The lavish wedding of Hala Al-Sahili, the daughter of former Hizbullah MP Nawar Al-Sahili, sparked a wave of criticism from Lebanese on social media, especially on Twitter. Hala, Al-Sahili's daughter from a previous marriage who lives in London and, unlike her father, does not lead an Islamic lifestyle, was married on July 24, 2021 to Lebanese businessman Firas Al-Yafi, also based in London. Nawar Al-Sahili attended the celebration. Videos and photos of the wedding that appeared online, showing the extravagant hall and the bride's sumptuous dress, enraged many Lebanese, in light of the fact that Lebanon is currently experiencing one of the worst economic crises in its history and many citizens are living in poverty and hunger. Users on Twitter criticized the extravagance of the celebration and the insensitivity of holding such a wedding at such a time – especially when the bride is the daughter of an official in Hizbullah, which presents itself as the defender of the poor and whose leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has in the last two years been repeatedly urging his followers to meet the economic hardships with forbearance and frugality.
Twitter users also pointed to the apparently hedonist character of the wedding and to the fact that there was alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam, as well as music and dancing – behaviors that Hizbullah denounces and exhorts its followers to avoid. Some pictures and videos show Hala drinking champaign, and one video shows her calling to "bring Joe a tequila" – which evoked angry and sarcastic reactions on Twitter. Another aspect commented on was the bride's immodest dress, and the fact that her father wore a Western-style suit, at odds with the conservative Shi'ite tradition that Hizbullah promotes. Users called this hypocrisy and a double standard on the part of Hizbullah, and some remarked that this organization recruits young Lebanese and sends them to fight and be killed in Syria and Yemen, while the children of its officials lead secular lives of luxury. The criticism was expressed in hashtags like "Nawar Al-Sahili" and "Tequila for Joe," which accompanied many of the posts and articles on the affair in the Lebanese media.
The growing criticism eventually prompted Nawar Al-Sahili to apologize on Twitter for "hurting our dear public" and for "the harm unintentionally caused to the party [Hizbullah]," and to announce that he was suspending himself from party activity and would comply with any decision taken in his case.
Hala in her wedding dress, and the wedding hall (Source: Facebook.com/Lebanesewedding, July 25, 2021)
Below are some of the tweets posted by Lebanese users in reaction to the wedding:
While The People Of Lebanon Want For Food, Electricity, Fuel And Medicine, Hizbullah Members Live In Luxury
As stated, many in Lebanon expressed outrage at the insensitivity of holding such a wedding when other Lebanese have trouble putting food on the table. Lebanese media figure Tareq Al-Khattab Abu Zainab shared a video of the wedding, and tweeted: "Not to be missed… As Lebanon [wallows in] deprivation and hunger, the members of Lebanon's Iranian party [Hizbullah] celebrate in hotels and palaces and enjoy wine, while calling on the hungry and penniless Lebanese to be patient and think of the long term, in order to please the [Iranian] jurisprudent [i.e., Khamenei]. The [wedding] celebration of former MP Nawar Al-Sahili's daughter was a show of excess."
Hadi Mourad, a presenter on the Voice of Lebanon radio station, tweeted: " Nawwar Al-Sahili, an MP from the 'party of the deprived' [Hizbullah] celebrates the fact that the people of Baalbek [in South Lebanon] have no electricity, fuel, medicine or water, and treats his daughter to a Hollywood-style wedding."
Twitter user ZazaLB posted photos of people in Lebanon picking through the garbage in search of food, with the hashtag "Nawar Al-Sahili."
Lebanese singer Amal Hijazi shared a picture of the bride and groom, with the message: "These are the children of our MPs and ministers. By contrast, our [own] children leave their country in search of livelihood and in search of the dignity they are denied in their homeland. Congratulations to the daughter of Hizbullah MP Nawar Al-Sahili…"
User Kifah tweeted: "True, it is their right to have a fairytale wedding, but then they shouldn’t call on the public to be frugal and patient… While they live in splendor and luxury, the people writhe in hunger. They [Hizbullah] rose [to power] on the backs of the hungry and the wretched, and it is they themselves who led them to this poverty. It is inhuman to arrive with a lovely and tasty dish and enjoy it in front of a starving man."
