Saturday, January 7, 2012

One Week To Go


Nasawiya is calling on all citizens to take the streets this Saturday January 14, 2012 and appeal for the reform of Lebanese Rape Laws, and Marital Rape Laws in particular.

The meeting point will be the Ministry of Interior in Beirut (near Sanayeh Park). The March will start at 12:00 PM all the way to the Parliament Building in Nejmeh Square.

Source: Nasawiya

It would not be the first time responsible citizens, activists and Human Rights supporters mobilize for change in Lebanon. 

Some commenters on Facebook have hinted that such protests have proven to be useless in the past and do not lead to practical reforms. That may be true at this point in time. The government may keep turning a deaf ear to our demands. And it is probably what those in power want. Keep ignoring us until we get tired of ever asking for anything.

However, it is no excuse to just sit idly and wait. Wait for what? For whom? If we do not take charge and try to instigate change in some way, who will?

By sitting on the sidelines, we would be effectively saying "that is not an important issue and we do not care" and more tragically, we would be in actuality revoking any right we have to object or even nag about that matter now or in the future.

Taking a stand is the first step towards actual actions and change.

Source: Nasawiya

If enough people can clearly demonstrate their demands, then it will be much harder for any authority to ignore those demands. And by extension, to remain a legitimate authority. Those in power, whom we have elected, have a duty to listen to what we say and to implement the will of the majority.

And we must grab any opportunity, such as January 14 to show them we are indeed a majority.  

Women Rights are sometimes misunderstood as solely a feminist fight, instigated for and by women. That could not be farther from the truth. Feminist groups may sometimes be the leading forces behind such protests but they are not the only ones concerned with such issues. And feminism is not solely reserved for women either.

Source: Nasawiya

Women Rights, just like Children Rights, Migrants Rights and any other basic Human Rights concern mankind as a whole.

They are rights, but also duties, for all, equally

That is why responsible Lebanese men must also join this cause.

Our culture has been favoring an image of masculinity which is based on the subjugation of women. It is (mis)understood that men can only express their virility and manhood by overpowering women.

That is of course a cruel myth and real men can and must stand against violence in all its forms and express and even empower their selves through respect which is not the same as fear.

Men who do not care to take a stand against rape may not be rapists, may not even be violent, but they would be silently (and even though indirectly) condoning sexual violence. It is as simple as that.

Instead, the entire population should initiate a new culture, one that is built on equality and respect.

A culture that teaches our young daughters, our sisters, our mothers even, that they are entitled to freedom and most importantly safety. Intellectual, spiritual and physical freedom and safety.

We should educate them to understand that violence in any form is unacceptable, ever, and that there could never be any valid reason to defend or excuse abuse. That silence is violence. And that each and every one of us has the duty to fight for these values.

Source: Nasawiya

A woman is not the private property of her father, brother, husband or son. Just like a man is no one else's property.

Freedom and safety. To be. For all.

Old stereotypes that facilitate and even encourage violence must be broken.

Violence, sexual or otherwise, can happen to anyone and both men and woman can be victims of abuse.

And because most offenders are men, they must play an even bigger role in breaking such stereotypes and vicious cycles both by actively taking part in the education of those around them but also by getting involved in political and social protests to defend what is right.

They must not only agree to never commit such violence but also never accept, condone or stay silent about it either. And of course, it is their responsibility to show, prove and challenge other men to recognize that power is not a result of oppression and fear.

As a woman, as the mother of a one-year old daughter, as the mother-to-be of a son who will join us in a few months, I cannot but be concerned.

My daughter cannot ever think it is OK for a woman to be inferior and submissive to a man. My son cannot ever think it is OK to subjugate or overpower women.

They must learn they are both equal under my roof. And under the law. Provided this law is indeed equal to both of them. That is all I can ask for. Pride and honor for all my children.

So it is not only for us we are taking a stand. It is for the generations to come. So that one day, they do not end up looking at us in shame, asking why and how we let this happen.

In a nutshell, by joining the March on Saturday, you will be participating in building a small but significant part for a unified, fair nation.

More details can be found on Nasawiya and Facebook's page for the protest.



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