On the occasion of mother’s day and women’s month, Fe-Male organized along with Bassmeh, a Lebanese community-based organization, on Saturday 19 March 2022 a sit-in with the participation of more than 40 women and men at the Martyr’s Square- Beirut to advocate for women’s rights and specifically mothers who daily are facing the arbitrary decisions coming from personal status laws in Lebanon.
Under a demanding title “We mothers, don’t want a bouquet of roses or kitchen tools nor reverence of our motherhood, we want our full rights” the protesters wanted to affirm from the martyr’s square that women’s rights are privileged political issues and that reforms can not take place if women were left behind, “so we stress that women’s issues are at the heart of our revolution’s permanent issues over the ruling system”. Crystal Abi Raad from Bassmeh said in her speech.
In her manifesto for the occasion, Fe-Male’s Executive Director Hayat Mirshad added ”We are here today, women, girls, activists, mothers, and daughters, to confirm and remind those who thought we were defeated that our voice will always and forever be loud and angry in the face of patriarchy, violence, and discrimination and that we have not and will not compromise our right to full citizenship without exceptions in exchange for bouquets of roses, lies, and allegations.
“We consider that the injustice inflicted on women in personal status laws is nothing but a reflection of the ugliness of this system, in which its politicians meet with the men of their religion to perpetuate and deepen division, violence, and marginalization,” emphasized Hayat Mirshad.
Women are deprived of their right to citizenship, to grant citizenship to their children, or to have their custody, they are killed in cold blood, while criminals are acquitted under patriarchal allegations such as “honor” and “outburst of anger.”
Lebanese women and mothers still have a long way to go to assure basic human rights, whether being able to take custody of their children after divorce or being able to give their Lebanese citizenship to their children.
“Hundreds of mothers are kept away from their children, tortured and imprisoned by the unjust custody laws, this is in addition to the practices of extortion and sexual assault that many women are subjected to in the corridors of “Sharia” and spiritual courts”
While the failed 15 personal status laws all converge and insist on the exclusion of women and discrimination against them.
During the sit-in, the protesters held slogans like “Where is motherhood? They stole it!” and “Patriarchal system kills” and other highlights that are asking about Lillian Chaito, the mother whose son was robbed from her after she went into a coma after the disastrous 4 August blast, in the name of religion.
The protesters also commented that Mother’s Day is a great occasion to affirm that it will not be the only day to renew activism against toxic patriarchy, but “will remain on fire as long as the ruling system continues its violence against women in particular and citizens in general”.