Father George Massouh, who teaches at the University of Balamand, wrote an article for Annahar in which he discussed the matter from the perspective of basic liberties, without even watching the movie.
Sects in Lebanon today, he said, are not only hijacking a person’s sense of nationalism but they are also attempting to take over people’s taste by trying to dictate what they can or cannot watch. And he’s totally right.
Religions are supposedly a voice for liberties – none of them, in theory, ask for oppression. Those who start oppressive measures are the people whose understanding of religion is quite limited. Do you think Jesus would be offended by Tannoura Maxi? There’s only one answer to this question and it’s a no. One only needs to look at the Bible and read the teachings of the Man to know that such a thing wouldn’t register on His radar of relevance, which begs the question: who are we offending here?
The answer is simple. Our Christian pride.
I think Christians in Lebanon have reached a point of mass hysteria, especially with the recent events in Tripoli, where they’re feeling increasingly threatened, unjustifiably so. Even though their reason is telling them they have nothing to worry about, their passion is telling them to grasp at anything that might make them feel strong and in control. Tannoura Maxi turned out to be the casualty.
The argument I’ve heard being tossed around: “But if this had happened with them, the whole country would have burned.”
Perhaps so. But two wrongs don’t make a right especially when it comes to something that touches on basic liberties. The moment we start compromising on what we allow others and ourselves to be exposed to is the moment we start biding farewell to our position in Lebanese society and the region. And that’s the true danger we are facing, not some irrelevant extremists whose effect far transcends their actual size.
Father Massouh concludes his article by saying: instead of asking for bans on things that we think are offending religions, we need to use civilized platforms to get the message across. Clergy and religious figures nowadays are only contributing to increasing ignorance among the people by failing to grasp that point.
So, as I said, instead of making a big deal out of Tannoura Maxi’s religious content, just let the movie be. For religions that have been around for thousands of years, how big of a threat can a movie be? In the grand scheme of things, it’s totally irrelevant. How about we see it as such instead of asking what religious people shouldn’t ask for: a policy of bans and limiting freedom?