Jan.19, 2015 | INTERNATIONAL

Middle East: After the bombing comes the photobombing

If you are looking for a glamour-rich, glitter-sprinkled paradigm that encapsulates all that is endemically wrong in the Middle East, look no further than the Miss Universe pageant, where Miss Lebanon is in trouble for appearing in a selfie with Miss Israel. She has been subsequently accused of  "consorting with the enemy" (treason basically) and there are even vociferous calls for stripping her of her title. All for a selfie. One casual, impromptu selfie with a bunch of girls.

 

In an international event where contestants usually talk about "world peace" more frequently than they eat solid foods and which vies to "advance humanitarian goals" amongst other lofty causes, the fact that taking a picture with a fellow contestant would be dimmed incendiary is, to put it mildly, ironic and absurd, even in the context of the this particular regional conflict where technically the two states are at war.

 

Yet that is what is happening for hapless Miss Lebanon who in order to "justify" this blasphemous act of pictorial association, she has come up with a war story (from the trenches no less) of how she had been courageously resisting Miss Israel's attempts for a photo for days now (hiding behind frocks, instinctively diving out of the way or trying to sabotage her opponent's iphone camera) and how in fact she was finally ambushed by her nemesis' guerilla tactics and cornered into a picture without her consent. Quite a brutal account altogether. She is now being tested for PTD.

 

Actually, it wouldn't be surprising if it turned out then that Miss Israel is actually a covert Mossad agent sent to the Miss Universe pageant to tarnish Miss Lebanon's good name, destroy her stellat reputation and humiliate her whole country. Maybe she was even planning to slip some pulverized pork scratchings in the Lebanese beauty's breakfast oatmeal. We'll never find out.

 

So if the simplest of social interactions between the two countries' representatives in an innocuous, non-political event can't even be tolerated, then the odds of an eventual rapprochement seem pretty long indeed.