1.5.06

In the Name of Freedom

Since I became part of Lebanese Bloggers Forum (LBF), I always look forward to new members joining LBF. The diversity of the educational and social and religious backgrounds in this blog makes it richer and one of a kind among the many blogs in the World Wide Web.

Yesterday, as I was checking LBF, I noticed a new member (Al-Fil) joining the LBF family. Usually I would be glad, but on this occasion, the new member happens to be promoting homosexuality through his new blog, which LBF is currently linking to as well.

I don’t care if this member is homosexual in his own life as long as this stays private. However, I certainly have a problem if this member is promoting homosexuality through his blog. Now because LBF is linking to this blog, I find that LBF members would be indirectly defending and even promoting homosexuality as well; this I do not like to do.

Starting from my firm belief that a homosexual relationship violates the most basic laws of nature; survival of species… (And for the religious of us, all religions in turn prohibit any form of homosexuality,) I find myself unable to tolerate being a passive accomplice of homosexuality.

After talking with Eve, I learned that LBF attitude is that of freedom of speech, and such topic is under this umbrella; therefore things are not expected to change. I am pro freedom of speech, yet this should not conflict with the freedom of others in terms of beliefs; freedom of someone is limited by the freedom of the others. There should be some rules which makes the transition with tolerance. I think, in that way, the tolerance border was crossed by exposing his sexual preferences which should be kept private.

What scares me is that another Lebanese blogger could write a post about someone with his own sexual exploits, or he would post the names of girls that he slept with or... Would this still be freedom of speech? Can we accept that in the name of this freedom we cherish, or have we at least to set up some limits to respect the other people freedom as well. On my side I think these are things to remain inside the private sphere...

63 Comments:

At Monday, May 01, 2006 11:17:00 PM, Blogger ghassan said...

Ahmad, stop pretending that you are tolerent because obviously you are nothing of the kind. What are you going to object to next that someone likes the colour red while you prefer blue? How can you possibly state that you are for freedom of speech as long as it agrees with your belief? Go and reevaluate your values. Accepting others for what they are does not imply passing a value judgment on them. You just accept them.

 
At Monday, May 01, 2006 11:49:00 PM, Blogger Raja said...

Ahmad,

you exercized your own freedom of speech rights by condeming that blogger through the LBF forum (even though, I doubt that person will get a chance to defend him or herself).

Consequently, you must respect that person's own right to publicize whatever he or she thinks! You have the freedom to not visit that particular blog - so do the rest of us.

If I find myself disagreeing with someone else, then I do my best to convince others that I am right and the other person wrong through persuasion.

The absolute worst thing to do would be to revert to censorship because censorship is a form of oppression.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:02:00 AM, Blogger Al-Fil said...

Wow....not what I expected when I checked the blog today. I've only been blogging a month and I'm already a celebrity ;)

Ahmad, I'm sorry you feel that way, but I don't really understand your argument.

You say, "I am pro freedom of speech, yet this should not conflict with the freedom of others in terms of beliefs; freedom of someone is limited by the freedom of the others." I agree with this somewhat. People cannot have the freedom to kill because it inhibits the freedoms of others to live. People cannot have the freedom to scream fire in a movie theater because it inhibits the safety of others. But the freedom to have same-sex relations? Does that impede you from having heterosexual relations? If it does, I am sorry for your loss.

I don't believe that a gay identity should be kept private. "The closet", as they call it, is the reason gay people are in the predicament they are now - scorned, persecuted and rejected. Staying quiet continues the status quo; it is only by voicing our protest that we can change society for the better.

Furthermore, I am not naming names of the girls I've slept with. That would be a rather boring list. It would read:

1)

That's not worth the creation of a blog.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:13:00 AM, Blogger Maldoror said...

Hi Ahmad,
Well, my friend, I have to say that there is nothing wrong with LBF linking to Al-Fil's blog.

By doing so, it is also in no way "defending and even promoting homosexuality". This is not what LBF was created for.

The simple fact that Al-Fil has chosen to defend homosexuals on HIS blog makes this matter personal to him, as long as he doesn't try to promote homosexuality on LBF.

To tell you the truth, I have read one of his posts here and it is clearly political. One of his comments on the other hand too, was purely... how to put it.. innocent :P

So, I see no reason why his presence should be threatening to your or to our Freedom, because on LBF he has attacked nobody. It is you who have pointed out this fact for most of the readers here, including myself.

Last but not least, I find there is no reason for you to be scared, because the posts and comments on this blog are always being supervised, by us administrators,to make sure they stay within the sphere of politeness or civility.

That being said, I thank you Ahmad for being such a true "friend" to LBF and I understand that your post was motivated only by your good intentions and I assure you that Eve and myself along with other fellow administrators, will remain vigilent here for any kind of intentional misbehaviour or abuse, in a true effort towards keeping this space as clean and as free as possible.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:14:00 AM, Blogger Firas said...

Sorry Ahmad, I think you have the right to say what you want about the issue, but neither you nor I nor anyone can censor anyone on this forum. We are not endorsing any one point of view, but I can't agree that they should be banned either.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:25:00 AM, Blogger BOB said...

