Statehood & Participation

Articles

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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.

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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.

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

 

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.

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.

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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.

This archive provides a list of all the older articles published under the topic "Statehood and Participation"

Seminar  held 17 April 2014 at Salt Galata in Istanbul, Turkey: "Writing Revolution"  - Voices from Tunis to Damascus with Layla Al Zubaidi, editor of the book and Director of Heinrich Boell Stiftung - South Africa,  Yassin Al Haj Saleh, Samar Yazbek via skype  and Senay Ozden.

Publications

When women in the Middle East make the headlines, it is usually as victims. Disturbing stories of the so called 'Islamic State' (ISIS) kidnapping and raping tens of thousands of women are sadly often the ones which stick in the Western memory. But there is more to women's political lives in the region than their victimisation and oppression. We decided to look to the future, present and past in this issue, in order to present an alternative narrative which challenges these representations of women.

8,331 - is the astonishing number of officially registered civil society organisations in the small state of Lebanon. From HIV prevention over democracy building to environmental protection, almost no topic remains unaddressed. However, from a closer look, the impact yielded by these groups in the compact state in the Middle East often remains somewhat restricted. On the example of gender equality – a topic fervently debated in Lebanon – this paper analyses the internal and external reasons behind this surprising discrepancy and stipulate thought about how to make the Lebanese civil society work more effectively.

The civil society movement during the garbage crisis in Beirut after July 2015.

When garbage started to pile up in the streets of Beirut in summer 2015, a new wave of civil society protests was initiated in the country. Thousands of Lebanese were protesting in the streets – against the garbage situation, corruption of the government, the failure of electing a president, sectarianism and many more issues connected to the crisis of the state and the waste management. More than half a year later, no final solution for the garbage has been found and the political situation has not changed. It is said that the civil society movement failed to put pressure on the government, but also the regime itself is made responsible for the lack of change. For many people it was hard to follow up with what was happening on the streets during the demonstrations and to understand who the protestors were and which goals they tried to achieve. This paper analyzes the dynamics of the movement and tries to explain why not much has changed so far and if there is any chance for civil society movements in Lebanon in the future.

The fight against corruption in the MENA region has gone through several ups and downs. Prevention, awareness and purification campaigns aiming to eradicate endemic or systemic corruption have had very little impact. The political will and the good intentions formulated in speeches and conferences during the democratic transitions referred to as the “Arab Spring” have hardly born results.

Architectural standards recreate gender, racial and class hierarchies, just as local cultural productions reinforce specific notions of women-as-space.

Throughout the countries of the Middle East, citizens view the state with suspicion. State institutions are often experienced as biased towards the powerful, corrupt and predatory, and as a sometimes violent means to safeguard the position of a ruling elite, or the domination of one part of the population over others. Participation, on the other hand, is mostly reduced to elections of questionable representational value, or relies on informal channels and structures and primordial relations, and thus reinforces existing patterns of subordination and power. The program Statehood & Participation supports initiatives that demand accountability and due process and encourage citizens to become aware, active and organized around issues of (gender-) democratic participation, freedom of expression and sustainable development.