5 Things More Offensive To Lebanon Than Ahlam’s Useless Comments

Let’s add brainless comments by plastic Arab pop stars to the growing list of things that have the capacity to rally every single Lebanese behind them. The list includes taking selfies with Israelis, posting useless comments on Instagram, among others.

Earlier this week, Lebanon’s “prime” comedian Adel Karam decided to make fun of Emirati singer Ahlam and her fans, who call themselves “Halloumiyin,” when her show aiming to find the best ass kisser possible also known as assistant was cancelled. That show was called “The Queen.”

So because an Arab diva calling herself and her show “the queen” and her fans after cheese was not comical enough, Adel Karam pointing it out broke the camel’s back and got Ahlam to do two things:

  • Call Lebanese “Falafel” sellers,
  • Chastise the country for the garbage crisis.

Subsequently, all hell broke loose. Twitter and Facebook hashtags calling to ban the singer from entering Lebanon were trending worldwide. Soon enough, Lebanese were attacking the entirety of the Gulf for what that singer said, because the situation with Saudi Arabia and its repercussions on our diaspora isn’t threatening enough, which means Ahlam was right when she tweeted this:

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We got these posts from Adeela’s Facebook page:

A bunch of tweets:

Things culminated with this video from Pierre Hachach:

Sure, some of it is funny and she had it coming to a certain point, but aren’t we taking it too far? What’s offensive about someone pointing out the fact that the country was drowning in garbage when it’s irrevocably the truth? How does that pertain to their character as a person? Why does it mean we have to call for them to be banned from our country?

I guess it’s only offensive when a non-Lebanese does it. We, as a country, have enough pride to go around the world thirteen times, most of it unfounded and detrimental to our betterment as a society.

So my fellow Lebanese, this is a short wake-up call to all the offense you’ve taken because of a tweet by a foreigner; behold a list of things that are more offensive than Ahlam’s useless comments:

1 – The Freaking Garbage Crisis:

You may not have liked her tweet but the country is in fact sinking in garbage. Ironically, more people were upset and offended by her tweet than by the actual garbage crisis. No amount of arguments that the garbage can be taken off the streets is enough to erase this horrible chapter from our Lebanese existence. As a country, we’ve literally been co-existing with piles of trash on the sides of our roads and in our valleys. We’ve been the butt of the joke of international news for months. Is it only offensive when Ahlam pointed it out?

2 – Two Years Without President:

Come May 2016, Lebanon would have officially spent two years of its modern history without a president. No amount of political maneuvering has been able to fix this, and the collective Lebanese population probably couldn’t care less. I’ve lost count on how many failed parliament sessions we’ve had. I guess no one’s counting anymore. A country without a head is not a country that gets to be offended by a tweet.

3 – You Haven’t Voted Since 2009:

These issues feel so passé because they’ve been so rehashed but until we actually head to the ballots and vote for a new parliament or a new anything for that matter, we will remain a fictive democracy that calls itself as such but whose people haven’t practiced any of their democratic rights in years.

4 – The Soldiers Still Kidnapped by ISIS:

Did you forget about those? Because it takes a lot of mental processing for me to bring them into the forefront of my memory. This is your friendly reminder that while many of our soldiers were freed from Al-Nusra a few months ago, many are still taken by ISIS without a resolution in sight.

5 – Our Passport Is The 9th Worst Passport In The World:

As an indicator of how beautiful our nationality is, look no further than at our passport’s strength. We have the 9th worst passport in the world. This translates to us literally being unable to go almost anywhere without having to go through a ton of bureaucratic hoops to get there. But please, by all means, let us panic over a tweet.

What’s So Bad About Selling Falafel Anyway?

I don’t know about you, but I fail to see what’s so demeaning about being told I’m a falafel seller. Didn’t we get a surge of pride only a week ago whenever anyone in any Western series or movie mentioned the world Falafel because somehow that gave us cultural validation?

Don’t we as a country also get a collective boner whenever we hear the story of a Lebanese who made it big abroad by selling falafel?

