As Lebanon continues to make history, embarking on the third week of nation-wide protests and peaceful demonstrations to fight a corrupt, elitist government, and take corruption head-on, Lebanese women have not been taking a back seat when it comes to their own demands.
This past Sunday, October 3, 2019, as the protest witnessed a major revival in energy and spirit, the “Feminist March” took to the streets at 2.30 PM in Mathaf, Beirut. Its aims included “going to topple a sectarian system”, “going to topple a Patriarchal system” and “going to topple a racist system.”
Thousands of protesters gathered in Mathaf to march towards Riyad Al Solh under the slogan “Our resolution is a Feminist revolution.” With famous faces like Joumana Haddad and an array of civil society and feminist activists and supporters, the march garnered media coverage and massive support, proving that the revolution is indeed female.
Several laws in Lebanon, namely those which fall under the country’s “personal status laws” are not only sexist in their very fabric, but have also caused massive repercussions upon women’s access to other basic human rights and services across the country -including but not limited to citizenship, inheritance, adoption, divorce, and even banking and financial services.
What better occasion than a revolution to take down a system that allows for such obsolete deprivation of women’s rights? And better yet, what better occasion than a revolution to take to the streets for causes which have affected our women for centuries, and have paved the way for their oppression for generations?
With the Lebanese women today proven to be the revolution’s beating heart, frontline, and backline, it comes as no surprise that they earnestly need to put an end, once and for all, to the absolutely obscene laws that insult all moral principles and human consciousness in our country. Among these laws that had racked our society, the just recently abolished “rape law.”
And there are more; laws giving supremacy and immunity to men against their wives, laws victimizing women in favor of their husbands in divorce stances, laws depriving divorced women of their children and alimony, laws of citizenship denying the basic rights to Lebanese children born to foreign fathers, laws allowing child marriage, and on and on.
These are just a “taste” of the atrocities the Lebanese Penal Code currently places upon women in Lebanon, coupled with the very low rates of female representation in government and positions of power. The “Patriarchal System” is entrenched in our sectarian culture – one this revolution is including in its agenda.
The Revolution wants a better Lebanon, and that means a better Lebanon for all Lebanese equally. And let’s start by giving our women their rightful, well-earned place in our national anthem. Lebanon’s history wasn’t made nor created by men alone, neither was our country. Lebanese women have played a major role in it all through, and they still do.
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