Protesters’ New Route In Beirut…
In a rare first, Lebanon saw two separate processions on its Independence Day (marked on November 22)! The official military march took place in the capital city of Beirut. And, the pro-democracy protesters held even a bigger rally at Al Burj, or the ‘Place des Cannons‘, the historical Central Public Square of Beirut. Of course, the etiquette of a military procession was missing in that rally… but, the participants were successful in making a call to liberate the country’s politics from the hand of a handful of rich and elite people!
Since the Lebanese Government increased the amount of income tax on October 17, the common people have been staging protests in the West Asian nation. The protesters have also asked the Government to reform the political and social structure. Interestingly, majority of the protesters were young ladies, who led the rally at Al Burj on November 22!
As expected, the neighbouring conservative Arab nations have ridiculed the girls for taking to the streets, and also for demanding freedom. Various local broadsheets and the audio-visual media have made sexist comments on them. A frontline Saudi daily wrote: “All the beauties have taken to the streets.” Another daily stated: “Not just beautiful, but also ill-tempered.“!
Even members of the Elite Class, too, have launched verbal attacks on these girls in an attempt to undermine their initiatives to change the existing system. Ala’a Mubarak, the son of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, stressed: “If people like these had come out here on January 25 (2011), Ala’a and Gamal themselves would have gone to the square and chanted against their father!” For his part, Egypt’s richest industrialist Naguib Sawiris said: “I was watching the protests in Lebanon, but when my wife got home I quickly changed to the channel that was covering the war in Yemen.”
The Sociologists have opined that the Arab World shows its mentality of gender discrimination by making sexist comments. It, in other words, means that the Arab World is not at all happy with the freedom enjoyed by the Lebanese women. It becomes increasingly difficult for the Arab men to accept the fact that the Lebanese women did have the guts to stage anti-Government protests on the streets. That is why they are highlighting the physical beauty of protesting girls, instead of condemning the steps taken by the Lebanese Government…
However, the Arab women are backing the protesters, irrespective of their gender! Hend El Kholy, the Egyptian women’s rights advocate, wrote on the social media that it was inspiring that women in Lebanon could wear shorts and walk through a group of men without getting harassed. “If anybody wants to know what masculinity is, they can see it here. Women feel safe in this group. Not one single man seeks to limit their freedom or to harass them – neither verbally nor physically,” she further wrote. Meanwhile, a Saudi woman tweeted: “It’s repulsive how Lebanese women are heavily sexualised by the misogynist Arab societies who hardly see women as normal human beings other than sex tools.”
Well… the Lebanese people, especially the women, have proven that they can hold protests in a civilised and peaceful manner without being attacked or harassed sexually!
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