Sex, Eyes and Videotape|
The Hossam Abul Fotouh and Dina CD
seems to be keeping the public entertained, but what about
invasion of privacy?
These are unsettling times. Our country is deep
in the throes of recession. The pound has been floated.
Foreign exchange rates have gone ballistic, threatening to
seriously alter our dollar-linked lifestyles. Unemployment is
at a record high. And the United States is on the verge of
catapulting the world into a senseless war that will shatter
any hope we might have had for economic recovery.
But is the average man on
the street preoccupied with the dire situation at hand? For
the most part, the answer is no. Judging by the recent
worldwide anti-war protests, people as far away as Mexico City
seem more concerned about the situation than we are. Millions
of protesters took to the streets in London, Paris, Rome and
Moscow, while only handfuls intermittently show up to
demonstrate in Tahrir Square. We're too busy occupying
ourselves with the latest sex scandal.
By now everyone who has the inclination (and a
PC) has seen the bedroom frolics of down-and-out tycoon Hossam
Abul Fotouh and dancer/sex symbol Dina, digitally recorded on
CD-ROM for our viewing pleasure. Audiences are now anxiously
hoping there's a sequel - maybe "Hossam and Dina, Part 2" -
soon to be followed by a whole series of the voyeuristic
businessman's escapades with numerous seductive female
celebrities and socialites. When authorities raided Abul
Fotouh's Maadi residence several months ago, they apparently
stumbled upon a gold mine with these recordings, which are now
gradually being leaked to the public.
"All the women that he has been with are now
frightened that he may have secretly filmed them like he did
with Dina. It's actually quite funny," said one friend of mine
who managed to gain quick access to the CD once it became
public. When I asked him how he got a hold of his copy, he
laughed. "Are you kidding? They are selling them at the
newsstands!" I thought he was joking. But it turns out that
the CD was available at some newsstands.
Unlike my friend, I didn't think the scandal was
"funny," but it sure was an interesting topic of conversation!
I hate to admit it, but Abul Fotouh's sexual preferences
occupied quite a lengthy portion of a recent coffee chat that
I had with two of my girlfriends. Rumors surrounding his many
affairs have reached gargantuan proportions. Even those who
have never met the former BMW tycoon are now experts on Hossam
Abul Fotouh and the machinations of his sex life as they
publicly analyze his behavior with a holier-than-thou attitude
that I find puzzling.
one can't help but feel sorry for Abul Fotouh. One day the
guy's on top of the world and the next, not only has his
business empire crumbled into dust, but the most intimate
details of his private life are open subjects for debate. And
thus I made the conscious decision that I did not want to see
his tryst with Dina. I'd already heard more than enough about
Then one evening not
long after I'd come to the conclusion that I was boycotting
the country's number-one box-office hit, the infamous CD
somehow made its way into my living room and onto my laptop.
That's when my reporter's instinct kicked in. I just had to
see what all the fuss was about. So for purely journalistic
purposes - really! - I decided to have a look. To ease my
conscience, I viewed it in fast-forward, which actually made
it quite funny in parts. Even as I sped through the 30-minute
recording, I was surprised: It was much more graphic then I
expected it to be. I was left with the feeling that I'd just
invaded someone's privacy. But at least I knew what all the
fuss was about.
It amazes me
how "Hossam and Dina" audiences have not been restricted to
the predominantly male pornography-viewing segment of society.
Everyone from housewives to businessmen, students and
professionals from all walks of life have either seen it or
been given a firsthand account of its contents. One friend
even told me that her grandmother wanted to borrow her PC
because she had been given a copy of the infamous CD and had
nowhere to install it.
how is it that people who are normally opposed to watching
pornography justify viewing this type of thing? Does the fact
that the film stars two public figures make it OK to observe
their affair? The issue was so widely debated that it became
the subject of more than one satellite-channel talk show. Dina
- who allegedly left the country after the scandal became
public - was interviewed from abroad and brought to tears by
her interviewer when he broached the subject of Abul Fotouh.
She has been silent trying to maintain a low profile ever
since. But that's not all. After returning from the hajj - a
request which the Saudi Arabian government had first rejected,
considering her to be too morally deviant - she retired and
took the veil.
As for Abul
Fotouh, I really wonder how he is feeling right now. I'm sure
that even in his worst nightmares he never imagined that he
would be in such a precarious position. Many feel that he got
what he deserved. I disagree. The guy may be a rogue, but no
one deserves this type of embarrassment. No matter how
decadent a lifestyle he led and no matter how unscrupulous his
business practices were, what went on in the privacy of his
bedroom, even though he did choose to record it, should remain
private. How many of those who are now glorifying in his shame
can claim to have clean track records?
There's nothing like a sex scandal to get our
minds off bigger problems. But rather than waiting for Hossam
Abul Fotouh sequels to hit the market, perhaps it's time to
turn our attention to more pressing