Even in Lebanon, Some Deaths are Preventable

Death is not something that is under our control, but sometimes it is…

The way in which the level of terror in Lebanon has degenerated in recent weeks makes it very difficult for us to have any effective control over our lives. Starting with targeted bombings and now to suicide bombings, nobody is safe anymore, we are all threatened, we are all potential victims. And even though the targets may now be restricted as it seems, to so-called Hezballah strongholds, it is civilians that are being targeted, innocent civilians that happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, whose lives have and will go in vain, like hundreds of innocent civilians before them, because Lebanon would not have it any other way. As concerned citizens, there is little that we can do in such cases. Expecting such brainwashed human beings to hear our pleas for an end to violence is useless, for how can one possibly negotiate life into someone who has intently decided to die, taking whatever and whoever in his/her path along too?

Campaign to protect women from family violence KAFAOn the other hand, there are deaths that just should not happen and should be prevented, these are ‘deaths foretold’, which our society continues to turn a blind eye to. Yesterday, it was Manal Assi, last year it was Roula Yaacoub, and before them many others for sure that will remain anonymous to us all. These women are dying at the hands of their husbands, victims to domestic violence, which the Lebanese state refuses to legislate as a full-fledged crime, and if it does, will be in a rather diluted form (as is with the current draft law pending in parliament) in response to pressure from mainly Islamic religious leaders. These deaths are happening for a variety of reasons, including: failure to pass a law to protect women, failure to pass a law punishing perpetrators of violence against women and archaic societal perceptions of male chauvinism allowing them a free hand in their houses regardless of how morally wrong their behavior is.

It is true that the situation in regards to family violence has slightly improved in recent years. The Internal Security Forces (ISF) has launched useful campaigns to encourage women to report cases, while local NGOs such as Nasawiya have played an important role in raising awareness and KAFA has played a vital role in lobbying the government and parliament to pass a law to protect women. It is an achievement in itself that we are even learning about these cases and the media is reporting them to begin with.

But this is not enough. As opposed to the greater problems of our times, the war in Syria, the suicide bombers, the Middle East peace process and the Iranian nuclear issue, protecting women from domestic violence isn’t something that depends on the outside world and something beyond our reach. It isn’t something that can be set aside, waiting for more stable times to deal with. It is sometime that could happen to any single one of us, a sister, friend, mother, aunt, niece, cousin and daughter and it can’t wait. It needs a law to protect victims and punish perpetrators. It needs law enforcement to enforce the law professionally and efficiently without fear of retribution towards victims. It needs the awareness of close friends and family members that violence against women is unacceptable (against men too, but that has proven to be very little compared to what is perpetrated against women). It needs a societal support system, which in case of conjugal separation because of violence, will respect a woman for her decision and provide her with the proper opportunities to sustain herself without being dependent on her husband. But first and foremost, we need justice…

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4 Responses to Even in Lebanon, Some Deaths are Preventable

  1. Lloyd Baroody says:

    While the importance of the deaths of innocents should not be minimized, the greatest effect of terrorism in Lebanon is the damage to the morale and psyche of the Lebanese people. They feel helpless, and if they have the means, they leave the country. The “havenots” are left beyond. Moreover, the remaining Lebanese behave very badly to each other. They are so tense. It’s all manifested on the street in their car driving manners, which were already bad, but which are now appalling, resulting in physical fights between some of them in the streets.

    I came to Lebanon from the US to start a business. However, the country crumbled before my eyes over the past few months. I feel that Lebanon is beyond hope. They need to get to Armageddon before they can rebuild. And the Syrian War needs to finish playing out. This could take years. The Lebanese civil war lasted for 15 years. I am sorry for you, Lebanon.

    • I’ve written so much about people’s indifference to the status quo and the lie that this “resilience” of ours has become as a coping mechanism, that I’ve decided not to talk about it anymore, it makes me sad and very depressed, as you may imagine. You certainly have a very valid point in saying that we still need a major crisis to wake people up, but that in itself is also amazing, because it means that what has happened to us hasn’t been negative enough to get people to act….

      • Lloyd Baroody says:

        I am afraid that what has happened up to now has not been a major enough crisis to effect change. Lebanon needs to hit rock bottom. Frankly, I think the only hope is a dictator, albeit that’s dangerous as well lest one gets a meglomaniac like el Sisi in Egypt. I suggest putting all the people who misbehave in the hippodrome. If that’s not big enough, put all the good people in the hippodrome and leave the rest of the country for the majority misbehavers. Seriously though, if the country simply enforces civilized country driving rules, the environment will change dramatically. Everything bad is manifested on the road. Draw the line there and other (non-driving) behavior will improve as well. It’s like when NYC decided to remove all of the graffiti from the outside of the subway trains 25 years ago and then made sure that nobody could put it back on without facing severe penalties, the city changed positively way beyond the simple aesthetics of the subways. It changed the psyche of the city. Let’s start with the drivers in Lebanon. I can almost guarantee you that enforcing the driving laws and banning the disrespect exhibited amongst Lebanese on the road will result in a quantum positive change for the country.

        Oh, and one other thing. All of the current politicians, regardless of sect, should be either shot or confined to the hippodrome.

      • I’m liking the hippodrome idea 🙂

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