Friday, October 30, 2009

Dear Oprah.... Lebanon is NOT like that !

BREAKING: Inside sources have been quoted that “Oprah is in distress because of the attacks from Lebanon”. This all started when Oprah Winfrey showed a promo clip for an upcoming episode of her show, explaining how fans can be so fanatic sometimes in all parts of the world. Oprah described Nancy Ajram as “the Britney Spears of the Middle East”. Oprah noted that the sexy dance moves “caused quite the controversy in this deeply conservative country.” She also showed photos of veiled women sitting in the desert; two photos that have nothing to do with Lebanon……

It seems that Oprah’s use of the phrase “deeply conservative” to portray Lebanon has sparked a heated discussion in this tiny Middle Eastern country; some have gone so far as to call for an uprising against this unjust interpretation.

While some may dispute that it is the responsibility of her ruthless PR team to do the research beforehand, many have argued that Oprah herself needs to publicly apologize. After all, this Queen of Control Freak Journalism knows all too well that the blame will always fall on the person under the spotlight, the individual facing the cameras.

Facebook users have created a group appropriately named “Dear Oprah…. Lebanon is NOT like that!” With almost 21,000 members at the time of writing, this online phenomenon is growing rapidly in numbers. In its relatively short time, it now has more members than the group “Palestine”, usually the most talked about topic in the Middle East.

To make sense of the term “deeply conservative”, which was used to illustrate them, members of the group have so far pointed fingers at a number of people - from Oprah herself down to the deprived and poor politicians that run the country. In a country like Lebanon, the price of tomato today is a political issue. Some citizens have taken it upon themselves to stop eating carrots because they are orange and that is the color that represents a particular opinionated party.

Creators of this group have pointed out that “This is NOT a hate group. And any hate messages that attack the person of Oprah Winfrey do not represent the thoughts of the Lebanese community as a whole, nor the creator of this group. Such messages will be DELETED.”

A member by the name Jax H. thinks this is a conspiracy theory, he goes on to say; “Guys... this is a planned media campaign against Lebanon paid by another Arabian country which they think it will take over Lebanon's place as the capital of Middle East.”

Zeina H. has this to offer; “Dear Oprah, I’m sending u a first class ticket on MEA airlines and 5 star accommodation hotel in Beirut in order to visit our country before u do ur next research about us…” In which her friend Dima D. commented; “ur right im with u bas sa7n l tabouleh 3layeh :P” Dima agrees with Zeina but has asked that she buys Oprah the Tabouleh. Tabouleh is a Levantine dish of Lebanese origin. The “:P” sign in Dima’s comment depicts a person sticking out their tongue. It is not yet known whether Dima disturbingly gestures using the muscle on the floor of her mouth towards Zeina, Oprah or the Tabouleh. But since the tongue is the primary source of taste, sources are saying it is most likely directed at the Tabouleh.

The confusion does not stop there, Malaak Z. has dug deep into the subject matter, these are various extracts from her note; “The prob is not the word “conservative” that Oprah used…in Lebanon most of the ppl in it don’t accept homosexuals, civil marriage….but I must remind you, that a lot of Americans don’t accept many things also…for god’s sake some of them even hate black people…why??? Bcoz they were born with different skin color!! & Obama being president cant change the facts…. That report was shown on purpose, coz I don’t believ that she wasn’t watching the news this summer, especially the “GREAT CNN”,… I’m 100% sure that she saw the reports….. she has a large influence on American ppl& we all saw her on Obama’s campain.”

It is not sure whether Malaak has extensive insight into the American Civil Rights Movement, or she is merely an observer stating her opinions. If it is one thing for sure we know about Malaak, it is that she forgot to use the spelling and grammar checker provided under the Toolbar.

Moe K. has said “I will reply to Oprah soon by something special… She use to be one of my favorite TV shows, but not anymore.” The CIA are investigating this threat. Rumor has it that Oprah is quoted as saying “I don’t see it as a direct threat, but I am fearful that my career will end because Moe might stop watching my show.”

To clear the air, Lebanese Politicians have tried to calm the streets by holding a round-table discussion. The round-table was used in order for them to face each other; politicians in Lebanon have always preferred to hold talks with the more customary rectangular fashioned table. The dialogue was postponed because it was reported that two politicians were overheard discussing selling Lebanon to Oprah. An anonymous insider was quoted as saying “One of the politicians whispered to the other “she can buy it, she has a lot of money she can find a way to move it into her backyard.”

