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Arabs’ Got Talent: Ali Jaber’s response to Animal Abuse

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Ali Jaber

One of the judges I didn’t mention in my previous posts was Mr. Ali Jaber. Mr. Jaber was not present during the controversial performance which took place last week. I somehow had faith that Mr. Jaber would have never accepted such a participant; let alone allow such acts to be performed in his presence.

I did voice out my concerns to him right after the episode:

AliJaber

I never received a reply till this moment.

A few minutes ago, I received an update from fellow blogger Gino. According to Gino who is a good friend of Mr. Jaber’s son, this was Mr. Jaber’s response:

Of course I am against animal cruelty and have always voted out all acts of violence, self-mutilation and animal abuse. I also believe AGT is not the platform to showcase these acts, however, these acts are present in our society and televisions’ role is to expose them and explain how wrong they are. We have already edited out the act from our online catch up service and won’t allow the contestant to repeat any animal act in the semi finals.

Here are my 2 cents on this response and I’m hoping that Mr. Jaber allows me to express my opinion freely as I still believe he would understand:

Dear Mr. Jaber,

Thank you for taking a stand against animal cruelty. I do know that a man of your caliber would have such standards. However, allow me to point out the following:

  • The fact that these acts are present in our society is shameful and highlighting these bad acts is an honorable thing. But You have said it: neither is AGT the platform to showcase such acts nor  is it the platform to take stands against them. It was unfortunate that this man was allowed to perform to begin with. I do believe that this audition was not a surprise. Your esteemed colleagues didn’t seem to be the least bothered by it. The only message we clearly received is that it’s “yucky” because of the snake and the scorpion eating; and not the animal abuse. There is a huge difference between disgusting and morally unacceptable. The fact that Ms. Najwa was the only one to deny this contestant entry is the difference here. The other 2 judges didn’t seem to mind nor hide their obvious excitement over the whole situation. Unacceptable.
  • Editing the Shahid.net episode was probably a good call but what has been seen cannot be unseen. And I’m still not discussing the disgust; I’m discussing the ethical values displayed by the judges. I do not think I will be capable of believing that any of those judges would be serious about any other cause if this particular cause was not naturally on their priority list. We humans are superior beings and the fact that some fail to acknowledge that we have the upper hand here and are morally obliged to stand up against any injustice is a huge test to their humanity. They failed miserably.

While the episode has been edited, millions have probably watched the segment and again: some things cannot be unseen.

Allowing this particular contestant to continue on the show even if he was not to go near any animal is not enough.

In my humble opinion: this man should be banned from performing again and forbidden from auditioning again. That would be a great statement expected from a huge establishment such as MBC group and a very successful program like AGT. As for your esteemed colleagues.. I personally don’t think I will ever “entertain” myself with their work. They simply should not have the privilege of my valuable time as a viewer or a music lover. Period.

I know a man of your status and accomplishments would surely agree that if this audition took place on any other version of the show, the controversy itself wouldn’t have reached to this level due to one fact: this whole audition -shocking as it was- would have never been allowed and this man wouldn’t have been famous. The funny thing is that although I am contributing to this man’s fame; I am deeply ashamed that the world got to see us Arabs as barbaric human beings with total disregard to such values. Animal cruelty on a TV show dedicated to entertainment is not my idea of a perfect example we want to set to anyone. And surely, the lack of proper action towards the whole audition is just the cherry on the top.

Thank you for giving us your feedback and I will still wait to hear a statement from the group regarding this man.

I still have hope.

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Arabs’ Got Talent’s Ahmed Helmy finally breaks the silence!

If you still haven’t heard or read about the jaw dropping audition which took place a few days ago, here’s your chance to read about it -> CLICK ME

A couple of good friends helped send the previous post across the marvelous realm of the Interwebz and BOY.. did it go viral. I thought a simple rant about how barbaric and unfair that audition was wouldn’t get more than a hundred views at the most. But the lack of professionalism and concern towards the lives of both the audience and animals involved in the episode and that specific audition effected many animal lovers out there and I was blessed to see that voicing out your concerns CAN prove worthy.

That post was the most viewed and shared so far, it even reached The Daily Mail!

I have to thank many of the wonderful readers who helped spread  the word about this horrible abuse.

Given all the above, you would expect a decent statement from any of the individuals associated with Arab’s Got Talent. This morning, Egyptian actor and “comedian” Ahmed Helmy broke the silence. And I wish he never did.

