Why you need to support Civil Marriage in Lebanon. [Opinion]

First, let’s begin by exposing the practical difficulties of Civil Marriage in Lebanon for religious couples. (So we are here allowing the choice of a civil marriage).

Let’s imagine that a couple, a Muslim man and a Christian woman decide to marry, it is religiously possible, and yet they decide to marry secularly first, and then with a Sheikh. The young couple decides to have children and that they will be able themselves to choose their religion (or its absence), the Father won’t push the children towards Islam and the mother won’t push them to Christianity. Eventually the father dies, and the inheritance must be made, the late father didn’t write a will so the family of the man decides that it will be made according to the Islamic law and believe that the children, born from a Muslim man, are Muslims so it is applicable to them, the Children, now grown-ups and with their own beliefs, decide that the inheritance must be made equally made between them. (they’re brother and sister and Islamic law stipulated that the man must inherit double the woman). Eventually, there will be a huge mess between the state secular lawyers and the Islamic jurisprudence. What law should be applied?
For this situation I believe that the children decide for themselves, if we suppose they didn’t register a sect.

A similar situation is that the father (with the Ok from his wife) wants his inheritance to be applied by Islamic law for their children, but the children didn’t accept this. The couple married secularly and religiously, and the children in this new scenario are registered as Muslims. What will follow?

Let’s not even other much more complicated situation like the inheritance of young children if the father dies, or a divorce, etc etc. This is just to provide the technical difficulties it can bring.

Despite all these difficulties, everyone should have the right to marry in his own way, be it secular or religious.
Let’s imagine that an atheist couple want to marry to benefit from the laws and well, and well, be called a married couple! Why should they pass by the religious ceremony when it doesn’t apply to them? They have every right to marry the way they like. And it’s not only applied to atheists of course, everyone should be able to choose between secular marriage and religious marriage.
I don’t believe it should be mandatory because it would bring a shock to religious authorities and people that simply don’t want civil marriage in their lives, again, it’s their choice. It’s maybe too soon.

Here’s article 3 of the Lebanese constitution.

Three. Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic Republic based on respect for public liberties, especially the freedom of opinions and belief, and respect for social justice and equality of rights and duties among all citizens without discrimination.

This article should push the Lebanese law to allow for civil marriage. A LOCAL civil marriage is already legal. According to experts, a law decree that dates from 1936 already grants people not affiliated with any sect to marry. Interior minister (pro optional civil marriage) should not slow down the processus by not recognising civil marriage made locally.

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk supports the principle of optional civil marriage in Lebanon, but the absence of a civil law setting out the procedures of the practice currently makes it impossible for the ministry to recognise civil marriage contracts registered with Lebanon’s public notary, a statement said. – See more here.

I understand that there’s an absence here, but instead of completely rendering those marriages unrecognisable, he must AT LEAST call for a debate on civil marriage and propose a clear law to set out the procedures. It is time the unconstitutionally extended Parliament follow simple principles of the Lebanese constitution and especially look at this one.

Eight. The abolition of political sectarianism shall be a basic national goal and shall be achieved according to a gradual plan.

This article should ring up a bell in the heads of every MP. Granting at least an option to civil marriage is I believe part of the gradual plan towards sectarianism end.

Tomorrow, Sunday the 1st of March, a protest will call for civil and secular rights granted by the constitution. Here’s the details on Facebook. 

Finally, it is super important to say that civil marriage doesn’t turn a human being into an infidel or immoral person and it is absurd to believe so.

How I, Lebanese citizen, imagine the Lebanese president.

I’ve heard numerous times that the Lebanese presidential vacancy is very dangerous to the country and to the whole Levant Region. Yes, the Lebanese president is the only leader Christian of the Middle East and symbolically, he represents much more that the power granted to him by the constitution ; constitutionally, the president is a weak voice within the Political scene. Here’s how Jean Aziz put it on Al Monitor.

