Archive: Statehood & Participation

Are the Lebanese Happy? Corruption and Resilience in the Light of the Parliamentary Elections

Lebanon, often described as the Paris or Switzerland of the Middle East, and still considered safer and more stable than most Arab surrounding countries, is constantly under threat of falling apart due to its political instability and corrupt politicians. Although many Lebanese have lost their faith in their political leaders, it seems that the politicians themselves are eager to go through with the parliamentary elections. The only plausible explanation is that the politicians are confident that their supporters will eventually give them their votes, perhaps for lack of better alternatives.

By Noor Baalbaki

Sex, Desire, and Intimacy

The sixth issue of Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, "Sex, Desire, and Intimacy," vol. 3, no. 2 is now Online.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Take on Women’s Rights: Reading between the Lines?

As a religion, Islam is often accused of discriminatory practices towards women. Whether this is true or not cannot be easily determined. On the one hand, there are indeed many verses in Qur’an which assert that women are not equal to men in their human and social status , or in matters of inheritance , court testimony , polygamy, and personal cleanliness . According to Qur’an, on many matters women are not permitted to have a voice - this is particularly the case in sexual relationships. On the other hand, there are other verses in Qur’an which suggest the opposite is true. These verses advocate for equality and harmony between men and women in an Islamic society.

By Wael Sawah

The ‘Female Quota’ in Lebanon: A Temporary Solution to a Chronic Political Problem

Women have long been subjected to political and social marginalization in the Land of the Cedars. Ever since 1952, the year in which women obtained the right to vote in Lebanon, the proportion of women occupying parliamentary seats has remained exceptionally low. Despite frequent assertions by Lebanon’s male politicians that women constitute half of society and therefore are entitled to have a say in the way the country is run, at present their political representation falls far below acceptable limits.

By Walid Hussein

Khadija, do not close the door! - Launch of perspectives #11

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung Middle East has the pleasure to invite you to the launch of the 11th issue of Perspectives:
“Khadija, do not close the door!” - Women in Peace, in War and in Between
Wednesday, December 14, 2016, 7 pm
Dar El-Nimer for Arts & Culture, Clemenceau, Beirut


Voting irregularities during student elections at universities

Now you can watch a video created by The Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) in collaboration with Heinrich Boell Stiftung-Middle East showcasing some common voting irregularities during student elections at universities. The audiovisual was represented through the lens of a college student, who was continuously getting bombarded by campaigners trying to enforce these irregularities on him; namely coercion, intimidation, bribes, harassment, inaccessibility to the polling station, and lack of privacy in the secret ballot.

Civic Charter

Repression of civil society is on the rise all over the world. The charter aims to support civil society organizations as activists throughout the world, to advocate for their rights and freedom of action, and to demand government guarantees.

Bacchus and Bombs

While wandering around in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, Luna Ali reflects in four versatile sections on two important stages of her life. People, flavours and places make Luna look back into her past and different worlds of thought.

By Luna Ali

Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis

Roua Seghaier reviews Angela Davis’ "Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement." She highlights the intersections of history, memory, resistance, and movement building in times of violence. "International solidarity is not only possible, it is already showing signs of its emergence. Davis explains that the Ferguson movement has understood that it does not need the traditional charismatic Black male leadership. Without romanticizing the movement, she explains that agency shall not be limited to leaders, centering collectivity at the core of change instead."

By Roua Seghaier

Beyond the Logic of State Protection: Feminist Self-Defense in Cairo after the January 25 Revolution

In the aftermath of the January 25 Revolution, self-defense tactics became popular against the fear of disorder and the increase of public sexual violence in Cairo. In this article, I examine a number of examples of self-defense invoked by public and private actors after the 2011 Revolution, and differentiate between two types of practices. The first, articulated around the right of legitimate self-defense recognized in the Egyptian penal code, aim to maintain or to restore the established order through the identification of an Other that embodies a threat to the self, property or community. In contrast to this, radical modes of self-defense endeavor to subvert the given order by disrupting the gendered logic of masculinist and state protection and promoting horizontal relations of care and solidarity. Drawing on data generated through interviews with members of the initiative OpAntiSH and the collective WenDo, this article explores the importance of strategies and communities of autonomous self-defense in Egypt in relation to legal and policy measures adopted against sexual harassment by El-Sisi’s regime since 2014.

By Susana Galán

Revisiting Community Organizing and National Liberation in the Saharawi Feminist Politics

This paper examines how Saharawi feminist political praxis shapes community organizing and national liberation politics. I attempt to disrupt the binaries of national liberation and freedom through a reading of the political and temporal context of the engagements of National Union of Saharawi Women feminists in the refugee camps, in Tindouf, Algeria. From ethnographic encounters, the paper aims to challenge the linearity of violence in armed conflict by looking into nuances and politics of feminists who challenge the equation of national liberation as state-building, and simultaneously argue for more just and inclusive forms of organizing for the Saharawi community. This research looks at Saharawi feminist politics and visions for the future that are vigilantly articulated from within militarized institutions and protracted armed conflict.

By Kenza Yousfi

To Be the Daughter of a Lebanese Woman

On the day they removed her name completely from my official papers, my existence was transferred from her “guardianship” to the “guardianship” of my employer, whose name is on my residence card. Struck with fierce bitterness and sadness, I felt as though I had been shattered, like our house. My mother said to me: “It is as though I didn’t give birth to you, or as if I am not Lebanese. It is as though I mean nothing at all.”

