Has Lebanon banned ‘Wonder Woman’ over its Israeli lead actress?

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Gal Gadot in a scene from "Wonder Woman."
Updated 30 May 2017

Has Lebanon banned ‘Wonder Woman’ over its Israeli lead actress?

DUBAI: The latest DC Comics superhero film “Wonder Woman” is set to be banned in Lebanon over its Israeli lead actress Gal Gadot, the state-run National News Agency reported Monday.
The Lebanese Ministry of Economy and Trade has been prompted to “take the necessary measures” to prevent the film being screened in the country, according to local newspaper The Daily Star.
According to a circulated information poster released by the ministry, on Monday it “prepared a directive for the General Directorate of Public Security to take the necessary measures to prevent the screening of this film.”
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However, despite stirring up a social media frenzy, the reported ban has yet to be enforced and when contacted by Arab News, a representative of one cinema chain in Lebanon — who spoke on condition of anonymity — said that a premiere screening has been planned, pending an official announcement.
The news follows calls from the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in Lebanon to ban the screening of the film due to its Israeli lead. The BDS works to end international support for Israel's treatment of Palestinians.
BDS Lebanon also took action in April 2016, when the actress played the role in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
At the time, BDS representative Dr. Abdel Malik Sukria sent a letter to Lebanon’s Ministry of Economy and Trade, highlighting Gadot’s service in the Israeli military.
“This actress served in the (Israel Defense Forces) and was crowned the beauty queen of Israel. She also revealed her support for the IDF during the last war in Gaza,” he wrote.
Despite the controversy, the film has received positive reviews in the US, with the Associated Press writing “it’s not perfect, but it’s often good, sometimes great and exceptionally re-watchable.
“Director Patty Jenkins’ film is so threaded with sincerity and goodness it’s a wonder how it got past the pugnacious minds responsible for what’s come before… Just look to the image of Gal Gadot confidently striding out alone onto an unwinnable battlefield with only a shield, a sword and a mission — and prevailing. It’s enough to give you goosebumps,” the AP’s film critic wrote.


A new era: Japan welcomes its 126th emperor and celebrates Reiwa 

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. (AFP)
Updated 26 min 17 sec ago

A new era: Japan welcomes its 126th emperor and celebrates Reiwa 

DUBAI: Japan will welcome its 126th emperor in a fascinating, history-filled ceremony on Tuesday, but who is Naruhito and what will his “era” signify?

On April 1 this year, the Japanese public intently waited for the government to announce the name of the nation’s new imperial era following the abdication of Emperor Akihito, who led Japan for 30 years.

Historically, the implementation of the imperial era name (or gengo) dates back to Japan’s modernization days of the Meiji Era in the late 19th century. Simply put, each emperor represented a new era.

This unique system remains relevant in politics and several aspects of daily life, as it is used in official documents, local newspapers and the Japanese calendar.

But the name is of deeper significance than official use. “It’s supposed to convey a certain meaning and motto of what should come during the reign of the emperor,” Dr. Griseldis Kirsch, a senior lecturer on contemporary Japanese culture at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, told Arab News.

Reiwa, officially translated as beautiful harmony, has been selected as the name for the era of the incoming imperial couple Naruhito and Masako.

A two-character term that is derived from an ancient anthology of Japanese poems known as “Manyoshu,” Reiwa has drawn some controversy since the term is “not entirely clear,” said Kirsch.

Linguistically, the characters’ meanings have changed over time, and there was a lack of agreement on a proper English translation.

Although the term represents peace amid the current troubled times, Reiwa has a slightly passive tone compared to the former Heisei (achieving peace) era.

“It’s about Japan and its inner harmony… that’s pretty clear in the second character ‘wa’ because it can mean ‘Japanese’ or ‘Japan’,” said Kirsch.

The relatively young incoming royals have been described time and again as a “modern couple.”

Masako — a Harvard-educated former diplomat who speaks five languages — gave up a promising career to join the Imperial Court.

Then-Crown Prince Naruhito — an Oxford-educated environmentalist who is dedicated to water conservation — reportedly pursued his wife-to-be for years before she finally married him in 1993, after rejecting his proposals over fears her career would be jeopardized.

The imperial couple have been famously candid about their difficulties in starting a family, with Princess Masako suffering a miscarriage in 1999 while Naruhito slammed press’s harassment of his then-pregnant wife as “truly deplorable.”

The couple gave birth to a girl, Princess Aiko, in 2001.