Commentary, Lebanon, Published Work

Western media’s troubling obsession with “badass” and “submissive” Arab women

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

A clip of Al-Jadeed anchor Rima Karaki shutting down London-based cleric Sheikh Hani al-Sibai during a televised interview has received international attention. As a journalist and a feminist, I initially cheered at Karaki’s satisfying take down of her patronizing guest. But as the video went viral, I found myself struggling to come to terms with the ways that the clip was repurposed and framed by many international media outlets. Continue reading

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Lebanon, Published Work

Featured in “Positive Lebanon”

I’m happy to share that a piece of mine has been featured in the book Positive Lebanon, which was released by Tamyras publishing house in December 2014. The book features positive initiatives from Lebanese civil society, as well as a number of Lebanese writers.

For media coverage of the book launch at Salon du Livre Beyrouth:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Arts-and-Ent/Culture/2014/Dec-18/281555-compiling-the-publics-love-letters-to-lebanon.ashx

The book can be ordered online here:

http://www.antoineonline.com/Article.aspx?id=103

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Commentary, Lebanon

The tired foreign media narrative on Lebanon

A version of this article originally appeared on Now Lebanon.

The week of Lebanon’s Independence Day, Foreign Affairs published a commentary piece ominously titled “Beirut’s Center Cannot Hold: Lebanon Is On the Brink of Another Civil War.” The headline, a less-than-subtle nod to Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” begs the question that has been debated time and time again by international media since 2005: what is holding Lebanon together? Continue reading

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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

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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

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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

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Commentary, Lebanon

What is it about Lebanon?

On Saturday morning, following a disastrous “Faces of Lebanon” awards ceremony, Lebanese-American comedian Nemr Abou Nassar posted a video blasting LBCI for their lack of professionalism and the blatant disrespect that was shown towards the organizers and guests of the prestigious event. Over the course of his spontaneous 21-minute speech, which is well worth a watch, he addressed issues including the incompetence of Lebanese media outlets, their disrespect to non-Arabic acts, and their unwillingness to help rising stars. While he remained relatively true to his “no politics, no religion” policy, he also spoke briefly on the rampant sectarianism that marks Lebanese broadcast news, and that threatens to any day destabilize an already uncertain peace.

“Lebanon stands divided, today more than yesterday. My country stands on the brink of executing itself for the stupidity of Muslim and Christian differences,” he stated to the small crowd that still remained at 3:30 AM, hours after the ceremony was scheduled to end. Continue reading

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