First of all
I can easily say (although I am only a contributor and not an administrator of LBF) that LBF does neither condemn nor approve the blogs it links to. For under you theory that LBF members would be promoting homosexuality because LBF has a link to such a blog is ludicrous! For if that was the case than LBF member s would at the same time be promoting all Lebanese political parties, and that my friends is not only totally impossible at the moment, but even absurd! As you all know LBF has blog supporting all parties from the orange to the blue, without forgetting the yellow, green or white & red
Second, freedom of speech ahhh! What a wonderful concept, but alas it so very hard to pin. So I will give you my own view on it. For me Freedom of speech is my religion, my god! It is absolute nothing not even “other people freedoms” can limit it. You do not like my freedom then cast away your eyes and write a rebuttal!
Freedom of speech is my own opinions, my believes, my wishes my fantasies, my ramblings, my lies, my curses, my soul!
So please, you do not like a blog do not read it! You do not like an idea dissect it, reject it!
Now about your point, writing the name of girls’ one sleep with. Well in my dictionary that is slander, the concept of slander is very well explained in the US law and the several cases about freedom of speech. However I still believe that nothing should be banned. For the person who slanders once, will loose respect, and no one will read him anymore. Respect and freedom go hand by hand.

So enough with my ramblings! Long live Freedom of Speech! And may the day when one will hesitate before voicing his opinions out of fear, respect for traditions, or any other reasons, never comes!

Mecri princess!

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:54:00 AM, Blogger Eve said...

Ahmad,
you know where I stand on this issue. But I'm glad you decided to post about it and defend your opinion. you know that is everyone's right :)

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 2:31:00 AM, Blogger Abu Kais said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 2:33:00 AM, Blogger Abu Kais said...

Homosexuality against the laws of nature? What nature is that? Only the one where MAN sits on a pedestal. Not mother nature, where homosexuality is as common as rain. Please, go visit a zoo. As for what you termed "survival of the species", well, it so happened that homosexuality survived despite natural selection (which does not account for all of the evolution of species), and it's going strong, and it's natural, despite what you "believe". Al Fil, you are welcome to "promote homosexuality" any time on my blog. Thanks.

Speaking of freedom of speech, how about we allow people who don't have blogger accounts to comment on this blog?

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 4:33:00 AM, Blogger carine said...

i'm not going to bother rehashing what has already been said here, but there are a few other points i'd like to mention:

firstly, based on the content of al-fil's blog up till now, i think it's preposterous to say he is "promoting homosexuality" (btw, does anyone else find this phrase vaguely amusing (and archaic)?). what he's "promoting" on his blog is awareness of some of the issues faced by gay men and women in the middle east. is raising awareness of violence and discrimination against a segment of our own population such a horrible thing for LBF to be indirectly (or even directly) associated with?

as raja says, ahmad, you don't have to read al-fil's posts, but i hope you will, because they might change your opinion about the merits of censoring his voice.

speaking of which-- probably just a misunderstanding, but maldoror's comment concerns me a little. i am pretty confident that if i or any of the other straight-identified members of this blog were to write a post on, say, human rights violations against gay lebanese, the administrators would leave it in place, readers would be free to weigh in with their own opinions, etc.

i trust that al-fil will be equally free to post on any subject at LBF, including gay issues.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:06:00 AM, Blogger Eve said...

Kais,
creating a blogger account is a three-minute task for those who are really interested in commenting. personally, I wouldn't mind allowing anonymous comments (I did ask for it in one of the first posts of this forum). I don't know what the majority of you guys think.

Carine,
"i am pretty confident that if i or any of the other straight-identified members of this blog were to write a post on, say, human rights violations against gay lebanese, the administrators would leave it in place, readers would be free to weigh in with their own opinions, etc"

you're right, but you have to actually post something and see for yourself :) As you guys have noticed, Al-fil has already contributed to his blog, and to my knowledge, no subject restrictions were imposed on him.

Anyway, personally I'm glad I'm seeing some of the old faces here. hope we'd read your posts here some time soon too :)

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:04:00 PM, Blogger gabrielf said...

ahmad grow up you little racist :)

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 12:43:00 PM, Blogger Eve said...

gabriel, how easy it is to start with the name calling game! I hope you have a more valid argument to state!

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 5:47:00 PM, Blogger Charles Malik said...

Ahmad,

Remember Marsden, that violent, PFLP supporting Armenian guy who used to run around this site last April, or so. His comments were highly offensive, racist, and eliminationist, and yet he was never banned from this site.

I disagree strongly with a lot of the blogs listed here. However, they shouldn't be removed.

Al-Fil has a very normal blog. If you read it, you'll find that there's very little to be offended by in what he writes. Homosexuality is not pornography, pedophelia, abusive, or intolerable. He's fighting for his right to express himself.

It would be offensive to argue that Lebanese can't wear hijab, sport a beard, wear a cross, wear a hammer and sickle, etc. It's just as offensive to tell Al-Fil that he's not allowed to express his sexuality, even though women are expressing their sexuality by covering it up while wearing hijab.

That said, I'm glad that you posted your comment. It shows the kind of diversity present in Lebanon and the Lebanese blogosphere. It's also begun an interesting debate.

BTW, I find the ideology of the racist and terrorism supporting SSNP abominable. Does that mean that we should ban anyone with a blog supporting their views? Nope. This is Lebanon's blog of record.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 8:12:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 8:15:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

Statistically speaking, this post generated comments more than 6 times its size in less than 24 hours; is this good or bad?
Anyway, thanks all for commenting. I enjoyed reading the replies because through debate a person can share knowledge and learn.

Ghassan:
Your comment is offensive and hence I will not even bother replying; yet thank you for practicing your right to comment.

Raja and Firas:
I agree with you that censorship is bad; yet I do not like the idea that LBF links to a homosexual blog.

Al-Fil:
I still see this as a private issue that is strictly related to the person and needs not go public. Every person is free with his own life.

Maldoror:
Thank you my friend; your comment sure made me feel better.

Bob:
“LBF members would be promoting homosexuality because LBF has a link to such a blog is ludicrous.”
I don’t know what you find ludicrous about it. To give you a simple example, if I want to promote EFF, I would simply link to www.eff.org and that’s what I do on my blog. To promote classical music, I am linking to www.classicalarchives.com and the list goes on. In cyber world, you want to promote something, you link to it.

