In the few hours after Omar Mateen shot dead 50 innocent people at Pulse in Orlando a week ago, dozens of politicians and heads of states around the world rushed to condemn the grotesque hate crime.
The “condemnations” trickling in from the Middle East were particularly interesting and unique when placed in the context of these countries’ track records on LGBT rights and their mistreatment of homosexuals (Russia could potentially be added to this list, too, but for the sake of this post, we’re focusing on the Middle East).
To illustrate the stark contrast between the condemnations and the countries’ respective policies on homosexuality, Florence of Arabia has put together the below listicle featuring Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. (Please do send in more if I’ve missed any.)
[To jump straight to the listicle, click here.]
The contrast is quite humorous and hypocritical, but on a more serious level, it reaffirms just how rampant state-sponsored homophobia is in the region. It’s worth noting that the condemnations were similarly worded and omitted any mention of the attacks occurring at a gay club or targeting homosexuals.
The condemnations are inherently problematic in that the states are essentially players that enable or fuel the sort of hatred which motivated the very crime they appear to have condemned.
Scholar and writer Samar Habib in this piece for the Washington Post argues that the condemnations are a “start,” whilst acknowledging they are somewhat troublesome.
Every so often, the Academy nominates foreign-language films that put some of the movies listed in the best-picture category to absolute shame. Theeb, directed by newcomer Naji Abu Nowar, is one such example (side note: Timbuktu, of 2015, and Omar, of 2014, are a couple of others).
Set in the the vast Hijaz province of the then Ottoman Empire during World War I, Theeb (Wolf in Arabic) portrays the complexities of colonialism, death, grief, survival, isolation and loyalty through the subtle lens of one curious Bedouin boy.