Statehood & Participation

Articles

Kohl Call For Papers: Sex, Desire, and Intimacy

"Kohl: a Journal for Body and Gender Research" invites submissions for the sixth issue slated for publication in December 2017. Young activists, independent researchers, graduate students and fresh graduates are particularly encouraged to apply. Kohl also welcome submissions from seminal contributors in the field.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Take on Women’s Rights: Reading between the Lines?

As a religion, Islam is often accused of discriminatory practices towards women. Whether this is true or not cannot be easily determined. On the one hand, there are indeed many verses in Qur’an which assert that women are not equal to men in their human and social status , or in matters of inheritance , court testimony , polygamy, and personal cleanliness . According to Qur’an, on many matters women are not permitted to have a voice - this is particularly the case in sexual relationships. On the other hand, there are other verses in Qur’an which suggest the opposite is true. These verses advocate for equality and harmony between men and women in an Islamic society.

By Wael Sawah

The ‘Female Quota’ in Lebanon: A Temporary Solution to a Chronic Political Problem

Women have long been subjected to political and social marginalization in the Land of the Cedars. Ever since 1952, the year in which women obtained the right to vote in Lebanon, the proportion of women occupying parliamentary seats has remained exceptionally low. Despite frequent assertions by Lebanon’s male politicians that women constitute half of society and therefore are entitled to have a say in the way the country is run, at present their political representation falls far below acceptable limits.

By Walid Hussein

Seminar  held 17 April 2014 at Salt Galata in Istanbul, Turkey: "Writing Revolution"  - Voices from Tunis to Damascus with Layla Al Zubaidi, editor of the book and Director of Heinrich Boell Stiftung - South Africa,  Yassin Al Haj Saleh, Samar Yazbek via skype  and Senay Ozden.

Publications

‘Islamic Feminism’ in Lebanon: Portraying a counter-discourse

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Islam and Feminism, those two words seem like an oxymoron to most people. But it is not to everyone. Starting in the 90's a number of Islamic feminists from different parts of the world took the stage and made their struggle for women‘s emancipation public. This paper delves into the basic concept of Islamic Feminism and attempts to portray the counter-discourse as it is forming in Lebanon.
Ann-Kathrin Steger

The case of Beirut Madinati: How to maintain a wind of change?

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Changing a crooked system from within might seem like a desperate effort, especially when the same political actors had been in power for over 20 years facilitating corruption and clientelism. Yet, it is a task that the civil platform Beirut Madinati took upon itself when they ran in the 2016 Lebanese municipal elections for the Beirut city council. Although they were not able to win a seat due to the Lebanese winner-takes-all electoral system, their high electoral success caused a massive uproar, also among the established political parties. For this research, a series of interviews has been conducted with members of Beirut Madinati in order to assess the reasons for their success, public reactions and considerations for their further proceedings.

The Uphill Battle with a Boulder

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8,331 - is the astonishing number of officially registered civil society organisations in the small state of Lebanon. From HIV prevention over democracy building to environmental protection, almost no topic remains unaddressed. However, from a closer look, the impact yielded by these groups in the compact state in the Middle East often remains somewhat restricted. On the example of gender equality – a topic fervently debated in Lebanon – this paper analyses the internal and external reasons behind this surprising discrepancy and stipulate thought about how to make the Lebanese civil society work more effectively.

Nothing but a demonstration?

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The civil society movement during the garbage crisis in Beirut after July 2015.

When garbage started to pile up in the streets of Beirut in summer 2015, a new wave of civil society protests was initiated in the country. Thousands of Lebanese were protesting in the streets – against the garbage situation, corruption of the government, the failure of electing a president, sectarianism and many more issues connected to the crisis of the state and the waste management. More than half a year later, no final solution for the garbage has been found and the political situation has not changed. It is said that the civil society movement failed to put pressure on the government, but also the regime itself is made responsible for the lack of change. For many people it was hard to follow up with what was happening on the streets during the demonstrations and to understand who the protestors were and which goals they tried to achieve. This paper analyzes the dynamics of the movement and tries to explain why not much has changed so far and if there is any chance for civil society movements in Lebanon in the future.

Perspectives Issue 8 - October 2015

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The fight against corruption in the MENA region has gone through several ups and downs. Prevention, awareness and purification campaigns aiming to eradicate endemic or systemic corruption have had very little impact. The political will and the good intentions formulated in speeches and conferences during the democratic transitions referred to as the “Arab Spring” have hardly born results.

Throughout the countries of the Middle East, citizens view the state with suspicion. State institutions are often experienced as biased towards the powerful, corrupt and predatory, and as a sometimes violent means to safeguard the position of a ruling elite, or the domination of one part of the population over others. Participation, on the other hand, is mostly reduced to elections of questionable representational value, or relies on informal channels and structures and primordial relations, and thus reinforces existing patterns of subordination and power. The program Statehood & Participation supports initiatives that demand accountability and due process and encourage citizens to become aware, active and organized around issues of (gender-) democratic participation, freedom of expression and sustainable development.

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