Rise Of Helem In Beirut, Lebanon Essay Example

According to Ghassan Ali Moussawi, the Lebanese Gay Community can be characterized as a combination of informal social networks, various establishments like nightclubs, bars, and restaurants, and activism (103). A major aspect of activism within this community is represented by Lebanon’s singular nonprofit organization for the LGBTQ community: Helem. Established in 2004, Helem is an NGO that is committed to safeguarding and empowering LGBTQ individuals in Lebanon, while also uniting advocacy and community services to combat all forms of legal, social, and cultural discrimination (Merabet 123).

Helem, according to Merabet (123), offers various services including free psychological counseling and health awareness campaigns. They also provide free HIV testing and have community centers that are active. Helem aims to provide an alternative for individuals who are coming out in Lebanon, specifically aiming to move away from the perception that the gay scene in Beirut is solely focused on nightlife. The organization takes pride in creating a relaxed and intellectual environment, striving to be inclusive with both its membership and activism (125). Moreover, many of Helem’s activism efforts are influenced by Western approaches to increase visibility for social change.

The segment of Beirut society that esteems a “liberal tradition” or “Western tradition” (Chakire 2008:31) often faces scrutiny when detained, particularly regarding their association with Helem, as was evident in the 2005 raid on the nightclub Acid. This raises the question of whether the raid targeted gay life in Beirut or Helem and its efforts for visibility (Charike 2008:33). Consequently, many members of Beirut’s gay community reject Helem due to its tendency to attract attention and its adoption of strategies derived from Western gay identity rights movements (Chakire 2008:44).

According to Merabet (126), there is a prevailing belief in Lebanon that associates homosexuality with the negation of masculinity. Due to the prevalence of heterosexuality within the institution, the result often leads to the development of a hypermasculine identity. This mirrors the concept of “hegemonic masculinity” within Lebanese society, which often manifests as homophobia and a rejection of feminism (Merabet 121). The act of objectifying women is commonly seen as a display of appropriate masculine behavior (Merabet 110). This example, along with other behaviors considered heterosexual, establishes a clear correlation between homophobia and the opposition to femininity. The police and members of Lebanese society tend to target gay men who exhibit more feminine traits. Acts of homophobia, hate crimes, and discrimination primarily focus on openly gay men as they are more likely to publicly disclose their sexual orientation compared to their discreet counterparts. This is due to the fact that non-conforming gender behavior is seen as non-heterosexual, which raises concerns in the deeply patriarchal society (Merabet 117).

Both homosexual and heterosexual individuals hold negative views towards feminine gay men. The reason for this is that being effeminate goes against societal expectations, especially in a patriarchal society. Homophobia can be interpreted as a means to uphold the dominant image of powerful masculinity. Even within the gay community, gay men (regardless of whether they are open about their sexuality or not) distance themselves from feminine men to reinforce their own masculine behavior and identity. This is not only considered acceptable but also perceived as more appealing.

Mongolian History; The Good, The Bad, The Fact, The Fiction

Very rarely is the first thought regarding the Mongols anything but the stereotypical barbarian images that have become popular. The Mongols are generally perceived to be a savage people that devastated Asia and Eastern Europe, massacring hundreds of thousands of people and territories in their conquest (Rossabi 1). Unfortunately most of the primary sources regarding the Mongols depict negative images, because they were written by those who were conquered by the Mongols. The Mongol side of the story is rarely told (Rossabi 2), thus it is important to compare and contrast each source in an attempt to truly understand the Mongol people.

When comparing Grigor of Akanc’s “History of the Nation of Archers”, Marco Polo’s “The Description of the World”, and an unknown author’s “The Secret History of the Mongols” a comprehensive account of the Mongol’s is given. These authors provide readers with information that portrays the Mongols both positively and negatively. This is due to the fact that these authors had different encounters with the Mongols, or none at all. By looking into accounts written by those who had varying opinions of the Mongols one is able to obtain a broader understanding of the Mongols.

In Grigor of Akanc’s “History of the Nation of Archers” the reader is given insight into how the Mongols were viewed by those who never actually interacted with them. Grigor was born around 1280 (Bedrosian), and yet his accounts of the Mongols spanned from 1230 to 1270, so he could never have actually witnessed any of the events he wrote about (Rossabi 25). Grigor’s sources for his information were often oral accounts provided by Armenian visitors to the Akner Monastery (Bedrosian). He often confused fact with myth, and this is obvious in his “History of the Nation of Archers” (Rossabi 25).

