Haifa Wehbe joins calls for boycott of ‘Beirut’

Haifa Wehbe
Updated 20 January 2018
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Haifa Wehbe joins calls for boycott of ‘Beirut’

JEDDAH: Lebanese singer Haifa Wehbe has joined calls to boycott a new Hollywood movie that many in the region are accusing of stereotyping Arabs.
“Beirut,” which stars Rosamund Pike and Jon Hamm, is an American take on the Lebanese Civil War and tells the story of a CIA operative in Lebanon negotiating a hostage release. The release date of the movie is set for April 13 to coincide with the 43rd anniversary of the war.
Wehbe on Friday posted several photos of herself on Instagram, captioning one with the hashtag “#BoycottBeirutMovie.”
“A movie filmed in Morocco, with no Lebanese cast, with no Lebanese input, with no Lebanese insight — and named after the capital city of a country, while it makes sure to perpetuate the exact notion believed by the people in the country where this movie will most advertise itself,” a petition calling for the movie’s boycott said.
“In the movie, Beirut, the notion that Arabs are people that exist in an endless circle of violence is perpetuated once more, whilst ticking off every white American’s notion of orientalist Middle Eastern realities. Even the tagline of the movie is ‘2000 years of revenge, vendetta, murder. Welcome to Beirut.’”
Mohamed Hadid, father of models Bella and Gigi Hadid, took to Vogue Arabia’s Instagram account to share his view on the film: “We were just in Beirut. It was magical. Beautiful, safe, loving, caring. Beautiful people and best food. I felt safer walking in the streets of Beirut than the streets of Paris. It was amazing. Love you Beirut. We will be back soon. @voguearabia.”


Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

Updated 22 July 2018
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Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

  • Ozil said he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins
  • He insisted he did not intend to make a political statement

BERLIN: Footballer Mesut Ozil said Sunday he had no regrets about his controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s national squad ahead of the World Cup.
Breaking his silence over the snapshot that caused outrage during the tournament, the Arsenal midfielder said in a statement on Twitter that he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
Ozil said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe,” he said.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.”
Ozil said despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil said.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case it is different. Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”
Ozil, 29, came in for stinging criticism in Germany for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.
Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.
Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.