The Lebanese Constitution stipulates that if the presidency becomes vacant, the powers of the president are conveyed to the council of ministers. Note that the presidential powers themselves are not decisive and cannot stop the work of the system. The president can attend meetings of and preside over the council of ministers, but he doesn’t decide its agenda nor vote on its decisions. If he opposes a cabinet decision, he may only request that it be reviewed. If the council of ministers insists on that decision, it will go into effect two weeks after it was approved, whether or not the president agrees.

The same applies to parliament. The constitution gave the president the power to only publish the laws passed by parliament, and if he opposes a law, he may also return it to parliament for reconsideration. Yet, if a parliamentary majority insists on the law, it takes effect in one month at the most, whether or not the president agrees.

Thus, according to the constitution, the Lebanese system can, to a great extent, operate normally without a president.

Let us admit the fact that not having a president right now isn’t the end of the world. And this vacancy won’t attract more terrorists into the country to fill up this chair. IS and the like will attack Lebanon, president or not.

Do we need a president ?

Our sectarian system (the National pact) gives Sunni, Shiites and Christians roles. The PM must be a Sunni, the president of the Parliament a Shiite and the President a Christian. If we want to talk “Sectarian” (which I hate) yes, we do need a Christian voice within the leadership. And if this nonsense national pact shall continue, I believe the president role must be stronger to “compete” with Sunni and Shiite voices.

In a better world, the leaders would be chosen without looking at their Sects.

In a less better world, still sectarian, I believe that those positions must be rotatory and the  President must be elected by Universal suffrage. Let us have faith in ourselves and our ability to choose a president by only ourselves.
The president would have programs and ambitions for all the regions, not his hometown nor the towns and provinces of his sect. He shall have a campaign free of corruption and a program that aims to bring equality and justice for all.
If we believe that the votes will be bought to represent another sect, exemple : A Christian President that is “the favorite of Shiites”, then we are truly lost. We have to believe in ourselves and our ability for real change.

Perhaps if we are obliged by the constitution to vote for a president that doesn’t have the same religion, we can be ready for a fully secular government, parliament, and presidency.

Enough with the pre-arranged president that represents nothing.

We can all agree that “Celebratory Gunfire” Must Stop.

14th February was the 10th year death Anniversary of Ex PM Rafiq Hariri. His son, Saad al Hariri, was giving an exclusive speech from BIEL. As the speech began, I’ve heard three loud booms. My mother thought that it was a bombing, I thought it was just a big firework for Saads’ Speech, but as I rushed to my windows and watch those fireworks, I saw nothing, just the darkness of the night. No doubt about it, the loud bang was due to rockets (RPG’s?) fired towards the sky.

Weeks ago, I heard the same sound, it was less loud but I didn’t ask myself about its origin, I knew it was a rocket because I saw the smoke of its explosion in the air. Sayed Hassan Nasrallah was giving a highly anticipated speech after the Qunaitra operation.

Those very intensive gunfire are quite new, before 2013 I didn’t witness them. The first time I remember it was that intense was back in 2013, during 25th May speech of Hezbollah secretary, when he first spoke publicly about the Qusayr battle and Hezbollah deep involvement in Syria.

When Assad won the elections the gunfire was restless ; 31st August, rockets fired by Amal supporters shook up my windows.
The 14th February of this year was the first time I hear rocket bombings from March 14 supporters. I believe that this is some sort of response or competition. This must stop.

Not only those gunfire are tribal, primitive and lame, they are also dangerous. Celebratory gunfire isn’t just political. Every New Years’s Eve hundreds of bullets are fired towards the sky. They have killed and wounded.

And by the way, if you keep firing 20 minutes into some leader’s speech, how the heck do you hear him speaking ?

I am glad that Hezbollah officially asked from its followers to stop those senseless gunfire, and before yesterday’s Hezbollah leader speech, no gunfire were heard (well I didn’t). But how long this calm will be kept ? It isn’t the first time Hezbollah publicly condemned those celebratory gunfire.

