Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sad Women’s Day

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Where’s the big demonstration today? And how many of you are going?

Surely something is planned somewhere in Beirut, or anywhere in Lebanon, on International Women’s Day, a march, a sit-in, or a protest of some sort.

Surely Lebanese women are taking the streets in numbers to demand the rights they’ve been denied for so long. Surely they’re going to show the same determination as they do when they fight for a parking space. Surely they’re going to express the same passion for their rights as they do for a local singer performing on French TV.

Speaking of that, to draw such support, this beautiful and talented singer must have taken advantage of this golden opportunity, this vast audience, to raise the voice of Lebanese women on the eve of International Women’s Day.

Surely she chose some catchy feminist song then said a few words on how women in Lebanon are forbidden to pass citizenship to their children. How any moron can impregnate any idiot and create a new Lebanese citizen, when the children of some of the most brilliant minds in the country are denied that right. How domestic violence is a national plague and there’s no real law against it. How there are so few women in political parties, in parliament and in government. How open-minded Lebanon, with only one woman in office, is no better than theocratic Iran.

And look, it’s a beautiful Sunday, sunny and warm. Perfect for taking the streets. Surely Lebanese women are going to bring their family. Make a day of it.

After all, they are the overwhelming majority of the population. Five to one, they say. And they have the right to vote. Imagine the pressure on politicians. Imagine lawmakers finally realizing that their political future depends on women. That they have the power to elect whomever they chose. Make or break political careers.


There’s nothing like that today? No demonstration, no sit-in, no protest? And the local singer just went on French TV with only a bittersweet ballad?

What? Lebanese women rather go to family lunches, to restaurants, to the beach, to the mountain, than to fight for their rights? And all the feminist statuses posted on social media were just for show?

What? They’re as shallow as a children’s swimming pool? And the very few actually doing something are actually frowned upon?

Live love Lebanon, I’m told. Well, it’s becoming harder by the minute.

Sad Women’s Day indeed.

© Claude El Khal, 2015  

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