Misogyny among some Hezbollah supporters : “I just see Hypocrisy”

This post is written by M, the writer chose to remain anonymous in order to prevent attacks against herself. She denounces and condemns the grave issue of online misogyny and stresses that even though those are online attacks : “…every single account has a REAL LIFE HUMAN behind it. These are real life people, and giving them the power to objectify and harass women with threats over the internet can easily transfer to “justified” harassment of individuals in real life situations. “

A couple of weeks ago an issue emerged on Twitter which resulted in the harassment of a woman, on the social media website, under the accusation that she “disrespected” the political figure Sayed Hassan Nasrallah. The woman, falsely accused of doing the “crime” herself, the crime being exercising her right to a political opinion on her own country, as well as practicing the right to freedom of speech, was subject to the revealing of her per-hijab pictures all over the social media website. The hijab is a piece of cloth that Muslim women, as well as Orthodox Christians, use to cover their hair in order to please God by following his orders. The hijab is a sign of modesty, a sign of respectfulness, and a sign of purity. Any women can put it on, and this particular woman decided to do so a couple of months ago. The recent change in lifestyle made it hard for her to track down every single hijab-less picture of herself on the internet- allowing these vulgar, disgusting, disrespectful, misogynist supposedly MUSLIM boys to find her pre-hijab pictures and post them all over their profiles. They thus went on to call her derogatory names and attack anyone who defended her in the situation. Anyone who spoke out against this got targeted.
In order to “protect themselves” from being a subject of this, some women even encouraged it through the reasoning of “she supports X political group”, “she’s from X sect”. Now many of you might not see the issue here, just another case of “internet fun”, just another something to put to the list of things “we should ignore”. I don’t see it that way at all.

Three things that make this issue relevant, other than it not being the first time these boys have attacked a woman on social media:

Firstly, and most obviously, these aren’t just people on the internet. I hate to break it to you, but every single account has a REAL LIFE HUMAN behind it. These are real life people, and giving them the power to objectify and harass women with threats over the internet can easily transfer to “justified” harassment of individuals in real life situations. This could result in rape, domestic abuse, violence etc. These disgusting excuses for human beings exist in real life. And harassment accepted on the internet, easily becomes harassment accepted in daily life. Not to mention the impact of the event on women themselves. In this particular case, everyone who now sees this woman with a headscarf knows what she looks like without it, which may not seem like a big deal to non-Muslims, but it’s a big deal. This has the potential to effect the whole point of the hijab and what it stands for. Nobody, EXCEPT THE WOMAN HERSELF, has the right to rip her hijab off.

Which brings me to my second point, the fact that every single time these people attack a woman, I see very few, if any, stand up against it. I don’t see people standing up for the morals they preach so adamantly. I don’t see people stand up like the religious figures, they praise so much, have in the past. I don’t see any reaction. I just see the “oh ignore it”, “oh she asked for it, you know how they are”. “oh she should have kept it to herself”. NO. She had EVERY right to tweet whatever she did. She has the right to express herself. She has the right to discuss political orientations that don’t mirror your views. She has EVERY right to not be harassed because of a tweet you don’t agree with.
Stop victim blaming. Stop defending the perpetrators. Stop being an apologist. Grow a spine. There is no justification for sexual harassment. None whatsoever, stop looking for one just because you’re a coward. Stop trying to rationalize a woman being stripped of her identity and her dignity because of a controversial political view. You’d think that these people preaching justice, resistance and righteousness for RT’s (Retweets) all day long, would at least use one of their 20,000 tweets a day to put their money where their mouth is. The most surprising aspect of all of this all was the HIJABI MUSLIM WOMEN who laughed and attempted to justify this repulsive behavior. Internalized misogyny at its finest.

