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Lebanon – The Ultimate Sex Bomb?

April 5, 2011

Okay so I have had this post fermenting in my drafts for quite some time. I decided today to share it, after the recent Razan Moghrabi tape that just leaked out on Youtube. Do you want to see that? Well click here.

Her tape seems to have angered many Lebanese around the world, and that includes the Lebanese blogosphere too – especially since it got her booted right out of Egypt for it. So anyways, back to this long and fermented post.

 

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So in the Middle East, the Lebanese woman is viewed as a sexy woman, who dresses as she pleases, talks in the ultra-sexy Lebanese accent, is sexually active – attributes that make her, as my Arab friends would say, the ultimate “sex-bomb”. So a sexual object to be exact. I wrote about this before, I tweeted about this, and got many replies by angry Lebanese people about this image. Mostly because this image is given to them through such “stars” like Razan.

But hold on people, this “image” sadly doesn’t stop with women. No, quite the opposite. It goes further to make the Lebanese man a sexual object as well. I always heard stories from older people in my town, who actually talked about the Lebanese man during the Civil War. Apparently, mansions belonging to Arab nationalists in Lebanon at the time, were equally filled with Lebanese men, who were paid, to perform sexual acts. Funny part – most of these men were “straight” but drastic times call for drastic measures – or so thats how they used to explain it. Many people thought that stopped with the Civil War – however, that is not the case.

When I used to hear these stories, I actually got a little bit interested. I mean did this REALLY stop with the Civil War? Apparently not. I walked myself onto a very popular Arab Chat room and opened the Lebanon room. Looking through the Lebanese list of names I came across the name “Lebanese Man For Sex”. Umm okay. So I posted a comment on the main page – it was as follows: Any Lebanese wanna talk to me about prostitution of Lebanese in and outside of Lebanon?

I got 12 messages in reply. 7 women and 5 men actually. So we got into conversation, and they started talking about their experiences in and outside of Lebanon. The women were more open in talking about this, because people think its only an issue concerning them. So for the sake of this post – I am going to only post two “confessionals” [hehe so Dr. Phill style] from two of the men who were actually discussing this topic with me – and for the record, the WEIRDO with the name “Lebanese Man For Sex” was not one of the people who replied to my message.

Confessional Number One From “Salim”: […] so when it comes to Lebanese men, we are much worse. When we went to the downtown one day with a couple of guys, we were approached by a man who is not Lebanese, lets just leave it at that, and he asked us about the city. So we were explaining to him what there is to do, what he should do, and some of the places families go to in Lebanon, because he just explained to us about his daughter and wife. So we invited him to sit down with us, and he was pretty nice, and classy. So after a long while of talking he asked us to join him for coffee in his apartment, in Dekwani area. So we did. […] so his wife wasn’t there and neither were his kids. He started telling us about how much he loves Lebanese people, and how the accent drives any man crazy. We thought he was talking about Lebanese women, and thats when I started to get a little annoyed. Anyways man, this guy started talking about how even Lebanese men entice and excite him, making a point he is straight – but just cant control it when any Lebanese person talks. The point is, we left, but he was telling us throughout the 30 mins we spent there about how much Lebanese men and women come back to his place with him, and he pays them well. Ma tfakirsh ino bas el sabaya 3enna byit3arado la heik ishya, ni7na el shabeb  mnit3arad la nafs el shi. When I lived in the Gulf I faced the same thing, and so did many of the Lebanese men there. I don’t understand what it is that makes us men and women in Lebanon so vulnerable to becoming sexual things in the eyes of people. It pisses the f**k out of me. Bas lama yshoufo kil Mr. Lebanon mna3am w mzabat aktar min aya bint 3al sheri3, akid.

