A Record 111 Women Are Running For Parliament in Lebanon’s 2018 Elections

As Lebanon’s 2018 elections go on in full swing, a total of 976 candidates have presented to the Ministry of Interior affairs as of the deadline at midnight on March 6th. Of those, 111 candidates are women.

There are two ways to look at this. 111 candidates being women is essentially only 11.37% of the total number of candidates. Yes, the percentage may be dreary, but back in 2009 – the last time we actually had parliamentary elections – only 15 women had run, from a field of over 702 candidates. That’s nearly 2%, an abomination by all measures.

So instead of saying that 111 candidates being women is not good enough, I choose to celebrate the milestone of having that many women run. It’s the highest number since El-Taef agreement, and will only be just a stepping stone for future elections to come.

This year’s elections has the highest number of candidates ever recorded. The previous record was 702, in 2009. There were 484 candidates in 2005, 545 in 2000, 599 in 1996 and 408 in 1992, the first election after the Taef agreement. Prior to the Lebanese civil war, with less seats in parliament, the most candidates that had run was 366 in 1972.

The reason these elections have had a higher influx of candidates in general is the new election law at hand: it allows more representation to entities of the electorate that had been diluted away previously. Even Lebanon’s political parties are fielding candidates in districts that they had not been competitive in. For instance, the Lebanese Forces and FPM have candidates in the deep south and the Beqaa-Hermel districts. More importantly, however, a good chunk of those candidates are people from Lebanon’s civil society who had fought tooth and nail over the past few years against the limitless corruption of those in power.

Interestingly enough, a quarter of Lebanon’s current parliament members are not running for re-election. The most notable of those is probably former prime minister Fouad Sanioura, who held the Sunni seat in Saida since 2009. Many simply didn’t stand a chance at defeating a challenge in the shuffling of proportional representation.

While 111 women running for parliament is an achievement in itself, it shows – yet again – that Lebanon’s political parties have failed in further strengthening the political might of this core demographic in the Lebanese population. Remember the days when they were talking about women quotas? Even their most conservative of quotas is higher than the number of women candidates that are running, and definitely higher than the ones they will have on their list.

For a full list of the candidates, click here.

It’s up to us, therefore, to make sure we have as many new and fresh faces in parliament as possible. As an expat in the United States, I will vote on April 29th. My district – Batroun – has the least number of candidates running in the entire country: only 10 candidates are running for 2 Maronite seats. Of those 10 candidates, a phenomenal journalist, lawyer, and friend named Layal Bou Moussa is hoping to make a dent in the Lebanese political sphere.

It is without hesitation, therefore, that I say my preferential vote will be going to her this year. She has proven over and over again to be a loud voice for all the oppressed. As a reporter for New TV, she’s exposed corruption of those in power. It’s time we give her a chance, every one else in my district has been in power in one way or the other since at least 2005. Enough is enough. On April 29th, I’m with her.

There’s a lot to say about the chance that people from Lebanon’s civil society have to get to parliament. But if we all belittle their chances and either not vote or vote for political parties instead, then we’ll be falling into the same rabbit hole we’re never going to get out of. It’s worse when there are accomplished candidates running in our districts that need our votes.

Other notable female candidates running are:

  • Paula Yaacoubian for the Armenian seat in Beirut’s 1st district,
  • Joumana Haddad for the Minorities seat in Beirut’s 1st district,
  • Jessica Azar – MTV journalist – for the Greek Orthodox seat in Metn,
  • Sethrida Geagea for the Maronite seat in Becharre,
  • Gilberte Zouein running for the Maronite seat in Keserwan,
  • Maya Terro running for the Sunni seat in Chouf,
  • Sandrella Merhej running for the Maronite seat in Baalbek,
  • Lina Mokhayber running for the Greek Orthodox seat in Metn,
  • Raghida Dargham running for the Druze seat in Beirut’s second district,
  • Michelle Tuein running for the Greek Orthodox seat in Beirut’s first district, among others.

How many of those candidates will end up in parliament is yet to be determined, but the mere fact that since the last time we’ve held parliamentary elections, the number of Lebanese women willing to throw in their hat into the figurative political scene has grown by more than 700% is telling. Maybe this time, we can actually get more than 4 women out of 128 members of parliament.

