This past Saturday I found myself watching Arabs Got Talent with a friend because we seemingly had nothing else to do. Yes, I’m not the type to go bar-hopping. While going through that Lebanese-Russian bland ballerina, to that pianist who played backwards I daresay I was unimpressed.
A creepy looking Saudi man named Ahmad el Doussary then emerges and starts eating burning charcoal. He then proceeds to eat a scorpion. Then he figures it’s great to bite off the head of a snake and eat it. Everyone and their mother has talked about his act so far and it’s so horrendous that I refuse to link the video. The female judge, Najwa Karam, was appalled. The men, macho as they are, figured he was decent enough to make it to the next round and they buzzed him through.
Perhaps the definition of Arabs in Urban Dictionary should be amended to the following: people who consider eating snakes and scorpions a talent.
Ahmad el Doussary will not be doing an act on animals in whatever next round of Arabs Got Talent is, according to Gino. I have no idea what other “talent” he has up his sleeve but I daresay eating glass is so passé. The discussion about el Doussary has mainly revolved around the fact that what was broadcast on television was animal abuse and how this act will promote such behavior in the general Arab populace later on.
I am an animal abuser in a way or another because I fully do not intend to become a vegetarian or vegan anytime soon, if ever. I come from small town Lebanon. I’ve had distant relatives who operate local butcher shops and I’ve seen how they handle their cattle. They say it’s a painless process but I don’t believe it. I still eat the meat anyway.
I’m also fully aware of what goes on in Lebanese slaughterhouses. We’re not a country where regulations are liked and I don’t expect such places to follow protocol in the least. Yet do we really have a problem in having roast beef or chicken for our Sunday lunches? How many people, for instance, will look upon the upcoming Adha sheep slaughter as animal abuse?
Do you want to know who also skins and eats snakes for show? The Lebanese Army. Many of us have had some army personnel hosted in our hometowns for them to showcase some of their skills. The grand finale usually involves them grabbing a full-grown snake that can stretch for a few meters, have a few men hold it and start chewing on it. The mere memory of it turns my insides out. There are YouTube videos everywhere of that and I refuse to post any of them here.
In my opinion, the basic problem isn’t with Ahmad el Doussary only, it’s with the notion that there are people out there who believe that what Ahmad el Doussary did and what those army personnel do over and over again is entertainment. They decided that this kind of entertainment can be labeled as a talent in Doussary’s case. They decided it was the kind of entertainment they should air or get us all to see.
As people of this region, we are quite used to seeing horrendous stuff on TV. It was only a few weeks ago that our news broadcasts were full of pictures of dead Syrian Children. Our media have no compass to guide their sense of what should be aired or not. But the truth is that our media stems from us and we are a people who don’t mind the shock factor that our media love to use over and over again. Yes, what Ahmad el Doussary did sickens me but it will happen again if we don’t say that all the other disgusting stuff we get exposed to are not acceptable as well. I don’t see that happening anytime soon because, haven’t you heard? Someone ate a snake on Arabs Got (No) Talent and it was disgusting… now go check it.