As usual, our Lebanese TV newscasts are full of inanities, covering superfluous visits, meaningless receptions, and prefabricated statements. All in all, the same vocabulary, the same accusations… the same story.
But here’s an interesting new one that French, US, and UK newspapers are talking about. It is the sentencing, by the French court on Tuesday, October 23, 2012, of Lebanese businessman Elie Nahas, 44, to 8 years in prison over a (very) high-end prostitution ring operating at the Cannes Film Festival. Nahas, who runs an international modeling agency (Style Modeling Agency) based in New York, Caracas, Beirut, and Dubai, was in fact employing prostitutes recruited in South America, France, eastern Europe, and the Middle East. He also happens to be the husband of Sabine Abdel Nour, former Miss Internet and sister of the famous Lebanese model, actress, and singer Sirine Abdel Nour. Nahas’s wife was also his partner in the venture.
Nahas’s luxury prostitution network supplied deluxe prostitutes and escorts to rich Middle Eastern clients during the Cannes film festival, among whom the slain son of Muammar Qaddafi and Libya’s former #1 playboy Mu’tassem Qaddafi. Clients would usually pay between 10,000 and 15,000 EUR to engage in sexual acts for one night with a woman of their choice.
If is funny how the Arab and the Lebanese press seem to care less about the identity of Nahas’s clients than about that of the prostitutes involved. Agence France Press has already indicated that Lamitta Frangieh, Miss Lebanon 2004 1st Runner Up, is one these deluxe prostitutes, an information that was republished in Le Monde and L’Orient-Le Jour but denied by Frangieh (obviously).
So who are those clients? Mainly rich Lebanese businessmen, MPs, and ministers, but also businessmen and princes from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, U.A.E.. According to Ad-Diyar, the only Lebanese newspaper who has actually mentioned the involvement of prominent Lebanese politicians in these prostitution acts, a delegation of 40 among the wealthiest Lebanese businessmen and politicians got on a private jet headed to Paris on Friday, November 2nd, to talk the French media into not publishing their names (meaning: pay large sums of money for it). The same source mentions that 20 of them are from Beirut (Verdun, Hamra, etc.), 4 from Kesrouan, 6 from North- and South-Matn, 4 from “the Mountain”, 2 from Jbeil, 2 from the Beqaa, and 1 from Batroun, the relevance of which is, I suppose, to show that almost all political orientations and confessional affiliations are mixed up in the affair (but predominantly March 14, as one can infer).
Will the Lebanese media make the names public? I can only hope so. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were spent on whores whereas most Lebanese are struggling to make a living. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are also being spent right now to dissuade the French media to publish the names of the clients.
But why do our local TV newscasts never bring up such stories? Why does the local press hardly give such information the attention it deserves? So far, I have only read four articles addressing it in the Lebanese press: one in L’Orient-Le Jour, one in The Daily Star, one on the Naharnet website (i.e., not in the printed edition of An-Nahar), and one in Ad-Diyar. This is truly appalling.
I think the press as well the TV newscasts have become too comfortable in covering the usual, traditional, boring political news. It is also because most of them belong to political parties, and are funded by the countries these Arab businessmen come from…
This is the type of information the public would need in order to discredit and get it over with a political class that has been humiliating us for the past two decades.