Keep Your Dirty Hands Off Of Me!

Can the gay community in Lebanon be anything but sensitive to the new ad campaign against torture launched recently by ALEF (Act For Human Rights)?

The campaign's billboard: "Their Suffering is Not Comfort"
- inspired by an Arabic saying.
According to the first-hand experience of GiL, whose 7-post series on GiB re-counts his seven day-long arrest and detention (and future indictment?) under gay related accusations, it would seem that it is no longer customary to torture gay guys who are arrested in Lebanon’s detention centers.

Well he might have been just lucky.

Apart from the living conditions and the length of his detention, GiL was not treated through physical violence, although he certainly did undergo psychological pressure and humiliation.

But what if GiL had been less cooperative with his persecutors, when he signed without resistance their own – and inaccurate – version of his deposition?

What if GiL had used more of a defensive strategy, if he had been more aware of his civil rights?

What if GiL had been more aggressive if he had realized in time the injustice he was a victim of?

And most importantly, what about the physical violence he witnessed with some of his cell mates, who were charged with various drug and sex related crimes? They probably weren’t the sophisticated torture practices that you hear about in horror stories, but many of his co-detainees did receive that huge slap in the face.

For some, their bruises, their muteness spoke for themselves.

As for those detainees that did not go back to their cell after their interview, whatever happened with them remains a big question mark…

Now if that’s the standard of care at the Hbeich police station, the bête noire that has been under high scrutiny by the NGOs, one can only imagine what the standard practices look like in the less visible vaults of our prisons and detention centers.

With that in mind, we GiBs cannot but adhere to the cause. The problem is blatant and it’s big, it’s barbarian and it’s bad. For if even just one person gets tortured in Lebanon because of his or her sexual orientation, then it’s in our duty to show all our support to ALEF, Restart, Human Rights Watch and many others who are putting their best efforts to...


by GiB#2, with comments from GiL


And Then We’ll Call it POSH

Let’s rent a place the size of your living room. Paint it in dark.

How about this to illustrate this post?
"my ass" wandering in Paris.
Now get some bar sponsors. Cheap brands will do the trick.

Ok now let’s get a couple bouncers and a cheesy pop DJ. Oh and remember to ask him to plan for a long stretch of Arabic.

We'll pack a whole lot of gay guys. The crème of GiBs. Five per square meter will work. Nevermind capacity. 20 dollar open bar should do it. Works well elsewhere.

… And then we’ll call it POSH.

Antelias is so happening right now I tell you. This place’s gonna be hot. Acid meets Milk meets my garage, how could it be otherwise?

But NO. Turns out the place’s NOT hot, NOT cool, NOT sexy, NOT Posh. Turns out the place... sucks.

A new gay spot opening up never fails to raise curiosity. People want to try it and often have high expectations, because a new place is supposed to raise the bar, not lower it and just profit from a vacuum in the gay clubbing scene.

… but POSH?! Oh Please.

-- Post, pic by GiB#2.


« Les Préservatifs Sont Trop Chers ! » Ten Years Later

I walked out of the pharmacy that day with the eyes buried into my bill. The item I was staring at read: “Durex condoms – Pack of 3: 8,000 lira” (~5$).

“That’s nearly 2 bucks a piece”, I thought. And then a song popped up in my head. An old song from SoapKills, I remember the last one on their album Bater and their only one in French.
« Frères ! les préservatifs sont trop chers !
Moi j’suis jeune et j’ veux baiser »
(Translate : « Brothers ! The condoms are too expensive! Me I’m young, and I want to fcuk”)
The cover of unforgettable album Bater.
(Source: Amazon)

I froze for a minute as the song gave me quite an intense emotional flashback. It had marked me since the first time I'd heard it, with its daring lyrics and incredible composition. I was still under twenty back then. Always horny, often broke, and the condoms did seem too expensive at times.

It was 2001, a decade ago today – Damn!

That was the year when then hyperactive local electro pop band SoapKills released its third and highly acclaimed album, Bater. A memorable album named after a lovely village in the Chouf. SoapKills is no longer alive now, it was dismantled in 2005, but somehow it still lives on. It has become no less than a myth for many of us in the war generation…

Fortunately for Lebanon’s music scene, SoapKills co-founders Zeid Hamdan and Yasmine Hamdan both remain highly active on-stage as well as off- stage, each doing his own thing... but I can't help but think that gosh, weren’t they good together!

--by GiB#2
Frères - SoapKills (Bater, 2001)

Frères ! les préservatifs sont trop chers
Moi j’suis jeune et j’ veux baiser
Ma mère, ma sœur, mon frère, me disent de faire
Attention, clair
Mais moi j’veux pas m’laisser faire
Par la politique du cancer
Qui hausse les prix partout
« Des actes théâtraux dans une salle d’attente » *
L’attente, bruyante, fuyante
« Musique classique un hymne à la collectivité à 18h précises »
Frère, ne rate pas les combats
Qui auront lieu ici-bas
Dans les centres commerciaux
Pour adoucir les mœurs a scient *
Mais frères, La publicité réclame
Des actes théâtraux dans ma chambre
Des pièces de monnaie trainent flemme harem *
« Musique classique un hymne à la collectivité à 18h précises »

S’il pleut, couvre-toi.
Les préservatifs sont trop chers
P.S: couldn’t find the lyrics online but since I always thought they're so powerful and poetic, I thought I’d take a stab at them myself. The lines marked with a * are those where I’m still not too sure - if any fan out there can help perfect them, it would be greatly appreciated!

More From Big Brother

Since writing Go Censor This, Big Brother I became more and more aware of the severity of the state of censorship and intolerance that we live in here in Lebanon. On one afternoon that week I wanted to go see the World Press Photo 2011 exhibit taking place downtown, but as I was looking for the address I found out it had been closed ahead of schedule because it featured work from an Israeli photographer…

Then a couple days later I was reading about the last movie from Lebanon-based production house ..né.à Beyrouth, an Iranian film called Circumstance that talks about modern day Iranian youth and that was shot in Beirut. It obtained the Film Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival last February, but believe it or not we won’t be able to watch it in Lebanon. At least not in all legality.

Good thing sometimes the media are on ‘our side’ and live up to their role as agents of free speech: I could still get a sneak peak at the World Press Photo exhibit thanks to l’Orient le Jour. And I probably will get myself a copy of Circumstance one way or another.

Check out the roundup of top current issues like these compiled by BeirutBoy... All this really calls for more mobilization!


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