Archive: Statehood & Participation

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On Europe's beaches, women are requested to show more skin, on Lebanese beaches, men are requested to cover up more. What in Germany is considered to be just normal swimming trunks is considered inappropriate in Lebanon.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

Read the full Article in KOHL: A JOURNAL FOR BODY AND GENDER RESEARCH,VOLUME 1. ISSUE 2, WINTER 2015

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This paper reads Abdellah Taïa’s Salvation Army, a semi-autobiographical film that chronicles the coming of age of a Moroccan boy through its queer affects. 

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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.

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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.

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To be arrested is the worst thing that could happen to you in Syria. No matter how you die – the main thing is not to die this way – that is what most Syrians will tell you.

The call is now open submissions for the third issue of Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, slated for publication in June 2016. Young activists, independent researchers, graduate students and fresh graduates are particularly encouraged to apply. We also welcome submissions from seminal contributors in the field.

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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. 

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

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The Lebanese Penal Code invokes “nature” in order to justify the persecution of homosexuality. Indeed, nature seems to have an undeniable authority. In Beirut, civil society actors now questioned this paradigm and launched an international and pluri-disciplinary inquiry on the multiple facets of the concept of nature.

The Heinrich Böll Stiftung cordially invites you to the launching of

The Third Circle

by Nancy Naous and Wael Koudaih

June 5, 2015 at the Sunflower Theatre, Beirut

Doors open at 8PM / Performance starts at 9PM, and lasts 50 minutes.

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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.

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When it comes to electing a President, March 14 and March 8, remain divided over a consensual candidate but both proponents and opponents are comparatively fine with reaping the benefits of renewing their parliamentary mandate. What might sound as if it was a headline from a satire magazine, for the Lebanese is a frustrating reality.

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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.

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.

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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.

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The LGBT community in Lebanon has made important gains, but continued abuses remind us that there is much more to be done.

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“No construction or any other permit is being or will be sought in the foreseeable future as far as I am aware,” said a representative of the majority land holders. But despite the new apparent roadblock to any development, there’s also no plans to turn the land over to the public.

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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.

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Lebanon is searching a new President - so far, no solution seems to be in sight. What does it mean for the country, and how can civil society support the process?

Translated from the Arabic by Robin Moger.

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.

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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.

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"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."

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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".

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

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April 24, 2013 When the nationality Law was drawn up in the 1920s the women’s movement was fighting to eradicate illiteracy among women; today, the universities throng with excellent female students of whom Lebanon is proud. Why then bury our heads in the sands of the past and claim that “the higher interests of the state” bar them from one of the basic rights of citizenship?

March 13, 2013 In the early 2000, the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action, CRTD.A, and its network of feminist allies in the Arab region identified the denial of Arab women’s right to nationality to be a resilient form of state driven discrimination against women. How this reality changed during the last decade and what are the needed actions?

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The issue of quotas has been subject to a long debate in the last years. contributing to this rich and important debate, Barbara Unmüßig explains how quotas are proven to be a successful tool for full equal political and economic participation.

In the summer of 2012, The People Want Reform… In Qatar, Too was published in Beirut. The book which includes 11 contributions from different Qatari writers and academics was coordinated and edited by Dr. Ali Khalifa Al Kuwari, an academic researcher, writer and thinker. The following is an interview conducted with Dr. Al Kuwari on the background of compiling the book and the demands for reform in Qatar.

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This article takes a different approach to electoral law, re-examining the critical questions being asked in an effort to shed light on the challenges confronting the process of reform in general, and electoral reform in particular.

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On Saturday May 12, a young man from Tripoli Lebanon, named Shadi el Mawlawi received an important phone call. The events triggered by this call ended up rocking Tripoli and the rest of Lebanon for several weeks.

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Beneath layers of complexity and political wrangling, we should not forget that the Syrian revolutionaries are fighting for their basic rights to dignity, equality and a respectable standard of living. More than a political decision, supporting them is first and foremost a humanitarian and moral duty.

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Despite endemic discrimination and oppression, Syria's Kurds have been hesitant to join the Syrian uprising against the Assad regime. A larger Kurdish participation would significantly impact the course of events, but the various Kurdish political actors have had diverging reactions to the revolution, the role of Turkey and the fate of Kurdish interests in a free Syria.

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assin al-Haj Saleh, dissects the functioning, motivations, funding and ideology of the Syrian 'shabiha', from their appearance in the 1970s until their reemmergence during the revolution. Saleh shows their central role in maintaining a regime in power that has long lost touch with people’s interests, morality and reality.

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This study attempts to understand various issues connected with the political and media discourse, as well as the political performance and achievements, of the Syrian opposition. Moving beyond the various flaws that plague the opposition, it seeks to sketch out possible alternatives that could allow these political forces to elevate their discourse and performance to levels that benefit the revolution.