Category Archives: Society

Shameful “Anal Exams” Still Taking Place in Lebanon

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HRW

Human Rights Watch published an 82-pages long report on the forced anal examinations on men and transgender women accused of consensual same-sex conduct in which cases were reported in Lebanon in the past five years. The report was based on interviews with 32 men and transgender women who underwent forced anal examinations in Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, and Zambia.

It’s quite shameful to see Lebanon being featured in this report as these “tests of shame” were banned in Lebanon back in 2012 and the Justice minister at the time, Shakib Qortbawi, issued a statement calling for an end to anal examinations on men accused of homosexual conduct. Even the head of the Lebanese Order of Physicians Dr. Sharaf Abu Sharaf issued a directive back then calling for an end of the procedure:

It is scientifically established that this procedure is not even qualified as an experimental procedure. It does not provide the needed result and is considered a grave violation against the people who undergo it, and it is done without their prior consent. It is a humiliating practice that violates their dignity, and it is torture according to the definition of CAT [Convention against Torture].

The reason why anal exams are still being used in Lebanon is due to some doctors, and prosecutors, who are not aware or not complying with the circulars that were issued in 2012. Of course, there are also police members who are still requesting such tests as recently as 2015 as reported by Dr. Sami Kawas, a forensic medicine specialist in Beirut.

The only way to end these tests is to inflict a severe punishment on those who are still conducting it. A warning is not enough as these tests violate article 30 of the Lebanese law on medical ethics, which prohibits doctors from engaging in harmful practices, as well as international standards against torture including the Convention Against Torture and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Lebanon has ratified.

Any doctor who performs an anal examination should be kicked out of the syndicate and forbidden to work again. Any police officer who requests such tests should be jailed.

Check out the full report [here].

shame anal

British Singer Seal Sheds Light On Local Talent During His Beirut Visit

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seal Original Story via Stepfeed

British Soul and R&B singer Seal was visiting Beirut and held a great, but sort of short, concert on Thursday at the Beiteddine Festival. During his stay, Seal dropped by Beirut Souks where he discovered an aspiring and talented young Lebanese musician called Peter Chouchani and decided to perform with him and share the duet on his Facebook page.

To be honest, I’ve never heard of Peter Chouchani before but I’ve googled a couple of his songs and he’s clearly passionate about music and has a great voice. This is an amazing opportunity for him and I hope the exposure that he got will help him become as popular as Seal. After all, that’s how Seal was discovered and look where he is now.

Here’s the video:

And I found this cover by Peter:

[YouTube]

What Are These Girls Talking About?

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girl

Child marriage continues to be a serious problem in Lebanon and the Middle East. Girls are generally more impacted than boys as they are not physically nor emotionally ready to become wives and mothers. Child marriage is also quite prevalent among Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and families seek to marry their teenage girls for protection or economic reasons.

Raising the minimum legal age of marriage to 18 is a must but is unfortunately far fetched in Lebanon.

How Can We Find a Shelter For This Old Man in #Beirut?

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old man

The above picture was shared by Iman Kanaan yesterday with the below text:

Ok guys. I really need your support on this. I found this man on the street today in Beirut. He’s 84 years old and his son kicked him out of his house. He’s been on the street for three months now. He’s sleeping in the mosque at night. Seniors home, Dar el 3ajazi, refused to take him in because they need monthly payments. I can’t believe I’m seeing this in Beirut. I can’t believe what his son did and can’t believe that people passed him by for three months now …. [Full Text]

I can’t really confirm this old man’s story and based on previous experiences, things are always more complicated than they look. Nevertheless, this old man obviously needs help and at least 5 people asked me if I knew any homeless shelters in Beirut and I couldn’t think of any. That’s why I am asking you to kindly share names and contact information of NGOs or organization that take care of homeless people and/or provides them with a safe shelter.

There’s already an online fundraising campaign launched by Iman who has managed to move Jeddo Abdallah (the old man’s name) into a hotel for the weekend until they contact a shelter on Monday.

Abdallah A generous donor donated his hotel stay till Monday

I will share whatever information I get with all the readers as there are plenty of elderly people still living on the streets and in need of safe shelter.

A New Soap For Domestic Workers in Lebanon

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clean

KAFA came up with a new soap “Clensen Ozo Trio” especially made for foreign workers in Lebanon, and offered it to customers in a supermarket to see how they would react to it. Sadly enough, some people were convinced that their foreign workers need a special soap, while others lashed out at the sales woman and accused them of being racist.

According to a study conducted by the American University of Beirut in collaboration with KAFA, and with the support of the International Labor Organization, 27% of Lebanese employers stated that the domestic worker is not clean, yet somehow they allow them to clean their houses and prepare their food.

The video was produced by Uf concepts!

Hayda “Mongolé” He Shouldn’t Work Here

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mongole

MBC did a stunt at one of Lebanon’s supermarkets and recorded how people reacted to a customer disrespecting an employee with special needs (both were actors). I loved how EVERYONE stood up for the employee and bashed the customer, and even told the arrogant customer to bag the groceries himself.

