Hassan Nasrallah and the Barbies

 Nasrallah, barbies and the Lebanese artist and filmmaker Jocelyne Saab together, are a good explosive mixture to blow up her own exhibition. To see what’s it al about look first at  the main explosive culprit, the picture titled “”American-Israeli playground”:

American-Israeli playground
American-Israeli playground

 And here is the story, I quote, ..” The exhibition “Sense,  and Sensibility”, her first photograph exhibition, opened at an art gallery in downtown Beirut. It wasn’t long she had toasted the opening  that problems began to arise. The exhibit illustrates Eastern and Western concepts and Arab perceptions of the West in a catchy, and to some quite kitschy or even distasteful way.”, see here.


The morning after the exhibit opened, last week, November 6-2008, at Beirut’s Planet Discovery, an event attended by over 200 people, including diplomats and representatives from Lebanon’s Ministry of Culture, the venue owner demanded that the artist remove images thought too provocative.

 “Sense, Icons and Sensibility”
“Sense, Icons and Sensibility”

The image that sparked most controversy, Saab’s spokesperson Nasri Sayegh said, was a photo titled “American-Israeli playground”, which shows Christ on a crucifix surrounded by photos of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and undressed Barbie dolls in the background.

 Saab’s spokesperson continue, I quote…”Several photos at an exhibit by Lebanese filmmaker Jocelyne Saab have been removed because they were considered too controversial by the owner of the exhibition space. ‘Fear is the worst kind of censorship,’ “, see here.

Jocelyne Saab, the artist, called her exhibits …”neo-pop art: Digital photographs illustrating ideas of the East, the West and globalization with striking images of lurid commercial detritus. Not only does Barbie run – sometimes bare-breasted, sometimes fully veiled – through the images, she is joined by political and religious memorabilia depicting Hassan Nasrallah and Jesus Christ.”…see here.

Lebanese artist and filmmaker Jocelyne Saab
Lebanese artist and filmmaker Jocelyne Saab

 In an interview with AFP she explained that …””I wasn’t looking to provoke or shock anyone. … This piece symbolizes a cemetery and says that Americans and Israelis use us as a playground. It is a call for us to be vigilant and to cohabitate rather than a call to divide and insult.”…see here.
The website Now Lebanon has called on the country’s Ministry of Culture to step in and reinstate Saab’s photos, see here.


BTW, in Israel, Jewish fundamentalist ultra orthodox Haredims, banned the picture of Kadimah leader and FM Tzipi Livni from their newspaper because she is a women. I quote, …” ‘Graphic artists will blur the faces of women that do make their way into pictures that the papers want to use. ‘They will also blur pictures of television sets or other..”,  see here. So, here is the same “Barbie” mixture: put together Tzipi Livni a secular women and an orthodox jewish newspapers, and the result is a religious censhorship on a perhaps future prime minister of Israel….The middle age blurred by Photoshop..



Aderet, Israeli Transsexual Singer, awarded ’12 Points’ by Lebanon

More often than we think, new connections between Jewish, Israeli and Arab people, create their own unique interferencing waves, reverberating in their own space and leave the Israeli Arabic conflict behind them. Look at the Israeli Transsexual singer Aderet on top of the Lebanese song chart, (Jun 27, 2008).
Who is Aderet? Is she the new Dana International. I don’t know. Is she a good singer? Well her trance song Say No More raging on top of the famous Beirut Nights radio station, indicate that many people in Lebanon and among the Lebanese diaspora like her hypnotic rythms.

 What is the magic a broadcaster in Beirut pick out an Israeli song to air for a Lebanese audience?
 Well first of all chance  “We found out they were playing my music by chance,” the 32-year-old Aderet said on Wednesday.”  But chance has to be consolidated, so:  ” Aderet’s management sent..’Say No More’ the lead single off her first English-language album, Jewish Girl, along with a remix by DJ Dvir Halevi to the Lebanese station.”… 
…” ‘They added the remix to the playlist and a few days later, it was at the top of the most played list’ said Aderet, ‘They know I’m an Israeli singer, and that it’s an Israeli song.’ She continued, ‘It feels great, it’s a big honor for me and makes me so happy that they let a 100 percent Israeli song to be played and to top their playlist without letting politics interfere.’ ” see here.

