“Your Time is Now”

“I’m here to get your blessings,” I began, delicately raising my voice to grab the attention of the man lying on the hospital bed in front of me. “How many kilos would you like?” he asked in a rather serious tone, which lasted as long as it took a smile to appear through the sparkling of his eyes. “As much as you can give me,” I replied, hardly able to contain my smile in return. Continue reading ““Your Time is Now””

Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause

If this doesn’t exemplify people power, then I’m not quite sure what does.

Some have called it a second revolution, yet the over 22 million Egyptians who attached their name to the Tamarod (Arabic for rebel) movement by signing their petition for Mohammad Mursi to step down and the overwhelming crowds that keep filling the squares of Egypt, starting from Tahrir Square, are only carrying on with the revolution of January 25, 2011. Revolution doesn’t come easy and on June 30, 2013 it is only its second chapter that has started to be written. Continue reading “Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause”

The Politics of Finger Pointing

“We just want to remind people, for those who don’t know what is secularism, secularism doesn’t mean being against God, secularism is just the separation between religion and state, secularism makes all citizens equal before the law with the same rights, secularism leads us from confessionalism to citizenship.”

(Closing remarks on satirical show “CHI NN” on Lebanese Al Jadeed TV, February 4, 2013)

With raging discussions on a new electoral law and civil marriage in recent weeks, the role of religion has once again been brought to the mainstream political debate. The role of religion in politics and our daily lives is certainly nothing new in Lebanon. Continue reading “The Politics of Finger Pointing”

Egypt: Waiting for What’s Next

We all know that barely two years after a revolution is rather early to assess its success, but for some Egyptians, the prospects of the post-revolution era are not looking particularly bright already.

In a recent talk in Beirut by Mohammad al-Agaty, head of the Arab Alternative Forum for Studies and member of the Popular Socialist Alliance, and Reem Maged, an Egyptian journalist and ONTV host, both agreed that beyond the surface of a new era in the making, new alleged freedoms and the absence of former regime members, deep down, not a lot of changes have taken place in Egypt. Continue reading “Egypt: Waiting for What’s Next”

Failure of the Arab Revolution?

Nobody with the smallest amount of common sense should disagree that the reactions to the “Innocence of Islam” movie were simply senseless. Of course, it could have remained violent and lawless, had it not been for the sad unfolding of events in Benghazi, which led reactions into the realm of the criminal. Much has already been written and said in this regard. But what got me thinking are some commentators’ views and articles in the Western press suggesting that the violence witnessed in the past days signals some sort of failure of the Arab Spring or Arab Revolutions, if only because the most severe violence is taking place in post-revolution countries. Continue reading “Failure of the Arab Revolution?”

The Road to Secularism – Part III

If all roads lead to Rome, is Lebanon’s road to secularism doomed from the start?

When I look back at the beginning of our road to secularism, I see an empty path that slowly gained loyal adherents along the way.  I see glimmers of hope from those that believed that one day, no matter how far, they would not be forced to go to Cyprus to have a civil marriage. Continue reading “The Road to Secularism – Part III”

The End of a Revolution

“In a revolution, as in a novel, the most difficult part to invent is the end.”

                                                                                – Alexis de Tocqueville

In a revolution, the beginning should not be marked by the first calls to mobilize against the existing order, but as the fruits of mobilization translate into concrete action to transform given the defeated order. The end, therefore, is the culmination of implemented change with a clear vision for the new, and hopefully better, order.  Continue reading “The End of a Revolution”

The Road to Secularism – Part II

As someone who believes that one must judge others not only by their words, but also by their actions, and for the sake of my credibility and convictions, I woke up on Sunday, March 20, 2011 with the intention of ‘putting my money where my mouth is.’ And so I joined what turned out to be the largest demonstration to date, of tens of thousands of fellow citizens, calling for the downfall of the confessional regime in Lebanon.  Continue reading “The Road to Secularism – Part II”