Since when is being someone who sells falafel offensive? Or is it only that because in the minds of some, being told that they’re falafel sellers infers they’re from a lower social class? In that case, not only have we failed to respond to Ahlam, but we’ve offended every single Lebanese who is one of those struggling to make ends meet for their family. I, for one, would rather be a falafel seller, and all the meanings it entails, than a plastic egomaniac Arab singer, but that’s just me.

We, as Lebanese, need to learn not to be offended by the truth about our country regardless of how hurtful that truth is and regardless of who says it. More importantly, we need to learn to develop thicker skin, however, be it against people like Ahlam or even others who will hurl out worst offenses at us or at our country.

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When Adel Karam Makes Fun Of A 63 Year Old Man Presenting His Brevet Exams

Some people have no shame.

One of the biggest pieces of international news yesterday, if you disregard those of war, famine and horrors for a few seconds, was the beautiful story of Ingeborg Syllm-Rapoport. She is a 102 year old pediatrician, and we’re talking about her because she just became the world’s oldest person to receive a PhD. Back in 1938, the Nazis banned her from doing her dissertation for being part Jewish. The years passed and Mrs. Syllm-Rapoport sought out the degree that escaped her because of racist laws. She finally got it, and look how happy she is:

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Of course, there are some parts of the world – like where we live, for example – where such news wouldn’t be so cheerful and worth the celebration.

A few days ago, pictures of a 63 year old man presenting his brevet exams surfaced on social media.

The man was identified as Abdallah Taleb, from Marjeaayoun in the South. In 1967, Abdallah had to leave his hometown in order to work with his brother before moving to Saudi Arabia later on. He never got his brevet degree then. Following the liberation of the South, Abdallah came back with his family of two and settled down in his hometown. He became the “mokhtar,” opened a real estate office, but he never forgot that he still never had a degree, which is why he enrolled in school this year to try and catch up to his education and be able to present his brevet degree.

Wonderful story, right?

Well, that didn’t stop Adel Karam and his esteemed show “Hayda Haki” from making fun of Abdallah. Watch the video:

Quite disgusting.

All around the world, people who seek education are respected. Their accomplishments are celebrated, especially when they do so at an age when society had already told them off. Except, of course, when you have people like Adel Karam who see such a man’s quest as yet another moment for comic relief on his TV show.

“Mesh bakkir?” he asked Mr. Taleb. “Isn’t your retirement time soon?” He continued because the first joke clearly didn’t bring the message home. “Will you try and go for a high school degree, too?”

“Do you think he’ll pass?” He snickers. “He should have done the exam last year… everyone passed.”

 

Yes, Adel Karam, bring the humor. Bring the sheer brilliance of your insane comedy skills.

Yes, make fun of a man whose only fault was to have a dream of having a degree, regardless of how simple it is.

Yes, use that man as material to fill time on your insanely funny TV show.

Yes, there is CLEARLY something weird and funny about a man who, years after he’s supposed to, is trying to get the education that this beautiful country took away from him. Is there any better joke than that?

Shame on the audience there that laughed on his joke. I hope you have 1% of the determination Abdallah Taleb has when you’re his age to seek out what your life’s circumstances had robbed you and not be brought down by people like Adel Karam telling you it’s all futile, pointing their fingers in your face and snickering at you for even trying.

Shame on MTV for allowing such garbage to fill its airways, not that I’m surprised anyway.

The ironic thing is that Abdallah Taleb already answered those who wondered what’s the point of doing this so close to retirement age. His answer? “They force retirement on you and it turns you into a shell. I want to give another idea of people who reach retirement age, that it’s okay to still have ambition and act out on it.”

Clearly, ambition and acting out on such ambition is only allowed to comedians who want to emulate Jon Stewart.

I hope that when Adel Karam is 63 and remembers a life-long dream of his that he doesn’t get someone like him to tell him “mesh bakkir?”

Pity the nation that makes fun of its people who seek an education. Pity the people who find getting an education is something to make fun of.

Tfeh.