Commentary, Digital Life, Human Rights, Lebanon, Published Work

Why the world grieved for Paris and not Beirut

As Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris unfolded, people around the world tuned in to watch blanket coverage of the events. Facebook activated a feature allowing Parisians to check in as “safe.” By Saturday, millions of people had added a filter of the French flag to their profile pictures to show solidarity with Paris. Continue reading

Commentary, Human Rights, Lebanon

Fattouch, Bassil actions reflect a deeper misogyny

While political gaffes may appear to exist in isolation, Fattouch and Bassil’s actions are reflective of a society with a deep and troubling political legacy of violence and misogyny. 

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

An incident involving independent MP Nicolas Fattouch punching a female clerk in the neck at the Justice Palace has gone viral.

While rumors circulated online that Manale Daou, the clerk in question, was forced to withdraw a lawsuit and apologize to the offending MP, Mahmoud Darwish of the Public Administration Employees Committee has denied that legal action against Fattouch has been dropped. Continue reading

Commentary, Digital Life, Human Rights

The atrocities will be tweeted

Why social media may be the great equalizer in the Arab-Israeli propaganda war.

A version of this article was originally published on Now Lebanon on 25 July 2014.

Rihanna is no stranger to controversy. The singer is notorious for her outspoken social media presence, and has more than once been suspended from Instagram for posting racy content. There was one message, however, that proved too contentious even for the most uninhibited of celebrities: #FreePalestine. Continue reading

Commentary, Human Rights, Lebanon

The Normalization of Violence

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon on 16 January, 2014.

Another morning, another bomb rips through Lebanon. Metal, flesh, and personal belongings are strewn across the street, a chaotic, and now, familiar scene. Nothing is quite as ugly as the mayhem of rubble. Shards of human life intermingle with pieces of the buildings they once occupied, covered in a fine layer of dust that follows explosions.

The greatest tragedy of this shameless violence is, without question, the innocent lives lost, people unwillingly caught in the crosshairs of a conflict so convoluted that no side truly fights for anyone. Between the political jockeying and media speculation, it becomes strangely easy to forget those whose lives came to a sudden end in their homes, on their way to work, or between two cups of coffee. Continue reading

Canada, Commentary, Human Rights

Sauder rape cheer: we need educational overhaul, not sensitivity training

A version of this article was published in The Ubyssey following the news that a cheer promoting rape was included in the frosh activities of UBC’s Sauder School of Business.

You can blame Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” the media machine that bemoans the jail time given to rapists, or the oft-discussed “hookup culture” on college campuses. But at the end of the day, we can only ask: what could be lacking in our educational systems that led these students, male and female, to proudly shout such words to a group they were charged with “welcoming” to UBC?

The most disturbing part of the Sauder rape cheer story is perhaps not the content of the disgusting chant itself, or the possibility that this is considered a “tradition” by the CUS. Rather, it is the indifference shown by the student leaders exposed as being aware of the cheer who did not hint at an apology, but rather seemed mildly annoyed that first-year students had broken the code of silence by confirming the existence of the chant on social media. Continue reading

Commentary, Human Rights, Lebanon

The Myth of Lebanese Liberalism

A version of this article originally appeared on NOW Lebanon.

Life in Lebanon slowly but surely resets the dial on anyone’s “normality” barometer. You adjust to power cuts at home, at work, and in public places. You grow used to headlines constantly predicting impending war. You even learn to laugh these off once enough near-crises have passed you by.  You stop thinking twice about buying twelve dollar cocktails while a refugee child stands outside the bar, selling Chiclets for one hundredth the price of your shoes. I’m not proud of this, but all of these things have become my new normal.

Perhaps out of self-preservation, there is one thing I have never come to terms with: my inferior status as a woman. Continue reading