Insulting the host government

Isn’t US Ambassador Connelly lucky? She was invited for a half-hour long interview on Lebanese television. She spoke at length about her hopes for a more cooperative Lebanese government and was very frank about her nation’s view of one of Lebanon’s most respected and powerful political movements.

“Hezbollah is a terrorist organization,” she said, lamenting how difficult this makes her interaction with the Lebanese cabinet.

The host nodded politely and then even sent her condolences to the people of Boston. She thanked Connelly enthusiastically for agreeing to appear on the program.

Imagine how this would have gone down in the reverse situation.

Lebanon’s ambassador to the US gives an interview on a major American channel. He speaks frankly about his problem with the American government’s constant meddling in Lebanon and how difficult that makes his job. He even calls some American presidents war criminals or implicates the US military and the Republican party as designated terrorist organizations.

Would the American TV host have nodded politely, and after that, sent condolences to Lebanese victims of a recent attack?

Against Lebanon, which is so often demonized as “sectarian” and intolerant, the United States is celebrated as the freest and most democratic space to voice conflicting opinions.

But if a Lebanese ambassador used a similarly insulting tone as his American counterpart, would he have been allowed to complete his sentences? Would he have even made out of the TV studio without being cursed, vilified or harrased?

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