Quareeb Jeddan

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Earlier this month, Washington DC-based  Al Hurra channel discussed the issue of lesbian sexuality in Arab literature on its program “Qareeb Jeddan.” The show hosted Elham Mansour from Lebanon, author of possibly the most famous Arabic-language novel with a lesbian plot “Ana Hiya Anti” (tr. I Am You) and Samar Yazbeck from Syria who wrote “Ra’ihat Al Qorfa” (tr. The Smell of Cinnamon) which Bekhsoos reviewed back in June 2008. The topic of lesbianism was tackled with respect and professionalism, moving between discussing homosexuality and homophobia in the Arab region to discussing LGBT literary characters specifically.

At one point, the host asks Elham Mansour if any of the lesbian characters in “Ana Hiya Anti” was based on her personal experience. To this, and without hesitating, she answers: “yes” and recounts her personal story meeting a lesbian woman who fell in love with her in college and understanding sexuality through that experience. Perhaps there was a lot more the program needed to highlight, but we’re not going to be picky! It was refreshing to see an Arabic program that addressed female homosexuality openly without hiding behind clichés, stereotypes, and the sensationalism we got used to with other channels… *cough* LBC *cough.*

Kudos to Al Hurra! Please leave them a comment on their episode on YouTube or write them on to encourage lesbian-positive Arabic programs!


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