وبرنامح الهوا سوا واجه فشل زريع عندما رفضت المتسابقة الزواج !!!كما افادت صحيفة الجارديان الإنجليزية
Arab reality show jilted by runaway bride
Lisa O'Carroll and agencies
Monday March 1, 2004
A reality TV show for Arab countries in which young women compete to win an arranged marriage has ended in the controversial style in which it began with one of the final two contestants storming out and refusing to get married to the man selected by producers.
The show, which was the first reality show ever on Arab TV, has been at the vanguard of a revolution in the Middle East where Big Brother and Fame Academy are also provoking a storm of protest because of their western-style values.
Critics damned the ground-breaking dating show Al Hawa Sawa - Being Together - as too liberal, but fans writing on internet diary sites said it supported traditional values of limited contact before marriage.
In the show eight women lived together in a Big Brother-style luxury apartment with suitors able to view the girls 24 hours a day.
They were allowed to contact the women before a possible meeting in the flat to propose marriage. In a region of 280 million Arabic speakers, such shows have huge potential audiences and provoke much public debate.
Viewers of Al Hawa Sawa suspected in January that three of the eight girls from around the Arab world taking part in the show were flouting a ban on cigarettes and alcohol in the luxury Beirut apartment they moved into in December.
"Hey - they are human. We all have our demons," one online diarist who gave his name as H Qureshi said. "It's not a shocking thing for me. I feel sorry and sad for these ladies. They are living a hypocritical lifestyle."
The programme makers promised to respect all aspects of Arabic culture which ban explicit tattoos, shorts and 'form-fitting leotard or Spandex-type clothing".
The show ended early on Monday morning when one of the last two contestants dropped a bombshell on air, saying she refused to get married. She then locked herself in a bedroom.
"Believe me, I do not want to get married. Please, please - I'm not feeling right. They will know the reason in the media when I get out - I'm going to talk," emotional 21-year-old Aicha Gerbas told the camera minutes before the finale.
Gerbas had earlier agreed to marry Hossam, an Egyptian who was sitting in the living-room next door to the "truth room" where Gerbas shocked viewers with her sudden change of heart.
"This is completely inappropriate behaviour," the show's "voice" responded. The Arab channel MBC, which ran the show, declined to comment on the incident.
"Aicha has made fools of you all!" one viewer gloated in a text message that trawled across the bottom of the screen.
The show suffered another hiccup earlier in the week when Lebanese authorities unexpectedly turned back Hossam at Beirut airport, refusing to grant him a tourist visa.
"One wonders why the production company doesn't stop the show with all the problems it's facing," the Lebanese paper Assafir wrote recently after some contestants who had left complained of boredom and jealousy.
Minutes after Gerbas' bombshell, the viewers' vote chose Mervat Fo'ani from Lebanon as the "Bride of On Air Together", sending her with her chosen suitor on a honeymoon to Malaysia, where conservative Islamic values are also strong.
Al Hawa Sawa ended just after an Arab version of the hit reality TV show Big Brother started in Bahrain, which has just been dropped from the schedules following protests that it was "indecent" and offended Arab sensitivities.
But a source at the Lebonese production company behind Hawa Sawa said he was not surprised that Big Brother was pulled.
"They put girls and boys under the same roof. This goes against Arab sensitivites. In Hawa Sawa, they don't sleep under the same roof and you don't have cameras giving the public access to the bedrooms 24 hours a day. Our objective was to see a true romance unfold not to be peeping toms," he said.
"We have been very very cautious to be respective of local traditions," he added.
Traditional values in Arab societies require the segregation of unmarried men and women, but television networks have increasingly been pushing back the boundaries.
And Star Academy, a talent contest similar to the BBC's Fame Academy, has not gone down well in all quarters.
According to the al-Hayat newspaper, the dean of Islamic studies at Kuwait University, Mohjamed Al Tabtabai, issued a fatwa prohibiting viewing or voting for a contestant "deeming it a threat to Islamic values and a cheap imitation of immoral western programmes in pursuit of profit". He also called for Arab governments to prevent such shows from being broadcast.
The paper said personal lives are still considered a taboo for TV entertainment but that there is no stopping the proliferation of the western formats.
"What seems clear, though, is that will all the burdens and troubles of the Middle East, we should add another one, for it seems that reality TV is going to entertain us to death," it concluded.
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