The next deadline in the election process is to submit lists. Candidates cannot run on their own anymore, and as such they need to be part of bigger lists that are running candidates to their district. This is because the new electoral law adopts proportional representation, which will make voting not as simple. The following is a neat video by the Lebanese Forces about how the law work. Yes, it’s a political party’s video, but no it’s not partisan in its information:

 

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Lebanon’s Government Wants To Silence Hisham Haddad For Making A Joke About The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Ben Salman

In your daily dose of the increasing censorship being enforced by an unchecked government in this country, comedian Hisham Haddad is now on their chopping block as the Lebanese government is filing a lawsuit against him for making fun of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Ben Salman.

In case anyone forgot, Mohammad Ben Salman is the same guy who, not even three months ago, had our own prime minister imprisoned and forced to resign from office. He’s also the same guy who has a bunch of his cousins still held at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in his crackdown on “corruption” as he buys mansions and paintings for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Haddad’s “fault” it seems is that he made fun of Michel Hayek’s yearly NYE predictions in which he “advised” the crown prince to cut down on his intake of fast food. The joke in question is the following:

There’s literally nothing in it that is remotely offensive, not that an offensive joke is grounds for a lawsuit in the first place. And yet here we are. Since when are we a country where criticism of any political leader is a red line? Or is it just because its *this* particular leader, whose ass we really want to keep kissing?

I’m not sure if there’s a toxic level of confusion at play here, but Lebanon not a country where citizens can be silenced left and right for making a joke about leaders – and at the very least leaders of other countries – and no repercussions about it. We are not a country where a joke can get you beheaded, imprisoned. In other words, Lebanon is not Saudi Arabia. Our leaders are not supreme rulers. They are elected officials who answer to us, and whose powers end when they try to walk all over our constitutionally given freedoms just to appease foreign leaders by going extra miles just for their appeasement.

This same government was upset a few weeks ago that Marcel Ghanem’s TV show allowed Saudi pundits to be on air and insult the Lebanese government and its president. By the looks of it, MBS seems to be a role model for the way our leaders want to govern, but they won’t be having any of it.

Regardless of the girth of Mohammad Ben Salman’s abdomen, or the amount of daily fat he likes to eat, this country will never become what our leaders want it to become: a place where we have to think 300 times about criticizing a politician, the policies of another country, a religious leader, or agree in any form or fashion to their heinous attempts at oppression by filing baseless lawsuits just because they’re bored.

If Saudi Citizens are used to having their basic human rights and freedoms walked all over, then we – as lebanese citizens – are not. And what Hisham Haddad is going through now, and Marcel Ghanem before him, are horrendous transgressions against their basic constitutional rights as Lebanese citizens, just to please a Saudi prince.

Lebanon is not a district of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our president is not a crown prince. And Mohammad Ben Salman is open season for any joke in my country. Now let’s have Lebanon’s government be up to speed with this.

“The Insult” Is Nominated For Best Foreign Film Oscar, First Time Ever For A Lebanese Movie

Ziad Doueiry’s latest movie, “The Insult,” was just announced as one of the five nominees in the Best Foreign Film category for the 2018 Oscars. This marks the first time ever that a Lebanese movie has scored such a nomination – the closest we’d gotten before was when Nadine Labaki’s “Where Do We Go Now” won the big prize at the Toronto Film Festival, and scored a nomination for best movie at the Critics Choice Award, losing to “A Separation.”

Released in September in Lebanon, “The Insult” quickly became one of the year’s biggest hits at the Lebanese box office, and a true testament to what Lebanese cinema can do when given proper material. In a time when we are inundated with one mind-numbing stupidity after the next, and chastised for being critical because the only thing you’re allowed to be in Lebanon is supportive, The Insult was a breath of fresh air, and hopefully a new standard by which other Lebanese filmmakers go about their craft.

The release of the movie was not without controversy. Right off the bat of landing in Lebanon for the premiere, director Ziad Doueiry was briefly arrested and had his French and Lebanese passports confiscated because his prior movie, The Assault, had been filmed in Israel. He was ultimately trialled and released without charges.