Both politicians have since been expelled from holding government office. They are reported to be in discussions with the Merriam Webster publications to buy the phrase “deeply conservative” in an effort to sell it to Miss. Winfrey at a premium.

This intellectual debate goes on – the Lebanese have once again proved to be at the forefront. Art, philosophy, poetry, talent and aptitude have always been an integrated part of Lebanese society. One can only help but wonder, why has this beautiful country been in ruins for the past 30 years? Its’ people are evidently very concerned with justice and political correctness. The group “Dear Oprah… Lebanon is NOT like that!” is proof that the Lebanese people will not allow this prejudice portrayal and intolerance. The Lebanese will always stand in the way of fanaticism. But not color, color always finds its way through, orange, yellow, green, blue, white, whatever the color – the Lebanese will somehow bend over.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

a controversial issue

I am sitting here watching a BBC debate on immigration in the UK and it has got me thinking. A representative for the BNP is arguing about Britains "indigneous" people ,its immigrants, and their right to gain citizenship. The reaction of the audience has been that of outrage towards Mr. Nick Griffin's comments throughout the show. He wants the British government to pull up the ladder on immigration into the country.It's a view from the far right .

Switch now to a conversation I had this week with an Arab national , whose three children were born in Canada , carry a Canadian passport, but reside in the UAE. Low and behold, said lady is pregnant again and is now seeking a new country to deliver her new born baby in . She asked me to ask a family member in the know , whether or not she could pop over to Ireland ( as it is so much closer than Canada ) to give birth .

So, I obliged and did a bit of research for her. It turns out , that after a "free for all " on Irish immigration , which saw any Irish Born Children ( IBCs) getting automatic citizenship, the Irish laws on immigration have tightened up. It is no longer possible to hop off a plane at 8 months pregnant , stay for a month or two, never to return, but have a child who automatically gets an Irish passport.

Am I being too harsh in my thinking when I think that the idea of somebody getting nationality for no other reason other than simply being born in a country, is a bit off ? Is it really that easy to do it?Would the "citizen" be liable to pay tax in their adult life? And if the Irish government have managed to put a stop to it , are Canadian and American governments really allowing it ? How does it benefit them? If you are going to live in a country, contribute to its economy, learn a little about its culture and identify at least some aspect of your persona with being Irish , then fine . Would I think of this in a different light if I came from a country that didn't have the most desirable passport in the world? ( Not saying for a second that Ireland has the most desirable passport , but it ain't the worst by any stretch of the imagination )

What amazed me was that some people don't seem to realise what a contentious issue this is with certain nations. They have no qualms about openly seeking nothing but a piece of paper - without being willing to do anything for it !If you want to live in a country - thats a different story. But popping out a baby and running back home is a whole other issue. If a country is not good enough for you to spend more than a month in , then why should that country issue you with a passport? If neither parents have a substantial tie to a country - have no intention of anything but gleaning the benefits of the passport , then should it be allowed?

Maybe someone can help me see this from an angle I haven't thought of yet ...Is a sense of Arab identity less important than future opportunities and easier travel?I understand that this move is generally to improve opportunities for their offspring - but is that a good enough reason? Will the passport holder pledge loyalty to its host country in years to come?
HE agrees with the notion of going elsewhere for a week or two for the sake of a passport. But it just doesn't sit right with me . I know it is common place in this region for those who can afford it . Is it right for people to accept the protection and benefits of another countries passport when they haven't ever resided there? Or does all that just not matter- as it is just a piece of paper - albeit an important one?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Know your audience...

I found this in Ikea a while back . Is it just me , or does this picture seem a little out of place in a ad campaign in the Middle East?

The real Dubai

The all powerful Oprah Winfrey , award winning talk show host and general expert on all things worth knowing is reaching out to world and giving her viewers a chance to see how - we're all just working moms, no matter what our address.

She interviewed several women from across the globe to get an insight into their lives. Here is Dubai's segment ....

Wow! If I watched this from my living room in Texas , I would love the idea of a tax free country , with free water, electricity, and healthcare. Dare I say, it's a little inaccurate for the majority of residents here . Also love how she is skyping from a country where skype is banned ! Ho hum.