Currently, there exists no national legislation specifically confronting sexual harassment in Lebanon. To confront this lack of laws, a number of initiatives by civil society organizations and government entities have recently pushed for legal reform to address sexual harassment in public spaces and at the workplace. Within the last few years, draft laws criminalizing sexual harassment in public spaces and in the workplace have been prepared and submitted by various bodies, the latest of which is now pending voting by the parliament.
The KIP Project on Gender and Sexuality at the Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, and in partnership with the Office of the Minister of State for Women’s Affairs, launched the “Mesh Basita,” a national campaign that aims at highlighting the need for legislation around sexual harassment within the Lebanese landscape and mobilizing the general public’s opinion towards pushing for legal reform. While many often tend to downplay instances of harassment, suggesting that these are part of everyday social life, this campaign hopes to highlight the many forms harassment may take in an effort to draw attention to the fact that they are violations.
In order to confront the idea that sexual harassment is not a serious issue, “Mesh Basita” stands for the idea that sexual harassment is “not okay.” Offering a double meaning through a message of empowerment, it also suggests that the person is not naïve and that they are taking a stand against harassment. In doing so, the campaign ultimately aims to highlight the need for legislative reform around sexual harassment in Lebanon.
*Whereas all the panelists truly inspired me and scratched my head, I will only mention those who somehow triggered my senses more than others.*
Panel (Highlighting Discrimination through Art & Media)
One of the panelists,Bahaa Harmouche, is a creative director and works on the stigmatized HIV Positive outcasts in our modern societies – more specifically the homosexual HIV Positive people in the Middle East. He speaks on behalf of them saying “Accept Us and Love Us, we are not your enemy.”
Homosexuality is stillan extremely controversial issue in the Middle East where all religions completely reject it as being un-natural and devilish. Individuals are living an internal conflict day after day, especially those who belong to extremely religious families. HIV patients – often persecuted by (somewhat) hypocrites that mainly engage in the same actions they did, but were luckier to not contract such a fatal disease – victimize themselves due to their little awareness, education, and luck.
“The gay society is already marginalized in our societies. The homosexual HIV Positives are even marginalized in the gay society itself,” claimed Bahaa during his panel.
It was definitely the first time I hear such a panel – a taboo, an unspoken battle, and a condemned group by even the minority sub-culture – a courageous topic to address.
Heather Jaber, an independent researcher, discussed the fact that homosexuals are often portrayed in Lebanese series as depressed, and are sent or exiled to other countries. While this portrayal of reality has its positive aspect where it shows that these individuals are unaccepted in society, other questions arise like: why isn’t the media showing us the successful happy homosexuals in Lebanon as normal characters living with us everyday – and are WE giving them the option of either living with depression, committing suicide, or unintentionally sending them to extreme exile? Why is the sexual orientation the only layer a character is described with in Lebanese cinema and why is homosexuality the only artifact that is leading gay characters into depression?
Panel (Marginalized Groups in the Lebanese Political Sphere)
Carmen Geha and Krystel Tabet shared with us the findings of their research of the little engagments of females in the political life. “Politics is masculine” she said, “women are usually brought up in Lebanon to be honest, thinking about the benefit of the community rather than personal benefit whereas men usually possess more ego, aspire to be powerful and are more interested in politics.” Other reasons discussed were the patriarchy of sectarianism and the (debatably) little resources of women, their little effectiveness in national institutions, and their less availability (since they are mostly also mothers and house wives).
Reem Saab’s research highlighted a slight difference in the degree of political voting among men vs women (men are more likely to vote by 1.2% than women) yet a rather great-low representation of women in politics, due to lack of interest, lower chances of employment, and lower education levels.
Nada Anid, representing the NGO Women In Front, shared with us her findings of Lebanon being ranked 180/187 (in Women Parliament Representation) and 143/144 (in Women Governmental Inclusion). She states that a better Quota of women will only happen under one condition: Real Political Will.
In addition to the absence of a Feminist Block and the misconception of the role of politics, one can not but note that the seats in the Lebanese Parliament are barely fitting our politicians that are almost devouring each other for one seat, what if a WOMAN was to take that seat? Unfortunately, giving a seat to a woman is regarded as more of a gentleman act than anything else in the Lebanese government.
