No, this is not a story from The Onion, this is a sad truth. A man was filmed violently beating his wife during a Beirut rally calling for an end to domestic violence on Saturday.

Women’s rights organization KAFA was holding a demonstration against domestic violence in response to the brutal killing of Sara al-Amine. The Mount Lebanon woman was shot to death by her husband, Ali al-Zein, with an assault rifle on May 19. He reportedly fired as many as 20 bullets into Amine's body before fleeing their home. Zein has yet to be arrested.

During the rally on Saturday, a passerby recorded a horrifying incident from his cell phone showing a man violently beating a woman, presumably his wife, through the open window of a car. In the video, which has over 140,000 views on YouTube as of publishing time, the man is seen grabbing the woman by the hair and violently yanking her out of the car. He repeatedly slaps and bashes her head against the car seat. The man’s face has been blurred and his identity concealed for his protection.

The irony of this is not lost on us here at Beirut.com.



This video may come as a shock to many, but should we really be shocked at all? When the law protects marital rape, when civil courts often refuse to uphold custody rulings and mothers are separated from their children for years, it should come as no surprise to see a woman so blatantly abused in public.

As often as possible, it is important to look on the brighter side of things. It’s fun to scroll through lists and photographs that show us how wonderful Lebanon is, and how special it’s people are. But we can’t deny the ugly truths of our nation; women’s rights are laughable and neglected. Women are repeatedly battered and abused in their homes, and then they are killed in their homes; and yet little changes on an institutional level.

This story, like many others, will undoubtedly die down once the media parade is over. It will die down and join the stories of Sara al-Amine, Roqaya Monzer, Manal Assi, and many other women who we have failed to protect, both as a government and as a people.

The government and its institutions consistently do the bare minimum in regards to women’s rights. Saturday's rally called for the establishment of courts solely designated to responding to domestic abuse situations. If our elected leaders truly want to advance rights for women in Lebanon, they will ensure this demand is finally met.

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Its really awesome to be back in Lebanon where things are as bad as usual..... What continues to surprise me about this nation is the complete failure to understand and acknowledge that the progress and tolerance lauded by people is a complete illusion. When it comes to labor laws, racism, domestic violence, women's rights and basic human dignity, Lebanon is no better than the Middle Eastern nations, whom they so frequently ridicule and bash for being backward, conservative and downright evil. Building a civilized nation is not accomplished by putting a Starbucks on every corner but somehow the so-called "elected" leaders of this country continue to think so. How many more housemaids will jump to their death before the politicians realize that it is respect for human beings that defines a nation, not flashy beach resort and big cars...

Martin Petersen on Jun 1, 2015 via web