Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘xenophobic mentality

Man’s Lebanon? Gino can’t cool off

Yesterday, and for the third consecutive week, a third young mother was beaten to death by her husband.

I posted one of Gino’s angry articles last week as the “Sports” minister promised to “investigate” the 3-year old semi-nude photo-shoot of Olympics Champion Jackie Chamoun on a Lebanese ski resort https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/lebanon-we-are-all-jackie-chamoun-chirine-rasha-kahil/.

“While sitting in the smartly decorated, adorable apartment of Dounia in the Upper West Side of Mahattan, I sigh with relief that I’m not in Lebanon.

Yet I cannot but let my thoughts drift away to that hellish tiny piece of 10452 km2 divided land, even as I gaze up at the skyscrapers I called home last year and hope to call home permanently some day soon” wrote Gino.

It’s a Man’s Lebanon

 posted this Feb. 17, 2014

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I grew up in a family where my sister and I were never treated differently.

My mom is a top-notch executive at a multinational, and my sister does psychology work in places That even I would think twice before visiting.

My relationships were never the stereotypical man and woman, even though some old-fashioned gentlemanly gestures like opening the door for my date still survive.  (Good custom Gino)

Many of my mentors are strong, brilliant women, like Joumana Haddad.

What I’m trying to say is that the machismo so characteristic of Lebanese men (in relation to other men? Lambs when confronted with women)), was never an issue for me, and the problems associated with it seem incomprehensible most of the time.

During the past few years, I’ve campaigned with NGOs like KAFA for women’s rights (Enough is enough) constantly. From protests, to lobby groups, to naming and shaming the MPs responsible and the legal headache that comes along with that, I saw how what all the amazing people on board had worked so hard for get sabotaged and gutted by dirty MPs and disgusting religious men.

With only minor victories, like eradicating the barbaric “honor crimes” section of the penal code, it’s frustrating and depressing that women in Lebanon are so lacking in terms of human and civil rights in 2014.

Unchecked Domestic Violence

In the past two weeks, 2 women have been beaten to death by barbaric husbands, and a third committed suicide because of the hardships her spouse put her through.

Add those 3 to 24 other innocent women killed by domestic violence and rape in Lebanon since 2010. What do you get?

An acquittal of one murdered woman’s husband, who never even stood before a judge before being let off the hook and allowed to be the guardian of her 3 beautiful children.

What happened? Nothing.

The pro-women’s rights movement in Lebanon is always dismissed by the macho as “a reason for a woman to get her husband into trouble by lying about being abused.”

You’d think that absurd excuse would be rare, but I’ve heard it myself from several people, including women, on more occasions than I’d care to admit.

No Citizenship

A Lebanese mother cannot pass down her nationality to her kids.

This archaic law was put in place to allay the fears some Lebanese had that Palestinians would seek to “normalize” their presence in Lebanon by marrying Lebanese women. As if a Palestinian woman marrying a Lebanese man is any different. Disgusting, sexist and misogynistic law derived from a morbidly xenophobic mentality.

Blatant Racism

As if the citizenship “provision” wasn’t bad enough, migrant workers in Lebanon get their fare share of abuse and oppression.

Whilst 27 Lebanese women have been killed in the past 4 years, one domestic worker is killed or commits suicide in Lebanon ever single week. That’s over 200 innocent domestic workers in the same amount of time.

If it’s not physical assault and rape, it’s modern-day slavery-style labor, with passports withheld and doors locked on them when the employers leave home.

And if not that, visitors from countries perceived as “domestic workers” by Lebanese, such as Sri Lanka, India, the Philippines and Ethiopia, are treated like second-class citizens and human beings. Like denied entry to venues, racial slurs and governmental harassment by police and at the customs control area in the airport, gives a horribly racist and backwards image of Lebanon.

Zero Empowerment

Government cabinets usually have no women. Our parliament is only 3% female.

The only reason women were incorporated into the police force is to help them search women wearing hijab (Head and face cover).

Paperwork in many companies and most governmental institutions need the husband’s oversight or signature. The list goes on and on.

The idea is, women aren’t as empowered as men when it comes to elected office and high-profile careers or even startups.

Hyper-sexualized but Sex is Taboo

Fake boobs, fake lips, fake ass cheeks, fake heels, fake brands, fake eyelashes and nails.

Women are expected to dress provocatively, with cleavage on the verge of bursting and heels more fitting for a corner hooker, you’d think these girls are getting some action.

If they do though, they become “damaged material” to other guys and girls, “ruining the honor” of her family.

Heck, even posing topless like Jackie Chamoun can get you in a ton of trouble. So, in a hyper-sexually suggestive society, being promiscuous if you’re female is still very much frowned upon. Or not even promiscuous, just sexually active, is something many women would rather keep secret.

Women should be able to do whatever they want with their bodies. They aren’t the property of their dads or brothers, they’re their own people, and in Lebanon, many men, and a sizable amount of women still refuse to accept that.

I Wouldn’t Wan’t My Daughter or Wife in Lebanon

I’ve dated a Korean girl, and an Indian girl in my life.

I would tell them stories about Beirut and Lebanon. How epic it was.

How fun life there can be. But deep down, I knew, but never told them, that I couldn’t invite them over to Lebanon.

Imagine going to a posh club and being denied entry because a half-wit baboon bouncer thought they were my “maid”.

Imagine a bunch of drunk kids making fun of us while walking down a street. The humiliation would be unbearable. Not the humiliation of dating someone from another race. That’s something to be proud of, proof you love someone for who they are, not what backwards society thinks they should be.

But the humiliation of being Lebanese, of fellow countrymen treating the women I date with such racist, supremacist, all-out stupid attitudes. I want them to keep the good idea of Lebanon and the Lebanese I hopefully portrayed to them, not the one it really is.

I’d never want my daughter born in Lebanon.

Imagine she dates a douche-bag and becomes a social outcast after he tells everyone they slept together (which should be normal for any consenting young adult).

Imagine she marries a sick bastard who beats and rapes her, but the priest or sheikh won’t allow her to divorce him, and the state sits and watches idly as she gets murdered by a testosterone-crazed macho man.

Imagine my grand-kids being denied a Lebanese citizenship if my daughter marries a foreigner. Imagine the humiliation of being a Lebanese father.

I’d never want my daughter born in Lebanon.

Not as long as we have presidents, prime ministers, speakers of parliament, ministers and religious men like the ones we have now.

Not as long as some cabdrivers pay a migrant worker 5,000 LBP (less than $3) after raping her. Not when people still differentiate between a man’s rights and a woman’s rights.

Not when many women accept that as their fate and do nothing to help the movement for their civil and human rights.

What Can Be Done?

  • Mandatory Civil Marriage (because the people who do it willingly don’t need it as much as those forced into religious marriages)
  • Abolishing religious personal status laws (so we level the playing field)
  • Severe punishment of men who rape or abuse women (serious jail time)
  • Draft laws that sanctify a woman as equal, not complimentary to men (this isn’t Kandahar/Saudi/Iran)
  • The right to pass down citizenship (Cut out racism and genders differences in our laws)
  • Focus on these issues instead of the ideological wars everyone is so preoccupied with.

How?

Force our MPs to vote for it. Name and shame every abuser of women’s rights.

Eject religious authorities from the bedroom and club.

So

Lebanon is a man’s world, and it is one of the many reasons why I utterly hate it at the moment, and feel the need for change more than ever.

Note: Read more on that topic of racism behavior https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/racism-behavior-on-many-levels-in-lebanon-high-and-middle-classes-communities/


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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