Sami,  a representative of Beirut Nights, says “We grew up in Beirut listening to Ofra Haza and Ishtar Alabina. We play Aderet, but also Dana International, Sarit Hadad, and DJs Yahel and Ofer Nissim. It’s not a policy because there is no policy, it is just music. You shouldn’t make a big deal about it, because it might hurt us since we are surrounded by fanatics who ultimately have no place in Lebanon.”…, see here

 And the past is always present,  remembering when the ‘fanatics’ where the Lebanese authorities, pulling Lebanon out from the 2005 Eurovision song contest because of Israel’s participation, and preventing the participation of their own talented singer Aline Lahoud with her song Quand tout s’enfui“, see here.

In our era of ‘King Internet’, the very nature of his infrastructure, permits a new musical hide and seek game of crossing and re-crossing the Israeli Lebanon’s ether border: each radio station has the possibility to make his own ‘Eurovision’ song contest.

So the conclusion should be, let the the singers sing their songs, while their fans and their audience gather under the overall protection of ‘King Internet’ . Under his auspice, two weeks ago, the Israeli trance singer Aderet was awarded ’12 points’ by Lebanon.

Albert Einstein and the new Berlin-Brandenbourg International Airport

“Yedioth Ahronot”. published yesterday (6.24.08) on his Hebrew printed edition: “Berlin considering to name it’s new international airport ‘Albert Einstein’ “.To be more precise Der Spiegel  already hinted on October 18, 2007 to additional names  Dietrich, Willy Brandt or von Stauffenberg? see here.

Construction of the new Airport Berlin Brandenburg International, see here, has started at Schönefeld and the new airport is scheduled for opening in 2011. It will be one on the bigest airport in Europe, and  his greatness and vastness demands  the name of an illustrious great men of fame, and Albert Einstein is a perfect candidate.

The special thing about the BBI Infotower is its unusual and rather striking design.

Photos source.

Well at a first glance, this is indeed a great honor for the Jewish people, to propose the name of Albert Einstein for the new Airport Berlin Brandenburg International, (what today is called the Schönefeld airport) ; in good accordance with the German restitution policy  funded by millions of euros given to the holocaust survivors and  other more discrete help for Israel’s security.
But I feel some uneasiness about this possible nomination. Because this is more a German issue than a Jewish or Israeli issue. Einstein lived in Berlin, and in 1933 was at his apogee as a scientists and as an international celebrity. I quote, …” Einstein was elected to the Prussian Academy of Science in Berlin in 1913. When he accepted the professorship of physics at the University of Berlin in 1914, he once more assumed German citizenship. The same year, he became director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Physical Institute in Berlin. He occupied both positions until 1933.”…
 And then  began the great debacle, I quote , …”After the rise of NAZI in Germany, Einstein left for USA. Einstein and relatives left Europe for the United States, on December 9, 1930. In 1933, the Nazi government took his property and deprived him of his positions and citizenship.”…see here.

It is only natural that in actual Germany, Albert Einstein’s destitution under the Nirenberg decrees, the calling of the ‘The General Theory of Relativity’ and his seminal contribution to the birth of quantum mechanics  ‘Jewish Physics‘, finally leading to his escape from Germany’s Third Reich in 1930, is considered as an unbearable shame.  
The Times, in 2000, nominated Einstein as the ‘Person of the Century’: he was the person whose vision reshaped the view of the universe. The Times only ratified a latent choice of a vast majority of people.

All this to say: Berlin is eager to restitute to Albert Einstein his citizenship and property in the form of a grandiose entrance gate  “Albert Einstein (Berliner) International Airport”. But can you bargain such a deal for the  name of the new Berliner  airport?   Is it not better to remember him as Albert Einstein who opened the gates of our cosmos, not the gates of an airport.