“For if that was the case than LBF members would at the same time be promoting all Lebanese political parties.”
As long as the parties are Lebanese and working for the welfare of Lebanon, what’s wrong to promote them and their affiliates? It depends on how you see these diverse parties, but personally I don’t find this impossible because, at least theoretically, they are working for a single cause. After all the beauty of Lebanon is its “rainbow”.

“For me Freedom of speech is my religion, my god!”
Contrary to being an end, I see freedom as a means to an end. Maybe here’s where we disagree. After all, if I promote a Zionist party under the concept of freedom of speech, I would be betraying Lebanon; here’s one case where freedom hits its limits.

Eve:
Thank you Eve. Yes, it is everyone’s right to present his opinion and defend it.

Kais:
It is simple, homosexuals can adopt a kid (who came from straight parents) but they can not give birth to a child of their own. Be it that all people are homosexuals, then humanity would have extinct because no new generation will be born.

Anonymous commenting is a nice idea however when the discussion gets heated especially in political discussions, things tend to get out of control.

Carine:
Let me repeat what I already said, copying and pasting and some editing won’t do any harm. To give you a simple example, if I want to promote EFF, I would simply link to www.eff.org and that’s what I do on my blog. To further promote classical music, I am linking to www.classicalarchives.com and the list goes on. If a certain website links to homosexual sites, that would be…?

gabrielf:
Your comment shows a profound civilization stemming from an educated mind. :)

Lebanon.profile:
Thanks for your comment; I always appreciate your calm and rational tone. It is wonderful the diversity that we enjoy in this country and this only adds richness to our culture. Yet I still do not like the idea of directly or indirectly defending or promoting homosexuality.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:33:00 PM, Blogger Al-Fil said...

I love it!

Ahmed said:
"After all the beauty of Lebanon is its “rainbow”."

I couldn't have said it better myself. (He does knwo that the gay flag is a rainbow, right?)

Anyway, I definitely feel that I am working for the greater good of Lebanon, because I am helping promote a Lebanon where all of its people are respected.

 
At Tuesday, May 02, 2006 11:02:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

Ahmad,
You are mixing a private blog with LBF. LBF is an aggregator and a place for Lebanese blogger to express there views. It does not promote or condemn any other blog. It is just an area for communication and to discover the Lebanese bolgger community.
Now I understand that on your blog when you add a link it means that you promote it, but that is defiantly not the case here.
Your response about Lebanese political blogs being compatible between them is a bit stretched. If that were the case we would not have such political problems. Moreover, promoting a Zionist blog, in your opinion that would be betraying Lebanon, for me it is not, I am fed up with wars, it is time for peace, even with Zionist. See we cannot even agree on an enemy so what do you think should my link also be banned from LBF because I do not consider Israel an enemy and I seek peace, and in your dictionary this “betrays” Lebanon?

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 6:10:00 AM, Blogger Fouad said...

Ahmad, I understand where you're coming from. And your opinion is to be respected by all. Yet it's just an opinion, a personal point of view, as are the opinions of those who oppose it. So let's all keep one thing in mind, LBF does not promote any individual agendas, what it promotes is tolerance and communion in the incredibly colorful society we live in. What el-fil is doing is exactly that. He's not tooting homosexuality's horn, he's only asking to be accepted the way he is, he's asking for tolerance, for equality, for respect as one other human being who's different in one respect, but similar to us in so many others. I believe this is an honorable cause, and we owe him to respect it. Just try to put yourself in his shoes, or in anybody's who happens to be born a little different from the norm, and is judged by that difference. Tolerance, ahmad. He promotes it and so does the LBF. That's the common denominator, and the only thing you and I and everyone else should worry about.
Oh and one last thing, what about arch memory? we all know he's gay, and we all read his poetry which often touches on love and relationships. Relationships between men, I presume. Should we ban him for promoting homosexuality or respect and love him for the highly sensitive and refined human being he is?
My 2 cents ahmad, with all the friendship and respect I hold for you and the rest of the crowd.

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 3:01:00 PM, Blogger francois said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 3:15:00 PM, Blogger francois said...

first of all, i read this post and most of the comments, and i want to say few words even if i m not having time to follow the matter.
I m therefore talking as an outsider that has to right except the one to express freely his opinion about the matter.

i used to be the administrator of a chatting site long time ago, which was open, free etc... such as this blog today.

We got some problems, huge problems because few people crossed some politics and at a time we needed to establish limits and rules: no politics,no sex talk and no religious proselytism in the main channel.
rules were established and when someone took over my role, he removed theses rules. the chaos succeeded to install itself and many problems appears and finally after one year, this chatting IRC server closed down

i think that today your blog is facing this problem.
as Ahmad is saying, freedom has a limit; the other's person freedom.
the sexual matter has to remain private.
we are in a hard country, where we need not to practice proselytism toward a religion, a community or here toward a sexual preference as it is as history shown a source of conflits.
this is why this fact has to remain in the private sphere.

another point: the next phase would be to allow as well religion proselytism, or to have an apology of pedophelia.
since it is open, free etc... would it be also allowed?
it is a question to be raised and in that optic, rules must be set up.

as i said, you should at least have rules of behaviour in order to avoid futhers problems, you should, eve as an administrator be the garant of such rules to let your friends knowing at least the rules of behaviors and how to respect everyone's believes and faiths or whatever.
it is a matter of respect toward the others and toward your audience.

on my side, if i were eve, since she s intervening here as one of the administrators, my behaviour would have been to understand Ahmad. His reasons are logical and should be considered as valid statements to be studied and answered.

the solution would have been to let theses post not to be published here, but on the private blog of the of the incriminated author since it is technically possible.

