Lebanon to sue US TV series" Homeland"

moderator edit: actual story link heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/lebanon-may-sue-hit-us-tv-show-homeland/story-e6frf7k6-1226499753201)

I was mildly puzzled to find out that Lebanon is to sue the hit US TV series “Homeland”( now showing on Channel Four in the UK in its second series, see www.antiwar.com, October 20, 2012. Full disclosure here: I- along with many others including current US President Barack Obama are fans of this show), ostensibly for defaming the country’s image( NB, no individual Lebanese citizens claim defamation, they just don’t like the fact that places in the country are in reality filmed in neighbouring Israel and the fact that armed militias such as Hezbollah- “Party Of God”- control large swathes of Beirut and other cities).
I wonder if the Lebanese authorities will bring suit against FOX TV( which produces “Homeland” apparently) not in the US courts but in the time dishonoured system of “libel tourism” here in the UK.

CAN you claim that an entire nation -as opposed to given individuals- can be defamed?

( I think not personally).


And wasn’t there a large bombing in Lebanon just days after this “suit” was announced? Sort of “life imitating art.”

Apparently the show has upset people both in Lebanon and in Israel (where it actually is filmed.)

The show about Arab terrorists and American turncoats has inadvertently become a tale of two cities. Some Beirutis are angry because the depiction of their city as swarming with militiamen is misleading and because they see Israel as the enemy. And in Israel, some are peeved that Haifa and even Tel Aviv – a self-styled nightlife capital and high-tech hub – apparently appear, to outsiders at least, to be Middle Eastern after all.

Lebanese Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told The Associated Press on Thursday that he’s so upset about the portrayal of Beirut that he’s considering a lawsuit.

“The information minister is studying media laws to see what can be done,” he said.


I am not familiar with laws in the UK, but I doubt there is any US laws which would apply. However, I suppose the Information Minister of Lebanon could ban the program in his own country.

It’s fair to say that TV provides a source of news for most people. It’s fair to say that if Lebanon is depicted as some hell hole full of terrorists and terrorist sponsors, people will think all Lebanese are like that or at least Lebanese tolerate terrorism and other types of mayhem. That obviously implies a negative image for Lebanon. Can Lebanon do anything about it? Well they can appeal to laws in and outside of Lebanon. They could for example probably sue to have the series not shown in the European Union. I think they should do that. All forms of action as long as they’re peaceful should be permissible. They can also protest this and bring it to public view.

Not sure what Israeli’s problem is. After all Tel Aviv is a middle eastern city. It’s not an European, Asian or an American city. One does not see Hong Kong residents upset about the slew of John Claude Van Damme films which showed parts of their city as definitely Far Eastern in taste and not the pseudo-British Western look some HK residents aspire to.

That 's JUST it- apparently “Homeland” is not even telecast in Lebanon to begin with(and is unlikely to be given its alleged “defamatory” portrayal of Beirut), so one can only wonder how the authorities “know” that it allegedly “defames” their country( one suspects that they “know” this in the same way that they “know” that the “Innocence Of Muslims” defames the Prophet Mohammed).

Much like the Cold War or the NI “Troubles”, ANYTHING to do with not just the Middle East conflict but Islam in general is what you Americans call a “hot button issue”- the Right doesn’t like “Homeland” because it allegedly puts Islam in a too good light, the Left dislikes it due to its alleged “Islamophobia”.


Maybe their foreign embassy staff watched it on TV. Maybe their expat communities watched it on TV. Maybe it’s shown on any of the various Show Time / Multichoice satellite/cable networks in the Middle East. You can watch transnational TV stations anywhere in the ME on satellite. Maybe someone purchased a DVD on Amazon.

Who knows… but is it relevant if it’s not shown in Lebabon? I think it is. The government of Lebanon has a duty to protect the image of its country and people abroad.

What gets me is that some people find it tolerable to portray other people in a negative light and then hide behind freedom of speech laws in their own country. Is it legal? Yes. Is it moral, NO. If you don’t want Lebanese complaining about your Hollywood, don’t make movies about them. Make up a fictitious country and portray them as bad guys.

Back in the 80s Lebanon and especially Beirut had a reputation in the West as hell holes. I remember for example the movie RED HEAT which I watched as a kid, there a shoot up in a motel was compared to “Beirut”. Not only did residents of Beirut have to suffer, but people elsewhere also trivialized their suffering by using their city’s name as a monicker for mayhem in cheap movies. Hardly a noble thing, but then again Hollywood never was.

Lebanon has an embassy in London, and while I am not sure how many diplomats are stationed there, presumably some may have watched the show given its topic.

I wonder if Lebanon isn’t particularly sensitive to its image because, prior to the civil war, Beirut was an international destination, famed for its hotels, culture and nightlife. The city was badly damaged by the long civil war, and Beirut has tried to claw its way back to its former attractiveness to foreigners. It could be that government officials in Lebanon view this television series as a major blow to their attempts to restore Beirut’s reputation.

I’m sure all Lebanese who have an ounce of love for their homeland feel this way.

Actually I think they have a good point.

In my area one of the Native Tribes is suing the author of Twilight for using their name in her book. They have had a lot of issues with rabid fans destroying some of their artwork, homes, and land. They have also lost a lot of money because of it. For those who don’t know, the Native Tribe is supposed to be the “wear wolves” clan in the books.

I see this issue as being very similar.

I am not familiar with the books or movies, but apparently the author was elaborating from a creation myth among the Quileute people. In that myth, they originated when a wandering hero transformed two wolves into humans.

Obviously, this is not the same as being werewolves. And the author never consulted with tribal leaders to get advice or permission on how to portray the Quileute people and culture.

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