I’m a little late to this party, I was abroad amidst the #StripForJackie craze that took Lebanon by storm last week and was too busy to chime in on all that boob business. Actually I made the decision not to take this opportunity to jump on the “let’s milk Jackie” bandwagon. You see I too hail from this backward region we call home and understand:
1) How hard it is to be a fully dressed woman let alone a semi-naked one in the Middle East
2) Just how truly judgmental people can be, so I thought I’d be doing you a favor by just letting this “scandal” pass.
But this incident didn’t just pass, it’s went viral. I can’t hold my silence anymore, so instead I want to apologize to you on behalf of the Republic of Primates, you know the schizophrenic country we like to call Lebanon, the one we’ve been priding ourselves for years for being “The Paris of the Middle East” or for making it on some foreign media’s list of “Top World Destinations” But let’s not kid ourselves this type of moral prosecution shows that we’re no better than the Taliban or Muslim Brotherhood, in fact maybe even worse, at least they’re not pretending to be Paris.
We named and shamed you and even publicly prosecuted you like you’ve committed some sort of national honor crime, even the Minister of Youth and Sports felt compelled to take part in this character assassination by calling upon Lebanese Olympic officials to investigate your actions. How dare you expose your breasts in a public space three years ago and think you can get away with it? Perhaps a flogging or stoning would have been in order.
And though I was impressed with the swiftness, humor and creativity of Lebanese brands and agencies (A for effort guys) and while I understand that some of their intentions were to show solidarity with you I thought they did you more harm than good. Here’s why:
This is not YOUR cause. You never signed up for it, it chose you. You never thought that posing in nothing but a thong and ski boots for a calendar would suddenly make you the poster child for liberalism in your country. Actually you apologized, expressed your frustration and asked us to move on and focus on the sport. We didn’t.
What we did do instead is insist on using your name (which I’m sure caused you a huge amount of anguish and stress) as the determining reference in this debate. Liberals use you as a yardstick for progressiveness while conservatives vilified you. You on the other hand were busy training for the upcoming Olympic Games.
So I’m sorry, please accept my apology on behalf of everyone, the people who condemned you, the government that singled you out and the brands and campaigns that used you.
Oh and Good Luck in the Sochi Olympic games.