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 4:58:00 PM, Blogger Sietske in Beiroet said...

I disagree with Ahmad. Should we therefore ban his blog? Or how about burning his his house?

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 5:49:00 PM, Blogger Greg said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 5:55:00 PM, Blogger Greg said...

I second Francois.

Plus I was a manager for the last 8 years in an irc server and we had such problems with perverts, I beleive if we are human we should keep our privacy to our own and thank you for reading .

God Bless Lebanon and Only Lebanon.

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 7:08:00 PM, Blogger Al-Fil said...

Now the discussion has devolved from free-speech to homosexuality leading to pedophilia (merci, francois), and gay people = perverts (thanks, greg).

At least no one's brought up goats, yet.

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 9:26:00 PM, Blogger francois said...

@ al fil

no comment , u didnt understand what i was meaning.

i was saying that my freedom is limited by your freedom.

you re having the right to express freely yourself

but as it used to be on the irc server, we had to impose rules of behavior in the mains rooms in order to have everybody confortable.
whatever was happening in private was not our business

same thing applies here:
instead of posting theses links here, you could have been keeping them on your private blog.

ahmad has the right to read or not to read you on your private blog, however he has also the right to ask for rules of behaviour in the public place that he likes which is in this case lebanonheart.
should we be exposing all your fantasms for exemple in public?
i guess there is a limit. i think i ll spare to my audience for exemple my private fantasm and keep them between me and my girl friend.
i wont be posting on a public blog theses fantasms for exemple.

you tried to have more support by stating the argument that i m mixing homosexuality or pedophelia when i was just wondering if in the name of the freedom would we also alwas for exemple pedophelia.
i was going futher then just only homosexuality but posing the question about the the limits for someone's freedom. i m feeling that making such mixes without understanding the deeper meaning of my question clearly shows how emotionaly you are reacting. Man you should learn to be cooler:
In debating the first person loosing its tempter is usually the one loosing the support of his audience for his cause.

@ greg.
i guess you were on R1 irc server right?
i was on dm ;) i guess we got the same problems in the sames times few years ago and we came up with the same solutions

for all and especially for the administrators of this blog
you should learn from our past experiences in this matter.
we had some problems, we managed theses problems by making a distinction btw private space and public space.
at that time, the rules were no politics, no religious proselytism and no sex in main channels, do whatever you want in private.
before theses rules, it used to be the chaos, after the rules collapsed it was back to chaos and dm for ex closed.
it s not a matter of freedom, it s not a matter of open or narrowed minds, it s a matter of distinctions btw private and public things and in matter of behaviour inside a community.

regards

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 10:16:00 PM, Blogger Mo said...

Either i'm not getting a word of the latter, or Al Fil's post are screened by my ISP.

now where are the links Al Fil posted that ignited the latest controversy?
because if it is the stuff in the The Shebaa Pastures post, i think there's a misunderstanding here.
i think Ahmad was specifically talking about Al Fil's private blog and the fact that Al Fil's blog is linked here.

now my 2 cents:
What a blogger puts on his blog is what he chooses to put. We all have blogs here and each and everyone manages it as he wishes.
Now how would you define promoting homosexuality. i can find in the blogs around some beautiful posts promoting heterosexuality, did anyone ask for them to be unlinked.

oh and:
Homosexuality is not an illness.
Homophobia is.

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 10:57:00 PM, Blogger The Sixth Sense said...

hi,
i want everybody to understand: neither Ahmad nor any other blogger here is a narrow-minded person. We are all educated but the matter here is, as françois said, "a matter of distinction btw private and public things" rather than just freedom of speech .

Greg & françois,
10x 4 sharing us ur experience as administrators, i wish this can change something here

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 11:13:00 PM, Blogger AbdulKarim said...

Francois,I don't see why there should be censorship. The administrators could simply post a warning if the contents of a post might be offensive. Besides what applied few years ago does not necessarely apply today. "The times they are achangin'" ...

A disclaimer can also be added on this blog to disolve any liability arising from links posted at this blog.

Yalla cheers everyone...

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 11:39:00 PM, Blogger [ j i m m y ] said...

>>> case A:

i blog about my suicidal tendencies and i promote suicide
i blog about how i like to piss in hotel washbasins
i blog about how i do canabis
i blog about how i f***
i blog about how much i despise all religions
i blog about how i flirt with my girlfriend
i blog about how i ejac*****

result:
1- my blog is read by many people. i'm exercising my right; it's called freedom of speech and it's my sacred right, protected by the article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights of 1948 - reminder: we're in 2006.
2- LBF does link to my blog, as it does to ALL known lebanese bloggers. that's why LBF is here - we are one rich and varied community.


>>> case B:

on his own blog and in a very civilized manner, al fil defends the idea that homosexuals should be treated like human beings in lebanon

result:
1- some people want al fil's blog to be censored from LBF (reminder: LBF is amazing because it links too ALL lebanese bloggers and al fil IS lebanese, like you, and me. Al fil is therefore entitled to the same right as you and me - which is for his blog to be linked to by LBF).
2- some people think that al fil's blog is more offending than me discussing my suicidal mood on my blog.


>>> my opinion:

like many people, i think that a blogger proposing censorship is more dangerous than a blogger defending a better treatment for homosexuals. therefore, LBF should either link to everyone, or censor us ALL.

the last thing i want is to see is LBF only linking to stupid shallow and sterile blogs. we're in lebanon and this is the world wide web. we're not in china, not saudi arabia, not in bengladesh and not in iran.

i'm sorry to say it but i smell double standards. stinking as hell. i also smell poor old obscurantism.

i'm outa here.

