Like every Friday evening, the privately owned Lebanese network LBC
broadcast its weekly satirical show Bas Mat Watan – a play on words meaning the homeland's laughter but phonetically similar to dying homeland.
But this week the show outdid itself, deciding to lampoon none other than Hezbollah
Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah.
One of the show's stars dressed up as the radical cleric – a feat last attempted in Lebanon
in 2006 – and the result: Dozens of Hezbollah activists took to the streets in angry protest of the defamation of the beloved leader.
During the show, 'Nasrallah' was asked about possible mistakes 'he' has made. In response, the ersatz Shiite leader responded that his group's participation in the Syrian
civil war – a move which has earned Hezbollah massive criticism in Lebanon – was a mistake.
|Nasrallah impersonation on Lebanon's satirical Bas Mat Watan |
After the interviewer agreed with him, 'Nasrallah' quickly added that it was a mistake "because our participation came too late. We should have been there from day one."
When questioned about additional possible mistakes, 'Nasrallah' noted Hezbollah's control of arms – also a controversial topic in Lebanon – he of course quickly elaborated his response, adding that "we should also have submarines and planes. But it's no problem, because we have managed to get our hands on missiles."
Grilled about Iranian
control over the group, 'Nasrallah' was "compelled" to conclude the interview: "I thank you. Your questions were more than beautiful and exact. The interview has come to an end!"
Much like the last time a Lebanese channel dared to poke fun at Nasrallah, his Shiite supporters could not remain on the sidelines.
During the weekend, pro-Hezbollah activists took to the streets in cities throughout Lebanon – from Hezbollah's stronghold south of Beirut to Baalbek in southern Lebanon – burning tires and blocking roads in anger over the unfavorable portrayal of their leader.
|Riots in Lebanon in wake of Nasrallah paradox |
Nasrallah supporters also took to social media, calling on others to boycott the channel, and blaming network executives of "sectarianism" – a fiery buzzword in Lebanon which is comprised of a complex mix of ethnic groups which includes Sunni, Shiite and Alawite Muslims in addition to Druze and Christian.
The show's director, Charbel Halil, responded to detractors via Twitter saying "the impersonation of religious figures has become a central tenet of the show, there is no need get upset."
The show's supporters claimed that the fact that Nasrallah is a political figure makes him fair game for criticism, much like any other political figure in Lebanon.
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