I hope that Mustaqbal and Hezbollah put a full stop to this very bad habit. They must bring this to their current discussions and follow their very welcomed initiative of putting down Political slogans.

Chapel Hill Shooting : An atheist terrorist murders three innocent Muslims.

Hours ago, three Muslims college Student have been shot dead “execution-style” by a man in the USA. The newspapers in US didn’t give any attention to this or very little. I learned the story like many, on Twitter. Here is a picture of them.

A lot of people on Twitter like the profile @WeTeachlifeSir_ have condemned the US newspapers of no coverage, not outrage about this hate murder.

As you can see on those pictures, no story about the victims, no words. It seems the “People” news are more important than this.

Is this a double-standard from those newspapers ?

Let’s imagine another scenario ; one when a so-called Muslim extremist kills three young innocent white persons. Do you really imagine that no news will break out the minute it happens ? Do you really think that all of the media outlets will shut up about this for so long ? I condemn those who think and show that the blood of three innocent Muslims killed cowardly is lighter than the blood of three innocent Christians killed by a so called “Islamists”. I’m not making this about religion, but there is a clear fact out here : those murders are not BREAKING newsworthy because the killer is not a “terrorist”.

But is he not a terrorist ?

Twitter (again) showed who really was this killer, the images he posted on Facebook before the executions or even his wish list on Amazon that contained scopes of snipers and camouflage outfits. His name is Craig Hist and he will be of course in the eyes of the “good” Media : a single lone wolf or a “deranged person”. He will never be called out a terrorist… because he’s white.

Here are some of his views exposed on his Facebook Personal Page.

It is clear that Craig Hist is full of prejudice and hate, he is an atheist who believe he has the right to retaliate and insult religion it if he’s been insulted. Of course he means by religion here Islam.
I wonder how Craig Hist was insulted from those three Muslims. Was it the Hijab ? Was it the fact that they were peaceful Muslims and he didn’t like it ? Here’s the twitter profile of one of the victims, Deah Barakat. Did Craig Hist take a look at this? Did he see the multiple retweets of funny vines ? The posts about his passion for American football ? Maybe he got insulted because of Barakat cover picture showing al Quds Mosque? Or did he even see that Barakat called for donation for Syrian refugees ? How dangerous and insulting is Barakat !

Remember Bill Maher lame claim that Islam is a violent religion ? Should we say that Atheism is a violent non-religion ? No we will not. Why ? First, violence has no religion (the irony) and two, we actually have brains.

What’s terrorism ?

It’s “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.” I don’t see where in this definition a terrorist must be an Arab or a Muslim. Answer is, he must not. Terrorism can be applied to everybody. It is not limited to organisations, even “lone wolves” can be called terrorists. So let’s call Craig Hist what he really is : a terrorist.

When you kill innocent Muslims because you are an Islamophobe. It is terrorism. 

Dear Yohan storm, can you stop now ??

We Lebanese like to joke about the weather. But we woke up today and didn’t laugh.

Here are some apocalyptic pictures of the Cornish (or Manara),

I do not believe the previous storm has caused so much damage to the coastal sidewalk.

I want Yohan storm to stop not because of this material loss which is nothing (or the car washes we will have to make)

I want it to stop because it may kill actual persons. The previous storm (Zina) and the cold it brought killed too many, especially Syrian refugees that have nothing to warm up except multiple layer of clothes and mere tents. I wish the state could do more and grant the refugees better infrastructure like in Jordan.

Be thankful for having a roof over your heads people…

“The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated” : Lebanon.

There’s a great saying from Gandhi that says ; “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

I believe that this quote is truthful and Lebanon will finally appear as a good nation as it will help Animals to get good treatment and protection. A lot of Animals are considered to be sensitive : they can feel pain.

