that old black and white photo of mine which will render the moon dim.

Gabriela, my hot blooded Latina friend, can you please step in and help me. These chicas are too blond for me to handle alone.

Debemos patear el culo de las gringas ;-)

P.S. A Bavarian and a Canadian classify as Gringas to a Peruvian and a Syrian!!!
Gabriela said…
Had I imagine what my comment would start... I'd posted it anyway!
LOL! Maybe Abufares, you've got here an idea for a post. That kind of post you are so expert in writing.
Ehem... I'd love to see that black & white picture too.
PD: I'm delighted with this "conversation". Only the Internet could make it possible for a Syrian, a Peruvian, a Bavarian and a Canadian to exchange ideas about sweaty football players.
Karin said…
Gabriela - I love it: "I'm delighted with this "communication". Only the Internet could make it possible for a Syrian, a Peruvian, a Bavarian and a Canadian to exchange ideas about sweaty football players." You're so right ...

Well Abufares, the ball's in your court ... I very much hope you are busy digging out this black-white picture - THREE(!) women are waiting to get a glimpse ;-)!!!

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