Thursday, June 18, 2009

Score one for the ladies!

I think it would be a huge exaggeration to say that women have full rights and are treated as equal and up to par with their male counterparts in society. Women are discriminated against left and right and are barely respected in some circles. Heck, some people even use science to undermine women and their creative/thinking/mental abilities.

And you certainly don't need me to tell you that the rights of women in the middle east are dismal at best. The injustices dealt to women in the middle east on a daily basis fall within a wide range of discrimination. Although some women are stronger than others and usually take woman power to a whole new level, women in general still have a lot to go in their emancipation struggle so to speak. For some countries in the middle east, it is not enough that most women have no rights at all, but some are even further discriminated against based on looks solely. Most women are used as sexual objects that are there to support their lovers' needs and when things just go awry, the woman is more times than not the victim. Some injustices are unfortunately sanctioned and supported by the "law".

However, Lebanese women (albeit one) have jumped a major hurdle towards their desire to have full rights under the law. In a recent court ruling a judge has given the right to a woman to transfer her Lebanese citizenship to her kids.
Wait, wait, WHAT?
Are you saying that a child born to a Lebanese woman can't be Lebanese unless the father is Lebanese too?
YES, that is what I'm saying, and it is a messed up law that is archaic, inhumane, unjust, unfair, sexist, discriminatory and that needs to be changed as soon as possible.

The law itself is un-constitutional, given that the constitution states that all citizens are equal in rights before the law, and this law clearly does not treat all citizens equally. And any law that violates the constitution is, well, un-constitutional. (I frankly don't know how anybody can possibly argue with that logic!) But, kidding aside, it really is un-constitutional, and everybody in Lebanon knows that even the politicians that are hesitant to change it. The fear is that if Lebanese women, and especially so those married to foreigners (read Palestinians), are given the right to transfer the Lebanese citizenship to their offspring, then a lot of Palestinians will take advantage of this and gain Lebanese citizenship that way. I personally think that that fear is unfounded, and if the law is repealed, I personally can't imaging that there will be lines and lines of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians queuing to get married. Maybe a few will gain citizenship that way, but to say that tons of Palestinians will start marrying Lebanese women just for paperwork is frankly an insult to women. How cheap do our politicians think our women are?

I think that this woman's case is an excellent example of a good and healthily functioning judicial system, even though it took a dying husband for her to get her rights, but you gotta start somewhere!



  1. Hallelujah!! That is amazing.

    Ok, so what's left: (not in any order)

    1) Get the Syrians out(more or less done)
    2) Get the Israelis out (just a little left)
    3) Allow women to pass on Lebanese citizenship to kids (on the way)
    4) Allow Lebanese outside of Lebanon to vote in elections (on the way)
    5) Civil Marriage in Lebanon
    6) Abolition of Anti-Homosexual Laws

    Alright BG, it's getting there


  2. I would like to add (also in no particular order):

    7) Make it possible for women to open bank accounts for their children
    8) Make it possible for women to apply for passports for their children
    (both are currently barely possible even with the written and legalized consent of the father)
    9) Leave it up to married women where they want to be registered - don't automatically move them from their father to their husband

  3. important additions...i'm sure the list will get longer


  4. Hehe. I'll grow old before 5 and 6 are implemented.

    Nicolien, my mom (single mom) was able to do 7 and 8 for us - there were however a couple of things that required a "legal male guardian," which were quite the hassle.

    10 - Actually, forget it. If I start, I won't stop.