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
The garbage crisis in the context of which Beirut was haunted by bad smell in the past year, is still awaiting a satisfying solution. For the time being, it is not that hot and there is an enjoyable change of air in Beirut, so it is not that obvious.
Changing a crooked system from within might seem like a desperate effort, especially when the same political actors had been in power for over 20 years facilitating corruption and clientelism. Yet, it is a task that the civil platform Beirut Madinati took upon itself when they ran in the 2016 Lebanese municipal elections for the Beirut city council. Although they were not able to win a seat due to the Lebanese winner-takes-all electoral system, their high electoral success caused a massive uproar, also among the established political parties. For this research, a series of interviews has been conducted with members of Beirut Madinati in order to assess the reasons for their success, public reactions and considerations for their further proceedings.
The Dalieh of Raouche Watch Day, organized in cooperation with the Heinrich Boell Foundation, is part of a larger project aiming at celebrating Beirut’s natural and built heritage. The project builds on activists effort by the Dalieh Campaign since 2013 to protect the Dalieh of Raouche, located on the Western coast of Beirut, as a site of exceptional ecological, geological and biodiversity value, archaeological and cultural value and the only remaining natural, publicly accessible landscape in Beirut.
With the development of the Arab Spring across the neighboring Arab nations, such as in Syria and Egypt, and with the inescapable consequences and repercussions on the Lebanese political scene, a new wave of protests against the Lebanese politicians has arisen, particularly following the government’s failure to resolve the mounting garbage crisis.
One of the most interesting aspects of these demonstrations is the involvement of numerous Lebanese artists who are using the protests as a space to address their political views. For this purpose, they use different kinds of artistic expressions, such as music, paintings, graffiti etc. in order to convey messages to a larger public and to attract a bigger number of protestors and activists.
One year ago, Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s Beirut office did a research on the European Neighbourhood Policy and its perception in Lebanon. Views from the region on the performance of the European Union are important and it is particularly beneficial to see how experts and activists on the ground perceive the impact of it and take their recommendations on what could be improved and how. Therefore this year, we conducted interviews with a number of researchers and practitioners in Lebanon on specific issues – discussing with them specific findings of the EU’s own progress report and the latest press release of December 2015.
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.