In 2014, Nadine Moussa emerged as the first Lebanese female presidential candidate to challenge the male-dominated political scene.
Not only was she the first Lebanese woman to run for president, but she was also the first candidate to strive to change the presidential electoral process into a democratic one.
“It has never been a real democratic process, but more a medieval approach of 5 or 6 chiefs of clans waiting for signals from foreign powers to agree on appointing a new president,” Moussa told The961.
“To break the tradition, I announced my candidacy publicly (and not behind the scenes) with a vision, program, and pledges to the Lebanese people. I requested an open discussion within the parliament of my presidential program that will be broadcasted live for the people to know who are the candidates and what they stand for.”
“I openly challenged other competitors – declared and undeclared- for a televised public debate as it happens in real democracies… Needless to say, none of them accepted the challenge,” she recalled.
On misogyny in Lebanon’s politics
When asked about her opinion of Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi’s controversial misogynistic comment that women cannot be prime ministers, she said, “I really believe that Fahmi’s statement does not deserve much attention. Because it comes from a typical ‘man of the caves’ who felt no shame in bragging on national TV of his murdering 2 people during the civil war and getting away with it.”
“I do not consider Mr. Fahmi as a role model for a minister, and his kind of species are hopefully about to be soon extinguished,” she said. “I would say however that if potential women ministers or prime ministers will have the same obsolete mentality, well, we don’t want them either in any decision-making position.”
With the upcoming elections set for 2022, we asked Moussa if she sees herself running again, to which she said, “It will depend on the situation of the moment.”
“When I ran for the presidency in 2014, it was for me an everyday battle with several objectives. First, my candidacy aimed to challenge norms and mechanisms, change habits and mentalities, and inspire others to create a better world free of discrimination.”
“This candidacy in itself represented courage and a leap that strives to breach the obsolete political class and break the patriarchal, sectarian, and feudal trait that was incarnated in the political game.”
“I believe these objectives were successfully achieved, only by looking at the October 17 Revolution with Lebanese women of all ages and categories demonstrating real leadership skills and exceptional courage, and with the scene of 2 million citizens standing up as one against the status quo,” she pointed out.
“But as importantly, I also strongly believed -and still do- that Lebanon needs radical change. This objective has not been yet achieved, although partially in the mentalities.”
“So to answer your question, if a renewed candidacy can contribute to advancing the fight for radical change, I will consider it, provided we have the proper, adequate, and necessary tools to win that battle,” she stated.
Today, Moussa is making efforts to form a new Lebanese broadcasting company, TV 17, which takes its name from the October 17 Revolution.
“There is a need for an independent source of information and an alternative to the present system of oligarch-owned television channels has become a national priority,” she said. “Every Lebanese citizen knows that those media outlets manipulate information for their own self-serving purpose.”
Second, she aims to establish an international lobby for Lebanon. “Our diaspora counts millions of devoted patriots and many prominent, well-established, and well-connected Lebanese or of Lebanese origins all over the world, willing to become involved to support the needs and interests of the Lebanese society and to defend the highest interests of our nation. It is high time for our Diaspora to play its essential role in the salvation of their homeland and people,” she issued.
Proposing solutions to form a New Lebanon
In a recent conference for Lebanon organized by the Lebanese Swiss Association, Moussa blasted the current ruling elite and proposed steps as a solution for Lebanon’s crisis that would pave the way to forming a New Lebanon.
First, she called for sanctioning corrupt Lebanese figures and the freezing of their assets held abroad. This is a step that mirrors the calls of the Lebanese community abroad.
Second, she called for the establishment of a temporary United Nations Trusteeship Council for Lebanon with a specific agenda including:
addressing widespread hunger,
helping rebuild key government institutions and the economy,
establishing a special commission against impunity composed of Lebanese judges to prosecute governmental corruption,
to prepare for a transparent electoral process,
and finally, then Lebanon can hold elections for a new Lebanon.
She stressed that this was not a utopian vision and that it has happened in the past, however, it needs hastiness as Lebanon cannot afford to waste more time.