I’m extremely proud of my Lebanese roots but stories like this one make me question if the region of my ancestors will ever get it together!
Decades long political tension between Lebanon and Israel has spilled over to the Miss Universe pageant, held recently in Miami. The story goes that Miss Israel Doron Matalon (pictured far left) snapped an innocent selfie with a crew of her fellow contestants including Miss Lebanon Saly Greige (standing next to her). When the image was uploaded to Matalon’s Instagram account all hell broke loose, with hardcore Lebanese patriots hurling insult after insult towards Greige.
Greige immediately posted this apologetic dispatch to her Facebook account (attached to a revised version of the picture, sans Miss Israel):
“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 Israel. I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself, suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”
While the girls in the photo are the only ones who know the truth behind it, the psyche behind having to officially explain to your country the story behind an obviously happy photo (with another young woman with the same hopes and dreams as you) is beyond disheartening.
Here’s a super quick background on relations between both countries, courtesy of the New York Times:
A state of war has persisted between Israel and Lebanon since 1948. The creation of Israel, and the ensuing war, flooded Lebanon with Palestinian refugees. Israel invaded Lebanon several times, and ultimately occupied parts of the south until 2000. It fought a war with Hezbollah in 2006.
Matalon was much more pragmatic about the incident on her Facebook account, writing: “Too bad you cannot 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 neighboring country.”