A fellow animal rights activist was pretty upset about the fact that 5 days after airing that shameful episode, no response whatsoever was evident. Her demand was not met with what she expected. When the “super star” -very known in the Middle East for being one of the most entertaining and inspiring comedians- decided to retweet one of her not-very-amusing tweets. She was genuinely upset about the whole situation and the lack of ownership. Now, you may or may not agree with some of her tweets but eventually: the lack of respect towards animal rights and a segment of viewers who are keen on this type of obvious abuse might justify her harsh words towards him.

To those of you who do not know Mr. Ahmed Helmy, here’s a link to help you understand the gravity of the situation.

I woke up and saw a couple of tweets from the young lady telling us that he finally responded and that his response was a retweet of one of her MANY tweets taken out of context! Not only did he pick a tweet that portrays him as a victim and her as a “nasty and spiteful woman”, he ignores the rest of the tweets by MANY others AND his devoted fans launched an attack on the young lady calling her crazy, stupid, an animal and all sorts of profanities.

He kept on retweeting and not even answering our valid question:

How can YOU, as a role model to children and a COMEDIAN find it entertaining to joke around with a man who CLEARLY abused an animal in your presence AND give him a green light in a clear endorsement of such horrible abuse?

Here are my tweets to Mr. Helmy (bottom to top)

Here are my tweets to Mr. Helmy (bottom to top)

Mr. Helmy was deeply offended by the fact that the activist wished his kid the same treatment. I get you, buddy. You have my heart. But please do give me a response to the following questions:

  • Given the fact that you were once considered a role model to children as your very beginning was in a program involved with children, what kind of values do you promote to those children (including your lovely daughter) when you are involved in an audition that involves killing animals live on air and blessing the participant with your approval for him to move to the next stage?
  • Do you find killing animals for fun amusing or is it just the shock of the whole situation? I’m guessing it’s the former since you jumped on stage and fooled around with the other unfortunate snakes. Hell, you asked the man to salt the goddamn scorpion just before he gobbled it!
  • Would you enjoy it if one day your own child chose to grab any animal and stab it for fun?
  • In case your answer to the previous question was “NO”; what would your response be if your kid told you “but daddy, you let the big man kill that scorpion and snake and played with him! NOT FAIR!”
  • Do you think that it is responsible of you and your colleagues to allow such acts given the fact that:
    1. The man possessed a possibly deadly scorpion and that poses a hazard on him, yourself, your colleagues and the audience.
    2. According to ANY human being, killing animals for fun is a BIG no-no. Especially when your message is being delivered to millions (and that might include a large percentage of children, teens and possible sick individuals) who might perceive your approval as a general approval and encouragement to such practices.
    3. The man is clearly neither in military nor does he seem to be qualified to perform such a show (without the animals included!)
  • Do you as a man chosen as ambassador of the project “Food for Education” by the UN approve of such practices? What is your stand on animal abuse in slaughterhouses and farm animal cruelty?
  • Do you think that reptiles and arthropods are less susceptible to pain and such since they’re neither fluffy nor widely available around us? Is it acceptable to treat those differently than sheep, cattle, goats, poultry and/or any other domesticated animals?
  • Would you have reacted the same way if the contestant in question chose to skin a cat or a rabbit live on stage?
  • Do you eat rabbits? (you can skip this question, I know the answer “الملوخية بالأنارب متتعوضش!”)

I know Mr. Helmy will not answer my questions, MBC group might not bother to even issue a statement regarding this controversial episode, nor will any of the other judges even bother since they’re clearly more concerned with “how good they looked like on the show” or “how amused everyone was with that episode or any episode”.

Mr. Helmy: you as an ambassador of the project “Food for Education” launched by the UN World Food Programme should not allow such abuse on a live show. Your wikipedia page states that you “plan to do everything he (you) can to help children.”

Your approval and your display of humor towards the situation does not help children. A child that is brought up to believe that animals are dispensable and can be killed for fun will definitely see no harm in treating humans equally one day. A child that witnesses such horrible abuse will never have compassion towards anyone else’s misfortunes just because “it doesn’t seem to be a big issue after all”. A child that watches fully grown men and women bless such horrific acts of violence and abuse will never relate to a cause. You got offended because one lady wished harm upon your child although she doesn’t really want that kind of harm to be inflicted upon any creature to begin with, let alone an innocent child. You, however helped someone inflict that same harm she did not wish to happen and even blessed it.

