The head of the Arab Unification Party, former minister Wiam Wahhab, sparked controversy over a statement about “prostitution” that was offensive to Russian and Ukrainian women.
Wahab said in a television interview with Al-Jadeed that he had asked President Michel Aoun about the nature of Lebanon as a country, and added: “I told him that, if we were a country of prostitution, let us bring in 10,000 Russian or Ukrainian women.”
The Ukrainian embassy in Lebanon strongly denounced the statement as unacceptable and insulting.
In an official letter addressed to the Lebanese politician, the Ukrainian embassy pointed out that while it “strongly respects democratic standards and everyone’s right to freedom of thought and free expression of their opinions and beliefs,” his statements were insulting, unacceptable, and violate human dignity.
“The Embassy of Ukraine in the Lebanese Republic and the Ukrainian community in Lebanon express anger and resentment at your comments about Ukrainian women, which were broadcast on the Lebanese Al-Jadeed channel,” the embassy wrote.
“On September 12, 2021, during a morning program on the “Al-Jadeed” channel, and while discussing the political situation in Lebanon, you addressed insulting words to the citizens of Ukraine.”
“The Embassy of Ukraine in the Lebanese Republic and the Ukrainian community in Lebanon consider such statements to be unacceptable and violate human dignity,” and demand that he apologizes “publicly to the citizens of Ukraine.”
The Russian Embassy in Lebanon was as offended and, according to sources of local news, has asked that Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry takes a clear position condemning Wiam Wahhab’s offensive statements that “are far from the morals of the Lebanese people.”
“The Russians are workers, educators, mothers, sisters, and wives who have given everything for a great country and for men who have volunteered for the sake of dignity and have fallen as martyrs and wounded in the face of terrorism in order to liberate the east from ISIS and its prostitution,” the Russian sources said.
The outrage was similarly seen across social media from the Lebanese people, who condemned Wahhab’s degrading talks.
In response, Wahhab tweeted that people have misunderstood what he meant and went praising the qualities of Russian women and expressing his admiration.
The media secretariat of the Arab Unification Party issued a statement, saying that “what the party leader meant in the Russian and Ukrainian issue is the Russian and Ukrainian beauty and not anything else.”
The statement described the Russian women as first-class women. “They deserve our admiration and love, and they have occupied the highest positions in state institutions, the army, and Russian society.”
It added: “All appreciation and respect to both the Russian and Ukrainian women, and if it requires us to apologize if Minister Wahab’s words were misunderstood since the issue necessitated clarification.”