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 12:18:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

interesting post. interesting comments ...

what we have here is someone who has an opinion (call it a bias, the truth, misinformed, whatever you want), and many others who basically disagree.

which is all good of course. but it is one thing to argue with ahmad rationally, and to try to dissuade him from his "opinion", and another thing to just outright insult him as some primitive ... which unfortunately, many of the above have done. ALL of us have our own biases and incoherent opinions, and if anyone here is perfect, then please go ahead and throw the first stone ...

now ahmad. you may not like it, but in the end homosexuality exists. you seem to argue that it is against the laws of nature (i.e. survival of species), but that law itself was put forth by man to explain a phenomenon. it is incorrect to call it a law, since it is actually a theory (which fails to explain many things).

his blog promotes awareness of homosexuality. we can pretend that it doesn't exist, or we can argue that this should remain private, but we can also argue that each person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. does he too not have that right? more importantly, does he not have the freedom to pursue that right?

in the end, "sexual" preferences should have no more weight than "ethnic" background. i think you would agree that we should accept someone from another ethnicity. likewise, we should also accept al-fil.

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 1:35:00 AM, Blogger a h m a d said...

Al-Fil:
The prophecy says that the Lebanese parties will unite and their flag will be multicolored. :)
No one mentioned disrespecting the homosexuals! My main point is that this issue should remain private and in my opinion, LBF should not link to a homosexual supporting blog. I hope you understand what I mean.

Bob:
“LBF is an aggregator”
The aggregator my friend is a type of software that retrieves syndicated Web content.( Ref) But as we all know, LBF is updated by the administrators. Hence, they can choose to link to a certain blog or not; just agreeing to link to a blog is a form of promotion.
PS: The political example is actually distracting the main point of this debate. Hence, replying will only make us lose the initial topic.

Fouad:
Thank you for your valuable comment. I can not agree with you that “he’s not tooting homosexuality’s horn,” after all, creating a blog exclusively for homosexuality is simply blowing the horn of homosexuality. My point is that he wants to practice homosexuality, that’s something private related to him alone but dedicating a blog to homosexuality and then LBF links to it is my major concern.
Arch Memory has a poetry blog not a homosexual blog… I wouldn’t intervene in his private life; that’s his own business.

Francois:
Thank you for sharing your vision and your experience. I think that would help better elaborate my point.

Sietske in Beiroet:
I think every person has the right to do what he sees fit in his private life. I don’t see any good in publicizing his sexual fantasies. I don’t know where you get the idea of “burning his [his] house” from!!

Greg:
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Mo:
Thank you for your comment. I notice that you didn’t read all the previous comments, hence I will answer your query again. To give you a simple example, if I want to promote EFF, I would simply link to www.eff.org and that’s what I do on my blog. To further promote classical music, I am linking to www.classicalarchives.com and the list goes on. Linking to homosexual blog(s) is a form of promotion. Don’t you do that when you want to promote some idea or some website?

The Sixth Sense:
Well said. Thank you for presenting your opinion.

Jimmy:
“Obscurantism” shines when we use concepts such as “freedom of speech” to justify anything! I am sure someone can use the cover of “freedom of speech” in order to write a blog about his pedophilic or maybe necrophilic… fantasies and acts. And believe me, there are such blogs on the net, yet I am sure that those who wrote the “article 19 of the universal declaration of human rights of 1948” that you referred to, didn’t intend it to be used for these purposes.
Hence I think using the concept of “freedom of speech” is blurring the real issue in debate; it is more about private vs. public as discussed previously.

Lazarus:
Thank you for your comment, I always respect your calm way of discussing the different issues.
“His blog promotes awareness of homosexuality. We can pretend that it doesn't exist, or we can argue that this should remain private,…”
Well my friend, that’s my argument, I think it should remain private. Moreover, I agree with you that “each person has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I don’t see any contradiction between keeping one’s sexual preferences private and pursuing a happy life.

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 3:30:00 PM, Blogger Jamal said...

Homosexuals are Gay.

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 3:54:00 PM, Blogger laila said...

this is amazing advertisement for Al-Fil's site, good for you man!
Ahmad, your arguement doesn't make sense to me at all, it's full of contradictions, so I wont even attempt to discuss it.one thing i must say though is that Al-Fil has the courage to be himself in a place full of discrimination and blind judgements, and you on the other hand are hinding behind the flag of "privatizing sexual preferences" instead of stating how you truely feel about homosexuality, and of the real reason for which you have issues with Al-Fil's link in LBF.

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 4:17:00 PM, Blogger Lebanese Meze said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 4:19:00 PM, Blogger Lebanese Meze said...

Fine I'll oblige Al-fil, I believe Lebanese goats are the tastiest of all goats, however Goatees are out of sytle and no longer necessary, unless you're gay, with life.

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 4:20:00 PM, Blogger Lebanese Meze said...

That's my $.02

 
At Thursday, May 04, 2006 9:10:00 PM, Blogger BOB said...

Ahmad

I know what aggregator means, but the word is also used to describe a website that is used as a portal to link to other blogs. And the administrator link to all Lebanese blogs they can find or ask to be added, with no discrimination whatsoever it is an automatic procedure.

 
At Friday, May 05, 2006 3:16:00 PM, Blogger Ramz said...

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times... don't click on the friggin' link. If you click by mistake and see that you don't like what you found, don't bookmark it. Don't return to it. Jeez, could it get any simpler!?

