It’s very pleasing and reassuring to see members of the Lebanese parliament drafting a law to protect women from domestic violence, or rape in some cases. But such law can never pass without our disease getting in the way – religious Lebanese theocracy. Some MPs want to remove the reference to rape in the new law, thus making it useless in practice, and keeping our laws dating back to the middle ages. Apparently, according to this opposition to the law, rape can’t happen if the couple are married, and this law tears the ‘social and religious fabric’.
KAFA, an NGO that campaigns for the protection of women from domestic violence, produced a video ‘naming and shaming’ the obstructing MPs in the parliamentary committee. The video was aired on some Lebanese channels as an awareness advertisement for this matter, featuring MPs Imad El Hout from Jamaa Islamiya, Samir El Jisr from Future Movement, Ali Ammar from Hezbollah, Shant Janjanian from Zahle Bloc and the Free Patriotic Movement MPs Michel Helou, Ghassan Moukheiber, Gilbert Zouein, Nabil Nicolas who all opposed any ‘Change and Reform’!
The advertisement didn’t last few days on Future TV before it was stopped. Actually, this is expected and boring to report, but the fun part was Samir El-Jisr’s response to Al-Akhbar when asked about the matter:
It’s inappropriate, and a form of libel […] how much did this campaign cost? where did they get the funds to organize a campaign this big?
You have got to laugh to this response. He’s asking about how an NGO is funded, but not worried about how his political party, other Lebanese political parties, including MOST Lebanese politicians are funded or run their electoral campaigns. Even though Walid Jumblatt told us once how it’s done, especially when you have only Saatchi & Saatchi Levant charging March14 15 million USD for its media campaign. Can he show us some integrity over there?
By the way, MPs Samir El Jisr and Imad El Hout were among others who opposed the annulment of the provision clause for ‘Honour’ crimes (against women) in the Penal Code on 04 August 2011. While MPs Gilbert Zouein and Nayla Tueni, who form 50% of the women MPs, didn’t attend the parliamentary session then. Just to keep laughing, Al-Akhbar reported as well that Ramzi Jebali, the executive officer at Future TV, had no clue on this matter within his organisation!
Nasawiya, another the Lebanese feminist NGO, is calling for ‘protest against rape‘ on January 14th in front of Lebanese parliament in Beirut; be there if you can. This law could be soon passed (hopefully), but still, welcome to the religious farm of Lebanon.