“The Insult” is about the Palestinian Yasser (Kamel El Basha), a respected foreman in Beirut charged with fixing building-code violations, who encounters car mechanic Toni (Adel Karam) whose building has an illegal drainpipe. After Yasser suggests fixing the drainpipe, Toni slams the door in his face, which prompts Yasser to fix the drainpipe anyway, leading to an insult from Yasser’s side.

This single slur then becomes the hallmark for a court case that divides the nation, pitting Palestinian refugee and construction worker, against a Lebanese Christian. The court case evolves into more than just insults, but into the long standing sectarian grievances that plague our daily lives back home.

The political backdrop of “The Insult” are historical speeches of Bachir Gemayel, with all the political pulsations that such speeches entail on the relationship between Lebanese – mostly Christians – and Palestinians refugees; it’s essentially a cross examination of an aspect of Lebanese society that many of us do not routinely address.

I recently had the honor to watch this movie in New York City. The experience of “The Insult”was humbling. It was a movie so about home, that I was watching from so far away. For the duration of its runtime, I was transported back to the streets of Achrafieh that I knew, to those encounters and discussions that we know all too well. It was so engrossing that I was disoriented, exiting that New York City theatre, as to where I was. It’s a work of art that renders you speechless, worthy of an Oscar nomination.

The entire cast did such a phenomenal job, with career defining performances. I was a proud Lebanese watching those actors soar on screen, in front of Americans who were as engrossed as I was, despite them not being aware of the historical backdrop to which the scenes unfold. It doesn’t matter – the struggles illustrated in “The Insult” are universal, transcending politics, and attaining human nature.

With that movie, Ziad Doueiry has proven once again that Lebanon has enough reservoir of stories to make proper cinema, as our brains are rendered numb with the barrage of worthless junk that fills theaters. Congrats to the makers of the movie and all of the cast, you’ve made us tremendously proud. Best of luck to you, and I hope you bring home that trophy.

Lebanon Bans Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” Because Of His Support of Israel, Proving The Country Is Run By Stone Age Airheads

At the rate Lebanon’s censorship bureau has been going for the past year, the country might as well have rang in 1918 instead of 2018, because the situation has become unacceptable.

The latest victim of a censorship bureau that doesn’t want to upset what’s becoming a form of cultural terrorism in the country is Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” a stunning drama that is absolutely VITAL to be seen today.

The reason why Lebanon has an issue with Spielberg is both anti-semitic and because of the country’s anti-Israel laws. When Spielberg’s Tintin was released, his name was struck out from the poster in order to upset anyone due to his last name’s obvious Jewish background. His name was eventually added to the blacklist of the Arab League’s Central Boycott (of Israel) Office because of a donation he made to the Zionist state in 2006.

Yes, Spielberg making donations to Israel is abhorrent, but he’s not the only Hollywood figure to do so, nor will he be the last. When and where do we draw the ridiculous line about what we ban and allow in this country when it pertains to Israel, because this sure as hell is pushing it. An American director, with no ties to the country in question except for his religion, makes a contribution to the country like thousands of other Westerners and Americans do, and he’s suddenly persona non-grata?

To make matters worse, the decision to add Spielberg to that Arab ban list occurred in 2007. He’s had countless movies released in the area since, without any form of controversy. He has been director and producer of many movies that were released without a glitch in the area. Of those movies, I list: Transformers, The BFG, Bridge of Spies, Jurrasic World, Lincoln, etc…

Over the past 10 years, Lebanon has screened SIXTEEN movies in which Spielberg was either directing or producing. And here comes 2018, with Lebanon’s BDS office finding new muscle in our government, and the country won’t be able to get any of his movies ever again.

I would call such a ban illogical, but those calling for him to be blanket banned don’t really understand logic. They are the same people who believe Gal Gadot’s existence in a movie is a covert attempt at spreading zionism into the subconscious of the Arab masses, except in Gal Gadot’s case the argument was that she was actually Israeli, whereas in Spielberg’s case, the affront is an association to the n’th degree, just to appease to some people’s hypersensitivity, but I digress.