Watch the video [here].

PS: I wish people would stop use the term “Mongolé” in Lebanon because it’s demeaning and disrespectful. If you hear a friend or a family member using it, let him know it’s wrong to do so.

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Meet Nasser & Mohammed: Two Children Selling Their Artwork in Mar Mikhail Every Saturday

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Nasser & Mohammed Darwich are two Syrian children from Aleppo. They currently live in Beirut and go to school here. On Saturday, they head out to Mar Mikhail, set up set up a small table outside Internazionale and sell their drawings in the form of postcards to people passing by. I first read about them on Facebook and headed to Mar Mikhail on Saturday to meet the two brothers and buy some postcards.

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One of them was there in his school costume sitting on a tiny table. He was very polite and kept smiling at me. The drawings were all colorful and positive, depicting Beirut’s busy streets, Mar Mikhail’s nightlife, old houses next to skyscrapers etc. I ended up buying 6 postcards.

I love what these brothers are doing and how cheerful and positive they are. I didn’t ask them about Aleppo or Syria or about their family. I’m sure the last thing they need is a reminder of the atrocities happening there. What matters is that they are in good health, they are going to school and they are working for a better future.

You can catch them 2-6 every Saturday. They go to school on the other days.

syriankidsmarmikhail

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Everyday, Arab Women are Told Who They Can and Can’t Be!

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arab women3

I love this campaign. It’s basically a video portraying more than 20 Arab women coming from different walks of life to celebrate difference and uniqueness. Unfortunately, we are still very far from achieving gender equality in the Arab World and women in the Arab World and more specifically in Lebanon are still treated as second-class citizens and are still victims of abuse and domestic violence.

Check out the video:

How is Saudi Arabia a Better Country for Women than Lebanon?

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lb1 An Online campaign shedding the light on women rights in Arab countries.

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 in Lebanon and around the world every year. It is a a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and more importantly a reminder for us here that Lebanese, and Arab women in general, are still second-class citizens.

The Lebanese laws discriminate against women and don’t guarantee their basic rights. Lebanese women cannot pass their children the Lebanese nationality if they marry a non-Lebanese, they have no legal protection against abusive husbands, they are barely represented in the government and they have to go through hell to terminate unhappy or abusive marriages among other things.

In fact, and I’m quoting HRW, “Lebanon’s current system of personal status laws violate women’s human rights, including to non-discrimination, equality in marriage, and at its dissolution, physical integrity, and health.”

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Despite all that, I’m finding it hard to believe that Saudi Arabia got a better rank than Lebanon in the 2015 Gendar Gap report. The Global Gender Gap Index is a framework for capturing the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracking their progress and is published by the World Economic Forum. It is based on four indexes:
– Economic Participation and Opportunity
– Educational Attainment
– Health and Survival
– Political Empowerment

KSA Lebanon - Copy [High-Res]

The worst part is that Saudi Arabia got a much better rank in political empowerment than Lebanon. I don’t know how it’s possible to compare the two systems and how the Saudi regime is more favorable to women than the Lebanese one to be honest.

If we dig deeper into that index, it is based on three ratios:
– Ratio: females with seats in parliament over male value
– Ratio: females at ministerial level over male value
– Ratio: number of years with a female head of state (last 50 years) over male value

Now I know that we barely have any female representatives in the parliament or as ministers, but disregarding the fact that Saudi Arabia is arguably one of the most repressive regimes in the world is quite absurd. I bet Gaddafi would have scored really high in that list with his 200+ female bodyguards lol!

You can check out the full Gap Gender Report [here].

All in all, Lebanon still has a long way before it reaches the needed level of women’s rights and freedoms but there are tens if not hundreds of NGOs working day and night to achieve that, there are even politicians (hard to believe I know!) drafting laws to make things better and concerns and issues are being voiced all the time. We cannot possibly be worst-ranked than Saudi Arabia and in the bottom 10 list.

#HarassTracker: A Platform To Report & Document Sexual Harassment in Beirut

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harass1j

Sexual harassment is rarely openly discussed in our society but it is quite common and most victims would rather keep quiet than share their stories. Normally, the police should be the first place to go to when you’re harassed but most of the time, the victims are laughed at or even harassed by police officers themselves.

That’s why three female entrepreneurs, Sandra Hassan, Myra el Mir and Nay el Rahi, have kickstarted a sexual harassment tracker in Beirut in an attempt to “empower victims to report” these crimes and “raise awareness as to the frequency and severity of sexual harassment in the city”.

mar mikhail

HarassTracker is a platform that allows you to pinpoint where you were subject to a harassment of any kind and add details about the perpetrator and the incident. It also gives an overview on the laws related to harassment in Lebanon and the different organizations and NGOS that can offer help to the victims. There’s no English version though of the website.

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There are already tens of testimonies posted on the website. If you can relate to any of them, do share further information in order to shed more light on the harasser and put more pressure on the police and the government to act.

Check out Harasstracker and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for further updates.

Originally posted by Gino