Beirut on Bike Article Suicidal or practicing for the Tour de France? Sara Stachelhaus is sharing her stories about the underprivileged cyclist minority on their every day adventures through Beirut. By Sara Stachelhaus Kohl Winter 2018 issue is out! Journal "Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research" has recently launched its new issue Vol. 4 No. 2 | Winter 2018 under the title "Centralizing Reproductive Justice." Children’s Games in Tunisia – Happy Memories Mahdi Abdel Jawad, Professor of Arabic Civilization and Literature, delves into childhood memories and games overcoming social borders. By Mahdi Abdel Jawad In the Box Article An exchange which occurs whenever I encounter new people goes as follows, ‘But you don’t speak with an Aleppian accent,’ to which I respond, ‘My accent is Christian Aleppian.’ This sums up what I like to term ‘my life in the bubble’ or ‘the box’, a state where sectarian identity takes on specific traits, as particular as the way in which certain letters and words are pronounced. I come from a traditional, middle-class Christian Aleppian family, and for most of my life have lived in the ‘Christian’ neighbourhood of al-Aziziya, where the majority of residents belong to the same sectarian and economic class in Aleppo. By Marcell Shehwaro Wigs against the Patriarchy Article How the Lebanese Drag Queen scene is fundamentally challenging heteronormative structures and traditional role models despite the legal system and a lacking tolerance of diversity. While social and familial pressures prevent living out one's identity, Drag shows create a platform for individuality, diversity and alternative family structures- because sometimes you have to choose your own family! By Inga Hofmann “Tampons? That’s nothing for girls!” Blog There's nothing that is not possible and available in Beirut but asking for tampons, the whole city breaks into cold sweat. Mirna El Masri documents her tour through shops and pharmacies of Beirut. By Mirna El Masri On Incarceration, Surveillance, and Policing - The New Issue of Kohl is Out! Announcement The seventh issue of Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, "On Incarceration, Surveillance, and Policing," vol. 4, no. 1, Summer 2018 is now online. Centralizing Reproductive Justice Call for Papers Submissions are now open for the joint issue of Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research and The A Project, slated for publication in December 2018. All you need to know about the Lebanese parliamentary elections Dossier It has been nearly a decade since Lebanese citizens last had the opportunity to go to the polls and cast their votes. The current parliament had been extending its mandate on three separate occasions mainly due to several reasons starting from not agreeing on a new electoral law to the ongoing war in neighboring Syria. Finally, in summer of 2017 a proportional law was agreed on and elections finally will be held on May 6 of this year. With elections approaching we have put together this dossier that would help the voter keep track of everything they need to know about the elections. Are the Lebanese Happy? Corruption and Resilience in the Light of the Parliamentary Elections Article 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 Kohl upcoming issue: On Incarceration, Surveillance, and Policing Call for Papers Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research invites submissions for its seventh "On Incarceration, Surveillance, and Policing" slated for publication in June 2018. The Deadline for submissions is February 18, 2018. Sex, Desire, and Intimacy Journal The sixth issue of Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, "Sex, Desire, and Intimacy," vol. 3, no. 2 is now Online. Kohl new Issue: Gendering Migration The Fifth issue of Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research, "Gendering Migration" is out. The Federal Elections for the German Parliament On September 24, federal elections for the German parliament will be held. Heinrich Boell's Paris office summarizes the process in this animation video 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 Between Trauma and Resistance: Feminist Engagement with the Arab Spring These days, to ask what effect the Arab Spring had on women is to pose a question which seems ridiculous, irrelevant almost, given the bloody and brutal outcomes of revolutions in countries such as Syria, Libya and Yemen, and the ongoing repercussions of the uprising in Egypt, which leave no room for doubt that the dreams of the millions who demonstrated in Egypt's Tahrir Square in 2011 chanting ‘Bread, Liberty and Social Justice’ and calling for ‘Dignity and Freedom’ widespread in Syria, Libya and Yemen, have become terrifying nightmares which have touched on the lives of all members of society. But the progressive feminist movement across the Middle East is recovering from a particularly traumatic ride, and are finding they are being forced to fight again on issues which were on the table at the very birth of the movement and were felt by many to have been reconciled. By Honaida Ghanim In Order to Be Taken Seriously Immediately after we’d finished discussing the challenges facing Aleppo in front of a large audience I was asked by a friend of mine, a leading figure in the Syrian civil society movement, how I was able to appear so unmoved, without anger or emotion, even when talking about the most painful experiences of my life and my losses, such as my mother being martyred; the interrogations I had faced, or other similar incidents, experienced by all Syrian activists such as myself. Sometimes, he said, he was afraid he might one day break down on stage and they’d say ‘Those Syrians! Babies. So emotional!’ By Marcell Shehwaro Skin-Deep Only: Troubling Hypocrisies in the Ba’ath Party’s Approach to Women’s Rights and Secularism in Syria The Ba’ath regime in Syria has never truly resolved the national debate over how to maintain the secular nature of the state. Constant assertions of its secularism in official and media discourses are at odds with the actions of the state and the manner in which the country is run. The Ba’ath Party itself, which has ruled the country for the past half century, pretends to be proud of its secular constitution; however, the party has never managed to persuade anyone that it is a genuinely secular organisation. In the 1980s, while militiamen loyal to the current president’s uncle, Rifaat al-Assad, were ripping the hijab from the heads of women in the capital, Syrian television continued to broadcast the Friday prayers every week. In the 1990s, even as thousands of Islamists crowded into the regime’s prisons, the number of mosques was on the rise. State security-run al-Assad Institutes for Qur’an Memorization were opening their doors to new students - a large proportion of which are now in 2016 fighting with Islamist groups against the regime in Damascus. By Yahya Alous 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 BetweenWednesday, December 14, 2016, 7 pmDar 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 Naked legs beyond good and evil? Burkini vs. Speedos 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. By Brandie Podlech 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. Read the full Article in KOHL: A JOURNAL FOR BODY AND GENDER RESEARCH,VOLUME 1. ISSUE 2, WINTER 2015 By Maya El Helou A Muffled Scream: Queer Affects in Abdellah Taïa’s Salvation Army 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. By Dina Georgis 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 The Malice of Power: Arrests in Syria as Part of a Politico-Economic Rationale 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. By Ansar Jasim 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, 2015Starting at Saifi Village Ferrari showroomTIMEBOX 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 Redefining Nature: impressions from a colloquium on the connection between nature and law 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. By Alisha Molter and Magdalena Ries The launching of The Third Circle - by Nancy Naous and Wael Koudaih - June 5, 2015 at the Sunflower Theatre, Beirut 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. 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 A double dilemma in Lebanon: two postponed elections 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. By Noor Baalbaki 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.