Being in the United States, I had the pleasure to watch “The Post” in its opening weekend a few days ago. The movie, set in the 1970s, features legends Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as the owner and editor of the Washington Post at that time, respectively, as they try to reveal government secrets about the Vietnam War, during Nixon’s White House, as he attempts to silence the press.

The movie, based on a true story, is exceedingly important in today’s day and age where freedom of speech, the press, and the important of expression are all threatened. The irony of a movie about fighting off censorship being censored in a country that is developing a knee-jerk response to anything that ruffles its feathers should not escape you.

What we have in Lebanon is a bunch of airheads in power, whose brains only function in binaries, and who can’t appreciate enough nuances to be able to distinguish between cause to ban (which should never exist, but it’s Lebanon) and not. Instead, The Post is the second movie to be banned this week after Daniel Radcliffe’s “Jungle” also receives the same fate, when it’s discovered that the screenwriter, and some of the people involved in the making of the movie are Israelis.

To expect any movie coming in from the U.S. to be Israel-free is non-sensical. To expect any media import that we get from the big bad West to be Israel free is stupid. What’s next, banning everything that breathes because of a positive opinion they have of the Jewish state? I’m willing to bet those calling for the movie to be banned have watched countless Steven Spielberg movies before.

I expect this bullshit we’re dealing with not to decrease over the next few months, but to further perpetuate like the rabid fire it’s becoming. The next Nathalie Portman movie? Forget about it. Anything featuring Gal Gadot? Forget about that either. Any Steven Spielberg movie coming up after The Post? Nope. It’s just sad.

Again, I reiterate what I’ve said countless times before. Boycotts are not bans. Boycotts add to whatever message the BDS folks want to propagate in the country, whilst bans do the exact opposite. With every single movie they cause to be banned, they lose more people who’d be willing to support them. But I guess they don’t really care about that, either.

The hypocrisy of banning movies in Lebanon because they’re an easy target should not escape anyone. There are products distributed in the market, and imprinted in everyone’s personal life, that are also related in one way or another to Israel, but BDS’ dependency on such products will never have them call for bans.

The lines that movies can’t cross in this country are increasing by the day. “Call Me By Your Name,” the year’s best movie, won’t be released because of its LGBT theme. Movies are banned because Israel. Movies are banned because they upset Christian or Muslim clergy. At this rate, there’s no point in cinema in this country anymore.

Until then, enjoy streaming the movie online or buying it for $2 at your local bootleg DVD store. The biggest loser in all of this bullshit is that Lebanese distributor, in this case Italia Films, that already bought the rights for the movie and will be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, as did Joseph Chacra with Wonder Woman, just because we have easily-influenced entities in offices of power, without any ounce of backbone whatsoever.

Hollywood’s Upcoming Movie “Beirut” Checks Off Every American Stereotype About Lebanon

The trailer for Jon Hamm’s latest movie, titled Beirut, and produced by Bleeker Street, was released yesterday. The movie, set in 1982, tells the story of an American officer who finds himself back in Beirut 10 years after his family was killed there to save a friend of his who works in the CIA after he was kidnapped by some Islamic terrorist organization.

In theory, and the fact that the movie is written by the same people behind The Bourne trilogy, this sounds like something that could be fun. Except, once again, an American Hollywood studio decides to whitewash the civil war of a city, and turn its entire struggles about the past and hardships of a white man, who is out of place among the savages he’s forced to exist with.

Here is the trailer:

A Qandahar-esque city ravaged by war: check.

Oriental music with no clear of origin: check.

English spoken like only Americans think terrorists speak English: check.

Mosques on the silhouette of every city shot: check.

Brown kids running around with guns: check.

A terrorist Islamic organization that doesn’t actually exist: check.

The movie not only omits any Lebanese presence in it, but bends the history of the country and of the era that it portrays to make it conform with exactly what Americans think of the city and of the political factors at play. Suddenly, the Israelis are the knights in shining armor trying to save Beirut from its own people, while white Americans roll in to save the day once more.

Those Arabs in the movie? Barbaric savages. Their cities and where they live? Hellholes. Their entire lives? Reduced to kids running around cars with plastic guns.