If you hate homosexuals and think they belonged in the gas chambers along with jews, gypsies, poles, blacks, and the rest of them, that's your prerogative. It's bigotry. It's intolerance. But it's your prerogative and I accept your right to having that opinion and voicing it.

here's another thought: Why not look at the bright side: Every gay guy you meet immediately implies less competition for you to score. Unless you're a closet homosexual. In which case you're screwed. Or rather not.

Al-Fil, welcome to the fold. I'm checking your blog next.

 
At Friday, May 05, 2006 3:57:00 PM, Blogger Ramzi said...

Damn... I'm always late to the party.

Ok, if anybody is checking this still, my 500 Lira is that the link stays and ahmad's objection is kindly noted.

Nobody is in a position to judge Al-Fil over his sexual orientation, nor what he posts on his blog.

Ahmad, you clearly object to homosexuality and you are free to add it in big bold letters to your blog header.

You'd still be linked to on LBF, so will Al-Fil.

Now, I'm sure we have better things to do with our time... like flaming Aounists.

 
At Friday, May 05, 2006 4:45:00 PM, Blogger Ramz said...

goddamn Aounists!

Ramzi... we're not actually late, just fashionably so. It's a namesake thing, I guess ;)

Oh, and Al-Fil... I'm sure you couldn't give a rat's ass about all of this, but if you're in any way proportioned similarly to your nom-de-blog... well... another reason for us to be glad you're gay! and proud!

on a more serious note: the fact that you're publicly declaring it, in a society where many are so judgemental and where tolerance is not universal deserves a tip of the hat. cheerio.

 
At Friday, May 05, 2006 9:04:00 PM, Blogger Ramz said...

"After talking with Eve, I learned that LBF attitude is that of freedom of speech"

LOL!

thanks Eve for clearing out that issue.

Seriously... this is up there with the best Bushisms.

 
At Friday, May 05, 2006 10:06:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

Jamal:
I am sure every one will have to agree with you. :)

Laila:
Hi Laila. I am glad that you found a bright side in this thread.
You said, “Your argument doesn't make sense to me at all, it's full of contradictions, so I won’t even attempt to discuss it.” and the strange coincidence is that I feel the same about your comment! Obviously, we share more in common than we think, wanna have coffee?
Finally I expressed my point of view openly and for everyone to read and debate in a civilized way. I am sorry that you find expressing one’s opinion as “hiding.” Anyway, thank you for your comment.

Bastard Child of “Civilization”:
Thanks man for sharing your $0.02. With a yearly compound internet of 5%, I wonder how much it will take to become a $1.00.

Bob:
I am so happy that you “know what aggregator means.”

Ramz:
Hello my friend, I am glad you passed by and got the chance to comment although it is a bit late! You said it all, “don’t bookmark,” and in my opinion LBF should not “bookmark” this site as said previously.

You said, “If you hate homosexuals and think they belonged in the gas chambers along with jews, gypsies, poles, blacks, and the rest of them…” Ramz, it is awful that such Nazi ideas could occur to you… either that you are commenting on the wrong post or maybe you do not understand what you read.

I am sorry for you, Ramz. Instead of trying to discuss the main idea, you tried to lose the topic; moreover you decided to write your comment in a lame way without any common sense intending to avoid logic; which makes it a waste of time to read further. Ramz, should I tell you to go back to your closet, or you will misunderstand it?

Ramzi:
Hi man, I am glad you got the chance to comment. :)

I don’t find in your post any debate regarding my main idea. I read,
“you clearly object to homosexuality and you are free to add it in big bold letters to your blog header.”
I see you don’t have anything to reply to our statement about keeping these sexual preferences private.

“You'd still be linked to on LBF”
You are making it seem that I will “get away” with expressing my opinion openly here. If this is the case, then for that, I am grateful.

 
At Friday, May 05, 2006 10:15:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

Ramz:
It is not ethical to misquote people and to try to mislead the reader. I said, "I learned that LBF attitude is that of freedom of speech, and such topic is under this umbrella." Please don't quote half sentences. ;)

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 2:21:00 AM, Blogger BOB said...

Ahmad

I m happy your happy. Seriously is that all what you can say, "You'r happy" Good for you.
One more point, why certain issues must stay private and other not? Who chooses? Who set the rules? Nature!!! or maybe you? or maybe even god! Please it is all relative, and you cannot impose your concept of private vs public on everybody. and for me sexual preferences is not a private issue, for if it was then next time when you speak about your GF then please use a neutral pronoun, because it is private! or does this only work if one sexual preferences are gay!

I hope this comment also makes you happy!

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 10:00:00 AM, Blogger Fouad said...

ya ahmad ya habibi, all your replies have been the same to all the comments, namely that this is al-fil's private life, and that it should stay private. As a matter of fact, the guy is not talking about his personal life and escapades. He's not promoting homosexual behavior, as silly as this may sound. His stance is pro-gay rights. RIGHTS. There is nothing more public than defending the social, and I repeat SOCIAL, rights of a group of individuals, whose cross is that they're slightly different from the norm. He's fighting for RESPECT, and ACCEPTANCE by SOCIETY. PUBLIC issues. He's fighting to be accepted by people like you who consider homosexuality abnormal, and would like to see anything related to homosexuality kept private and behind closed doors, because you, personally, think it's wrong. That's the bottom line. Most everyone else on this forum does not seem to share your point of view. Be it from a pure democratic and statistical perspective, the majority approve of al-fil and his stance. Not necessarily of homosexuality, but the RIGHT of an individual to fight and voice a cause, and demand TOLERANCE and RESPECT. Would you have reacted in the same way if al-fil dedicated his blog for the rights of srilankan maids in Lebanon and the modern day slavery they're subjected to? So it's really all about what YOU PERSONALLY think of homosexuality and homosexuals that determines your stance. Just try to be tolerant and put yourself in this person's shoes. This is an OPEN forum. A TOLERANT forum. The voice of everyone who needs a voice. Be it me, you, al-namleh or al-fil. TOLERANCE and RESPECT are the names of the game.
I sure hope you can relate to that and accept it, ahmad.

