As the world rejoiced and celebrated the release of Lady Gaga’s new album – Born This Way – us, the Lebanese fans, were equally as psyched! Most of us didn’t wait for the actual physical copies of the CD. We were able to enjoy the music digitally way before the latest news broke.
Personally I didn’t need the latest headlines to know that BORN THIS WAY was banned in Lebanon. I headed to Virgin Megastore in Beirut almost 10 days ago looking for the album; and to my surprise I was told that it will not be available for purchase, EVER! Even though it was a surprise to know, it didn’t come completely unexpected. The likes of Madonna and Nirvana, among other icons, have all been banned before. Some Nirvana albums were even taken from a cousin of mine at the airport upon her arrival from Paris a couple of years back!
However, what surprised me was how much the foreign press picked up the story and it headlined major websites such as The Huffington Post, Time, The Guardian, MTV, Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Today and even Perez Hilton‘s infamous blog just to mention a few!
MTV’s report was the most comprehensive though, giving two sides of the story:
“It’s not all love for Gaga, however. According to The Guardian, officials in Lebanon have banned Born This Way, describing it as “offensive to Christianity.” The office of general security reportedly impounded copies of the chart-topping album when it arrived at the airport in Beirut. “Distributors are prohibited from circulating media that diverges from public decency and morality or is at odds with nationalistic or religious beliefs,” officials told The Guardian.
Despite the report, Lebanon’s information ministry insists that it “is, and always has been, against all forms of censorship.” The Los Angeles Times reported that the Lebanese office of general security confirmed “[copies of the album] are still in our offices. We are still deciding what to do with them.”
So what’s the deal y’all?
The deal is a typical Lebanese scenario of general security forces acting independently from the ministries and the ministers’ decisions… Thus the contradictory reports from the ministry of information and the General security officials. Who did they listen to? Christian authorities? Who makes the decisions in this country?
Instead of wasting their time and effort on banning albums, why don’t they form a government for example? That would be a welcomed change in a country that has spent the last four months (or maybe more) with no government…
The deal is simply ignorance.
What supports my claims of them being ignorant people is the fact that they overlooked one small detail: the Internet!
Don’t they know that we have access to this album or COUNTLESS other through the internet? Don’t they know that album sales are now measured by how many downloads an artist gets? Banning an album from entering might have worked in the early 90s… but not anymore!
A physical copy would have been an amazing addition for all fans, but who cares? At the end of the day we are enjoying the goodness that is BORN THIS WAY and we are soaking in all the messages and anthems by the minute!
I hope someone reads this and understands that the decision to ban the Lady Gaga album is in no way a reflection of the entire Lebanese society, and especially not a reflection of the progressive younger generation! I mean come on… Has anyone been out in Beirut lately? Such a city is definitely one that cannot give birth to such a silly and narrow minded decision!
But what can we do… Our decision makers unfortunately are – in the words of Gaga herself – born this way and apparently stayed this way and didn’t learn anything on their way to the top!
Finally, and since we are all already familiar with the music, here’s something that some may have not seen yet due to the ban: the AMAZING album artwork by the one and only Nick Knight!
Here’s hoping for the stupid ban to be lifted!! Lady Gaga has thousands upon thousands of fans here in Lebanon and it’s a shame that we have to endure such silliness…
Find me on twitter @fadyroumieh