One little selfie is causing a lot of trouble for two Miss Universe contestants and potentially causing a geopolitical incident.
The photo posted to Instagram by Miss Israel shows four of the contestants and includes Miss Lebanon standing next to Miss Israel, and she totally looks like she might just be leaning in to take her own shot with the group, but who knows right?
Why is this a big deal, you ask?
Well, the two countries are technically at war and have been for quite some time now, like decades. And it is still a very tenuous situation. For example, Israeli products are banned throughout Lebanon, and Lebanese people can be thrown into jail for traveling to or even calling Israel.
Saly Greige, aka Miss Lebanon, has claimed she was taken by surprise and has previously been trying to avoid Doron Matalon, aka Miss Israel, as most previous contestants have done (or have been instructed to do).
She said, “Since the first day of my arrival [in Miami] to participate [in] Miss Universe, I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel.” She continued, saying, “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.”
But the photo tells a little bit of a different story, at least from what we can see. Of course, we weren’t there, so this is just speculation, but Greige has no camera in her hands. One hand is free while the other appears to hold a water bottle. They could have just finished taking their selfie, right? Let’s pick this apart a little further, shall we? (Read: sarcasm.)
To add to the scandal, Matalon tells a different tale.
She is “not surprised” by the whole affair. She posted to her Instagram, saying, “Too bad you cannot put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighbouring [sic] country.”
But it seems to be much more serious for Miss Lebanon. People online are calling for her to be stripped of her title, which is what historically happens when gaffes like this occur. Huda al-Turk, the then-Miss Lebanon, posed for a picture back in 1993 with the then-Miss Israel and had her title stripped.
While still at war, the two countries’ conflict has been largely quiet since 2006.
Here’s the deal. Either the girl got busted for taking a selfie with the wrong chick and is backtracking in a CYA attempt, or she was bum-rushed for a photo and is telling the truth.
Either way, maybe we can use this as a bridge. Should we really be getting mad at young girls at a pageant contest for taking pictures with each other? Isn’t that what they are supposed to do?
These countries have been at war longer than they have been alive. If they can see that this person who should be “the enemy” is really just another person, why on earth is that a bad thing? Maybe the internet should be promoting that? This conflict runs deep, there are tons of history behind it and I don’t pretend to understand all of it, but can we, just for a little while, try to remember that these are just girls taking a selfie?