BEIRUT: Lebanon's ambassador to Argentina demanded that a prominent Argentine journalist apologize for insulting Lebanon during his show, the online-based Jabalna Magazine reported.
On June 1, Jorge Lanata ridiculed the poor living conditions in his country, comparing them to Lebanon, on his weekly "Lanata Sin Filtro" (Lanata uncensored) radio show.
"In this revolting atmosphere we see, we have to understand that we are not Swiss, Swedish, Norwegian, democrats, republicans ... we're not. Instead, we are shit like Lebanon. That is what Lebanon is. We see in Lebanon what we are in today," he said, according to the website.
Lanata's trash talk prompted Argentinian Ambassador Antionio Andary to write a letter to the host demanding an apology for Lebanon and the Lebanese community in the South American country.
In his letter, Andary condemned Lanata’s remarks, saying he discriminated against and tarnished Lebanon's image, “which only indicated a profound ignorance of reality.”
"In fact, Lebanon is one of the oldest democracies in the Middle East and our political system is of openness and diversity and represents the country's various groups,” Andary said in his letter. "We, the Lebanese, can safely say that we preserved our democracy even in the years of Civil War, which was a product of foreign elements that turned Lebanon into a war arena."
The envoy also said the Lebanese prided themselves on their freedom of religion and speech and that the country had always exerted efforts to maintain peace in a region of continuous conflict.
Quoting the late Pope John Paul II as saying that Lebanon “is a message of peace, freedom and coexistence,” Andary said that speaking about the country in such a manner as Lanata did was unjust.
"You not only insulted our country, but you insulted one of the largest communities in the Argentine Republic ... that has contributed to the various fields of life,” he said. “I hope you offer an apology to the Lebanese state and its people and the hundreds of Argentinians who are originally Lebanese.”