When describing the Mongols, he describes them as being “terrible to look at and indescribable, with large heads like a buffalo’s, narrow eyes like a fledgling’s, a snub nose like a cat’s, projecting snout like a dog’s, narrow loins like an ant’s, short legs like a hog’s, and by nature with no beards at all” (25). His account of the Mongol appearance is almost like that of a ghost story told around a camp fire; “They appear where least expected…they give birth to children like snakes and eat like wolves…death does not appear among them, they survive 300 years” (25).

His description elicits fear by portraying the Mongols as not like men, but animal like in every way. In Grigor’s depiction of the execution of the Caliph of Baghdad his portrayal of the Mongol Kahn, Hulawu is actually quite positive. He describes the Kahn as “very good, loving the Christians, the church, and priests” (99). He continues to say “Hulawu Tan himself was of a great mind and great soul, just, and quite learned. He was a great shedder of blood, but he slew only the wicked and his enemies, not the good or the righteous” (100).

While Grigor provides such a positive portrayal of Hulawu here, also included in this text is an example of the brutality of the Mongols, explaining how they slaughtered and imprisoned the people of Baghdad mercilessly. Hulawu then imprisoned the Caliph with no food or water for three days and then had him killed. Hulawu also sent 2,000 pigs to the Arabs along with detailed instructions on how the pigs were going to be cared for and proclaimed that each man who did not eat the flesh of swine was decapitated (100).

Marco Polo, unlike Grigor, is believed to have reached China and therefore been witness to his depictions of the Mongols. While he may have witnessed some of the things he writes about, he was seen as gullible and accepting of local myths and legends, so his accounts must be read with scrutiny (Rossabi 101). In comparison to Grigor’s “History of the Nation of Archers” Marco Polo’s “The Description of the World” provides a much more positive description of the Mongols. In his writing about the Order of Assassins, it appears as though Marco Polo is in awe.

He gives an elaborate description of what he calls the most beautiful garden in the world. He goes into great detail of the garden made to resemble the paradise men would go to when they died that Mahomet spoke of to the Saracens. The garden was filled with “an abundance of delight” where fountains ran with wine, honey, milk, and the clearest water (102). While this garden was intended to be somewhat of a heaven on earth, it only served this purpose for those who were to be Assassins.

Men would be given opium and while they slept they would be brought to the garden they would awake thinking they had died and gone to the place Mahomet spoke of (Marco Polo 103). It was here that men would be made into bold murderers or swordsmen to kill whoever Alaodin desired (Marco Polo 101). Despite any tales of Mongol greatness, violence remains a theme in their lives. Marco Polo also gives insight into how some of the Mongol Kahn’s accepted the cultural practices of the people they conquered.

When he tells of the Province of Camul he describes a culture in which the people would give their wives as gifts to strangers who were passing through. The strangers would stay in the homes of men with their wives and daughters who they would often share beds with. While Mongu the great Kahn saw this as shameful practice and immediately, the people saw the custom as an honor (Marco Polo 152-153). The people suspended the custom as Mongu wished, but appealed to him that they did not know any other way to live. To this Mongu replied, “for my part I have done my duty; but since you wish your shame and contempt so much, then you may have it.

Go and live according to your customs, and make your wives a charitable gift to travelers” (Marco Polo 154-144). This account of the Mongol’s shows their willingness to allow areas they conquered to continue to live according to their customs. It appears as though they did not intend to rule the people, but to simply gain wealth through their conquest. “The Secret History of the Mongols” is the largest and most significant original Mongol work of the 13th century, however only a Chinese translation remains and many of the speeches in the text were not witnessed.

The exact date of the work, its original title, form, and authorship are still debated, so it is difficult to assess whether or not biases influenced the writing (Cleaves and Kahn 729). While this writing often depicts Genghis in a heroic light, Mongol leaders’ faults and misconducts are still exposed (Rossabi 43). In this text the reader learns of Genghis Kahn as a child. The text begins with the story of how Genghis lost his father, was abandoned by his people, and ultimately became a great ruler.

Childlike qualities are given to Genghis, as he cries when Todogen dies and the mention of his fear of dogs (The Secret History of the Mongols 48). As he gets older more of his brutality is brought to light when he murders his own brother (50). This text also portrays the loyalty and honor of Genghis as a ruler. This is shown when he has Jamugha, his estranged anda captured. He tries to make amends with Jamugha and form an alliance again, however Jamugha refuses. Jamugha believes that he will never be as good as Genghis and there is no reason for him to be his ally.

