On a beautiful Sunday morning, I decided to visit Teta in her palace, a humble home in a Lebanese village where Teta, birds in her garden, a cat on her sofa and an 80 year old neighbor and friend coexist together peacefully.
Ah, something else I forgot, her 100 year old Persian rugs that she would never trade for anything, in spite of the fact that they remind her of her late “abusive” mother-in-law.
As soon as I stepped in, and before she even noticed my presence, I heard her saying: “yel3anon … tfou” !
Apparently, Teta, who is blind in one eye, got cataract in the other, and her hearing capacity is not at its ultimate performance, is a big fan of music TV stations, “it feels like the old days when the house use to be full” she said.
As I went on to know what was disgusting Teta, it turned out to be a video clip depicting 2 women French kissing.
Well, even though I wasn’t in my best mood for a gay talk, tailored to Teta’s understanding of the modern world, diversity and tolerance, a good starting point was how crucial it is, for humans to live their truth, to be honest with themselves first, and that’s what Teta taught me years ago.
While we discussed true love, bringing back the memory of her late husband, my grandfather, we reached a common ground that love is a gift that comes wrapped in different shapes and colors.
I did not get full acceptance from Teta on the gay issue but, at least we finished our conversation agreeing that it is not “tfou”, and it is not her sacred duty to decide whether “yel3anon” or not …. And this is what I call language toned!
When it comes to “hero” Sibai, it takes a totally different perspective, he is being published in a university newspaper, known for its progressive views on social issues, his targeted audience are other young potentially-educated people, modern in thinking as in dressing, his wannabe article is just another confirmation that homophobia is the ACCEPTABLE social norm in academia and among intellectuals in Lebanon.
Homophobia is like the Persian rugs at my grandmother’s house, it is an outdated norm, and being out there for 100 years (or even more) does not give it an extra-credibility, and even if people got used to it, it’s time for things to change around here!
Our fight begins now, for Sibai and all other homophobes, to start grasping the meaning of some basic, 3rd grade taught, human rights principles and act upon them.
Finally, I cannot but emphasize on what Raja Farah said : “For me, the only way to deal with this is to fire the writer, for the editor to resign, and for the dean to publish a full retraction and apology, along with clarifying all of the atrocities posted in the article, and announcing a way for this to NEVER, ever happen again” – Peter Hayat
Later Peter Hayat sent the following:
Dear activist,Now that everybody knows that Teta and Mohamad Sibai are homophobic
(as above), and their homophobia is affecting me on
daily basis, with varying degrees of course, I decided not to write
anything new on the occasion of IDAHO but to let my gay artistic side
talk!Just looking at my work of art, I am so proud that it turned out to be
so professional, competing with those letters than stalkers and serial
killers send to their victims )))) , mine is only to teta
I included a gay cookie, just to remind teta who makes the best
cookies in the world, that one of hers is gay … and he loves her
United we are stronger,