A movie filmed in Morocco, with no Lebanese cast, with no Lebanese input, with no Lebanese insight – and named after the capital city of a country, while it makes sure to perpetuate the exact notion believed by the people in the country where this movie will most advertise itself.

Representation matters. And this is most important at a time when some creature like Trump is president, a creature that believes any country that is not European is a shithole, and every immigrant from a country that isn’t Norway and friends is a disgrace to his country. In the movie, Beirut, the notion that Arabs are people that exist in an endless circle of violence is perpetuated once more, whilst ticking off every white American’s notion of orientalist Middle Eastern realities. Even the tag line of the movie is “2000 years of revenge, vendetta, murder. Welcome to Beirut.”

Did anyone tell these people that revenge and vendetta are the same thing? Or that the 2000+ year history of Beirut is not about revenge, vendetta and murder, but that a city older than the oldest entity in their country is not summarized by what they think is true of it.

What’s worse is that you’d never find a Hollywood movie, say, that is set in New York portray nothing relevant to the city and be named after it. You’d never find a movie set in any “white” European city negatively portray that city as a terrorist infected haven. Instead, all portrayal tries to stay as respectful as possible to the history of the place they’re showing on screen.

We do not get that courtesy.

I don’t know how Beirut looked in 1982. I was not born back then. But my parents were alive and well back then, and this is not the city they knew. Even in its war-torn buildings, and its own struggles. Even our airport back in the 80’s didn’t look the way it was portrayed in that movie’s trailer. They can’t even afford us historical accuracy – but what do you expect from producers who think all Middle Eastern countries are the same, and that filming a movie in Morocco to portray a city thousands of miles away is fair enough and accurate.

The worst part about the movie is that this is an American take on the Lebanese Civil War – to a certain extent at least – while the war itself had nothing to do with them. And then the release date of the movie is set to coincide with the 43rd anniversary of the Lebanese Civil War, on April 13th.

Dear Hollywood, I understand you have a growing need to be “woke” these days, but being “woke” also involves being aware that other people’s countries and cities are not free reign for you to appropriate into movies whose only purpose is to further perpetuate what you believe is true about those places and those people, as well as fill your pockets with money at their expense.

I, for one, will be boycotting this movie when it’s released, and I invite every Lebanese to do the same. Using our capital but filming somewhere else, using our people but using other nationalities, using our heritage but using other languages, accents and music, and white-washing our entire struggles to fit into the cute boxes that would never oppose the notions of the typical American movie goer, while reinforcing what they think of us, is not okay.

Stray Dogs Ruthlessly Poisoned and Killed in Broad Daylight in Lebanese City of Ghobeiry

In the country where some people kick cats for fun, and where human rights are borderline existent, killing dogs in broad daylight is the next new thing.

In the town of Ghobeiry, in Baabda, Mt Lebanon, a bunch of stray dogs were ruthlessly poisoned and left to die on the tarmac before being picked up by a pickup truck owned by they town’s municipality and disposed of.

You can see the entire horrific instance in this FaceBook video:

I can’t wait before people come in and start going off about how we would not be this angry and outraged at such videos showing human torment in country this or country that. It’s none of your business what can get me or others horrified. This – in its entirety – is too abhorrent of an event for anyone in Lebanon to remain silent about.

Ghobeiry’s Municipality itself is denying that they ordered this mass Murder to occur, in a statement released today:

Frankly though, this statement is pure bullshit. Not only was this massacre carried out using equipment of the municipality as is evident by the writing on the truck, but I’m willing to bet that those are employees, in one way or another, of that municipality.

It’s even worse for a municipality to feign ignorance about something so horrific happening in its jurisdiction in broad daylight. We’re not stupid – this was definitely pre-authorized, whether there was a written decision about it or not.

It takes a whole other level of psychopath for a human being to do what that filth did to those poor dogs, film it, and probably go back home and gloat about their achievement. They probably gather together and make fun of how those poor creatures were whimpering away as they drew their last breaths, raving on the testosterone high they get from exhuming that toxic masculinity they so desperately seek to validate.

