„To the world, Lebanon is one of the most progressive countries in the Middle East, especially in the area of women’s rights. This is because we are perceived as a democratic country where women have the right to vote, where we can drive, wear bikinis, and work. But, sadly, what the world does not know is that these are the only rights women have in Lebanon, a country that is not in fact a democracy. Rather, it is a sectarian dictatorship built upon the fears of some 18 monotheistic religious groups.
For five years now, the women’s movement in Lebanon has been trying to pass a basic human rights law against gender based violence and to protect women from domestic violence. For five years, the women’s movement has been lobbying for this law to pass, and in this very important moment of history that I know will shape the face of our society for the upcoming years, the proposed law has been distorted and emptied of its content by a committee of MPs who do not believe in the existence of marital rape. While it has not passed yet, and efforts aimed at fixing its final version are still in process, this committee of MPs has ended up allowing religious courts the final word in judging domestic violence cases, thereby taking all of the efforts that went into putting this law together and throwing them in the trash. So we feel we are back again at point zero, where nothing has changed.
The oppression coming from the religious institutions in Lebanon is stopping the women’s movement from progressing. And by religious institutions, I do not only mean the Islamic institutions—the Christian institutions are equal in their power and ability to oppress. Islamic and Christian institutions have nothing more in common than their ability to wield their power to oppress women, and they have done so by blocking the passage of the law on violence against women, by taking over censorship of art and films, by radically prohibiting abortion and finding other ways to oppress our bodies and sexualities. These are only a few things; I can assure you the list is much longer.“
* Racism and segregation at Lebanese beaches (Jadaliyya)
* Civil servants go in strike in Lebanon (Ya Libnan)
* EDL’s part-timers step up campaign, begin hunger strike (The Daily Star)
„“Al-muyawimoun,” the part-time laborers at the Electricite du Liban, are determined not to abandon protests until their demand for permanent employment is realized. In an unprecedented escalation, the workers embarked on a hunger strike Monday morning. If it goes ahead as planned, up to 15 workers could join a five-person group that have already started the fast.“
* Lutte des journaliers de l’EDL au Liban (Solidarite Ouvriere)