Geagea Says 'The Post' Ban Would've Depicted Lebanon as 'Backward Country'
Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Monday waded into the debate over whether or not Lebanon should ban Steven Spielberg's latest film, "The Post".
In an interview with al-Markazia news agency, Geagea described calls for banning the movie as “laughable yet lamentable,” calling for “rising above trivial matters and keeping culture and art away from politics.”
Accusing boycott campaigners and “those behind them” of “selectivity,” the LF leader said they are selectively choosing to endorse certain Arab League resolutions.
“They abide by them when they suit their interests and objectives, and they accuse the League of treason and normalization when its resolutions do not serve their political project,” Geagea added.
“If the alibi of Hizbullah and those who share its opinion is that Spielberg had donated a million dollars to Israel, then let them boycott Washington, seeing as the United States donates three billion dollars to Israel” every year, the LF leader said.
“As for Russia, it coordinates with Israel politically... and militarily on a daily basis in Syria's skies, so let them boycott Moscow. Europe's countries, especially France, are Arabs' greatest friends and yet they cooperate and coordinate politically, culturally and economically with Tel Aviv, so boycott them all,” Geagea added.
“Accordingly, the alibi that they are hiding behind to protest the showing of the film does not convince anyone, because endorsing it would oblige us to boycott all countries in the world except for Iran, Venezuela and North Korea,” the LF leader went on to say.
He also thanked Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq for reversing the ban on the movie.
“He showed an ability to overcome the pressures he faced to ban the film,” Geagea said.
“Had the minister bowed to pressure and banned the film, the ban would not have served the Palestinian cause... and it would have depicted Lebanon as a racist and culturally backward country that rejects every opinion that does not match its beliefs,” the LF leader went on to say.
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had weighed in Friday on the controversy surrounding the film, saying it was wrong to screen it in Lebanese theaters.
Censorship authorities had recommended the ban because the director is blacklisted by the Arab League over his support for Israel, but Minister Mashnouq reversed the decision, allowing it to open Thursday in theaters across the country.
Nasrallah said Spielberg's name is on a "black list" of Israeli supporters and noted he was blacklisted by the League for donating $1 million to Israel during its 2006 war with Lebanon.
Nasrallah said showing the movie in Lebanon was tantamount to "rewarding" Spielberg under the pretext of art, freedoms and tourism.