At Jamugha’s request Genghis has him killed: “Execute Jamugha without shedding his blood and burry his bones with all due honor” (55-59). This is yet another text that portrays the Mongols in a positive light as relatively understanding people, while at the same time exemplifying their brutality. All three authors provide accounts of the Mongols that portray a violent and often brutal people, and yet at the same time they are shown to be somewhat understanding. With all three authors providing the same contrasting view, it is fair to assume there is some truth to all accounts.

By comparing these three authors, Historians are given an account that is written by someone who witnessed nothing of which he wrote, someone who is believed to have reached his destination to witness his accounts, and an unknown author that is an original Mongol text. Each account must be taken with scrutiny, as they all have their weaknesses. Grigor was only told of the accounts he wrote, so he may have unknowingly perpetuated biases. Marco Polo over exaggerated his importance and was gullible to myths, so he may have altered the truth to fit his needs.

While “The Secret History of the Mongols” it written by Mongols, only a Chinese translation remains. Not only could this text include Mongol biases, but the Chinese translator could have changed some of the text. The origin of the source is always crucial to its reliability. It appears these texts provide a comprehensive understanding of the Mongol people, both their good qualities and bad. Unfortunately each author possesses their own separate interests or ignorance to the actual events; therefore it is difficult to know what in Mongol’s history is fact and what is fiction.

Case Study: Schwinn Bicycles

Research shows the earliest bicycle is the one that was invented by Baron Karl von Drais, in 1916, which he rode while collecting taxes from his many serf-like tenants. This bicycle was designed as a pushbike, which is powered by the rider who pushes his feet against the ground in order to propel the bike forward. In a way it was merely a platform in which to sit and let the wheels help the rider move quickly like a carriage without a horse. This idea evolved into a series of different models, each with increased improvements, to what we know today as the self-propelled peddle bicycle (Encyclopedia World – Global Oneness, 2012).

Leading manufacturers of the early bicycle included Frank Bowden and Ignaz Schwinn, each who had a major influence on the world of bicycling today. Arnold-Schwinn & Company was founded in 1895 by partners Ignaz Schwinn and Adolph Arnold just as the industry for bicycles was in a very competitive state. Within the first twenty years of its formation, Arnold-Schwinn & Co. had become known as a leader of bicycle quality within the industry. Sometime in the 1970’s, Arnold-Schwinn & Co became known as just Schwinn Bicycles (to be hereby referred to as Schwinn) (Wilson, Porter, & Rieff, 2012).

This change came after the company had achieved sales of over $20 million in the early 1960’s. Over the life of the company Schwinn has a developed number of bicycles, including but not limited to the Phantom, Sting Ray, and Varsity. These bicycles have allowed the company to be the leader in revolutionizing cycling around the world (Schwinn Co. , 2012). In 1896, one year after Schwinn entered the bicycle market; there were already 300 bicycle companies in the US, 101 of which were based in the city of Chicago, making the bicycle industry a difficult environment to get started in.

Bicycles typically ranged from $100-$125 and weighed over 24 pounds. In 1901, a racing bicycle cost about $150, which would be about $27,450 today. In 1992, Ignaz Schwinn’s great-grandson, Edward Schwinn Jr. unfortunately led Schwinn into a major decline from 25% market share to just a mouth dropping 5%. This sent the company spiraling into a bankruptcy, resulting in a sale of the company to a group of investors led by Sam Zell (Schwinn Co. , 2012). A Current Summary

During the downside of our nation’s first modern economic collapse of 2005, Schwinn nearly experienced bankruptcy again when it fell to 3% market share after being one of the US top brands at 31%. Schwinn is currently selling 470,000 bikes at a price of $100-$400, which is considered the lower end of the bicycle market. While the models that Schwinn are selling are becoming more popular, Schwinn won’t see any financial success unless it can sway customers to purchase its bicycles at a higher price.

As of 2011, Schwinn falls in 4th place out of 10, holding 7% of the market share of manufacturers of bikes priced above $400 (Martin, 2012). Schwinn recently has found itself in a more difficult place because many modern cyclists associate Schwinn with their parents or things of the old days, and therefore prefer more popular bikes, such as mountain bikes or modern high speed touring bikes. Since Schwinn ignored the mountain bike trend of the 1980’s and continued to produce common road bikes, the company was lead to bankruptcy in 1992.

