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A joke gone too far? Meet Lebanon's fascist clown Open in fullscreen

Karim Traboulsi

A joke gone too far? Meet Lebanon's fascist clown

A drill to fix Lebanon's problems, from Hachach's election campaign [Pierre Hachach]

Date of publication: 6 April, 2016

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Pierre Hachach has been causing controversy since the 1990s, but the vigilante comedian's jokes face a tough crowd following his self-serving stunts, racist comments and now, violence against the press.
This is not a debate about whether there is anyone in Lebanon - with the exception perhaps of Karl Sharro - who is actually funny, although that question remains valid.

Lebanese comedy is sometimes crude, offensive, racist, misogynistic and unsubtle.

Adel Karam, comedian-turned-actor-turned-TV-show-host, is but one glaring example. He is also known for ripping off other peoples' ideas and making them his own.

But the poster boy of bad comedy in Lebanon has, no doubt, to be Mr Pierre Hachach. Hachach, incidentally, can also mean hashish user in Lebanese Arabic, a fact he has used to his advantage.

Hachach, a comedian/activist/Beppe Grillo-wannabe mainly active on social media, is currently under arrest.

He was allegedly the ringleader responsible for last week's ransacking of the Beirut office of Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, an event that was officially condemned by the GCC in a statement.
Hachach, a comedian/activist/Beppe Grillo-wannabe mainly active on social media, is currently under arrest.
The newspaper had published a cartoon parodying Lebanon as an April Fools' joke, which offended many Lebanese citizens, including right-wing nationalists such as Hachach. The cartoon also triggered a tit-for-tat cartoon response from some activists believed linked to the comedian.

Hachach was arrested with others on Friday by the Information Branch of Lebanon's Internal Security Force after a judge issued an arrest warrant over his role in breaking into and damaging private property.

His supporters held a sit-in outside the prison on Monday, demanding their release, saying Hachach and other activists had "good intentions". Pictures in local media show the office was ransacked, but the damage was limited and no one was reported hurt in the incident.

Disloyal following

Pierre Hachach has had a loyal following since he started his culture-jamming-style activism in the 1990s. In his hometown of Batroun, he often ran in the parliamentary elections to parody other candidates, sort of Lebanon's answer to the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.
Many fans turned against him as he started taking erratic positions and making racist - anti-Syrian and anti-Palestinian - comments and videos
But many turned against him as he started taking erratic positions and making racist - anti-Syrian and anti-Palestinian - comments and videos. He even attacked the Lebanese people he claims to defend as "barking dogs".

Many also find his crude and overtly sexualised videos and jokes offensive.

Pierre Hachach returned to the headlines at the start of the You Stink protest movement triggered by the country's refuse crisis.

He was arrested and held for 11 days after he tried to breach police barricades. However, many You Stink activists criticised him for doing more harm than good with such self-serving stunts.

Previously, he was an outspoken detractor of the country's armed forces, earning himself a summons to army intelligence after he railed against the army chief. However, Hachach flipped-flopped and adopted a "patriotic" attitude soon thereafter.

He also has a history of alleged violence; assaulting and injuring army soldiers who came to detain him, according to a Lebanese army statement.

On the Facebook page where he posts his videos, stunts and comments, Hachach identifies himself as a "fictional character".

His opponents have since set up a dedicated Facebook page to mock him, The Idiot Pierre Hachach

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