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No one knows nose jobs better
By Ray Hanania
Creators Syndicate/Jerusalem Post — You can judge a man by his character. But in the rising sinew of the Arab Spring, Egyptian men are judged by the noses.
If Arabs and Jews share anything, it is that they are often stereotyped as having large noses.
Some look great. Others are frightening. On men, they are viewed as “distinctive.” On women, they are seen as a distraction and distortion of impending beauty. That’s why so many women get “nose jobs,” or in the lexicon of my many relatives who are doctors, “rhinoplasty” a medical term for surgery that traces its origins to the rhinoceros and its large “horn.”
It creates much humor, jokes that Arab and Jewish children have to suffer through growing up in America and probably in other countries too.
And it plays into the stereotype of being “cheap.” In designing the face of man, did God give Arabs and Jews large noses because he couldn’t understand our accents. Noses or hoses? Or because air is free?
It was funnier when we were all six years old. But as we get older, our facial proboscis can create some discomfort.
There are a lot of euphemisms for large noses. Honkers is one.
Yet, having covered American and Middle East politics for more than 35 years, I have never heard of a politician losing his job because of his nose.
That apparently happened in Egypt last week, where Democracy is about as ugly as some noses can get.
Anwar el-Balkimy was elected to Egypt’s new parliament representing the Al-Nour party which is a very conservative group and a part of the ultra-religious right al-Salafi Movement.
Seems that el-Balkimy showed up one day to a parliamentary meeting wearing bandages over his nose.
Apparently in Egypt, getting a nose job is embarrassing for people. So rather than admit getting a nose job, which might reflect el-Balkimy’s heightened “vanity,” he told everyone he had been “viciously beaten by a masked gunman.”
At least he didn’t claim he was a martyr who stood up to human rights and freedom at Tahrir Square where Democracy finally found a precarious foothold in Cairo just over a year ago, Jan. 25.
But el-Balkimy was clearly afraid to admit he had cosmetic surgery.
The predicament of el-Balkimy raises a curious new issue in Egypt, something that comes from Democracy and freedom. It’s called “free speech.”
Yes, in a true Democracy – like in the United States where communications is the foundation of Democracy – the new Egypt experienced a nose-like growth in free speech through the appearance of many independent newspapers.
Normally in dictatorships like Egypt, “free speech” will get your nose cut off along with a stiff prison sentence. The Arab media is still only allowed to report the good things about their dictators and “fearless leaders.”
Arab media even in the Arab Spring can’t criticize or report on the wrong-doing of their dictators. They can only hate Israel, or criticize the dictators of rival Arab countries as the Gulf State media is attacking Syria while Syria’s media attacks the Gulf Arabs.
The media in Egypt, though, I starting to experience freedom, much like the freedom practiced in the United States. Last year, U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner tripped into a scandal when he lied to the media about a picture he had posted on Twitter. It involved sex, but I will leave it all up to your imagination to speculate about it all. The media was relentless and eventually cost Weiner his job. He finally quit after admitting he lied like an Arab dictator.
The case of el-Balkimy is far from a sexual scandal at all.
Egypt’s media quickly reported the incident about el-Balkimy in their newspapers. And that news reports spread Weiner-like throughout Egypt’s valleys and pyramids until the stories were read by the doctors who performed el-Balkimy’s surgery.
The doctors clearly felt they did a good job on el-Balkimy’s ugly nose and they were rightly offended. They had carefully sculpted a beautiful proboscis for the Egyptian legislator, one I am sure they hoped would bring them new customers since big noses are common in Egypt and the Middle East.
They openly called el-Balkimy a liar, something that would never have happened a year ago.
Wow. Imagine that. In the Middle East, a leader who lies can get “called on the carpet” and held to be accountable. In the Middle East, a member of government is exposed not by violence or assassination but rather by the published word of the now “free” news media.
Take my word that this is a sign of good things to come for Egypt. As a longtime journalist and writer, I have a “nose” for this things (sniffing out the truth).
Will this be the end of the story? Who “nose?”
(Ray Hanania is a Palestinian American radio talk show host. www.YallaPeace.com.)
This post has already been read 57 times!
Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com