Manal Assi was monstrously bludgeoned to death by her disgusting polygamist husband. Painful as that was to hear, what was even more cringe-worthy is the bastard’s abhorred choice of weapon: a pressure cooker (“presto” as Lebanese folks call it). If there ever was insult added to injury (mortal injury in this case) this would be it. Using a symbol of the oppression and abuse women face by macho men propped up with disgusting religious laws that believe women are possessions, and “belong in the kitchen.” On Dr. Michael Stone’s Evil Scale, I’d put this squarely in on level 20 of the 23 levels.
Christelle Abu Chacra also suffered a horrifyingly brutal death at the hands of a psychopath, who poisoned her and called her parents to come watch her die. This level of evil pales in comparison to a spur-of-the-moment murder in response to infidelity for example. Those kinds of murders are impulsive and reactionary, and usually end up with the murderer feeling remorse. These two men though, remain defiant, and unfortunately, the laws are on their side. The level of evil, narcissism and complete lack of empathy in how they chose to murder their wives is something to stop and consider for a moment. Society is partly to blame, if not in single-handedly creating these psychopaths with the dehumanization of these women with religious laws, it’s in how we as a society choose to react to these crimes and how we proceed to punish them (or not punish them, like in Lebanon).
The Usual Excuse: “It Happens in the US and Europe More”
First, that is a major fallacy. In Lebanon, our culture encourages that we stifle any attempt to talk openly about a “shameful” crime like pedophilia, rape and murder. Isn’t it funny how so many deaths by gunshots are “hunting accidents”? The fact that countries in Europe and North America chronicle these crimes and aren’t ashamed of going public with them, makes unnecessarily arrogant folks in Lebanon resort to the age-old excuse, “it doesn’t happen as much as it does in those countries” but with lack of real numbers and statistics in Lebanon, we can’t really draw that conclusion.
Let us assume that that conclusion was in fact true. So what? Countries in the West still come off as lightyears ahead, because they punish their criminals. In Akkar, the murderer who beat Roula Yaacoub to death is not only free, but has custody of her three beautiful daughters. Could a more horrific scenario have happened, with the blessing of the religious courts and civil judges of course. Also, remember the pedophile priests and their brutish thugs? Mansur Labaki and Pandaleon? People’s excuse was that pedophiles are everywhere, not just priests. Well duuuh! Of course not all priests are pedophiles, but the difference is that all the pedophile priests in Lebanon escaped justice and even got support from the religiously blind brutes who attack and threaten journalists, ban websites and file lawsuits. And that’s where the real crime is. Rapists, murderers, pedophiles will always be there, it’s how society handles them that really matters, and Lebanon has been failing, miserably, on all counts.
Why We Need This Law
All of Lebanon’s problems stem from the power of the religious courts and the corruption it facilitates in all branches of government and society. Today, each Lebanese person falls under different personal status laws, depending on what deity they’re supposed to worship. What this means is that the laws that govern your lives, the lives of your sisters and mothers and lovers, were written in old books, and are interpreted by old men in black robes and funny hats/towels on their head.
We need this law, to make sure civil laws, which are based on logic, reality and the 21st Century, have legal precedence over the dusty, detrimental religious laws that objectify women, oppress them and regard them as secondary to men when it comes to rights. This is what applies for minors. In Lebanon, religious laws regarding kids are obscenely unfair and dangerous. So, someone did something back in the 90s that ensured that civil courts had precedence over religious circuses, which gave custody of a child of a certain age to a father who might have molested him, just because the holy books say that after 2 years old, “the child is the father’s”.
Just FYI, the disgusting MPs on the committee that was debating that law, sought not only to gut the law protecting women with civil laws, but to reverse the law that guarantees a child’s safety from the dangers of adhering to religious courts rulings. The same MPs that have derailed the law and similarly beneficial laws to society, but did not hesitate in making sweeping legislation to extend to their crooked selves and increase their exorbitant salaries. Tfeh.
So, this law needs to specify women explicitly, in order to give fair laws precedence over the unfair religious ones that not only condone violence, rape and murder against women, but also sanctify it in some cases.
Why You Need to Go Down Saturday
Cause you all popped out of a vagina. You all have mothers, maybe even sisters, good friends, girlfriends and wives. How the hell can you accept that this happens, and in Lebanon! This isn’t Saudi Arabia or Iran, this is Lebanon, you know, where you all boast about creating the alphabet and cedar trees and freedom, but you’re ok with your women being raped, beaten and killed?
Go down so that March 8 is remembered for more than a political party that “thanked” Bashar Al Assad’s regime for occupying, oppressing, torturing and murdering Lebanese folks for 29 years. Let’s make the date of March 8 ours again, the people’s. Hopefully, we’ll take back March 14 too from the other side of the corrupt political coin.
I am extremely upset I won’t be there, as I am abroad. I have been to every KAFA protest over the past years, and I’m proud to have been a supporter since the day I found out about them. I admire their courageous work, their selfless help to battered women and their impeccable track record in drafting laws that Lebanese women deserve.
So, RSVP here on Facebook. Invite your friends. Share this event. Be there.