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 1:36:00 PM, Blogger Assaad said...

Ahmad : i respect your opinion about the homosexuality. I am against it also but Al-Fil didn't make a mistake when he defended in his blog a subject like this.
Nobody has the right to force you to accept it but you have to respect the courage of Al-Fil who expressed, in an open way, his opinion about this subject.
In these cases, you have to be more open mind and tolerant toward the others beliefs and ideas.
This is my opinion....
Cheers

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 2:11:00 PM, Blogger Maldoror said...

I believe all you people are over reacting. The debate over this post has gone a bit too far. The thing is Ahmad, Al-Fil committed nothing wrong here and I advise you to read again Fouad's last comment.
As for next time, in case you are really annoyed by anybody's blog content on HIS PERSONAL BLOG, well, you can just FLAG the blog! It is as easy as it can get, really! (P.S: Top right corner of the screen!).
As for the subject of setting rules for this Forum as there are rules for all irc channels. Well, I do not think it is a good idea, because it would be like restricting the Freedom of Expression of our imaginations... :))
So chill out all of you and I honestly believe that you went down on Ahmad a bit harsher than he personally went down on Al-Fil..
Life is after all a never-ending learning curve.

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 3:16:00 PM, Blogger Ramzi said...

"I honestly believe that you went down on Ahmad a bit harsher than he personally went down on Al-Fil".

Maldoror habibi, a poor choice of words if ever there was one!

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 5:06:00 PM, Blogger [ j i m m y ] said...

frankly ahmad, i guess 50 comments are a clear expression of the total and undeniable refusal of your proposal to censor a lebanese blogger from lebanon's premiere blogger forum because he expressed his sexual preferences.

i wouldn't have been surprised if i saw such debate taking place in sudan or in iran, but it's really shameful it's taking place on a lebanese blog.

i totally endorse fouad's comment and beg you to read it again.

to a certain extent, the lebanese society is still primitive and should learn how to eradicate the discriminating concepts it's been raised to believe in. it's crucial for this society to learn to embrace diversity and to learn to deal with it someway or the other.

good luck to you with that.

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 9:34:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

Dear all,

I would like to thank everybody for sharing his opinion. When I look at the total size of comments, I notice that a half-page-post generated 22 pages of comments. (This is valid at the time of writing, I wonder if we will get more later!!) Maldoror, is this a record sizewise?

Before I reply to each individually, let me quote what my friend Fouad said, “Be it from a pure democratic and statistical perspective, the majority approve of al-fil and his stance.” I would like to stress this fact and hence as Maldoror said, “The debate over this post has gone a bit too far.” I finish by quoting my friend Ramzi, “I'm sure we have better things to do with our time.”

Bob:
“You cannot impose your concept of private vs public on everybody.”
I didn’t try to impose my concept of private vs. public, I only decided to share it with the community and discuss it.

Fouad:
“He's fighting to be accepted by people like you who consider homosexuality abnormal, and would like to see anything related to homosexuality kept private and behind closed doors, because you, personally, think it's wrong. That's the bottom line.”

Let me tell you that I have homosexual friends, and I accept them as friends although I still believe that homosexuality is wrong. To give you another analogy, let’s say, for example, that you consider anal sex as “abnormal,” yet another person loves it. Won’t you accept him? Would you befriend him? I think the answer is “yes” to both questions because the two does not relate (ma khass hay bi hay). To summarize, if we disapprove of a person’s sexual taste, this does not mean that we will not accept him! At least this is my case.

Now, should these sexual fantasies remain private?
In my opinion yes!! Whatever a person decides to practice of the long list of homosexuality, bisexuality, anal intercourse, and the rest of uncommon or unnatural or unusual or abnormal... sexual acts... and the diverse fetishes, it is a matter private only to that person and his/her partner(s).

How I/you/he/she see(s) these various sexual fantasies varies from a person to another. Although I would find certain ones of them as wrong, I wouldn’t even try to interfere what sexual practices this person prefers in his private life? I would not care any less as long as this doesn’t invade my space.

But I find it a matter of importance to me when I look at the links to LBF, of which I am a member, and I see a link to a site defending/promoting a certain sexual preference. I would urge to keep every one’s preferences private.

“TOLERANCE and RESPECT are the names of the game.”
I cannot agree more. I wish that everyone would play by these rules.

Again thanks for your comment.

Assaad:
Thank you for sharing your opinion with us.
“In these cases, you have to be more open mind and tolerant toward the others beliefs and ideas.”
When I look at some of the comments I got, I wonder how much the rest were “tolerant” with me expressing my ideas. :)

Maldoror:
“As for next time, in case you are really annoyed by anybody's blog content on HIS PERSONAL BLOG, well, you can just FLAG the blog!”
Maldoror, technically speaking, flagging the blog means you are notifying Google of improper content; when Google receives enough “flaggings,” a certain Google department will check it to see if it should be removed from blogspot.com altogether.

Ramzi:
Now I remember where “go down on” is usually used! I think Maldoror meant “go at.” ;)

Jimmy:
“I guess 50 comments are a clear expression of the total and undeniable refusal of your proposal…”
Jimmy, when I decided to write this post, I knew that the many would disagree with me. Yet, I decided to express my opinion openly despite the expected disapproval. I think in a country of diversity we should expect and accept all kinds of opinions regardless of your attempt to describe my opinion as “primitive.”