Lastly, the moral and religious aspect of the issue. These perpetrators, as well as those who encouraged these acts, are supposedly Shia Muslims. Shia Islam is a persecuted minority sect of Islam that places special emphasis on the family of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, referred to as “Ahlul Beit”. Throughout the history of Shia Islam we see the honour of martyrdom. The importance of standing up for what you believe to be right, even if it means being oppressed, murdered, or detained as a result. We can easily see this with the majority of the Imams and many of their followers. Now, I don’t know about you, but I see nothing honourable about harassment of women simply on the basis of their political views. I don’t see anything noble about making fake Snapchat accounts to send fake “nudes” to each other and claim them to be those of a woman you disagreed with.
I see nothing promising about making up rumors about women on the internet that have the capacity to ruin their reputation and stain their name. I see nothing heroic about stalking a woman’s internet profile to scavenge for pictures of her without a headscarf and paint the internet with them. I see nothing great about exposing women’s private pictures. I see nothing Shia about making a fake account of a individual’s mother and zooming into her breasts while tweeting dirty comments at boys. I see nothing Muslim about ruining the life a woman through her social media account. I see nothing Muslim about smearing the life of a sister. Of a daughter. Of a mother. I don’t see justification.

I just see hypocrisy.

M,

طلعت ريحتكم / You Stink Activists dump garbage under the house of the environment minister.

طلعت ريحتكم or You stink! is originally just a page and event on Facebook that called for multiple protests. The protests aimed at condemning the government mismanagement of the garbage, not only the crisis, but also the non-environmental solution it has issued. You Stink! is an insult aimed against the government and the MP’s.

In fact, one of the “solutions” is dumping garbage “3al 3eshwa2e”, spontaneously, garbage here and there, in mountains, valleys, forests, presumably to “calm the streets” of Beirut.

Those “solutions” have grave consequences upon the health of the environment and the people.

You Stink! Activists want environment minister Mohammad Machnouk to step down and decided to take directly the garbage (please note that they are fake trash-bags) just under his house. Oddly, garbage can’t be seen near ministers houses.

The activists made clear that until they have a clear and real environmental plan about the garbage management in Lebanon, they’ll continue their fights until the end, They expressed this by the hashtag #‏مستمرون‬ or “We will continue”.

Watch the videos of the non-violent action but first watch the so called solution of the minister Machnouk.

جريمة الربوة

جريمة بكل المقاييس، بيئياً واقتصادياً ووطنياً ترتكب كل يوم، لأن الوزير المعني والطبقة السياسية تفضل صفقاتها وسمسراتها على حياة الشعب، جريمة موصوفة بحق الوطن والشعب، انهم يقتلوننا…الى وزير البيئة، ردنا آت… قريباً جداً جداً#مستمرون#طلعت_ريحتكمA crime on all levels, environmental, economic and national scale is, perpetrated every day since the concerned Minister and the political class prioritize their deals and transactions over the life of the People. It is an undescribable crime against the nation and the people. They are murdering us…To the Minister of the Environment, our answer is coming, soon… Very, very soon. #مستمرون #YouStink

Publiée par ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ sur Jeudi 13 août 2015

The action.

لن نكون وقوداً لصفقات الطبقة السياسية، ولن نموت كي تعمر جيوبهم بالأموال، هذه الخطوة الأولى ولن تكون الأخيرة… سنكون في كل المناطق واينما دعت الحاجةالقوة للشعب#مستمرون#طلعت_ريحتكم

Publiée par ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ sur Jeudi 13 août 2015

Free delivery 😉

Free Delivery 🙂

مع تحيات طلعت ريحتكم. وحدة الـ Free Delivery 🙂 جاييكن الدورCourtesy of ‘You Stink!’, a free delivery 🙂

Publiée par ‎طلعت ريحتكم‎ sur Vendredi 14 août 2015

Lebanon: You stink! The Tol3et Rihetkom movement story.

This have been first published the 1st of August in “Voices of the Middle East Blog” here. A blog held by Mariam Tuma. (Twitter: @mariamjxde)

Changes from the initial post will be in Italic.