Perhaps these issues are disregarded in oppose to what our country is facing these days, however there exists a definite misconception of the role of politics.
Women and activists are less likely to consider politics due to the global interests/lobbies that do not appeal to the interests of such individuals. However, the KIP Project reminded all its attendees that politics is not about Russia, USA, France, or the Middle East, it is about our daily life struggles.
The representation of labor in the syndicates and unions has a direct effect on the rights of the practitioners of a certain labor force. The municipalities are responsible for the concerns of its citizens and we (and our votes) are to be blamed for the traffic jam we are stuck in every day. The government is held responsible for the tax, the double-electricity, and our endless expenses. Politics is not whether Iran and USA are on in “tsingof” or “TGIF” mode. Politics is the daily stress or distress we live with every single day.
The panel (Art as an Alternative Catalyst for Change In Lebanon) featuring the Kesserwany sisters reminded artists that usually have no interest in politics to address social change in their own creative way. Yes, even artists are responsible for fixing Lebanon, no one is exempted – not the women, not the homosexuals, and not the artists. We are all in this together.
I hope one day all Lebanese People find this as interesting as the numerous pointless memes circulating our useless whatsapp groups,
So, I got the chance (among with 14 other bloggers) to meet the Master Distiller at Glen Moray Himself Mr. Graham Coull, and be lectured about Glen Moray Whiskey and about Whiskey in general.
Some interesting facts I learned:
Scottish Whisky is only be made in Scotland (obviously but you know)
It is made of Water, Grain, and Yeast
Kinds of Whisky are Single Malt, Blended Scotch (and Blended Malt)
Whiskey is made of beer (Add Barley and Yeast, distill it twice to get Spirit, put it in an oak cask for 3 years)
If you mix 2 whiskeys of different ages in the same oak cask, the whiskey takes the age of the youngest (Say you put a 12 year old whiskey with an 18 year old = 12)
In Summer, the whiskey interacts more with the wood inside the oak
The use of a Narrow-From-The-Top tasting glass is so, so the taste is centralized, the aroma stays in the whiskey
No two whiskies are identical
To keep the taste of the whiskey, do not add ice (because it is water) Water Cools Down and changes the taste of whiskey
There is no specific age for a whiskey to be bottled; it just needs to be ready; different casks mature differently
When emptying a cask, Master Distillers keep a couple of liters inside to keep the cask moisturized between two generations.
The whiskey is much more intense if it is bottled in a brand new cask used for the first time, 50% less intense if it used the second time, 25% less intense the third time (usually casks are used for three generations)
Glen Moray works with 90,000 barrels a year (around 3 million bottles)
How to Taste A Whiskey:
Hold it in the light, to start differentiating different blends of whiskey and their colors
The Classic Single Malt (6-7 years)
Taste: Malty Toffee Sweetness I liked it, but you can definitely taste Barley in it, because it is young
The Classic Port Finish (40% alcohol) Taste: Citrus, Apple, Pear, Cinnamon
I loved this one, I would recommend this whiskey to girls
Chardonnay Cask Finish Taste: Unique, Spicy, Wine Flavor, Candy, Fruit Sweetness I also would recommend this one to girls and not heavy whiskey drinkers
Peated Single Malt Taste: burned turf, peat smoke, peated vegies I would only recommend this one to a heavy smoker who stopped smoking and would want to feel some chimney, it’s too heavy I would imagine an oversized man drinking it on his porch while his wife cooks soup
12 Years Old Taste: Sweatness, Dark Fruits, Red Berries, Vanilla, Oak Woody Element, Very subtle amount of smoke This has more character, probably because it is 12 years old and that is the basic age of whiskey
15 Year Olds Taste: Coffee bean, Cherry, Fruits, Bitter I like this one more than the 12 year olds, it has more flavor
I would add to it 2 ice
18 Year Olds Taste: TOO STRONG because it is 47.2% alcohol You will need to add to it water
What some people don’t know about me is that my main passion is acting. I enjoy playing a character that is so far away from me, or that I have inside me; put myself in her shoes till whatever I am shooting is done.
