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Posts tagged ‘women’

KAFA! Enough!

As some of you know, yesterday march 8 was women’s day. And if you’re Lebanese, you would have heard about all the Lebanese wives who have been murdered by their husbands in the last couple of years.

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Gathering for one cause

Yesterday the organization KAFA prepared a rally against these men who were released a week after they had beat their wives to death by our corrupt governments.

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In memory of a woman who was advised to death with a cooking pot

Nearly 500 people showed up, men and women, gay and straight, wives with husbands, and families with children of many generations.

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Look in the mirror, I could be anyone

Lebanese of all religions and social status united to walk against the atrocities.

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Whoever we are, we are women at the end of the day

It’s good to see so many people that have their eyes open to the injustice of abuse and are willing to do something about it.
I just hope they don’t forget about the crisis too soon and give up just now.

T.

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Beggars Panorama

Living in Lebanon lately has become more expensive depending on your emotions, on your way of life, and on your degree of pity and self-respect.
Now I’m just talking about car drivers. We spend a certain amount of money on petrol weekly to get to work and back home, but the amount that we always forget to calculate is the one you give to the homeless on your way there and back.

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I’ve added to my weekly consumption 10 000 LL a day, which adds up to 50 000 LL a week, unless you work Saturdays and Sundays as well.

With the past wars Lebanon has been trough, the amount of homeless people increased greatly, leaving hundreds of children, women, and men roaming the streets, around traffic lights, waiting for any amount that might be handed to them by drivers. I stumbled upon this article which explains the daily panorama I get on my way to work:
“Whilst navigating the major roads in the urbanized cities of Lebanon, one cannot help but come across one or more youngsters spread out randomly throughout these cities, grouped particularly near traffic lights – where cars come to a stop. The children appear to follow a rehearsed routine: knock on car windows, look the passengers in the eyes and hold out their hands to either sell small merchandises or as a silent plea for money. It is noticeable that strangers, upon witnessing this phenomenon, would either regard it with a wary eye (suggesting that they are somewhat used to the instances of poverty) or are simply shocked at this wretched, silent cry for help.”

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I would add the people’s reactions when they try not to make eye contact, close their windows and sometimes even shout at the children so they could be left alone. If you have a big heart and can’t help but fall for their pleas, then you might need to increase your daily revenue.

Now here is where the trick starts, few of these beggars are actually homeless children, being forced to beg their way into surviving, while others are part of organized crime where their parents might abuse them and force them to work; and others are orphans taken in by a “PIMP” and forced to work the streets like prostitutes, begging for money.

Unfortunately seeing the difference between the two might be tough, seeing that the illusion is perfect. My way of differentiating them is proposing to give them food and water instead of money, those faking it will refuse the food, and go off swearing; while others will look at you in utter idolization and thank you from the bottom of their heart, stuffing their face with whatever food you have provided them with.

Most of the children working for their parents or organized crimes are unfortunately not able to go back into shelter without having collected a certain amount of money, so if you see a couple of children refuse food, but keep trying to beg with an obvious fear in their eyes late at night, I usually provide them with a bit of change but also food, that they will not be able to provide their executioner with, and still survive the year.

Many articles were written about beggars, one, which I don’t seem to find any more, is about a woman begging with a child asleep in her arms. The woman that wrote the article tried to approach this beggar, asking to carry the child to let the beggar be able to eat properly. The woman strongly refused, and after extensive research the writer found out the reason behind the woman’s refusal; there are many cases, and here are a few: the child is drugged, with alcohol or actual hard drugs to keep him asleep or from crying; the child is dead, and the woman is waiting for the organization she begs for to provide her with a new one; the child is paralysed from physical abuse to stay stable.

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I know what you might be thinking right now, how could a person be so inhumane? simple; their humanity was lost in wars, in home abuse, and daily fights with society and life.

Here are a few further reading you might be interested in reading, they explain what the Lebanese community is trying to do, unfortunately nothing is 100% effective, especially with the war in Syria adding up to the number of homeless and beggars in Lebanese streets.



Quite the eye opener, extremely morose, yet 100% true.

T.

I am a woman!

I am not an object, I am a woman, men around here tend to forget that.
Living in lebanon (I’m not sure about other countries), I’ve always been objectified by the mass of random men on the streets.

In an office discussion over lunch the subject was opened by a variety of sexes and age groups. The men were convinced they were giving us compliments and that we should simply be happy about it instead of looking offended; as for the women in the room, we were appalled by such ideas.
I have to confess it sometimes feels nice to get a compliment from a total stranger, but there are limits that lebanese men tend to overlook.

For example let’s say you go for a walk or a drive, will you really feel good about random guys on vespas shouting out “chou ya ashtaaa” or “kifo el 3asal” (what’s up sweets, how’s the honey) to you? same goes for the whistling, hand gestures and winking, honestly it makes me feel ill at ease.
I’m not a feminist, please don’t get me wrong, but this objectivization that women go through on a daily basis needs someone to point it out (and who better than a local?).

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I am not an object you can throw your dirty thoughts on and expect me to be grateful. Staring in a perverted way and whistling in our direction harms us instead of complimenting us.

A month ago a friend of mine was walking over to my place when an elder man followed her with his face stuck down her chest (no she wasn’t wearing any cleavage or provocative clothing), when she finally got fed up with him and politely asked him to back off, his reaction was: [translated]”but I’m an old man! I don’t see such beauty anymore, plus you must take it as a compliment since I’m taken by you and not by another woman!”. Her reaction? A clean slap across the face before storming away; and that’s when you hear the endless tantrum once again: “you b****** don’t even know how to take a compliment!” [With many other profanities I prefer not to print].

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Another one of my friends was stuck in traffic during rush hour when her car neighbour starting licking his lips provocatively with added hand gestures to explain his intentions. In that case you have two choices, unfortunately neither of them is a good one. You can either give him the finger and try to make him feel ashamed, or simply ignore him and keep busy; but both will excite him even more, and make him direct more profanities your way, whether it be “chou ya metwa7cheh bayyik 3allamik et def3e 3en nafsik” (Oh you rabid woman daddy thought you how to stand up for yourself) or “yi 3leiki akbar men heik mfakkertine ma beswa 2addik” (Oh sweety you think you’re more important/richer than me) etc. I could go on and on but then that would be too crude to even bother to translate.

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Lately I’ve been wondering about these men’s parents, how badly can you educate your son for him to turn up to be so crude towards women and to believe that these ‘pick up lines’ are ok to use on a daily basis towards strangers? How will they react if some stranger talks to their mother, wife, sister, or daughter this way?

Would they go”lebanese” on them (which is unfortunately a stereotype that the lebanese people have aquired and that I can’t even seem to shake off); aka fight, beat the guy, or pull a gun out at him to “protect their family’s virtue”.
Obviously the saying Do to your neighbour what you want to be done to you doesn’t fit this culture. Most of them expect you to treat them correctly and with respect while they mistreat their next of kin.

Objectifying women is not giving them compliments, it’s offensive and most of the time repulsive. Dear readers, males and females, what do you think?

T.

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