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March 14, 2005

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» zoom in, zoom out from rubber hose
abu aardvark has a really fascinating post about the controversy in the arab press about the way the protests in beirut have been covered. [Read More]

» A tale of two rallies from The Head Heeb
The past two days have been busy ones in Lebanon. Yesterday, Hizbullah and Amal followed up on Tuesday's huge pro-government rally by staging another major demonstration in their southern stronghold of Nabatiyeh, drawing an estimated 200,000 to 300,000... [Read More]

» A tale of two rallies from The Head Heeb
The past two days have been busy ones in Lebanon. Yesterday, Hizbullah and Amal followed up on Tuesday's huge pro-government rally by staging another major demonstration in their southern stronghold of Nabatiyeh, drawing an estimated 200,000 to 300,000... [Read More]

» A tale of two rallies from The Head Heeb
The past two days have been busy ones in Lebanon. Yesterday, Hizbullah and Amal followed up on Tuesday's huge pro-government rally by staging another major demonstration in their southern stronghold of Nabatiyeh, drawing an estimated 200,000 to 300,000... [Read More]

» A tale of two rallies from The Head Heeb
The past two days have been busy ones in Lebanon. Yesterday, Hizbullah and Amal followed up on Tuesday's huge pro-government rally by staging another major demonstration in their southern stronghold of Nabatiyeh, drawing an estimated 200,000 to 300,000... [Read More]

» A tale of two rallies from The Head Heeb
The past two days have been busy ones in Lebanon. Yesterday, Hizbullah and Amal followed up on Tuesday's huge pro-government rally by staging another major demonstration in their southern stronghold of Nabatiyeh, drawing an estimated 200,000 to 300,000... [Read More]

» A tale of two rallies from The Head Heeb
The past two days have been busy ones in Lebanon. Yesterday, Hizbullah and Amal followed up on Tuesday's huge pro-government rally by staging another major demonstration in their southern stronghold of Nabatiyeh, drawing an estimated 200,000 to 300,000... [Read More]

» What the Pictures Really Say from BOPnews
We often examine here at BOP how the Bush administration is the ultimate postmodern/stagecraft/all-hat-no-cattle/PR presidency. The cynical reality of the Bush administration was reaffirmed this week by the one-two blow of the appointment of Karen "Goe... [Read More]

» What the Pictures Really Say from BOPnews
We often examine here at BOP how the Bush administration is the ultimate postmodern / stagecraft / all-hat-no-cattle / PR presidency. The cynical reality of the Bush administration was reaffirmed this week by the one-two blow of the appointment of... [Read More]

» Lebanese Independence#3 from philosophy.com
Syria's tactic appears to be one of drawing out its military withdrawal from Lebanon so as to break the unity of its Lebanese opponents. Stavro Will the Syrian retreat reopen the sectarian (Christian-Muslim) divisions of the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil wa... [Read More]

» Lebanese Independence#3 from philosophy.com
Syria's tactic appears to be one of drawing out its military withdrawal from Lebanon so as to break the unity of its Lebanese opponents. Stavro Will the Syrian retreat reopen the sectarian (Christian-Muslim) divisions of the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil wa... [Read More]

Comments

Hank Scorpio

Clicking through the Yahoo slideshow, I can already predict which photos will be up on the right wing blogs in a matter of hours. Hmmm.... the guys on the construction crane or the girl in shades and red tanktop in front of the "Braveheart" quote? Any guesses? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

HowLong

If both sides keep escalating their protests, how longbefore this breaks out into serious violence? I can't imagine Hezbollah is going to let itself be one-upped like this.

praktike

what's that in her shirt?

Janak

I think the reason right wing bloggers focus on the sexy babes is that at heart many of them are xenophobic. The idea of bringing freedom to people only really appeals to them as long as they like the look of the people -- i.e. if they're sexy looking Lebanese babes.

Hank Scorpio

I think it's more a generic Internet dude perviness (clicking on pictures of hot babes being the number one purpose of the Internet) combined with an ignorance of the Middle East in general and Lebanon in particular-- "ohmygod, hit chix! In Lebanon! Who knew?" It's like, yeah, morons, all those Gulf Arabs have been coming to Beirut en masse because they like the shopping. (rolls eyes)

I have a tough time getting too excited by the photos, since they inevitably remind me of my Lebanese cousins and (when she was younger) mom-- and nothing damps the libido quicker than being reminded of one's female relatives.