Council of Ministers gives the animal protection and welfare law their official approval!Announced in the National…

Publiée par Animals Lebanon sur Jeudi 5 février 2015

It has been announced on the Facebook page of NGO Animals Lebanon that the Animal protection and warfare law has been officially approved by the council of Ministers.

This law regulates industries and establishments that use animals and will finally give all animals the legal protection they need.

Hopefully this law will be applied and outlaws will meet trial accordingly.

Enough with the videos and images of animals being mistreated.

Why Removing Political slogans is a strong step towards normality.

The talks between major political parties Hezbollah (Party of God) and the Mustaqbal party (Futur Party) have brought to the table the political slogans. They both decided to remove them and it was reported that Hezbollah removed slogans in Saida and Mustaqbal removed slogans in Tripoli.

Once as I was leaving my building I noticed multiple new political flags hung every 5 meters under the building. I was outraged because the building wasn’t a political bureau. It was a building where civilians, not politicians, lived.

The moment a political party (or supporters) put flags and slogans in public places it means one thing : This is my territory and here lives my supporters. 

The moment political parties put flags everywhere, they transform into militias (symbolically or not), the neighbourhoods transform into supposedly strongholds even when they are mostly habited by politically inactive civilians.

Worse, during periods of turmoil and tensions, those flags and slogans become the indicator for “enemies groups” : alias this neighbourhood belongs to this party, so it is a legitimate target. They also become the indicator of “victories” : removing a flag and putting a new one.

in the following years of the 2006 War and the very tensed period between Hezbollah and Mustaqbal (or March 14 and March 8) the Lebanese flag became the symbol of March 14 really, as a response to Hezbollah flags. This road was dangerous because it was a symbol of state separation. “We have the Lebanese state flag and you have your”Hezbollah land flag “.

Beirut Governor Ziad Chebib oversees the removal of political posters in the neighborhood of Hay al-Lija – Daily Star courtesy.

Political flags should only be put where they belong : on officially recognised political bureaus. 

Maybe this step will bring Lebanese citizens closer, and with time, we will not have to think when being in a neighbourhood that : “This belongs to that political party, “they” are against “us” so I better get out of here”

PS : the flags under my building were removed.

Facebook runs ads for illegal settlements in Israel.

The settlements of Israel and their very fast expansion is illegal and could amount to a war crime under international law. A year ago, a UN report said that Israel could be prosecuted for war crimes over settlements.

The settlements contravened the Fourth Geneva Convention forbidding the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory and could amount to war crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the United Nations report said.

                                                                   A woman hold a sign to protest the illegal settlements.

Facebook running illegal ads :

When Facebook runs ads for illegal settlements in Israel, it directly calls for the transfer of civilian populations, which is forbidden under the 4th Geneva convention ; the latter is completely ignored by Israel, but should not be ignored by Facebook. Facebook should ban these ads that are responsible for the discrimination of Palestinians and the destructive apartheid.

The ads run by Facebook are even banned by their policy. “Ads must not contain or promote illegal products or services” is found on their ad guidelines websites. Facebook must follow its own rules and ban those illegal ads.

Lately a petition has been circulated by Bradford activists, demanding Facebook to ban the ads.

David Humphreys, a member of the Bradford group, said: “We find it outrageous that any social platform could allow adverts from occupied Palestinian lands when most of the world’s institutions have condemned the illegal occupation of land.”

“People are always concerned about the atrocities in Palestine but because the mainstream media does not report such activities. It is via social media that we get our news. People feel passionately about this cause and will take action once they find out the situation.

Facebook has already banned illegal ads in the past so it shouldn’t refrain to ban illegal settlements ads.

Also, remember that an international firm operation in Lebanon. Re/Max is selling exclusively to Jews in Occupied East Jerusalem, which is not only illegal under international law but racist and discriminatory.

Help by signing the petition and demand that Facebook bans those unacceptable ads.