Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mhamad Iskandar: The oh so Macho Voice of Lebanon

Mhamad Iskandar is a Lebanese singer with a track record of many provocative songs that appealed to many, and shocked a lot.
After a long absence from the musical scene, Iskandar scored one hit after the other. In his comeback song, Ouli Bihibne (Say he loves me) he portrayed himself as a jealous lover who would kick the crap out of anyone who even dares to look at his lover. He even says he would pull a loaded gun on the head of anyone who throws a flower on his lover.
Iskandar soldiered on, disregarding all critiques to his previous hit, and scored another one. This time, the topic of his song was extremely controversial and caused an up-roar. In Joumhouriyit Albeh (My heart's republic) he basically said that women should not work, no matter their educational level, because he fears the jealous looks of other men in the workplace. For him, a man should cater to the needs of his woman while she remains home bound.
In his latest song "Dod el 3onf" (Against violence) he goes to another extreme. Perhaps because he was widely critiqued as being an old age macho dude, trying so hard to display his traditional views of what a man should be, he came back with a song that basically says, screw you, you're bunch of divas and softies and this is what I believe in. For him, a man should be hard, should be azaar (arabic word for thug or bully), should be punished and beaten if needed when young so when he grows up he is all man and not half one. He goes on and says that nowadays guys are softies because military enrollment is no longer mandatory and that God created men to be hard and women to be soft, this is their true nature without which humans would not procreate.
What does he mean by the softie disease (marad l n3oumiya)? Is he implying that guys are becoming soft and  gay-ish? This would perhaps explain why he talked about procreation, as I think he thinks gays cannot produce semen and cannot impregnate.
This song is silly on so many levels, shallow in its thinking and portrayal of the world and how men and women should be. Military service for instance won't make an effeminate man lose his manners, and become a MAN according to Mr. Iskandar's standards. In fact many of the so called hardy and butch military men are gays and bisexuals, are you shocked Moe? Would this discredit their masculinity? Moreover, do you actually think that beating a child would make him more masculine? In your effort to redeem manhood  you painted men as feisty brutes that like to subjugate women and fight all the time. Men are more than that, they are capable of expressing complex emotions, and have their soft side; it's natural and healthy.
I know this is all new to you Mr. Iskandar, but sit down and think about it for a moment. Your views of the world is becoming obsolete, your MAN is not the man one needs to build a modern, egalitarian, and just society. The world can tolerate different forms of men, the brute,  the crude, the rude, the passionate, compassionate, the tender, the soft, the selfish, the emphatic, the straight, the gay, the and transgender. They all have equal rights and can all exist and prosper together, you  have to open your eyes and your heart. It is worth it, I promise.

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