No Miss Lebanon? No Problem. Protesters Press on With 'Revolution' Despite Cancelled Pageant

Published November 24th, 2019 - 10:06 GMT
Miss Lebanon 2015
Miss Lebanon 2015

In the wake of mass protests, Lebanon's national beauty pageant has been cancelled this year due to the unsettling political situation in the country. 

Since October mass protests swept across Lebanon after the government announced new tax measures. Public anger has escalated in recent years over electricity and water shortages, as well as the government’s failure to manage the country's waste and economic crises.

For many years, the annual ceremony of Miss Lebanon has occupied the Lebanese public and dominated TV channels, but this year it is no longer significant to the Lebanese people who have been politically overwhelmed by demonstrations.

The Miss Lebanon Organizing Committee announced on its official Instagram page that the event was canceled this year.

Translation: “Unfortunately, Miss Lebanon was cancelled this year. It doesn't matter, what matters is that politicians wake up and fix our country before it’s too late.” 

The event was scheduled to take place on November 3 but was postponed amid Lebanese channels' preoccupation with direct coverage of the protests that have been ongoing day after day. 

Remie Akl, a Lebanese actress, shared on her social media platforms a video parodying Miss Lebanon as a politically involved activist who is concerned with the troubling political situation in the country.

In her video, Remie plays Miss Lebanon, and gives a speech that calls for action towards the political corruption in Lebanon. Remie also highlights the influential role women play in the Lebanese society, implying that beauty pageants are a superficial representation of females that do not empower women. 

The cancellation of the event did not come as a surprise, as it has witnessed several delays since the contest was first announced. 

For her part Miss Lebanon 2018,  Maya Raidi, was supposed to transfer the crown to the new queen among the 18 girls competing for the title.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

اليوم ، 27 تشرين الأول (أكتوبر) 2019 ، يكتب اللبنانيون التاريخ من خلال إنشاء سلسلة إنسانية انتشرت في جميع أنحاء البلاد و هذا يعني السلام ما بين كل اللبنانين . اليوم يصادف يومًا دوليًا حيث نجحنا في الاحتجاج السلمي والسماح لأصواتنا بالسمع ، وهو يصادف اليوم الحادي عشر للشعب اللبناني يقف في يد واحدة. بلدي الدرع ، هويتي ، حبي هو لبنان وكل ما يستحقه شعبنا هو الأفضل وسوف نصل إلى أهدافنا و لبنان سوف ينهض مثل طائر الفينيق .❤️🇱🇧 Today October 27, 2019 the Lebanese write history by creating a human chain that exapanded all over the country. Today marks a day internationally where we succeeded in peacefully protesting and letting our voices be heard. We mark the eleventh day where we stand as one, as Lebanese, hand in hand. My shield, my identity, my love, my pride is Lebanon and all it’s people which deserve not the minimum but the best! We will reach our goals and have a Lebanon resurrect and soar high as the Phoenix it is. 🇱🇧❤️ #lebanon #lebanon🇱🇧 #beirut #humanchainlebanon #revolution #weareone #we #are #proud #strong #lebanese #all #the #way

A post shared by Maya Reaidy (@mayareaidy) on

Caption: “Today October 27, 2019 the Lebanese write history by creating a human chain that expanded all over the country. Today marks a day internationally where we succeeded in peacefully protesting and letting our voices be heard. We mark the eleventh day where we stand as one, as Lebanese, hand in hand. My shield, my identity, my love, my pride is Lebanon and all it’s people which deserve not the minimum but the best! We will reach our goals and have a Lebanon resurrect and soar high as the Phoenix it is.”

Reactions to the cancellation were varied. Some struggled to wrap their minds around there being no pageant this year, while others resorted to humorous commentary to reflect on the news.

Translation: “No Miss Lebanon this year, how will peace be achieved?" 

But there also seemed to be a shift in priority among the Lebanese public, following through on their promise to see through a revolution. 

Translation: “I have always considered Miss Lebanon to be silly; it measures beauty by stereotypical standards and it depicts women as objects. The questions asked at pageants are superficial and depict contestants as stupid so we associate beauty with stupidity unfortunately. Beautiful = stupid. This year the revolution cancelled this contest and we have seen many beautiful Lebanese women that look like us on the streets.

Lebanon's protests have been described as one of a kind. Tens of thousands of peaceful protesters from different religions and classes assembled in cities across the country accusing the political leadership of corruption.

They have been calling for social and economic reforms, as a result of their frustration with the government and the political elite that had been accumulating for years.


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