This 45-second video to promote the upcoming awards ceremony to honor Lebanon's 'Outstanding Women' would seem like a slap in the face to anyone who knows anything about the real status of the female gender in this country.

When will the women who've made real, tangible achievements in Lebanon be recognized for their work? Moreover, it seems provocative (and almost patronizing) to "applaud" women in the first place when they remain, for the most part, second-class citizens in their own country.

Here are just a few examples of what I'm talking about:
--In Lebanon, it is perfectly legal for a man to rape his own wife.
--Furthermore, a rapist can have his sentence reduced if he agrees to marry his victim.
--Abortions remain illegal.
--A woman cannot pass on Lebanese citizenship to her children.
--Lebanon recognizes 18 official sects, each with its own courts, laws and traditions. This translates into 18 different stances on issues such as marriage, divorce and inheritance.
--The punishment for committing an honor killing can be as little as three months behind bars.
--Child custody rules are biased towards the husband in cases of divorce.

And with all these examples taken into consideration, there are currently only four women in the 128-member parliament: Nayla Tueini, Gilberte Zouein, Bahiya Hariri and Strida -Geagea. Four.

It comes off as a sort of disgusting disregard for the real treatment of women in this country when we point to a figure like Fatme Sahmarani as a role model for our gender. I'm sick of hearing about people making “achievements” when we all know that in Lebanon, if you're in a position that even remotely involves some kind of power, it's because you know someone, who knows someone, who put you there -- especially if you're a woman. In Sahmarani's case, it was her dad who helped her become the mayor of Sor.

I’d give away my entire fortune (which is roughly $400) to award, honor and respect someone in this country who has actually made it on his/her own without any wasta involved. [Sigh.]

All this talk about special privileges reminds me of Mona Ayoub, the Lebanese woman who married a Saudi millionaire, got divorced and made a fortune selling his belongings and writing a book about her "achievements" in 2000 called, The Truth.

Kill me now. Thank you.


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