Illustration by Ares
If there ever was a "Richter" scale for hypocrisy, it would have gone red hot mad during the last couple of weeks in Lebanon. Double standards are a rare sight nowadays, where triple (or more) standards have ruled the media landscape on three issues.
First, the controversy over the lawsuit between General Michel Aoun and Paul Chaoul (supposed to be an intellectual, erudite of a creature) following the latter's article in an anti-Aoun newspaper in which he used inflammatory language, libel and sleazy sentences worthy of a whorehouse pimp.
Now, this lawsuit would have been normal and natural in any country in the world except for Lebanon where a large panoply of "intellectuals" and media figures (who accidentally work in anti-Aoun political media outlets) signed a petition raving against the lawsuit and declaring it as a direct punch to the freedom of expression in the country and the mere fact that Michel Aoun resorted to the rule of law in this matter is -in their "intellectual" opinion- something outrageous.
The hypocrisy here is not their opinion or their petition, but the fact that the people who they work for, namely Saad Hariri, Samir Geagea and many other politicians still have a dozen active lawsuits against critical journalists.
The movie was banned from the movie theaters in Lebanon under the pretext that it portrays the Islamic republic of Iran in a bad way. Something which is supposed to upset many sympathizers of the revolution in Lebanon mainly Hezbollah and Amal.
The ban was a huge hit in the Hariri-media where they grabbed every chance to portray it as a dangerous development in Lebanese values of modernity and freedom. The issue (like almost everything in Lebanon) was politicized to such extreme extents in "intellectual" circles and journalists that one would think that Lebanon has become an Iranian Islamic satellite state.
Of course nobody mentioned the hypocrisy that during the rule of senior Hariri, many movies, books and artists were banned in Lebanon under a panoply of pretexts and no one of those same "intellectuals" cared to lift a finger or wast a drop of their precious ink on a newspaper because the "boss" is always over criticism.
Third, and last week, 20 pubs and restaurants in Gemmayze were closed by the ministry of tourism (part of the Hariri toolbox) under the pretext of noise pollution following a pajama demonstration of some residents of the Gemmayze street. Of course they're upset, saturday nights are busy in Gemmayze and the area is practically the only area in Lebanon where barhoppers can enjoy themselves. But of course totalitarian-style swift justice is not the only solution if the ministry never cared to study the issue carefully and propose a series of recommendations to deal with the problem.
No "intellectual" or Hariri-media cared to even comment on that fact and ideal criticism is obviously only reserved for political opponents.
Just to put things into perspective, one would imagine a huge international media campaign and millions of dollars poured into propagandist media outlets and journalists/intellectuals-for hire if that decision was that on a Hezbollah minister. Hence, Hypocrisy.
For anyone with an atom of common sense, Lebanese media and most of the intellectuals in Lebanon have become practically unbearable.