“We’re in the midst of a political, environmental and social crisis in Lebanon. Allow me to begin with the most obvious and explicit issue; the garbage or waste management.

The issue is actually quite simple; Sukleen, the “privatized” company that manages the garbage and waste of Beirut and the Mount Lebanon province (Jabal Lebnen) have been dumping rubbish in a landfill in the Naameh countryside, south of Beirut. The landfill was due to close many years ago, in 2004! But the government kept postponing the deadline and Sukleen continued to fill the landfill well over its initial capacity. Weeks ago, the Naameh residents, decided that it was enough and that the landfill should be closed for real, and not have its deadline postponed again. In fact, they stopped Sukleen trucks the day of the legally contracted deadline, so technically, nothing illegal was done. On the contrary, they were merely enforcing the law.

The government knew about this deadline, they’re the ones who made the contract with the private (not so private) Sukleen company, but they’ve done absolutely nothing to prevent the current crisis. So, logically, Sukleen stopped collecting the garbage because it had nowhere to dump it. As a result, the narrow streets of Beirut were quickly drowning in rubbish, suffocating the already nonexistent side walks (Lebanon is not very pedestrian friendly).

First week of the garbage crisis. 

Thursday, while Beirut citizens were breathing hazardous waste, smoke and fumes (due to the burning of rubbish by angry civilians), the government was arguing over another political and sectarian crisis. They basically discussed that issue for ten minutes at the end of their meeting and decided to postpone the discussion about the rubbish issue and its solution to Tuesday. The people living of Beirut had to wait another 5 days covered in rubbish. The government acted as though it was the least of their worries. Some citizens decided they had enough and were tired of this, so they accordingly organised a protest centered around the slogan “طلعت ريحتكم”, basically translating to “Your Stench is Revealed” or “You Stink” the upcoming Saturday.

The movement had no political backing, was non-partisan and was based solely on the needs of the people. It had one simple demand: that the government do its job. But we didn’t want any new landfills that were dangerous for the people, we wanted a real solution; a green and environmental solution, one that we could be proud of. It was an anti-government protest, combined with a pro-green and environment aspect. We don’t want our waste to simply be dumped in the poorer areas of Lebanon.
The protest wasn’t huge, but its existence was highly important, it was truly representative of those living in Lebanon; Lebanese and foreigners alike. It showed that we were tired of the sectarian government, and its passivity over the simplest of issues. The garbage on the streets was quite frankly representative of the government. Their uselessness were represented in our streets.

That day we expressed our anger and frustration, which we have every right to do. The organizers of the protest also brought a green advocate and NGO president of T.E.R.R.E Liban, Paul Abi Rached, to explain how the government overlooked the issue and the solution him and dozens of other activists brought upon the last government. He also stressed about how easy the solution was and how reparation of garbage at the source were important. We immediately threw our plastic bottles in a bag and tissues in another bag; we began separating our rubbish. A change was happening in regards to our bad environmental habits.

Publiée par Levant Chronicles sur Samedi 25 juillet 2015

Shortly after, news came that the mayor of Beirut had “found” a “solution” regarding the garbage in Beirut, that it was ready to be taken out as soon as Sunday. We knew at the protest that it was a trap, we simply didn’t want any new landfills. Sukleen did remove the garbage the Sunday from some neighborhoods, but when they got near the new landfills, guess what? No body wanted Beirut’s garbage, and rightly so. The new landfills located near Jiyeh (between Saida and Beirut), were accepted by the mayor but not the people. The highway towards the Lebanese south was blocked for several hours Sunday and Monday to protest the matter. On Tuesday, well before dawn, Activists of “طلعت ريحتكم” followed Sukleen trucks and caught them dumping the garbage in the Beirut river! Landfills were suddenly appearing all over the country and people sent their pictures and videos to condemn the practice.

