Sunday, April 26, 2009

About Us, And Them.

I remember— back in ‘06, when a bunch of us were helping CRTDA gather signatures at AUB, in support of their Nationality campaign. A boy signed his name on the petition, then he asked me: would this mean that a woman would be able to give her Lebanese nationality to Syrians? And I said: yeah.

So he just scratched his name from that petition and walked away.

Strange how that ability, that power of women to determine who to give their nationality to, scares people. Like we have the power to change the entire demographics of this country. Like we can turn this country into a Palestinian state, into a sub-Syrian state.

Strange how racism works with sexism and with classism. Swayable, easily seducible, women can sleep with the “enemy.” Poor women, women of certain regions/sects, have lots and lots of babies, tipping the sectarian balance to “their” favour. Them. The Syrian workers. The Palestinian refugees. And then there are the migrant domestic workers. The women. The women of da7hyi and the South. The sexually active women. They’re all equally threatening. To the nation. To the middle class. To the family.

Sometimes I think that some men (particularly the very sexist ones) are more aware of our capabilities and potentials than we are ourselves. I don’t mean our abilities to change the distribution of the population in that racist/sectarian way, like that AUB boy was afraid of. I mean our ability to change things for the better. To introduce new ways of understanding things.

And that’s why we’re here. Because we see things differently, because we can see how things are wrong, from the little things that we have grown numb to, like the pressure on women to conform to impossible beauty standards, like street harassment, to more blunt things like how migrant workers are treated, how women can’t give their nationalities to their husbands and kids, how there are no laws against domestic violence and marital rape. And because we know we can/must change that.

That’s why we’re here.