Some scholars are of the mind that the city of Beirut can trace its origins to Beroe, the daughter of Aphrodite and Adonis. I think it could be true: it would go a long way toward explaining how the Lebanese got to be such a damn good-looking people.
Interesting too that anyone in ancient Greece, deity or not, managed to reproduce at all, what with all the steamy homo action going on. None of it was caught on tape, but the message we get from looking at the wealth of Athenian black- and red-figure clay vases from the period of about 550 B.C. to 340 B.C. is clear: homosexuality was approved, probably encouraged, and certainly celebrated, at least artistically.
The cultural record shows that things were about as far away from the trials of Oscar Wilde as you could get.
So it comes as a shock, or disappointment, to learn courtesy of AFP that bogus anal tests are widely being forced on Lebanese men suspected of — run for cover! — homosexuality.
It would be funny only if it were not true.
Apparently 36 men in Beirut were rounded up and subjected to this inhumanity, which is a gross and indecent violation of the Hippocratic Oath to boot.
36 is an interesting digit with some Jewish associations. Passing thought here: what should be the reaction of the much-trumpeted Tel Aviv gay “scene” to this news? The easy thing for scenesters to do is grimace and be glad to be the outsiders tapping on the glass. This is an age in which any suspension from self-indulgence is regarded as suspect. The iPhone is the new digital dildo to which men and women alike are addicted, though no one dares speak its shame. We have to save the tigers (we do, actually), we have to save the Jewish nation (yeah, that too) and as for that pesky anti-gay hatred in that Arab country across the border, well, which DJ did you say is spinning in Eilat next week?
It seems that some outreach and a show of solidarity should be in order. From the French, who have a special relationship with Lebanon and bear more moral shame generally than most modern nations, and why not, from Israelis too. True, the two countries (Israel and Lebanon) are technically still at war, but guess what? The United States and Iran haven’t had diplomatic relations since 1980, but that doesn’t prevent our current President from (fruitlessly) seeking a diplomatic solution to the current standoff with Iran.
It’s not for one country to interfere in the internal affairs of another. But the countries of the Mediterranean, whether they like it or not, are bound by a common history, and in that shared heritage there is a power. A forced anal “inspection” in Beirut is slap on the ass of every man, straight, gay or still on the fence, from Tripoli to Tel Aviv and nobody, really, should stand for it.