Hoping that Abolishing the Sectarian System is Lebanon’s Revolution!

20 March 2011 – Protest to overthrow the sectarian regime and its leaders!

I lived a major part of my life outside Lebanon in a multi-cultural environment and I haven’t been raised here nor witnessed the civil wars. During that time, I never wondered nor questioned anyone about their religion not even their nationality – we were all young, full of life and friends with common interests and activities.
I came to Lebanon when I was 15 years old in year 2000 and I was SHOCKED by the hatred among Lebanese people coming from different religious and political background no matter what age they were (including my parents of course, but I actually never felt it until we came to Lebanon.)

Although I’m a big fan of the subject of political philosophy, I decided for the reasons above not to be involved in Lebanon’s disgusting politics: my country’s politics revolve around the same corrupted politicians or their inherited sons that have been arguing  about the same things all through the years, using the same cliché and counting on the sectarian fears to mobilize their basis. Our political life is simply a vicious circle in which we are trapped and have been trapped in since 1943. And within this system, I always feel like I’m going to kill myself and eventually try to shut my mind down whenever I’m surrounded by the politicians followers and parrots  who would repeat the same bullshit of their leaders, same “arguments” and same “counter-arguments.”

Of course, I never claim that I am an expert in Lebanese politics, on the contrary. And having made that point clear, it is the first time in ten years now that I felt the need to get more involved in one side of politics: so I went down the streets, and joined the other like-minded citizens to protest for something big, something new, and something that will definitely and finally cause a positive change in the essence of the country’s corruption:
When I first read about it on the Facebook page “The people demand the fall of the sectarian regime”, my first reaction was: F…………… finallyyyyyyy, where have you been guys all these years!
It literally felt like a breath of fresh air in this polluted country.
And I would like to say here a big THANK YOU for the organizers, civil societies and activists who took this long awaited initiative and made it happen; especially now in this critical regional context where the Arab world is undergoing severe and several changes after being asleep for such a long time. This reminds me of Omar Khayyam’s words along the following: Wake up, you have all eternity to sleep. The sectarian regime has given us violence, war, death, discrimination, fanaticism, doubt and has undermined all principles of meritocracy.

It is important to mention here some  of the things stated by the ANTI-SECTARIAN movement:
– Abolish the sectarian regime and its leaders
– No more political-inheritance, uneven development and discrimination
– Unity of the masses
– Secular democratic state based on social justice
– Equality between men and women and more specifically women’s right to pass on their nationality (the secular system is mainly behind the reason why women can’t pass their nationality to their spouses and children since it would disrupt the current balance between Muslims and Christians.)
– And among others basic needs such as raising the minimum wage and reducing the prices of basic materials and housing, strengthening of the public sector, including education, health care, social security and pensions, and for jobs to improve living conditions,  fighting for the eradication of poverty, sectarianism and racism.

As stated in the Daily Star: “the march was the third of its kind in less than a month and attracted more than double the numbers seen at the last event on March 6, when some 10,000 were estimated to have hit the streets…. Similar protests are planned next week in Jbeil, Sidon and Aley, with another Beirut march expected to take place next month…..Although predominantly a youth-based movement that largely recruited supporters through social media, all ages and walks of life were present at the march Sunday.”

Having said that, an important point has been raised by Tajaddod Youth blog member http://www.tajaddod-youth.com/blog-page/4799  saying:  “ I don’t see how a call for the dismantling of the sectarian system will spontaneously inspire citizens to revolt against their sectarian leaders……the real battle is over the hearts and minds of the many Lebanese citizens  who have no problem with it (secular system), and even benefit from it.”

The arguments against a secular system in Lebanon are a lot, and they piss me off. The most absurd argument is the following: “one Lebanese sect outnumbers all the other communities; therefore they will have all the jobs and the public positions.” Well, this is what our great, trivial and fanatic system has achieved: nepotism through communitarian connections, as if we live still in a tribal society. Our public positions should be in the hands of people who deserve it; our political figures should be educated and qualified. Maybe we need technocrats. Maybe we need a meritocracy system. All that I know is that we chant slogans, such as liberty and freedom and independence… what is liberty if I don’t have the choice to have a civil marriage, to become a president of my country if I am “Sunnite”. What is freedom, if I cannot dream of being a head of central bank if I am orthodox, what if I’m an atheist… and the list is long…

No matter how hard and long this process will be, let’s all keep pushing this movement forward… don’t demean it by saying this is impossible to happen in a country such as Lebanon and that it’s a waste of time, if you feel and think likewise, please join this anti-secular movement.
As Margaret Mead (a known anthropologist) stated once: “Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

It’s ironic that my first post on my blog is political – people who know me know that I hate to be involved in politics. But I felt the necessity and the urge for it this time.
Below are some pictures I took during the March 20 protest…enjoy and join, spread the word 🙂

Aya Hibri


5 thoughts on “Hoping that Abolishing the Sectarian System is Lebanon’s Revolution!

  1. Well said ayyoush, i believe you’re right. it’s time for all these so-called ‘war princes’ to give their spaces to a secular technocratic government that demonstrates politics as it’s true objective of social service rather than social dominance and slavery.. W aysh fiha haddine

  2. Aya! That is astonishing! Very well written I couldn’t agree more… You said it all. Keep up the good work, and I am happy that you also talked about corruption which is a priority too and goes by parallel with the sectarian system.

    Thank you,

  3. great article, i actually read it all.. even though i had lunch in between, and ran a few laps in the banyo..
    well, lets put it this way, this mentality in lebanon is now inbuilt.. the pple are programmed to be sectarian.. which is extremely difficult to change. There are two solutions: something awful happens, forcing the pple to unite with each other in desperate need of survival.. OR maybe we should just pump more drugs into the society, that could get their mind off of things like 2arba3ta3sh w tmeneh w sinne-shee3e w 7izb w 7arake, aoun-ja3ja3, w basement-BO, arz aw faraya.. etc..

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