Put ‘Minorities in the Middle East’ into any search engine and a huge volume of articles are displayed insinuating that ethnic, tribal, family and sectarian affiliations are the only relevant factors needed to aid an understanding of the politics and societies of the Maghreb and Mashreq. Be it the often praised ‘mosaic’ of multi-ethnic and multi-religious societies, or the explanation and anticipation of actual and potential conflicts in the Middle East, that are shaped by ethnic, tribal or confessional affiliations, the reading has a flavour of exoticism and orientalism. So for this issue of Perspectives, we decided to ask authors in a broader sense about minority-majority relationships that can, but do not necessarily have to, tackle ethnic or confessional subjects.
The Right to Belong to a Political Community: Syrian refugees in Lebanon face difficulties in their legal status and in the possibilities they have to claim rights. The reasons are complex and go far beyond the Lebanese context, however, that most of them are illegal is crucial since revealing themselves to the authority with any claim is a risk. Antonia Klein studied the impact of gaps in international law adapting to the world refugee situation and looks at patterns in Lebanon.
Although differences have been found between Muslims and Christians in Lebanon regarding the acquisition of global consumer culture, the acquisition of such a culture emanating from the West cannot be denied. Thus, the Lebanese consumer culture in comparison with other Middle Eastern countries bears a number of similarities with Western consumerism. This arises the question of whether the trend of sharing, which can be considered as a part of Western consumer culture, has reached Lebanon as well.
On the 6th of May 2018 the Lebanese are voting for their parliament for the first time in 9 years. Elections, supposed to be held in 2013 but postponed repeatedly for security concerns, are held under a new electoral law. There is a huge discontentment with the political system and a high level of political apathy. The garbage crisis of 2015 and the municipal elections of 2016 showed that a huge segment of society does not feel adequately represented by the established political parties. This representation issue has a lot to do with the inherent corruption of the ruling political class and their failure to provide basic public services. Due to the discontent, the 2018 election saw an increase in candidates who do not come from the traditional sectarian parties. These civil society groups, who have their roots in previous protests, try to create a new political discourse around secularism, citizenship and pro-human rights. This paper examines the emergence of the these groups.
In Lebanon, a rapist could avoid criminal prosecution by marrying their victim. That was until August 16th 2017 when the Lebanese Parliament voted on the abolishment of Article 522. Thereby, Lebanon joins a number of other Arab states. Given that marital rape and underage marriage remain legal, it is a benign step towards the protection of women’s rights only, but a primer.
After examinig the current state of agriculture in Lebanon, this article will investigate the implications of the Lebanese food production system and will try to identify the reasons underlying this situation. Finally, the article will shed light on the emergence of a form of ‘alternative agriculture’ and will try to understand whether or not it can be a sustainable solution to assure food security in the country in the face of rapidly advancing climate change.
Countless combinations of tastes and textures shape the rich culinary landscape of the region. Bridging cultural differences and political rifts, food is a common thread for many in the Arabic speaking world. It is an essential part of a nation’s identity and sophisticated recipes are almost an issue of national pride: although most mouth-watering dishes are often the result of a long history of international migration of ingredients.
This paper draws on primary data collected from 15 semi-structured interviews with Syrian organisations and practitioners working on transitional justice. The interviews were conducted by the author via online communication (calls over Skype or WhatsApp) between March and June 2017. The interviewees were selected based on the relevance, access and availability of Syrian activists working on this topic. It is not clear how representative the views expressed here are, but the high level of agreement among interviewees on the subjects discussed suggests that the issues highlighted here merit additional attention from local and international actors working on this topic in Syria.
Islam and Feminism, those two words seem like an oxymoron to most people. But it is not to everyone. Starting in the 90's a number of Islamic feminists from different parts of the world took the stage and made their struggle for women‘s emancipation public. This paper delves into the basic concept of Islamic Feminism and attempts to portray the counter-discourse as it is forming in Lebanon. Ann-Kathrin Steger