Playing this girlfriend in Khati2ati Takwa (click to watch) was really daring and different. In the song, Anas Arabi states that he made her a trap, then he fell in it – to protect her from falling. This is a love song of all the destructive love/hate relationships of not knowing what tomorrow holds, of being weak, and still not giving up and not caring…
She still wants to spend another day with him, let go and enjoy the wind, and dance.. the night away.
Most of you know that I am a firm believer and a heavy user of Snapchat, however I do post stories on both instagram and Snapchat.
I just got these leaked pictures of WHATSAPP STORIES, not sure they are official though, but they seem like a test dummy for a new update.
I personally do not have all my snapchat friends on Instagram – and definitely not on whatsapp, so I do not see this whatsapp update as threatening to my “stories activity”.
Many people I know though, shifted from Snapchat to Instagram stories since it made more sense – they have both their friends and the main pages they follow on Instagram; they wouldn’t be missing on anything (no major FOMOs).
Whatsapp stories would make more sense for those who use Snapchat to check their friends updates; those who are more private.
Probably Whatsapp Stories would target:
Private Instagram users who refrain from uploading insta stories because of the two people they don’t know that they accepted last Monday
30 and above who do not really care about celebrities or follow major news and celebrity/fashion/influencers pages
People who never used Snapchat or instagram stories and never really got it “because it’s too complicated”
Jealous boyfriends and girlfriends who already change their whatsapp pictures into black and their status into “pimping” and “single” when they’re on a fight
I think it will be less common among the youngsters since their parents and aunts have their whatsapp contacts – and no kid wants his grandma to know he is having fries for lunch at Burger King instead of her Kebbeh.
What’s great about this movie is that there are moments where you really laugh out loud (even if you’re alone watching the movie and everyone else in the house is sleeping) it makes you cry and love and hate and even understand suicide, hateful murder, and friendly/mercy killing.
In the movie, Jack Nickolson (playing Randle McMurphy) enters a mental hospital because of his doubtful sanity. The patients’ characters at the mental hospital are impeccable and very diversified. Later on in the movie, we know that some of them are at the Mental Hospital voluntarily and under their own free will. I personally fell in love with one of the characters: Brad Dourif (playing Billy Bibbit) a suicidal young boy who’s traumatized by his mother. Another character that does so little but you will really like with no doubt is Will Sampson (playing Chief Bromden) the calm character who watches, analyzes, helps, and eventually revolts. All the patients are under the supervision of Louise Fletcher (playing Nurse Ratched) who might appear as a nice helpful professional woman – at times, you might even feel some chemistry between her and Randle McMurphy only to figure out later on the exact opposite direction of the movie.
People in leading positions tend to be the most corrupt and psychotic. Perhaps the sacrifice people do for their jobs end up in turning them into cold-hollow-hearted zombies. Nurse Ratched in the movie treats the patients with group psychotherapy, asking them to go back in time to re-experience their disturbances and share their feelings out loud. While psychotherapy may be one of the fundamental processes that help psychologists identify the source of patients’ troubles in order to help them out, this alone doesn’t do all the work and sometimes even worsens patients’ condition. Remembering day in day out one’s misfortunes will only prolong one’s feeling of dis-ease.
McMurphy in the movie takes the patients out for a sailing day in the ocean, he demands the broadcast of the Ball Game at the hospital, and he throws a party in the hospital’s hallway. All that gives the patients some hope and boosts their confidence; suicidal Billy even stops stuttering.
Instead of being hopeful and optimistic, the nurse didn’t like what was going on, and kept on being strict, depressive, and emotionless.
When McMurphy went missing for some time, you could feel the energy gap at the hospital. It’s beautiful how some people’s energies change the whole environment they’re in. Positivity and being active may be the best therapy there is for any kind of mental or physical challenge. On the other hand, Nurse Ratched’s negativity was the reason of the literal death of at least two characters in this movie.
Psychologists, teachers, supervisors, and all people in powerful influential positions cannot be insecure, unhappy, negative, and hopeless. If they have lost hope, they will never help but ruin other’s lives. In this movie at least eight patients could be eventually set free to go live a decent life, the nurse however was impeding their way and pushing them down instead of releasing them.
Such and many similar institutions are founded for helping people but might end up in the death of all their hope, dreams, intellect, and perhaps lives. And so does anything or anyone that tries to stop you, demean you, control you, condemn you, define you, and confine you.