Confessional Number Two From “Hadi”: […] well yeah, look at the Lebanese men in The Gulf for example. I studied in Greece and lived in Athens for 6 years, so I had to work and study at the same time. I worked in a hotel called D***** C******. Assesan shtaghlt bi hal hotel for 2 months, and then batalt. Honnik, on the top floor there was a set of rooms and conference room. In the time I worked there, I never served or worked on the top floor. So when one of the the girl got sick, I had to take over the shift. I had to make sure my phone and digital devices weren’t taken up with me, bas ya rayt akhadton ma3i. The rooms, including the conference room, were taken by nationals of various Arab countries, and the rooms filled with men and women. Most of the men were Lebanese – funny thing is, people I know from Lebanon too – and the women were mostly Greek. They were there for sex with the visitors there on business. [ Here I asked, if theyre there for business, how do they collect so much of them so fast] It is the hotel who does it for them. They go out and collect people for the visitors, and them make extra profit. [Here I asked: Why were most of the men Lebanese, do you know?] Hini badon shabeb libneniyi. They ask for Lebanese men only, and because there are lots of Lebanese students studying in Athens, its not hard to find. Most of them need the money, like I needed the money, but they work as prostitutes. They leave the hotels after, and go back to their girlfriends, and when they return to Lebanon, they get married and have kids like nothing happened. The hotel manager told me even, they prefer Lebanese men because they can understand them in Arabic, they don’t look very “Arab” and the accent ya zalami. Kiss ekhto hal accent li bi warritna bi hayk osas. [I asked again: Accent? the Greek guy knows about accents in the Arab world?] Yeah, most speak arabic too, the hotel managers all speak the Egyptian dialect, so they can tell. [So we can say Lebanese men face the same thing as Lebanese women?] Just the same. Arabs from outside the Levant area see all of us as sexual object, we all make them “horny”. Syrians, Lebanese, and Palestinians. Syrian and Palestinian men face the same thing in Greece as Lebanese men do because of the way they “look” – but what makes Lebanese men more “desirable” is the way we talk.

So when we think of Lebanese women as sexual objects in the region, don’t be surprised if you hear the same about Lebanese men. The only difference is that Lebanese men, won’t fess up. I think if this wasn’t an anonymous conversation, in a chat room with no pictures, fake names, and zero personal information, no one would have talked about it. The Lebanese women who messaged me faced even worse things – and mostly because other nations see us as “open”, “free”, and the damn accent! It doesn’t help either with videos from Razan, and the Syrian Nana start leaking all over the place either.

According to an Anthropology class I once took, Lebanon is noted to be a place where “sexual experimentation” and “freedom in sexual lives” occurs in the Middle East. Maybe so, but I sure think that sexual experimentation happens everywhere in the region… Iran and Saudi Arabia included! Plus if its an accent that gets you going bonkers for both men and women who have it – then you my friend have a problem! So next time you drive passed the Gulf Palaces of Bhamdoun and the apartments across Beirut that only come to life during the summer nights -imagine what is going on inside them! Again, with great freedoms comes great responsibilities – I find it unfortunate when we have economic troubles, our “accent” forces people to do things they would normally never do.

So going back to the beginning of this post – did these things stop after the Lebanese Civil War? Obviously not. Will we always be looked at as sexual objects in the eyes of everyone in the region? Maybe. Are Lebanese men viewed as sexual objects, just as much as Lebanese women? Definitely.  The question is, how do we change an image we complain so much about? I personally think Lebanon should take a new role in the Middle East – and not just the part capital. I compare Lebanon to Cyprus quite a bit, where many outsiders have the same image about Cypriot men. This problem isn’t synonymous with Lebanon – don’t get me wrong. Many other nations – nations seen as party places – face the same problem. Miami is another good one to point out too. We need awareness groups to tackle this – support groups that will look after students in financial problems outside of the country would be a good one too. On CBC a couple of years back, they tackled the problem of Canadian female AND male students forced into things like this because of money. Let’s hope Lebanon can put a stop to it, or at least try to, like Canada has.

But until then, or until we have a functioning state, lets keep in mind that men, just like women, in Lebanon face sexual objectness (a new word, if it isn’t already). Lets do something to change it.

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