Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘national academy to groom beauty queens

Are we a silly State (Lebanon)?

In countless of my posts I have described how silly is our country, and the exaggeration and hyperbolic dreams of “wish be list” and “clever entrepreneur” and… The Tourism Minister suggested beauty queens should promote Lebanon

This post in Now Lebanon is an additional example:

October 12, 2012                                               

Earlier this week, Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud—flanked by Rina and Romy Shibani, winner and runner-up, respectively, of the latest Miss Lebanon  pageant—called for the creation of a “national academy” to groom future beauty queens and teach them to promote a positive image of Lebanon.

Months earlier, in  July, when he announced the ministry’s sponsorship of the competition, Abboud  also called on parents to encourage their daughters to participate in future pageants.

If ever there were a national call to arms that illustrated how sunk in shallowness we are, and how limited in our aspirations we have become, it was  this.

Abboud is one of our smarter ministers, so one must ask what planet he was on when he made these asinine suggestions. He is a successful  industrialist, and yet if he cannot see the damage he is doing to Lebanon’s reputation by championing an event that for years has been dismissed as sexist by more enlightened nations, what hope is there for our tiny, insignificant, but  over-inflated country.

The irony is that if any beauty academy—even  writing the words feels ludicrous—is ever established, it will be nothing more than a veneer to hide the chronic ugliness our society has  acquired.

The latest source of this reeking stench was found at the departure gate of an outward-bound MEA flight at Rafiq Hariri International airport last week, when a Middle East Airlines employee felt she was well within her rights to single out a group of foreigners—it is not clear if they were  Nepalese of Filipino—and tell them to shut up.

We are not sure why this Airlines employee did this,  but it is a fair guess that their happy chatter in an unfamiliar language was bothering the sort of people who normally employ them to clean their homes. 

Imagine! The employee concerned has since been let go, and it would be easy to dismiss the entire incident as the actions of one rotten apple. We  could do this if Lebanon were a country where basic human decency—not to mention  human rights—were practiced as part and parcel of everyday life. But it isn’t,  and so we can’t.

We live in a bubble. Something happened to Lebanon while the rest of the world was evolving.

Our 15-year civil war certainly had  something to do with it. Lebanon went into suspended animation for nearly two decades, and when we came to our inherent national selfishness, our insular tribal nature, our inability to engage with the global community, and our refusal to recognize that we are a tiny country with very little, if any, global clout, have all combined to make us one of the most dysfunctional nations on  earth.

We claim modernity, and yet priests and sheikhs still rule our personal status.

Our MPs would blanche at accusations that they are small-minded people lacking in sophistication, and yet they cannot find it within themselves to pass a law that prohibits a husband from forcefully having sex with his wife.

We claim to be a country of compassion, and yet we pragmatically practice apartheid.

In short, we are a country that feels it has the right to tell irritating foreigners to be quiet, even if they come from a nation with three times our GDP. The only good to have come out of the MEA incident is the fact that public outrage forced the airline to act. There is hope.

A new generation of Lebanese who have either lived aboard, grown up after the war, or simply, through social media, are waking up to the fact that  they have a voice and that they don’t have to tolerate the uglier or unfair  aspects of the Lebanese character.

People power, mainly through Twitter and  Facebook, provoked MEA into action.

Twenty years ago, even ten years ago,  perhaps as little as five years ago, the incident would have very likely passed unnoticed.

Today, we have the power to effect change, if we want it. Let’s first of all establish an academy for national values,  for upholding basic human rights, for updating our societal laws, for enforcing  equality, for developing prosperity, for teaching a notion of sovereignty and for respecting the environment.
The list could go on and on, but it should not, even at the very end, include the grooming of beauty queens. That’s  just plain silly.

To read more:

Only 25% of a given NOW Lebanon article can be republished. For information on republishing rights from NOW Lebanon:

Note: If our beauty queens are to be representative of the Lebanese “citizens” I suggest that those selected in the first cut do undergo a 2-week advance course in background knowledge covering:

1. A few of Lebanon’s social problems

2. A few of the Middle-East complex structures

3. A few of global problems that need global resolution

Those potential queens who fail to demonstrate this urge to understand, read, freely discuss, cooperate and selected a few of the choices that are of interest to get engaged in should be eliminated from the contest.




May 2023

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