If you look at Schwinn now it has finally adapted itself to manufacture and sell bicycles ranging from $100 children’s bikes to $2500 mountain bikes (Schwinn Co. , 2012). They are hoping that this adaptation will help them gain more market share in years to come. Because the bicycle industry has evolved so much since it entered it in 1895, Schwinn finds itself fighting many of the marketing challenges that exist within the US market. Popularity with bicycle racing and the Tour de France has added a sporty need to bicycles as well as overcrowding in US cities and health concerns a need for better bikes has emerged.

While the company finally conformed to the US market demand of adaptive bikes, Schwinn is now working on the purchase of certain US manufacturers in order to possess the major marketing feature of “Made in the USA” which Schwinn did not have at the onset of the patriot zing of 2001, obviously being that the majority of their bikes are made in Asia (Schwinn Co. , 2012). Some Problems A renowned company like Schwinn is faced with a wide range of problems. Some of the problems for one is poor management and lack of vision and second is hat it is widely known as a cheap road-bike company. In a time while the most of the US is now into the variations of biking like road racing, long touring and mountain/off-road. While Schwinn faced bankruptcy only seven years ago, the company is not only attempting a complete turnaround to keep the company active, but it is also trying to be competitive within the industry and buy market share by providing the US Market with their demands. My Recommendations As I have learned in this course it is very difficult to change the mindset of any market and its major players.

When today’s bicyclists associate Schwinn as a bicycle that their parents rode, it is important the Schwinn keep up with the current “fads” that Americans are screaming for. That being said, it is imperative that Schwinn stay on top of the latest crazes, and make attempts at producing some new models that other top companies may or may not already market (Encyclopedia World – Global Oneness, 2012). Schwinn can try to further its position within the industry by doing a proper amount of market research to find out what exactly the customers are going to be looking for.

I have to go back to the lessons of qualitative research that I learned about earlier in this lesson. Qualitative marketing will greatly increase Schwinn’s knowledge about what American consumers are looking for is a quality bike that meets their needs. This can be done in a number of different ways, including polling and collecting data from customers, either within regions where cycling and mountain biking is highly prevalent, and within specialty shops and major sports shops where many bicycles are sold.

Once Schwinn has identified products that they know are going to be successful within the market as a result from market research, Schwinn can begin to create good results and a respectable amount of market share by effectively using the four P’s of marketing: Product, Pricing, Promotion, and Placement or Distribution (Peter & Donnelly, 2011). Schwinn can tackle this momentous task by providing better warranties, guarantees and support to all elements that are purchased by its potential customers.

Schwinn has always focused on prices and with our economy in such disarray they can offer discounts on certain models of bicycles to cover aspects price needs in certain markets. I feel a good promotion campaign is extremely important and can be achieved in a number of different methods, including some advertising, sales promotions at local bike shops, publicity by word of mouth and personal selling or sometimes known as concierge selling. If the customers are unaware of new and upcoming bicycles, they are sure to be a failure (Peter & Donnelly, 2011).

It is very rare that a company can put new products out on the shelves and have success in selling themselves. Giving free models of bikes to famous bicyclists in events like the X-games, the Tour de France and other events is a great way to promote new product lines. Name recognition is also important and by sponsoring new and modern events Schwinn can destroy the image of being “old fashioned. ” Distribution is of key importance and is dealt with by making decisions on where sales will take place either in specialty stores or in major sports shops as well as local novelty shops (Schwinn Co. , 2012).

In Summary While Schwinn has been through a long journey in comparison to most other companies, starting in 1895, the company has seen such a massive stagnation in business and has come to the crossroads of falling into history or busting into a new future. Overcoming the possibility of bankruptcy and finally coming into the market craze of adaptive biking, it is important for the company to remember the fundamentals of marketing to make it through this slump.


Encyclopedia World – Global Oneness. (2012, November 22). The Bicycle. Retrieved from Bike Experience Festival: http://www. xperiencefestival. com/a/Bicycle/id/1894317 Martin, S. C. (2012, November 21). Company Profile. Retrieved from Schwinn Bikes: http://www. schwinnbikes. com/company Peter, J. P. , & Donnelly, J. H. (2011). Case Study 20: Schwinn. In Marketing management: Knowledge and skills. New York City: McGraw-Hill. Schwinn Co. (2012, November 21). Timeline. Retrieved from Schwinn Bikes: http://www. schwinnbikes. com/company/timeline Wilson, M. R. , Porter, S. R. , & Rieff, J. L. (2012, November 22). Arnold-Schwinn & Co. Dictionary of Leading Chicago Businesses (1820-2000). Chicago, IL, USA.