Censorship that rebels while it redacts


Published in Beirut, Journal Safar presents visual culture as seen from a Lebanese perspective. Sometimes that’s quite literally local – take a look at the video above and you’ll see their stories on vintage Lebanese movie posters, and how the cedar tree became the symbol of Lebanon. But they also cast their gaze further afield, for example publishing an interview with RuPaul, in which the star speaks about his own route into drag, its current popularity and its wider social function.

The interview runs alongside a series of colour photographs of Lebanese drag queens, but those pictures have been obscured by a collection of black and white pictures. A piece of text explains that the black and white images were chosen in collaboration with the queens who are featured in the colour images, and stuck over them to protect their identities from the authorities.

It’s not clear whether this was always the plan or a last-minute response, but either way I love what it means as an act of defiance and as an elegant way of drawing attention to the restrictive atmosphere currently in Lebanon. I tried to show the story in detail in the video above, but of course the best way to appreciate it is to hold the magazine in your hands, so if you’d like to take a closer look, head over to the Stack shop and buy a copy for yourself.


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