Mistakes are mistakes if they happen unwillingly. We were waiting for a sincere statement; a simple apology acknowledging that we do not live in the jungle and that you as a human being and an adult are as responsible as your fame and status should dictate on you. You have the power of fame and influence and you misused your power. Not only by blessing animal abuse, but by refusing to take responsibility of your actions and own up to your mistakes. You have launched a personal attack on someone who did not attack you for personal reasons; but VALUES. Common sense and DECENT values.

You have lost ALL my respect.

And I pray for your wife and child not to slip into this swamp of disgusting degradation of human values you call fame and entertainment.

I would like to thank the people behind BETA – Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for spreading the word about this abuse. My friends and hundreds of others for reading, sharing and voicing out their opinion regarding this shameless and disturbing trend in the Middle East.

Please sign this petition so that we can end this ridiculousness for once and for all.

May God have mercy on those poor souls and on humanity which seems to have gone haywire these days.. especially in the Middle East.

And Mr. Helmy, PS:

ahmed helmy

9/10/2013 – UPDATE: another response from Mr. Ali Jaber: here.

12/10/2013 – UPDATE: Mr. Helmy  issued a statement through his Twitter account acknowledging the mistake and apologizing to those who were effected by the episode. Thank you, Mr. Helmy.

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Arabs’ Got Talent and animal abuse

A talent show that hosts a bunch of people to prove that they probably have something to achieve in life is not my cup of tea. Whether you sing, dance or juggle a few balls is totally up to you but what I find deeply disturbing is the fact that a TV show with millions of viewers went an extra notch this week. I’m not sure whether Arabs’ Got Talent is lacking views or talents but this week, they chose to bring a mentally deranged man to “entertain” everyone.
32 year old Ahmed Al Dousary from Riyadh claimed that he would perform a “military show” -according to him-.

The VERY talented Mr. Ahmed.

The VERY talented Mr. Ahmed.

I watched the clearly suspicious man proceed with chewing glass and lit charcoal and nothing was wrong with that other than the fact that someone would willingly do that. The judges were between shocked and disturbed but still managed to watch the man waiting; for his next step. The man moves on to another container and there was a scorpion in it. I wasn’t really expecting him to do much with that scorpion as one of the judges jokingly told him to salt it. The man then proceeds to eat the scorpion! The female judge was clearly disturbed even more and opted to look away. The third judge just kept making facial gestures and the man went on. Watching that was a bit shocking since I’ve watched many people mess around with scorpions but NOT eat one.

The peak moment was when the lunatic grabbed a small snake, bit its head off and spit it then skinned it with his teeth! In the video above, you’ll miss the “biting the head off” part but not the skinning.

No comment. Really.

No comment. Really.

The female judge buzzed him out while the other judges found it a bit amusing and so they went on with playing around on stage daring each other to “touch” the other snakes or even eat one. Not only that, but they BOTH gave him their blessings and considered this horrible audition a talent!

I am not sure who the hell is responsible of running this show but I’m quite sure of the following:

  1. In order for this sick, mentally deranged individual to perform his audition, he must have practiced on other living creatures. So, I can safely assume that he gobbled a few more scorpions and snakes during the week prior to his “awesome” audition.
  2. In order for this sick, mentally deranged individual to perform his audition, the producers and judges must have had an idea about the kind of sick shit he’s about to perform especially that one of those creatures is deadly and could have possibly run loose around the studio putting the lives of people in danger. I’m also safely assuming that there was some kind of preparation as THEY PROBABLY SHOULD BE PREPARED TO THIS.
  3. THIS.. is ANIMAL ABUSE.

When a TV show with millions of viewers ALLOWS such a sick audition to be aired AND allow the contestant to move on to the next stage while denying someone with a shitty voice to do so just because “this is entertainment”, I wouldn’t be surprised if more kids started practicing on stray cats and dogs to get their 15 minutes of fame.

Get your 15 minutes of fame, y'all! Set a kitty on fire!

Get your 15 minutes of fame, y’all! Set a kitty on fire!

It is totally irresponsible of the show producers and the TV channel to air such an episode and not consider the consequences. The man is clearly mentally disturbed and this is a green light. Allowing a man to kill animals on the stage for entertainment is not fun nor is it a way to spark controversy. Congratulations, Arabs’ Got Talent: You have managed to create a social media buzz and higher ratings but morally speaking: you have lost ALL my respect and the respect of others who found that episode extremely disturbing. Not only did you allow animal abuse on your stage KNOWING it will occur, but you also: aired the episode, none of your judges bothered to address this clear violation and they also gave him their blessings.