Those men are exactly the root of the problem in this country: vomit for air who have no regard of rules, regulations, humane behavior, and the need for compassion in a world where there is none of that.

Ghayd Chammas’ take on the issue is also worth noting:

It’s not a long stretch to imagine that someone who can do this to a dog would do this to any other living creature. Those people who did that are abominations to our society.

To end this, I quote the statement by BETA on the issue:

Numerous dogs were filmed lying on the ground, crying, shaking, and foaming at the mouth. The municipality fully admits to luring them with poisoned meat only to kill them.

This sickening level of abuse, torture, suffering and complete disregard for life and law is absolutely shocking.

They had not even died before they were thrown into the back of a municipal vehicle.

All of this suffering did not bring any benefit to people or animals; In fact, it harms national efforts to manage homeless dogs.

We reached out to the municipality and were told they did this as the dogs are ‘aggressive and attacked many people’. Even if that were true, this is still not an acceptable way to deal with the dogs. The video shows friendly dogs, dogs checking on the ones who were dying, dogs not attacking or acting aggressively even in such a stressful situation. We also doubt the claims that these dogs attacked many people and request to see a compilation of all the reported incidents over the last months.

There is no question that this is unethical and immoral, and now with the Animal Protection and Welfare law, we believe it is also illegal and cannot pass –

1) We are communicating now with the Minister of Interior to condemn such action and officially notify all municipalities that this is illegal and unacceptable

2) We are appealing to the courts with Animals Lebanon so that the justice system can officially state this is illegal and act according to the law

3) We are continuing to work with the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure all of the aspects of the law are issued quickly, while this is the most horrific we have seen but it is not an isolated event, and we must protect homeless dogs nationwide

What you can do –

– Contact the Ministry of Interior and urge this be stopped by all municipalities

– Contact the general prosecutor and urge them to act

http://www.animalslebanon.org/law

تحذير: يحتوي هذا الفيديو على مشاهد عنيفة، تسميم كلاب شاردة ودية من قِبل بلدية الغبيري

إنّ هذا المستوى المروع من الإساءة والتعسف والتعذيب والمعاناة والاستهتار التام بالحياة والقانون أمر مروع تماما.

تم تصوير العديد من الكلاب مستلقية على الأرض، تعوي وترجف فيما والرغوة تخرج من افمامها وقد اعترفت البلدية بإغرائها باللحوم المسمومة لقتلها.

ولم تكن قد نفقت قبل أن يتم رميها في سيارة للبلدية.

كانت كل هذه المعاناة غير ضرورية وكان من الممكن تجنبها، فهي لم تجلب أي فائدة للناس أو للحيوانات، بل أساءت بالجهود الوطنية للسيطرة على الكلاب الشاردة

تواصلنا مع البلدية وقيل لنا إنهم قاموا بهذا العمل لأن الكلاب “عدوانية هاجمت العديد من الناس”. حتى ولو كان هذا صحيحا، لا تزال هذه الطريقة غير مقبولة للتعامل مع الكلاب. يظهر الفيديو كلابا ودية وكلابا تتفقد تلك التي تنفق، وكانت الكلاب لا تهاجم أو تظهر أي عدوانية حتى في مثل هذا الوضع المتوتر. كما أننا نشك في الادعاءات بأن هذه الكلاب هاجمت العديد من الناس ونطلب أن نرى جميع الحوادث المبلغ عنها خلال الأشهر الماضية.

ليس هناك شك في أن هذا أمر غير أخلاقي، والآن مع قانون حماية الحيوانات والرفق بها أنها غير قانونية أيضا –

1) اننا نتواصل الآن مع وزير الداخلية لإدانة هذا الإجراء وإخطار جميع البلديات رسميا بأن هذا غير قانوني وغير مقبول

2) بالتعاون مع جمعية “حيوانات لبنان”، نتوجه نحو القضاء إلى المحاكم بحيث يمكن النظام القضائي أن يذكر رسميا أن هذا غير قانوني

3) نواصل العمل مع وزارة الزراعة لضمان صدور جميع جوانب القانون بسرعة – في حين أن هذا العمل الأكثر رعبا الذي رأيناه حتى الآن ولكنه ليس حدثا معزولا، فيجب حماية الكلاب الشاردة على الصعيد الوطني

ما تستطيع فعله –

– الاتصال بوزارة الداخلية وحثها على ردع جميع البلديات عن هذا العمل

– اتصل بالمدعي العام وحثه على التصرف

http://www.animalslebanon.org/law

Justice League Is Banned In Lebanon Because Of Gal Gadot (Again)

Surprise, surprise, but the second DC Comics movie released this year will also be banned in our wonderful homeland because Gal Gadot is in it. Again.

