It was a tough year for Lebanon, with the influx of even more Syrian refugees across the border, plus a mix of domestic assassinations and suicide bombings. But while it's all too easy to focus on the bad, let's talk about the good because believe it or not, we've seen some positive steps in the right direction over the last year, and we think they deserve some attention.

For a glimpse of optimism and hope in our cloudy, or at least uncertain future, take a look at these positive throwbacks to 2013:

1. Lebanon's First Civil Marriage and Sect-less Baby

(Photo via Naharnet)

Two years ago, we all thought that a civil marriage in Lebanon was close to impossible, let alone a ‘sect-less’ baby. Kholoud Succariyeh and Nidal Darwish, with their beautiful child, Ghadi, proved us wrong. As the first couple to have a civil marriage in Lebanon, they are emblematic figures in the face of a country that bases so much on one’s religious identity.

2. Lebanese Psychiatric Society Says Homosexuality Isn't Illness

(Photo via

In July, the Lebanese Psychiatric Society issued a statement saying that “homosexuality is not a mental disorder and does not need to be treated.”

The country still has a ways to go toward sexual equality. Article 534 of the criminal code bans “unnatural sexual acts” between two people, and is often interpreted to include homosexual behavior. Regardless, the Psychiatric Society's statement was lauded by activists as a step in the right direction.

3. The Tomato Revolution

(Photo by Habib Battah)

The Tomato Revolution (Thawrat Al Banadoora) was formed by civil society activists in May in protest over Parliament's decision to extend its own term for another 17 months.

Demonstrations were held with every constitutional council meeting over the summer meant to address legal challenges to Parliament’s extension. At one point throwing, activists began throwing tomatoes at politicians as they showed up and departed from meetings.

4. Beautifying Beirut

Whether it's beautifying the steps of Beirut with color-coded happiness or declaring that we Live, Love Beirut with bright and bold graffiti, ordinary citizens have come together over the past year to add vibrant colors to the city's dull gray streets.

5. The Continually Thriving Arts, Culture and Music Scenes

Ghadi and Habbit Loulou, two powerful movies involving characters with disabilities, evoked national, sentimental applause this year. Additionally, Rituals of Signs and Transformation, a play performed at Babel Theatre in November, was centered on stigmatized notions of homosexuality, religious hypocrisy, and the Arab woman’s pursuit of sexual liberation. These productions, with their deep-rooted messages, further accentuate Lebanon's quest towards a profound liberation from its societal and political confines.

In addition, the country's music scene once again proved it was alive and kicking with Red Bull's Soundclash concert, which pitted Mashrou' Leila against Who Killed Bruce Lee and the Wicker Park Festival which brought some of our favorite local talents, including The Wanton Bishops, on to the stage.

It really is beautiful to see us take so much pride, for once, in something that has its roots in our very own soil.

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