If we can allow this man to abuse animals, I think everyone should be allowed to abuse humans equally. This season we chew on scorpions and snakes, the next season we chew on human hearts and kidneys after gutting a human being on stage for entertainment and high ratings.

Shame on Arabs’ Got Talent, shame on MBC Group, shame on Nasser Algassabi, shame on Ahmed Helmy, shame on Najwa Karam and shame on whoever finds this horrible instance of major animal abuse entertaining.

God gave us a voice to speak out against injustice. I’m utilizing mine to stand up for animals no matter how small or insignificant they may be to a whole lot. If you care enough to make this world a better place, start by defending those who don’t have a voice.

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9/10/2103 – UPDATE: we received a response from one of the marvelous judges: please read here.

9/10/2103 – UPDATE: another response from Mr. Ali Jaber: here.

12/10/2013 – UPDATE: Contestant at question speaks out through Twitter here.

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Veterinary hospitals in #Kuwait: the biggest ripoffs EVER.

A while ago I’ve noticed that one of our munchkins kept sticking his tongue out. Although it looked too adorable to even worry about, having your cat turn into Lil Bub overnight is a sign of a dental disease or even more serious issues like cancer.

“I was born cute, posers!”

I tried convincing the family that this cuteness overload can be a serious matter until one day, our beloved Simsim grew a lump on the left side of the jaw. It was extremely shocking to see that huge growth on the poor kitty’s face. Needless to say, we rushed him into the nearest vet. My brother was informed that the growth could be cancer if not a dental problem. He asked my brother to go to another hospital where he would get the cat x-rayed to verify the issue at hand. The X-ray costs around 50KD alone. I’m not sure if anyone thinks 50KD is not too much but we didn’t even care as long as we knew what was going on with Simsim. The hospital was already closed when my brother rushed to get the poor fellow x-rayed.

The next day, we rushed Simsim there to get him x-rayed. The doctor examined him and said that he either has dental issues or cancer -something we already established-. And in the former case, he would require some treatment. He then proceeded to explain the cost of such treatment which was around 200KD for gum and teeth cleaning only. A total of 300KD would have to be paid if he had dental issues. If it’s cancer, that’s another case.

The doctor didn’t send Simsim to x-ray until we decided whether he would have our agreement to perform the treatment! He told us that he would give us time to think and then go on with the x-ray! He gave us the impression that it’s either we pay, or hit the road. So, we hit the road. He was impatient and didn’t seem to enjoy the fact that we were a bit surprised to know that it costs that much.

We tried asking our friends and one of them mentioned another hospital but this time; the x-ray cost around 25KD! Already realizing that the first hospital was a total ripoff, we rushed Simsim there and got him x-rayed. We were told the same thing both vets told us, given some pills to treat the symptoms and return for a follow up after 2 weeks. It was a bit of a relief until the doctor mentioned that he would have to remove some of his teeth and each would cost 80KD alone! A total of 4 teeth would cost us 320KD only. Not to mention the cleaning, accommodation and any other expenses.

Here's the result :D

Here’s the result 😀

It is totally heartbreaking to watch your pet of more than 10 years suffer like that but not be capable of helping it on the spot due to the greediness of veterinary hospitals in Kuwait. We’re still waiting to see the results of the treatment but I’m beginning to wonder: what if it’s cancer? How much will those money-sucking monsters charge us to treat him instead of put him to sleep? They’re already implying that if we can’t afford to give him the dental treatment, we should put him to sleep! How disgusting can they be? Pets are family members in this house and the idea of putting “it” to sleep is even more heartbreaking. When we’re being told it’s either the money or the life of your cat in a simple case of dental problems, it’s totally disgusting to even verify those creatures as doctors.

I’ve always wanted to become a vet but the fact that I have a bit of a weak heart when it comes to watching animals die or even suffer stood in the way. I’m wondering how the owners of such hospitals have the heart to charge people such ridiculous prices over services that are supposed to be regular as opposed to operations and such. A dentist doesn’t charge 80KD per tooth, goddamnit! PER TOOTH! Exploiting animals to earn cash? Such scumbags. All of them.

And I thought human beings couldn’t go any lower..