Following the mini-national crisis that spilled over internationally with Lebanon becoming the first country in the world to ban Wonder Woman earlier in June because of Gal Gadot’s Israeli background, our censorship bureau is doing the same thing with Justice League, the movie in which Gal Gadot’s character is not front and center.

It seems that after being dormant for many years on Gal Gadot, Lebanon’s censorship bureau is up in full swing, banning anything related to her from being commercially available in the country. After allowing all the Fast & Furious movies she was in, and Batman v Superman (horrible as it was), she has become a persona non grata.

Someone needs to tell them that in the age of the internet, her movies are available to stream/rent/download everywhere. I’m willing to bet the same people who were calling to ban Wonder Woman months ago were the first to buy the cheap bootleg DVD when it became available at their nearest pirated DVD store.

Gal Gadot will not pop up from that movie screen, strut an Israeli flag, tell you about her country, and then sing their national anthem. Gal Gadot’s existence in a movie is not a propaganda to her state. She has already gotten paid for the movie, has already made millions off of it, and will be making millions more with the sequel to Wonder Woman, the sequel to Justice League, and other movies that feature her, which will also be banned in Lebanon, of course. This ban is not an opposition to Israel. Israel doesn’t give a rat’s ass about a movie featuring one of its citizens being banned in a small market in a country it’s at war with.

Censorship is not okay in any form. It removes our semblance of a choice because someone decided something is not good for us. It hasn’t been a year since Annabelle was banned because a priest didn’t like something about Christianity in it. Call Me By Your Name, a masterpiece of a movie about a queer boy’s first love, is also banned (of course) from being released in cinemas in Lebanon, and the list goes on. By the looks of it, we will never reach a time when a slice of our population won’t be triggered enough by some form of media not to call for it to be banned for everyone else.

It’s ridiculous that an actor’s background, regardless of what that background is, is grounds enough to ban a movie for everyone in the country. You are horrified by Gal Gadot’s existence? You have the choice to boycott whatever she’s in, and leave others the choice to do so or not. We should not be minions, under the auspices of governmental organizations who dictate what we should be exposed to or not, just because some groups in this country’s defiance struts the hypocritical lines of principles more frequently than the amount of times I’ll be called a traitor after publishing this.

When I wrote about Wonder Woman and some of their people wanted to hang me for treason, I wondered why Gal Gadot is so easy for them to ban, while getting rid of other Israel-affiliated items in their lives is not. The answer was: we boycott what we can. A movie won’t matter. Something with components researched and developed in Israel being banned is a nuisance – such as their iPhone. Let’s stop pretending this is about priorities or principles. This is about PR. With Gal Gadot, Lebanon’s BDS have found an easy target to score small “victories” and call themselves triumphant.

Where do we draw the line at what should be banned in this country because of its association with Israel? Or are we going to keep on cherry picking at battles without knowing the relevance of said battle? How the hell is a movie normalization? It’s because it’s so simple to ban and fight.

Priests, homophobes, backward religious laws, BDS, sheikhs, annoyed politicians, etc… the list of lines any entity in this country has to maneuver to exist is becoming ridiculous, with banning decisions that are always made on the week of a movie (or some other entity) being released. Justice League was supposed to be screened this week. Wonder Woman was banned on the day it was released, dealing huge losses to its distributor in the country, a Lebanese company who was counting on the blockbuster to make a summer profit.

Resist what? At this point, nobody really knows what these bans are resisting exactly. Justice League is a fun movie – it’s sad the Lebanese populace will be missing out, until it’s available for a 1,000LL pirated DVD.