It was announced that two artists will join us in this session; however, this was apparently a joke and the real artists to be discussed were Sabah and Haifa Wehbe!  The session was moderated by Nabelah Haraty, an instructor at the Lebanese American University, Humanities Division. The papers presented were:

-“A Psychological Profile of Sabah” presented by Ahmad Oueini who is the Chair of the Education Department at LAU.

– ” Performing the Body: Haifa Wehbi in the Becoming” by Zeina Meskaoui who is  an LAU instructor at the School of Architecture and Design.

 -“Islam Online Guides Husbands and Wives Toward Marital Bliss” by Mona Abdel-Fadil who is currently a PhD fellow.

From the presentation about Sabah

Dr. Oueini, talking about the psychological profile of Sabah, drew a kind of piteous image of her regarding how she used her extravagant lifestyle and her multi marriages to reach fame, but that contribute to her own downfall. He said that she made a ridicule of herself by abusing her own voice, marrying guys of her grandson’s age, and producing horrible songs. He said that she is to be blamed for this failure and made a comparison of her situation with other aging singers like Fairuz. He stressed the idea that Sabah’s songs revolve around Sabah and she used herself as a subject rather than content of her songs to reach fame. Dr. Oueini mentioned also that Sabah’s American alter ego is Norma Desmond, the character in silent movies who turns into a ballistic egocentric murderer. He said that Sabah is similar to her considering the fact that Sabah lives in denial of the fact that the public have abandoned her and she rejects this and this is her defense mechanism she uses. I found interesting the example given by Dr. Oueini about how Sabah was not experiencing successful aging. He said that she was 55 in 1982, and she played the role of an 18 or 19 year old in “Wadi Shamseen” play. When asked by Dr. Samira Aghacy, the Dean of Arts and Sciences Department at LAU, about the recent joint singing between the young singer Rola Saad and Sabah, Dr. Oueini said that it was a great idea but he added that she had to do this long before to revive her art;  now it is too late.

Haifa is simply Haifa

Zeina Meskaoui, the second speaker, talked about how Haifa uses her body as a source for empowerment. She said that she controls her audience members through her body. Meskaoui pointed out that Haifa constructs an elusive identity with her body where she is a hybrid of a modern and a traditional woman (eastern-western-local-global identity) where she mixes Eastern belly dancing with Western nightclub moves. Meskaoui quoted a journalist describing Haifa as “Promising but not delivering” and considered her as an ideal Arab woman. I think she exaggerated in her approach where she built her argument on the basis that as women become more sexual they become closer to perfection. This is ridiculous and phony. The discussion was much diluted and not because the subject of it which is Haifa is absurd, but nothing new was presented.

discussing Haifa


Mona Abdel Fadil talked about Islam Online (IOL) and focused on the marital counseling articles they post on their website. It is important to point out here that her paper she presented was part of her research-topic which is marital counseling on Islam Online. She gave different examples of articles giving advice to the married couple on how to deal with problems arising from conflicts between them. One article discussed how to interact with the in laws and others focused on how to keep the relationship going on when one of the couple is barren. The topic of the third paper didn’t go in line with the papers presented at that session and I didn’t feel it was connected thematically.

Overall, I had more expectations of that session in terms of content, but I quite enjoyed Dr. Oueini’s presentation the most. They had technical difficulties during the session for example; Sabah’s “yana yani” song was supposed to be presented as a video and used as a demo for comparison, but only the sound track was played. Also the interview made with Dr. Dima Dabbous, the director of the Institute of Women’s Studies in the Arab World was of poor quality in terms of technicality. The sound wasn’t clear as well as the image. I was very excited to hear what Dr.Dabbous, had to say about the current trends of modern singers, but I missed it.

I didn’t find something new presented to us and didn’t add anything new to what I know except for the Islam online counseling that gave only examples without dealing with the impact of such trend on the society. experience was not what I’ve expected. The videos and images I took couldn’t be uploaded so I had to use twitpic for images and youtube for the videos and I discovered later on that the sentences I was posting on scribble just didn’t show up. For me this was an amateur experience and I think we should have done before a tryout live session as to experiment it then go and do this project.

I did not get much user engagement for my session; only for one who asked me if Haifa was present at the conference.

For reviewing the live coverage I did, please go to

For viewing the videos I took during the session, you can check these links: