Miss Universe selfie causes international uproar

20 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Beauties and the beast of belligerence.

A selfie taken by a group of Miss Universe contestants isn’t normally something that makes international news, but a recent photo showing Miss Israel posing alongside a smiling Miss Lebanon has bucked the trend.Miss Lebanon, Saly Greige, has defended a controversial selfie of her mingling with an Israeli beauty queen at the Miss Universe contest, claiming her rival “jumped in” the photo.

Saly Griege, Miss Lebanon, took to Facebook to say that she didn’t mean to be photographed alongside beauty queen contestant Doron Matalon, Miss Israel — that her contender jumped into the shot at the last minute. After Doron Matalon posted the photo of herself with Miss Lebanon, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Japan on Instagram, Lebanese beauty queen Saly Greige faced calls for her to be stripped of her title for posing with the representative from her country’s bitter enemy. The photo, which was posted on Instagram by Miss Israel, Doron Matalon, caused an uproar in Lebanon with local media and social network users slamming Greige for socialising with a citizen of an enemy state. Since Greige says one of her hobbies is reading, she should have known Lebanon and Israel are enemies, sniped one critic on Lebanese TV, according to NBC.

According to Lebanon’s Daily Star, the hashtag ‘two words for Miss Lebanon’ was trending on Twitter this weekend, as thousands of Lebanese people fumed against Greige for blatantly fraternising with Matalon. Matalon responded to the controversy herself on Sunday, saying it made her ‘sad’, reported AFP. “It doesn’t surprise me, but it still makes me sad. The truth behind the photo, since the first day of my arrival to participate to Miss universe,I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss isreal, who tried several times to take a photo with me. Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighbouring country.” Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war, though the border has been relatively quiet since 2006.

One user tweeted: “You [Greige] could have avoided mingling with the Israeli contestant like previous Lebanese contestants have done throughout the years. Israel fought a bloody war against Lebanon’s Hezbollah in 2006, which killed more than 1,200 people in Lebanon, mostly civilians, and some 160 Israelis, mostly soldiers. And if you were harassed like you say, you could have at least avoided the huge smile [we see] on your face.” Some called for the Miss Lebanon title to be taken from Ms Greige.

On social media, users are suggesting that the anger from some Lebanese people goes against the idea of a beauty contest promoting ‘world peace’, and this latest spat is “as ridiculous as the pageants themselves”. Of course, it might be true, but that’s not the point – it seems incredibly sad that she has to try and explain why she’s smiling in an image with a fellow contestant. The Telegraph’s chief foreign correspondent David Blair explains that it’s because Israelis wouldn’t find the selfie particularly controversial: “In Israel people might think, well done Miss Israel, because it helps support the Israeli view which is that the fundamental cause of the conflict is the Arab world won’t accept them. George Asseily, chairman of the Centre for Lebanese Studies, says: “Lebanon has a problem with Israel and Israel couldn’t care less. “All they want is to grab more land around Israel. Obviously Miss Lebanon isn’t supposed to be standing next to Miss Israel and taking photos. “The reason is that Lebanon has accused Israel, and still is, of waging a war against civilians in Lebanon.

In 2006 there was lots of destruction and since then there’s been no improvement in the relationship, because Israel still occupies part of the south and they’re refusing to withdraw although this is Lebanese territory.” Of course Israel would argue otherwise, and perhaps suggest that Lebanon is not the liberal country it wants to be seen as, even though it has provocative pop stars such as Haifa Wehbe, and a virbrant nightclub scene in Beirut where girls dress similarly to those in the West. Only recently, Lebanese porn star Mia Khalifa, 25, has been receiving horrific abuse and death threats from Muslims in her country, with people writing comments such as: “Ur head will be cut soon inshallah”. On her Facebook page, where she has almost 14,000 likes, many Lebanese people have written messages of support such as “we support you and we understand.” On top of that, there has been no official suggestion that Greige should give up her title, as her predecessor was forced to do 22 years ago.

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