Thursday, 21 March 2013

An open letter

I often wrote you letters that put you in tears, I guess that what I was often good at, words.
You taught me compassion, patience, acceptance…
You taught me to speak my opinion, be what I want to be, openness…
You sacrificed a lot for our sake, but I don’t feel an obligation to repay you.
Whatever you do, you do it because you want to and not to expect something in return.
There is no obligation.
It is mother’s day, and everyone is speaking about what they bought to their mothers.
Some are arguing about if they would buy something to the house or to her personally. How publicity use mother’s day to sell tools for the kitchen and the house, spreading more a specific role for women that I dislike.

I don’t care though now.

I am ashamed.

You called me and said: “I need you to keep on fighting and stay patient”
You have told me "If i ever get sick, I rather die than be a burden on you" (the idea that most parents feel like a burden on their kids, kills me).
I was sitting there near my aunt who was telling her daughter “I don’t revolt because I have a family to protect, by the law I can lose my kids and would not be able to be near you and I would rather bear all the pain and be near you”.

I kissed my aunt and told her I was sorry, I also kissed my grandmas and my mother and I apologized.

Do you understand?

Our mothers aren’t only facing the world and all its hardship but they are also facing the laws against them or lack of the laws.

It is not about women and men, but when a law favors a gender on another, it freaking is.

They can’t protect themselves or children, they can’t give their nationality to their kids, they can’t leave the country with the kids without a permission from the husband, and don’t forget about all the bullshit they have to endure because of all the gender related expectations and Do and don’t.

Every minister or a person with authority who stood as an obstacle to provide women their basics rights, go wish your mother a happy mother’s day.

A happy day.

I can’t, I feel ashamed.

Friday, 8 March 2013

A secular dream

On Tuesday evening, hundreds of secular-minded individuals, and myself among them, decided to protest outside Lebanon’s parliament against the Orthodox law and the latest decision to expand the parliamentary seats from 128 to 134.
The draft specifies that each sect in Lebanon should vote for its own representatives. Shia voters can only vote for Shia candidates, Sunnis for Sunnis, Maronites for Maronites, and so on.
As if the civil war was not enough to demonstrate the disadvantages of the confessional system.
As if all the years of discrimination, corruption, and being seen and judged as a sect instead of a human – in government jobs, schools, and work places – was not enough to awaken people.
Proponents of the orthodox law claim that it is intended to give minorities a voice in the elections.
What about the ones who do not want to be represented by a sect or religion?

The orthodox law does not provide the minority a voice; such laws based on confessionalism create minorities instead of abolishing it.
They create gaps between the people and emphasis on the philosophy of the “other”, classifying what is different than us as the other and most of the time classifying it as a “danger”. It brings our differences into spotlight instead of emphasizing what we have in common.
People often ask me: “ hasn't the confessional system in Lebanon always existed?”. My answer would bluntly be: “Have you heard about the appeal to tradition (a common fallacy)?" Just because it has been going on for years it doesn't mean it is right. The confessional system does nothing but create a destructive cycle, in which the authorities sow seeds of fear into the minds of the citizens, making them fear and hate the other…only to later impose suggestions like the orthodox law, which the politicians present as a source of salvation and protection (an illusion of protection), but which only intensifies sectarian division.

Setting aside the aforementioned sectarian issues, how about the cost of adding 6 new ministers?
The new MPs will cost the public an additional 5% for their salaries alone. A country such as Lebanon with a population about 4 Million would never need 134 to represent them: this is absurd.
Still here we are paying for the quantity instead of the quality.

Lebanese should be aware that when we ask to be represented as humans – as a part of the country as a whole, with a clear agenda, and with tools and laws to hold each minister accountable to his or her actions and work – we have nothing to fear.

We are already misrepresented when our screams of hunger aren’t being heard, when we have barely any decent opportunity to have a good education without sinking in loans, when we are yearning for the basic human rights, when our fantasy goes as far as having 24 hour electricity and a good healthcare system.
Eventually, If hunger and disenfranchisement don’t distinguish between one sect and another, why would you?

I don’t care about the candidate’s religion, sect, or gender… so long as this candidate will do his/her job as a minister.