Monday, September 17, 2012

The Pope, The Smoke and The Dead Who Can Dance

It's been a while since I wrote anything. My blog missed me, and I missed it. Fear not my love, I am back for a while, I don't know if I will stay for long, but I will try to!

The past weeks were kind of hectic, lots of work to do and lots of nights out and about in the city before the summer bids us farewell. So instead of focusing on a single topic like I usually do, I will share some random thoughts about what things that sparked my attention.

The Pope:

The head of the catholic church visited Lebanon. Believers were happy and anxious to meet him and attend the mass he held on Sunday. Lebanese officials all lined up to welcome the Pope. In essence everyone was seemed fine with the Pope's visit, except for a few groups including such as radical Muslim clerics, atheists and some members of the LGBT community, especially activists.

Being a member of the Lebanese LGBT community I find the position of some LGBT activists quite intriguing. During the papal visit, my twitter feed was flooded with jokes and satire targeting the Pope and the Catholic church.

While I understand many of the criticism facing the Catholic church, I don't accept the stereotyping culture this church faces among activists whose sole purpose is to fight the stereotyping the LGBT community faces.
How come it is not acceptable to portray all gays as Wajdi Majdi style (effeminate and always horny) while it is perfectly acceptable to portray every catholic priest as a pedophile and a rapist? In this context papamobile becomes rapemobile, the pope becomes a child predator and all the associated ramblings.

You can be atheist, you can be anti-catholic, you can express your opinions regarding that matter, however, if your stance against Catholicism based on the assumption that priests are de facto child rapists than you are standing on thin water.

It is perfectly acceptable for me that someone rejects Christianity or Catholicism because he/she cannot agree with the basic tenants of that faith. But we must not forget that, for better or for worse, millions out there still believe in that faith.

Ideals and principles are universal. You cannot accept, tolerate, or encourage hateful stereotypes against a group of people, a given church, creed, or race and then be pro-freedom of speech, pro-human rights, pro-equality when it involves the group of people you identify with. This is racism (or some sort of of -ism, whichever suits in this case) at best, akin to how Israel is a democracy, but only if you're a Jew.

The smoke:

After seven arduous years, civil society activists scored a victory by banning smoke in closed public spaces. The law caused an outrage among the owners of  restaurants, pubs and night clubs and the hordes of Lebanese smokers.

My fellow smokers, I understand your urge to smoke while drinking and I understand that Lebanon faces more serious problems than public smoking, but I don't understand your bashing of this law for the following reasons:

  • The owners of these venues were given a whole year to adapt themselves to the new situation. Many chose to ignore thinking that the law won't be implemented. 
  • We cannot solve all of Lebanon's problems, but if we managed to solve one problem, is it wrong? Is it not worth doing?
  • Non-smokers have put up with smokers for a long time. Every time we went to a pub or a club we came out smelling like chimneys. Ya3ne ma3le mar2oulna yeha. You cannot go on forever acting as if it's your God-given right to annoy others.
  • In almost all pubs and restaurants, you don't need to walk more than 10 seconds to reach an open space where you can indulge as much as you want in smoking. 
  • It is funny how many mentioned that this law will hurt tourism. Seriously? Do they realize that smoking is banned in the world's top touristic destinations? 
  • With time, everyone will get used to the idea. Smokers will adjust and will adapt to the new situation. Just don't encourage them to disobey the law.

The Dead Who Can Dance:

Yesterday night was quite exceptional. Dead Can Dance (DCD) performed live in Zouk amphitheater and I was lucky enough to attend the event.

I fell in love with DCD thanks to the sublime movie Baraka. Lisa Gerard's voice is out of this world, when she sings it's as if she invokes spirits and her voice penetrates deep in your soul.

Although there was some delay in the schedule, but last night was perfect. The weather was breezy and fresh, the venue is beautiful and the band is as unique as it can get. When Lisa Gerard performed the Host of Seraphim, she sent shivers down my spine; not just my spine all across my body. It was a magical moment, in a magical night.

I wish I had one tenth of their talent, alas, I don't. Anyway, I am more than happy to remain silent, close my eyes, and just listen to Lisa's voice on and on.

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