The government had unsurprisingly postponed the Tuesday meeting (mostly because they didn’t agree on their sectarian problems) but protesters were there, showing our non-partisanship, demanding again that the government do its job, we didn’t identify with the 8 March or the 14 March coalitions, in fact, we wanted them to leave. A lot of chants were present, chants that condemned Solidere, the company that killed Beirut heritage, tied to Hariri and therefore to Sukleen. Why were the upscale neighborhoods of Solidere clean when the other neighborhoods (with much more people) were still dirty?

We spontaneously blocked several roads toward the Martyrs Sqare and created a lot of congestion. Some people may criticize this and they have every right to do so, but the protests were peaceful, and it was to show the authorities that a few hundreds of people in Beirut can disturb the status quo. We don’t need a political “leader” behind us to block roads.

Publiée par Levant Chronicles sur Samedi 25 juillet 2015

We decided to march towards Hamra after a lively debate among ourselves, yes, some shouted at others, but the majority, after a vote, decided that marching to Hamra, and other parts of Beirut, was better than staying in the Downtown area. This was especially due to the fact that  not many people lived (besides basically the 1%). We truly demonstrated that we were a democratic movement. More democratic, at least, than the parliament that decided to extend their mandate twice, without asking the Lebanese people if they liked the decision or not!

And then, with that, another episode was unfolding; one that reveals the true coercive status of the Lebanese politicians. When we were marching towards the interior ministry and the ministry of the environment some protesters dared to attack what looked like a politician’s car. It was the car of Minister Derbas, the social affairs minister. The media is reducing the affair to 4 people; Bilal, Ihab, Tarek and Firas, however many more were involved by blocking the car and throwing rubbish on it. We were harmless, just angry. Tarek was arrested as a result. I don’t remember if Tarek were arrested on the spot, but his name was already circulating in the media just after the protest and the long march that led us back to Riad el Soloh. I left before Firas, Ihab and Bilal were arrested, much later in the night.

Publiée par Levant Chronicles sur Mercredi 29 juillet 2015

Quickly news emerged about how Tarek Mallah had already a judicial history with Minister Derbas, and the stories of Ihab and Bilal demonstrated this. They were arrested not only because they dared to touch a minister car, but were interrogated on Tarek. The story of Tarek is simple, he is an orphan who spent more than 13 years of his life in Dar el Fatwa orphanage, a Muslim organization. There he was raped and reported this. Minister Derbas overlooked the case. So as a result Tarek Mallah sponsored a case against Derbas legally, with no outcome.

What followed were two days of pressure. Bilal and Ihab were released Wednesday, Firas and Tarek Friday. Bilal and Ihab described how they were psychologically harassed by the anti-terrorism forces. They were forced to strip down in front of each other and were put in black masks as if they were some IS members. They were also put under pressure to denounce Tarek Mallah, clearly from orders of Derbas. This just proves how easy it is for any minister to use coercive force. Derbas is officially “independent” in the government. But that doesn’t make him any better than other coalitions minister.

Publiée par Levant Chronicles sur Mercredi 29 juillet 2015

We decided to reorganize ourselves and to plan something bigger. Our goal is to stop the plan that says Sukleen must be divided between different industrialists in the basis of sects. We want the government to at least care about the environment. Our group is representative of a large spectrum of ideologies; Marxists, leftists, liberals etc. We don’t have a single ideology that represents us but we have the same goal, that the government does its job regarding the environment and that it should be held responsible and transparent over the current crisis. We’re not unambitious, we’re just focusing our energy in the first step, and I hope, towards bigger goals.”

Saturday 8th August, tol3et rihetkom is protesting at the Martyrs Square, Downtown Beirut, 6PM. If you care about living in a green Lebanon, bring all the people you can and demand that the government do a proper job.

I am photographing the protests and making short videos. See pictures here and videos here

Pinkwashing: Fabian Maamari’s pictures in Israel help the Israeli propaganda.

