By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
We previously reported HERE the bizarre and saddening controversy involving Miss Universe contestant Saly Greige representing Lebanon who was photographed in a selfie by Miss Israel Doron Matalon. The event caused a row that could have stripped Saly of her crown for violating Lebanese fraternization prohibitions with citizens of Israel.
Now, a Lebanese government official announced that no sanctions would be taken against the young hopeful.
The incident arose from a selfie taken by Miss Israel that included Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia, and Miss Lebanon and then posted to a social medium. The image then caused outrage among many in the Muslim world for this association between a Lebanese citizen and an Israeli. There were calls in Saly’s native country and elsewhere for her removal and possible prosecution. She then offered a rebuttal statement:
I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”
For what it’s worth Saly has found at least a measure of relief now offered by the Lebanese Government.
Michel Pharaon, Lebanon’s Tourism minister stated in a televised press conference:
According to the information we obtained, Miss Lebanon did not have bad intentions that necessitates her being stripped of her title or punishment. [She should be supported because she] has been the subject of a racist and random campaign.
While this certainly has some credibility issues relating to the accusation of racism, at least in some respects a bizarre form of reprieve was extended from a bizarre manner of criminal justice involving race relations in Lebanon. From a pragmatic point of view, one could hope this announcement by Lebanon will have the benefit of shielding Miss Lebanon from any further scorn or retribution by others.
By Darren Smith
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