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This was written by Amal and originally published at Improvisations: Arab Woman Progressive Voice.
In Lebanese singer Nawal el Zoghbi’s latest video clip, “Albi es’alou” (ask my heart), the director wanted a really sexy man to play the singer’s love interest. Of course, there are the usual ways of sexing men in these video clips: you surround them with expensive cars, planes, mansions, women, suits, then you place them in fantasy locations that bear no resemblance to the Arab world (Asi Hillani and Ragheb Alameh are the best at this kind of masculinity).
But the director of this clip, Yehya Sa’adeh, wanted to be more realistic, more in touch with the reality of Arab men’s lives. So he chose an ordinary couple, living in a modest, sparsely furnished house, somewhere in the countryside. Then he thrust a gun in the model’s arms and sent him to war. Not clear what war. Doesn’t really matter. What matters is the big gun and the rugged, romantic look: the unshaven face, supposedly made more attractive with a smattering of blood on it. The woman, naturally, stays home: war is not her business. She waits, sings (ironically of how she will protect him), and pines for her sexy man to come back. Hopefully in one piece.