Dear Mohamad Sibai

Posted on May 4, 2012

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Dear Mohamad Sibai,

Have a coffee with me.

Let’s sit, like two adults, and talk. You get to know me, I get to know you.

Now, before you freak out about a gay man asking you out for a coffee, hear me out.

I’m a 33 year old gay man. Everything you’ve written in your article is something that I have read or heard a million times before, here in Beirut, as well as in Los Angeles, Paris, London, and South Africa. To be honest, you haven’t said anything groundbreaking, and more importantly, you haven’t said anything that hasn’t been debunked hundreds of times.

I have learned to not get upset when I read such blatant homophobia. It hasn’t been easy, and you can imagine what having to deal with this on a daily basis can do to someone. I’ve gotten used to the stereotypes, to the fears, to the hatred. I’ve even gotten used to people inciting others to be violent towards me, which you have also done in your article.

I can deal with all of it.

The one thing I cannot get used to is this:

“I have seen the protests all over the world on the news, and it wasn’t something I saw to be logical, or human for that matter.”

I cannot get used to the idea that people have stooped so low as to try to dehumanize us to justify their hatred.

We are humans. We are not a different species. We are very much the same specie, me and you.

With your article, you have proven that you are indeed human. As humans, we hate. We hate based on religion, based on fears, based on stereotypes. We hate because it is easy. We hate because we don’t want to understand.

But we also have another incredible power: Love. (Don’t get freaked out about the sappiness in this. I don’t want to sleep with you!)

What you saw on the street a few days ago was an expression of this purely human ability to connect with another human being. It was a way for two people to connect in order to build something: be it a thrilling experience, a lifelong commitment, or a comforting moment.

We love because we need to. We love because it’s the strongest way to fight hate. We love because our lives depend on it.

Funny thing this human stuff.

Here’s another important human thing: We can choose.

We can choose to hate and spread our hate.

Or we can choose to love and spread our love.

I want to convince you to do the latter.

I don’t know about you, but, and this may be the gay in me speaking, I think a world full of love is better than a world full of hate.

Have a coffee with me. Let’s talk about anything you want. We can talk about hate, religion, and faggots, or we can talk about cars, travel, and happiness. We can even talk about love, dreams, and hope.

Let’s just talk. Like two human beings.

You’ve accused me of not being human. I am responding in a way only a human can: by reaching out.

I promise not to bring a man on a leash with me. I’ll keep him at home to watch the flock.

Sincerely,

Raja Farah

PS I am really serious here. Contact me on omhinbeirut@gmail.com and let’s set up a coffee date.

For those who have no idea what this is about, it is a response to an article written by Mohamad Sibai, published in Outlook, a publication by the students of the American University of Lebanon. So far it is only available in print, but you can read it here.

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