So the current Church-sponsored electoral reform plan proposed in the name of the “Orthodox Gathering” (which most Christian leaders have abandoned) suggests that citizens vote only for MPs of their own sect. That means Maronites vote only for Maronites, Shiites vote only for Shiites, etc.
Amidst the struggle for secularism and civil laws, it seems the trend for further “purifying” of political sectarianism in Lebanon is still going strong.
Anyway, Al Balad ran a fantastic story about a very similar law that was proposed in Lebanon in 1922. 1922! That’s even before the formation of the modern state in 1943, back when it was Loubnan Al Kabeer. This is remarkable in its own way but one response to it – even back in 1922 – is worthy of its own story.
Michel Zakkour, a journalist who later became an MP and a Minister of Interior, published a piece in his then newspaper “Al Maarad” proposing a sarcastic alternative to what he saw as an outrageous, sectarian electoral law. His idea – which he named as equally preposterous to the idea of people voting only for people from their own confession – was to do the exact opposite. Everybody can vote for said MP except citizens of his own confession. That (messed up, says Zakkour, but wise) system would create a Parliament where loyalty to the entire nation would perhaps overcome sectarian isolation.
وعلى سبيل الاستطراد وذكر النظير بمناسبة نظيره اقول انه انا ايضاً خطرت في بالي طريقة انتخاب عرجاء عوجاء مثل طريقة هؤلاء الطائفيين ولكنها لا تخلو من حكمة، وهي ان نحرم كل واحدة من الطوائف من الاشتراك في انتخاب النائب الذي ينتمي اليها، اي ان ندع للمسلمين وللموارنة وللروم الكاثوليك ولليهود وسائر الاقليات في بيروت ان ينتخبوا وحدهم دون الروم الارثوذكس النائب البيروتي الارثوذكسي، وان ندع لكل هذه الطوائف دون المسلمين ان ينتخبوا النائب البيروتي المسلم، وهكذا في انتخاب سائر النواب في بيروت وفي سواها من المناطق الانتخابية.
ان هذه الطريقة العرجاء العوجاء تنشئ لنا مجلساً تتغلب فيه الصفة الوطنية على الصفة الطائفية بل مجلساً يحبّب إلينا التجرد من الاستقلال الطائفي في ما هو مشترك بين اللبنانيين جميعاً.
Brilliant, no? Funny guy this Zakkour – from 1922. I wonder which Lebanese leader today would have the guts to ridicule the Orthodox Gathering’s electoral law proposal like he did.
One should never assume that activists have some sort of moral throne that is resistant to the abuse of power. On the contrary, we often find ourselves immune to accountability. After all, who could dare question the self-sacrificing, marginalized, intelligent do-gooder who is so damn important to the cause? And with lack of liability, we are more prone to – and we do – perpetuate harm in private and public relationships until we become a cult personality obsessed with maintaining its persona and thus more resistant to critique. It is a vicious cycle. Who better to play the victim than someone who understands victimhood so well?
I used to think this cycle depended on people’s characters but am starting to realize it has little to do with personalities and more to do with the system. It’s almost involuntary on the part of many, yet quite unavoidable. The only way to avoid it is to think of accountability as our collective responsibility as a necessity for real transformation – from within our movements first and in public spheres to follow. Now when we think of accountability, one easily imagines attacks and vendettas and ugliness. That’s not what it has to be like at all. In fact, that’s the only form of it we know because it is so far from being a natural part of our movements. Accountability can be kind and sincere and full of love if the right frameworks and approaches are put in place. I am not sure how but I know it is a must. Nothing inflates an ego like activism; it is a monster that needs powerful mechanisms to keep it in check for the benefit of whatever cause one is fighting for.
It’s about time Lebanese mainstream media leveraged their power to promote social change in Lebanon. LBC’s Cheyef 7alak is a new initiative that is actively utilizing social media to encourage (well, by first embarrassing) respect among citizens in Lebanon.
One of their categories is about traffic. We’ve all been there. Their video and photo galleries poke fun at our weird attitudes towards driving. I’m not sure if they are aware of it, but they’re also critiquing the link between masculinity and road rage, which is a terrific thing!
Their most popular campaign to date has been about the simple courtesy of standing in line (a rare phenomenon in Lebanon) and their latest is about corruption. Check out the video below and follow them on Facebook and Twitter to engage!
I received this ad in my inbox (i.e. spam) and its weirdness (“archeological” digging AND a make-over?) led me to check out their page on Facebook.
First of all they say on Facebook that this “Just for Boys” workshop also welcomes girls. Well then why call it “just for boys”?
More importantly, they claim to be an “edutainment center for teens and tweens where your brain is pampered from right to left” I don’t see any “brain pampering” in what they actually have in store for girls:
Who paints girls’ faces with half a ton of make-up like that and calls it “pampering”? They also enter them into beauty contests with fake wigs and more make-up:
Keep your daughters and sisters away from FRIZZY!!
Talk with Sister Jayanti on June 9 at 7pm in Unesco Palace. Free of charge. Click on the flyer above for details.
Muhammad Bouazizi, ignition behind Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution. More cartoons from Carlos Latuff.
Isn’t it weird that the illustration of the woman is used in a serious manner to advertise for the Bic shavers? “For legs that beckon?” I thought we were over these stereotypical depictions of women, Canada? Photo taken on the subway in Toronto and posted via my new iPhone app!
Pay close attention to gender stereotyping around you. To unlearn sexism, you have to notice it first.
This is how slow the internet in Lebanon is. We rank 165 in download speed and 175 in upload speed among 178 countries. Thanks to Lynn and Poupi for laughing with me about this today! It’s no laughing matter though; it’s pretty pathetic. Test conducted on http://www.speedtest.net. Click on the image to enlarge.