Twitter user Maryam Al-Saffar shared a BBC report on the wedding and the fury it aroused in Lebanon, and wrote: "Look at the wedding party of the daughter of former Hizbullah MP Nawar Al-Sahili. These are the robbers of Allah [a play on the name Hizbullah, meaning 'party of Allah']!…"
Hizbullah Forbids Us To Enjoy Music And Alcohol, But The Daughter Of A Hizbullah Official Celebrates With Alcohol
Many Twitter users accused Hizbullah of hypocrisy, since it preaches against enjoying music and alcohol and seeks to impose these rules on the Lebanese public while its own officials do not observe them. Alex Chedid, a student at the University of Lebanon, tweeted: "The problem is not that [Al-Sahili's daughter] had a large wedding, drank alcohol and did not wear the hijab. On the contrary, the problem is that her father, his party and his cronies want to impose new rules and a new identity on [all of] us, which contravene what his daughter did. Oh world, look at these liars and frauds. They want to impose a new identity and new prohibitions on us, but not on themselves."
User Hassan Al-Ahmad wrote in a similar vein: "Sadly, we live in a country where the officials preach principles that they observe less than anyone else. Hizbullah tries to educate the public and persuade it to avoid wine, singing and extravagance, but its officials do what the people are forbidden to do. They have grown used to imposing anything [they want] on the people, but not on themselves. This is the case with corruption as well."
Another user, Hussein Al-Hussein, wrote: "They are allowed, but we are not. Nawar Al-Sahili's daughter sips champaign and tequila, but if I want to [receive treatment] at the Al-Rasoul Al-A'zam hospital [in the Dahia, Hizbullah's stronghold in Beirut], they ask me if I go to weddings and listen to music."
As stated, a video in which the bride is heard saying "bring Joe a tequila" went viral and sparked many reactions, some of them mocking and sarcastic, and a "tequila for Joe" hashtag was launched. Twitter user Manssi wrote in irony: "The Imam Khomeini issued a fatwa that [all] the tequila, vodka, gas, fuel and electricity must go to Joe, while Al-Silm neighborhood [a slum in the Dahia] must remain in darkness. This is [the decree of] the Rule of the Jurisprudent [i.e., the Iranian regime], which Nawar Al-Sahili, member of [Hizbullah's] Loyalty to the Resistance party, represents."
User Youssef Dib tweeted sarastically under the "Nawar Al-Sahili" hashtag: "So you've finally realized that tequila is better than weapons and that life is better than death. Congratulations." User TIMA wrote: "With Allah's help, we will cross [the border], liberate Jerusalem and reduce it to rubble using tequila…" A user calling himself Gino Raidy posted an image of the Hizbullah logo in which the rifle is replaced by a bottle of tequila, and an image of a tequila bottle with a picture of Nasrallah on the label.
User Rabih Barakat tweeted sarcastically, alluding to the year-long effort to form a new Lebanese government: "The [portfolios] in the new government are allocated [as follows]: The energy [portfolio] goes to [Gebran Bassil's Free Patriotic ] Movement, the interior [portfolio] to the Al-Mustaqbal Faction, the finance [portfolio] to the [Amal] Movement, and the #tequila to Joe."
Several users mentioned an incident from last year, in which Hizbullah MP Muhammad Ra'ed refused to attend a dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron because wine would be served there. User GEO_LF tweeted: "Had Macron known, he would have brought tequila [instead]."
Hizbullah Officials Send Our Sons To Be Martyred, But Their Children Get To Celebrate Their Weddings
Twitter user Farid Al-Rayes wrote: "What is [a Hizbullah fighter] who goes off to die in Syria, Iraq or Yemen supposed to feel when he sees the tequila wedding of Nawar Al-Sahili's daughter?"
User Captain Harb shared an old video of Al-Sahili, in which the Hizbullah official praises a 14-year-old boy who joined Hizbullah and was "martyred" and promises that this boy will not be the last martyr. The user tweeted: "Hizbullah, with the help of Al-Sahili, recruits the children of the world, so that his daughter can drink tequila at her wedding. Allah curse your lies."
 Twitter,com/sahilinawar, July 25, 2021.
 Twitter.com/tareklebanon1, July 25, 2021.
 Twitter.com/hadimourad1, July 25, 2021.
 Twitter.com/Zaza80690208, July 25, 2021.
 Twitter.com/AmalHijazi, July 25, 2021.
 Twitter.com/Assadlebanon1, July 27, 2021.
 Twitter.com/Chr18, July 28, 2021.
 Twitter.com/AlexChedid, July 26, 2021.
 Twitter.com/Hasn_1981, July 27, 2021.
 Twitter,com/Hussein_alhusen, July 26, 2021.
 Twitter.com/manssi12t, July 29, 2021.
 Twitter.com/YoussefHDib1,, July 27, 2021.
 Twitter.com/Tima_Yu, July 27, 2021.
 Twitter.com/GinoRaidy, July 26, 2021.
 Twitter.com/rabih_barakat. July 26, 2021.
 Twitter.com/GEOLF3, July 27, 2021.
 Twitter.com/zaiddeira, July 26, 2021.
 Twitter.com/Maher83828455, July 26, 2021.