Disclaimer: I would have reacted almost the same way if the picture showed a Lebanese woman and an Israeli man, or vice-versa. But the homosexuality adds something particular to Israel called Pinkwashing, a form of propaganda. 

The picture shows a Lebanese man and an Israeli man kissing, with obviously their respective flags on their back, and it’s taken somewhere in Israel. Fabian Maamari got into Israel with his Swedish passport, (I didn’t know this was possible) and happen to have, according to the pictures, a Jewish friend.

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The picture is wrong for mainly two reasons, normalisation and pink-washing, both propaganda strategies used by Israel, called “Hasbara”.

1) The normalisation.

I support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction movement (BDS). BDS put pressure on the Israeli society as a whole and on the Israeli government in particular. It is a peaceful way for people around the world to resist Israeli obvious war crimes and the apartheid. One of the strategies is to pressure artists, such as musicians, to boycott Israel and not to play there, whether in the West Bank or in Tel Aviv. Some accept, (like most notably Roger Waters from Pink Floyd) and themselves become advisors on the matter, on how performing in Israel will normalise the zionist country and put attention away from the crimes of the Israeli government or settlers. The Israeli government tacitly supports racist settlers. 

I have nothing against the couple in itself, but I do have something against this picture, because it is now being used by pro-Israeli groups to show Israel as a welcoming country, such as “Stand with Us” and therefore turn away the attention from Netanyahu and his openly racist government. If I didn’t know anything about the Israeli society or the government, just that Israel and Lebanon have been at “war”. Then maybe I would think: “Hey, if Israelis permit that, therefore, their government must permit that too, so Israeli is not that bad!”.

Normalisation before justice is never acceptable, because it put away justice in a shade and the following reparations. Normalisation is one of the main strategies of the Israeli Hasbara, lsrael PR strategy, propaganda. Remember, Israel government incites settlers and are behind the violence that burned alive a 18-month Palestinian baby.

Pinkwashing:

Israel always wants to present itself as the most modern and progressive country in the middle east, as the only democracy etc, as a safe haven for minorities and human rights. It uses a strategy called Pink-Washing: it represents itself as accepting LGBTQ people just in order to again put shadow on their crimes and wars. The picture will be used to present Israel not only as peace-loving, which is untrue, but also as LGBTQ-loving, which is also untrue. While Israel does allow gay couples, the same-sex marriage isn’t possible because of the confessional system. While pro-Israeli groups such as Stand with us display how much Israel is “open” about LGBTQ people, Israel restricts marriage between Palestinians and Israelis. In fact, Palestinians married to “Israeli” Arabs, can’t join their bride or husband into Israel. They also can’t have the Israeli nationality. Some LGBT groups like Queers against Israeli Apartheid rejected Israel pink-washing hasbara/propaganda, because it is hypocrite and is a way towards normalisation, basically just a PR stunt for Israel, again.

I don’t know Fabian Maamari as a person, but what I wish to tell him that by showing this picture, you’re helping Israeli crimes, and you most probably don’t know it.

Picture with IDF soldiers.

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There’s also a highly disturbing picture of Fabian Maamari where he met Israeli soldiers and got along with them, not only he presented Israel as a welcoming country, but he also present the “IDF” as welcoming, kind, and fair. The same IDF that massacred 550 children just a year ago in Gaza, the same IDF that kills in the West Bank, the same IDF that massacred Lebanese civilians 9 years ago in 2006.

I am speaking about this because it happens that Fabian is a Lebanese person, so somehow the story connected with myself, but I would say the same to every person, regardless of nationality.

Fabian Maamari, stop whitewashing and pinkwashing Israeli crimes, just like so many Israelis do. I haven’t seen a post from you condemning Israel nor the IDF, I want to see that you’re not politically slavish, do what great Israelis are doing like Illan Pappé, combat the racist state of Israel.