By Sahar Mandour

From Ideology to Dogma? A Discussion About Femen, Aliaa Elmahdy and Nudity in the Arab World

Looking at Aliaa Elmahdy’s act of protest through posting naked photos of herself on her blog, this paper studies the debates that followed. I complicate the juxtaposing between Femen’s tactics and Elmahdy’s act of nudity through engaging in questions of feminism/colonialism and feminism/conservatism. By examining articles that were written about Femen, nudity, Muslim women, and body politics, I show that the debates ran the risk of stabilizing feminism within static dogmatic beliefs.


By Maya El Helou

Lebanese hip-hop artists (and everybody else) rapping about corruption

Even though the diversity in Arabic-language hip-hop might make generalizations difficult, journalists seem to find it fairly easy to celebrate the music’s role in the perceived Arab march for Western democratic values. Titles such as “Is hip hop driving the Arab Spring?” from the BBC, and “Palestinians In Lebanon Find A Political Tool In Hip-Hop” from NPR, are indicative of the potential attributed to this musical genre.

By Muneira Hoballah

The Generator Mafia Shatters the Citizens’ Dream in Zahle

For those who take for granted a twenty-four hour supply of electricity, the suffering of the Lebanese may be hard to comprehend. Yet, interruption of power brings about daily suffering in households, not to mention the adverse effect on the environment caused by generators which spread their deadly fumes in densely populated areas.

By Noor Baalbaki

Lebanese mothers give their children life, but not nationality

The Lebanese constitution stipulates that all citizens, male and female, are equal before the law in terms of their rights and duties. Karima Chebbo, who runs the legal unit of the My Nationality is a Right for Me and My Family campaign acknowledges that the reality is very different and that the country’s laws contain aspects that are unfair and inequitable, shedding light on the situation of Lebanese mothers married to foreigners being denied the right to pass on their nationality to their families. 

By Maya Jabaei

Timebox Beirut

Please join the artists behind TIMEBOX on a walking tour of the 10 TIMEBOXes around Beirut. 

June 6, 2015
Starting at Saifi Village Ferrari showroom
TIMEBOX is running through October 1st, 2015

TIMEBOX Beirut is an installation by Razan AlSalah and Lotfi AlSalah, produced in cooperation with Heinrich Böll Stiftung - Middle East

The Right to Food Safety: Rights-Based Dialogue as a Springboard towards State-Building

Departing completely from the norm, Abou Faour published lists of actual businesses that have persisted in producing or selling food unfit for consumption. Providing citizens with information that would allow them to avoid threats was the least that the state can do, given that its duty to protect them against such threats was a difficult task in the face of powerful vested interests.

By Nizar Saghieh

The Magic of Beirut

There’s not a city in the world without its own contradictions, dynamism and a spirit which certain visitors can feel, and which it emits for some of its residents to reach out and grasp. But Beirut is a special and unique case. The Lebanese capital, growing ever more densely populated thanks to internal migration and the great Syrian exodus has become the locus for a staggering intensification of these contradictions, dynamics and differences.

By Ziad Majed

Grapevine... from root to fruit

Heinrich Böll Foundation Launches latest issue of Perspectives on Rumours.

Please join us to the launch of this issue in the presence of Acting Director Mr Bauke Baumann on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at the Crypte, Saint Joseph Chruch, Monot Street, Ashrafieh.

A parliamentary extension… Or security for Lebanon?

At least two days before the seventy-first celebration of Lebanese independence on November 22, patriotic responsibility dictates that, if parliamentary elections have not been held, then a law must be in place extending the term of the current parliament for the second time in succession, lest Lebanon—on its Independence Day—be transformed into a series of tribal states instead of the state of tribes it is today.

By Ahmed Zein

The Elevation of Salafi Thought into an Ideology

The strictness of the Salafi school gives us cause for concern about the way in which they deal with their rivals, not perhaps at the present time when they are powerless, but when Salafis hold power and reveal their true face. Jihadi Salafism holds views obviously hostile to others and imposes its will on them through the power of the weapon. However, it tries to adapt to the circumstances it finds itself in by crafting new methods to handle the other and pretending to be considerate. In this study, Sheikh Ibrahim Ramadan Mardini has investigated more throughly salafism, its different schools in addition to its political thought and political agendas.

By Ibrahim Ramadan Al Mardini


The awarding of the FIFA World Cup to Brazil came along with the promise of social and economic benefits for the country. In contrary to that, Brazil finds itself in a discussion of the real consequences of the mega-event for society.

Freedom of the Press: Film "Street Music" wins Samir Kassir Award 2014

In his short film “Street Music” the Syrian director Orwa al-Meqdad reflects on the antagonism between music as a weapon and music as a means of comfort – a contradictory perspective that mirrors the every so often “schizophrenic” daily life Syrians are subjected to in exile.

By Sarah Schwahn

Redefining “Sexual Intercourse Contrary to Nature”

"On January 28, 2014, Naji al-Dahdah, a magistrate in Jdeideh el-Metn, Lebanon, issued a ruling acquitting a transexual individual accused of engaging in sexual relations with men. The ruling carries great significance, not just for the legal status of transexuals, but also because of its implications for interpreting Article 534 of the Lebanese Penal Code."

By Youmna Makhlouf

Change in flavor

What happened to the women in the Syrian revolution? In the beginning, the strong participation of women in Syria's protests could not be overlooked. We continue hearing some significant female voices. But Wael Sawah writes, militarization has meant a "change of flavour".


By Wael Sawah

Women’s political participation in Lebanon

Gender discrimination stemming from family, sect, and state in Lebanon inhibits women’s full and equal public participation and places them at a vastly inferior starting position in politics.


By Doreen Khoury

A Long Prepared Loss of Human Capital

How was the relation between the educational institutions and the Baath regime and what is the current situation after two years of the Syrian revolution’s breakout?


By Maher Masoud