Hassan

I think there is an element of old skool colonial eroticism in the rightwing fascination with Lebanese women. Freedom through the liberation of women and all that...though Lebanese women are pretty liberated.

As a Lebanese male, its hard for me to see what the big deal is. I don't find Lebanese women particularly exotic--more like very high maintenance. Thats why we all marry American women.

NeoDude

They look like the hot Latina babes many Anglos love, as long as they leave their men behind, in the old country.

Colonialism really messes with the libido!

the aardvark

I'd just refer y'all back to the long discussion thread at the "Cartooning the Revolution" post for more on the "Lebanese girls" question...
http://abuaardvark.typepad.com/abuaardvark/2005/03/cartooning_the_.html

Jeff

Yes, the right-wing attention being paid to attractive to Lebanese women is telling, but, if there's any demographic that's actually affected by cute Arabs, it's middle-aged Western women and gays who don't mind being referred to as "bottoms."

Pearsall Helms

Lebanese babes as plugged into Technorati.

Leila

I'm with Helena Cobban, I'm really glad the Lebanese are fighting this out with flags instead of Kalashnikovs. I'm keeping fingers crossed.

Hey Hassan, my Lebanese female cousins tell me it's Lebanese *men* who are high maintenance! And thanks for the phrase "old skool colonial eroticism", it's just the term I was searching for. Although it sounds kinda hip, and as an old skool feminist anti-colonialist, I don't like making those slaverers look hip.

Nur al-Cubicle

Hot Chix:

http://www.corriere.it/gallery/Esteri/2005/03_Marzo/libano2/1/LIBANO9.jpg

http://www.corriere.it/gallery/Esteri/2005/03_Marzo/libano2/1/LIBANO10.jpg

http://www.corriere.it/gallery/Esteri/2005/03_Marzo/libano2/1/LIBANO12.jpg

http://www.corriere.it/gallery/Esteri/2005/03_Marzo/libano2/1/LIBANO14.jpg

P.S. Goodbye liberté, égalité, fraternité. Hello, freedom, truth and sovereignty.

erg

Well, USA TOday used the picture with the huge crowd and the Lebanese babe -- best of both worlds, as it is. I definitely agree that the wingnut fixation on this is somewhat weird and a little perverse at best.

I mean, really, you should show the diversity of the crowrd, which seemed to have all sorts of people rather than focusing on Lebanese babes.

Penta

I had some thoughts reading this at 1 am...But I forgot them after I slept. If I posted, it's gone, which is all for the better because it was fairly stupid.

Commenting while sleepy woulda been a dumb idea. However...

Leila, stop getting so worked up about it.

Sometimes, it's just that you're dealing with 20-something males, and advertisers (and thus media) trying to reach them. I assure you, if Kiev had provided similar pictures, they'd get similar placement.

And, frankly, I'm 21, I'm male, I'm sorry. I have hormones. They attract my eyes to such pictures.

It's not objectification, it's life.

Second...A general thought.

American guys have an aversion to hijab and the like, and I include myself here, probably because it hides the women it covers. (I'm thinking primarily of the abaya and burqa. Simple covering of hair is sort of more normal, except on the young.)

Which is kinda creepy in a gut way. It's like, well...What are you hiding?

Raises the question I heard once in a class of, "Do [Muslims] intend for people to be there, or just shapeless forms?"

A sort of acceptance/denial of humanity question.

tamer

Ukraine would have been covered in exactly the same way (after all, in football and soccer games, TV cameras do their best to focus in on beautiful girls in the crowds) but for one small little fact that has been forgotten in all of this. It was 20 below in the Ukraine at Christmas, so everyone was bundled up. Springtime in Beirut, however, is absolutely perfect weather. So there you go, there is no colonial angle, no oriental angle, just the fact that most photographers are men (as well as most bloggers), and if you can do your job and oggle at the same time, bonus.

praktike

Penta, there's a scene in a 1980s Iranian movie whose name escapes me at the moment ... the director was the same one who directed "Kandahar," though.

In any case, a young couple goes to a studio to get their portrait taken. The woman starts to take off the head covering of her abaya, and there's this moment of suspense and ... she's completely bald.