So “good luck to you with that” as well.

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 9:44:00 PM, Blogger Maldoror said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 9:58:00 PM, Blogger Maldoror said...

Oupsss! Thanks for pointing it out Ramzi :)
Guess it goes to show that I completely went under, while trying to prove another point :)
Thx Ramzi habibi ;) Mouah!

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 10:40:00 PM, Blogger Maldoror said...

Go atttttttttttttttt :)
Yes, thank you Ahmad!

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 11:15:00 PM, Blogger Eve said...

Ahmad, when it's a discussion, who's counting the comments? the number of comments is not a personal attack against you. As long as there are replys, there will always be comments, no? :)

that being said, I'm quoting some of what you've mentioned (here and on your blog):
"that's what I learnt lately about LBF: it is open for everyone and anyone who is Lebanese, if she/he requests to be part of LBF"
"When I look at some of the comments I got, I wonder how much the rest were “tolerant” with me expressing my ideas" etc.

Now don't you find that you've been a "little harsh" on us? we either smile & agree, or else we'll be judged as not tolerant? You're free to express whatever you wish on this forum, and we're free to state our own point of view. and in my opinion, that's tolerance.

P.S. actually, it's not a record yet, we've had posts with more comments.

 
At Sunday, May 07, 2006 8:16:00 PM, Blogger Al-Fil said...

I find it funny that Ahmad is accusing me of impropriety when just yesterday he posted a picture of a woman in a bikini on his blog. By endorsing the humor of the photo, is he not advertising his heterosexuality? By his own words, should not such a sexual preference be kept secret?

Furthermore, my blog is not about anal sex. I am not asking for acceptance because of what I do in my bedroom. I want the right to walk down the Corniche and hold my boyfriend's hand without sneers and threats. Ahmad has that right. I want the right to start a family and adopt. Ahmad has that right. I want to marry a man. Ahmad has that right.

If I am silent, I will never get those rights.

Granted, Ahmad and his followers will come at me with the argument that it's against Islam/Christianity/God/Nature/Morality/etc. But last time I checked, Lebanon is a pluralistic country. Why should Ahmad's morality eclipse mine?

He says he can befriend gay people as long as they don't talk about being gay. I can understand that; I have friends who do things that I don't approve of. But I don't require them to be silent about them as a prerequisite for friendship.

 
At Monday, May 08, 2006 12:33:00 AM, Blogger linalone said...

I am neather aggregator nor administrator nor whatever.. but i do welcome you AL Fil among us Lebanese Bloggers.
If in such forums, we cannot express ourselves and have the freedom of expression, where can we do? If we, supposetly educated people, don't bring such taboos to the light and don't talk about them, who will?
There must not be any censorship in blogging; if some persons who do not like a subject or find it a taboo, it's there problem, not yours, not ours.

 
At Tuesday, May 09, 2006 5:36:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

M-Y G-O-D! I am officially now like the last one one to know! Nobody tells me a party is going on? (Ramzi, don't worry, I certainly beat you in lateness! And I am personally implicated here...). But I guess it's a good thing that I read all these overwhelming replies first, or else I would have chewed Ahmad alive (and probably lived to regret it... Temper control issues here; or is that too "private"?) Now what I don't understand is why Ahmad didn't object to linking to The Queer Arabs Blog which LBF has linked to way earlier? (Or do you not know what "Queer" means?)
I don't have much to add, as there probably isn't anything left to be said. I just have to say that overall I am positively impressed with the comments (as enraged as I was by the few miserably apologetic if's & but's). I won't personally thank everyone who put in a sane word as you didn't do it for me, or for al-fil; you did it for your own human decency and worth as civilized individuals. In a way, my faith has been reassured in Lebanese society at large, if this group is any indication of it. And I am certainly of the opinion that, given the response that this little misguided post generated, one can't imagine a better forum than this to discuss such a significant and pressing issue in our nation. As linalone said, "If we, supposetly educated people, don't bring such taboos to the light and don't talk about them, who will?" So, Eve? Linalone? Should I prepare something? I don't want to be antagonistic here, but really I think this brings the issue to the forefront.

 
At Tuesday, May 09, 2006 9:48:00 AM, Blogger Eve said...

lol Arch! and I was wondering why you kept the silence for all this time :) but of course, you are welcome to post and express your opinion towards this issue.

 
At Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:31:00 PM, Blogger linalone said...

Why not Arch? I'm thinking about something....

 
At Tuesday, May 09, 2006 10:38:00 PM, Blogger a h m a d said...

Eve:
I am not counting the number of comments; I am counting the number of words! And I know that there are posts with more than 100 comments; I remember writing the comment before 100 then. :)

“When I look at some of the comments I got, I wonder how much the rest were ‘tolerant’ with me expressing my ideas”
Let me point out the use of the word “some.” Besides, such comments can be easily spotted. No?

Al Fil:
First, I am glad that you read my blog. :)

On the other hand, your comment is out of scope of the current debate hence I won’t answer.

Linalone:
Dear... you should note that you were the first one to use words such as “taboo.” :)

Arch.Memory:
Your comment with “chewing” reminded me of Hannibal Lecter; only that he never loses his temper. ;)

 
At Wednesday, May 10, 2006 4:27:00 AM, Blogger arch.memory said...

Ahmad, I'm still working on my Hannibal Lecter demeanor; by the time I am his age, I'm sure I would have perfected it. Until then, I am Lebanese to the core! LOL!

And for the occasion, and given that more recent post about quotes above, here is another of my favorites, by perhaps the greatest poet to ever stick her head in the oven, Ms. Sylvia Plath:

"Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware
Beware.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air."

 
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