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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.
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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.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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