Josh


Ukraine would have been covered in exactly the same way (after all, in football and soccer games, TV cameras do their best to focus in on beautiful girls in the crowds)

There is a difference between a football game/soccer game, which is a light-hearted sports event and a dead-serious political rally. Otherwise we would compare with the Oscars which show gowns all the time.


but for one small little fact that has been forgotten in all of this. It was 20 below in the Ukraine at Christmas, so everyone was bundled up. Springtime in Beirut, however, is absolutely perfect weather. So there you go, there is no colonial angle, no oriental angle, just the fact that most photographers are men (as well as most bloggers),

I don't remember this type of ogling at any previous major political rally in other countries. Correct me if you can give an example.

Its OK for photographers or bloggers to show pictures of beautiful women. But to focus so heavily on this seems a little perverse to me -- is a woman dressed in a hijab (voluntrarily) not equally deserving of freedom ?

tamer

Anything that humanises lebanese and Arabs in the eyes of americans is a plus in my book. i would compare this to Magic Johnson's AIDS announcement, it humanized what was otherwise seen as a disease afflicting the "other". Did he deserve such coverage and sympathy because he was an athlete and straight, no, but did good come out of this, yes. By the way,in Beirut, and especially at these demonstrations, the preponderence of non head scarved women would be high, and those in headscarves would be a minority, so these pictures probably capture the scene fairly accurately. This obviously is different in more conservative rural areas and in the South. People focus on what interests them, pretty women, especially where it was thought they did not exist, interests people. If they then learn a little more about that part of the world, it is a plus

Josh


Anything that humanises lebanese and Arabs in the eyes of americans is a plus in my book.

I don't see how focusing on beautfiul women humanizes Arabs, it dehumanizes them by regarding women as mere sex objects.


By the way,in Beirut, and especially at these demonstrations, the preponderence of non head scarved women would be high, and those in headscarves would be a minority,

When you have 800 K people out, there must be a lot of women with head-scarves, there must be a lot of older women, or even children, no ?

praktike

A question: would it be more orientalist if you had some sort of hijab fetish?

tamer

No, it humanizes them by making people over here think, hey I could date that girl, hey she looks like my sister, my neighbor. This is all to the good. by the way, I have seen plenty of pictures of older people and young people as well, as well as, god forbid, men!Sure some of the conservative leaning blogs have been playing up the pretty women angle. My conclusion from reading them is more of an epiphany reached by some people of "wow i did not know there were pretty girls there, girls that look like us, I thought they were all, you know, arabs". I see this as a positive. We objectify women all the time here in the states . If people treated and thought of Arabs in the same way as they thought of Americans, that would be great, including the objectification of women. So people are playing up an angle, but it is not a distortion of what actually took place. Most protestors were young and more "liberal"

Penta

Praktike: After nasty experiences with Japanese movies subtitled in English (I could barely read the subtitles), I've had a dislike for subtitled movies. Unfortunately, that's most foreign movies.

However, I'll remember that, so thanks.:-)

Otherwise, re your 4:06 PM comment: I dunno.

Josh: Seriously, most people who pick the pictures that run in the US media don't think like that.

This was a serious, yet very happy, story in most US media. So it was looked at very...happily. Which means that if you could go for the shot that combines subject and 'neat-bonus-for-circulation', most media did that.

Which is, frankly, what they usually do in all but dead-serious stories. And, BTW...

Kiev provided damn hot girls, given the weather.:-)

It happens with EVERY time freedom hits.

American college kids get attracted by pictures, go to new places, meet new people, and probably sleep with a few of them. :-P

That's how America found Eastern Europe after 1989, remember.:-P

HowLong asked how until it breaks out into violence, I wonder how long until some band from the US or Europe decides to play the protest circuit in Beirut.

Call me a very mischief-making optimist.

praktike

Actually, Tymoshenko herself is not exactly ugly.

She also seems well aware of that fact:

http://www.tymoshenko.com.ua/eng/photo/

Josh


My conclusion from reading them is more of an epiphany reached by some people of "wow i did not know there were pretty girls there, girls that look like us, I thought they were all, you know, arabs"

Well, that could be a positive, but I don't know. If someone is so insular as to not realize that there are pretty Arab women and cute Arab children, then they're probably not likely to have much of an open mind on humanizing Arabs except the pretty girls.

On the other hand, it probably does no harm.

Leila

Hey, 21 year old guy, you're just going to have to deal with this 42 year old female's take on it. I'm not that worked up, believe me. But I'm also not going to shut up about it because some guy, of whatever age, tells me to. Blog world is heavily male. My point is a minority one. Too bad, I'll make it again when I damned well please.

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