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A. D. Smith, Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era, Polity: London, 1995.
Anthony D. Smith, National Identity, Penguin Books: London, 1991.
A. Yumul and U. zkirimli, Reproducing the Nation: Banal Nationalism in the
Turkish Press. Sage Journals, Media Culture & Society, November 2000.
Clifford Geertz, Ritual and Social Change: A Javanese Example. American
Anthropologist, February 1957.
G. Delanty and P. O'Mahony, Nationalism and Social Theory. Sage Publications:
London, 2002.
G. Teubner, Global Bukowina: Legal Pluralism in the World Society, Global Law
Without A State. Aldershot: Dartmouth Gower, 1997.
Jonathan Hearn, Rethinking Nationalism: A Critical Introduction, Palgrave
Macmillan: Basingstoke Hamsphire UK, 2006.
M. Guibernau, The Identity of Nations, Polity: London, 2007.
Paul R Brass. Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison. SAGE
Publications: London, 1991.


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LeBam

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

List of Contributors

Bassel Akar is the director of the Center for Applied Research in Education CARE
and an assistant professor at the Faculty of Humanities at Notre Dame University
Louaize, Lebanon. Akar has a PhD in education form the Institute of Education,
University of London - United Kingdom. He focuses on learning and teaching for
active citizenship in Lebanon and other countries in reconstruction and how to
engage young people in open-ended exercises.

Eugene Richard Sensenig is an associate professor in the Faculty of Law and


Political Science (FLPS) and a senior researcher at the Lebanese Emigration
Research Center (LERC), both at Notre Dame University, Lebanon. He has an
MA in German literature and a PhD in political science from the Paris Lodron
University of Salzburg- Austria. He has published extensively in the fields of
migration, refugee, and minorities studies, both in Austria and Lebanon. Currently
he is working at LERC on an assessment of the impact of the civil war related
Syrian refugee population on the economic development of Lebanon. His research
topics include gender studies, migration and minority issues, and Central European
Orientalism. He is also responsible at FLPS for the Catholic Social Teaching
agenda, where he developed and has taught the course The Politics of Catholic
Social Theory several times.

Fateh Azzam is Director of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship
at the American University of Beirut. He joined AUB in 2014 after six years as the
Regional Representative for the Middle East of the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights (2006-2012). Azzam holds an LLM in International Human Rights
Law from the University of Essex, and has authored numerous articles and studies
on human rights, NGO/civil society roles and strategies, the right to development,
the responsibility to protect, and other topics.

Mada Arslan is the public relations officer of Committee for Women Political
Empowerment CWPE. Arslan is an activist for women's rights and civil rights,
particularly Lebanese women's legal status and legal discrimination against them.

Thomas Hornig is a jazz saxophonist who has lived and worked as a session
musician and music educator in Beirut, Lebanon for over 20 years. In 1994, he
was appointed Professor of Saxophone at Lebanons National Conservatory of
Music. In addition, Hornig is one of the founding teachers in LeBam, a non-
profit organization which provides performance opportunities and music education
for young musicians.

31
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

References and further Reading

A. D. Smith, Nations and Nationalism in a Global Era, Polity: London, 1995.


Anthony D. Smith, National Identity, Penguin Books: London, 1991
A. Yumul and U. zkirimli, Reproducing the Nation: Banal Nationalism in the
Turkish Press. Sage Journals, Media Culture & Society, November 2000
Clifford. Geertz, Ritual and Social Change: A Javanese Example. American
Anthropologist, February 1957
G. Delanty and P. O'Mahony, Nationalism and Social Theory. Sage Publications
London, 2002.
G. Teubner, Global Bukowina: Legal Pluralism in the World Society, Global Law
Without A State. Aldershot: Dartmouth Gower, 1997
Jonathan Hearn, Rethinking Nationalism: A Critical Introduction, Palgrave
Macmillan: Basingstoke Hamsphire UK, 2006
M. Guibernau, The Identity of Nations, Polity: London, 2007
Paul R Brass. Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory and Comparison. SAGE
Publications: London, 1991

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Epilogue
Philip Honein
National Council for the Lebanese Flag- NCFLF
President Founder

During these times of political and economic instability in Lebanon, both husband
and wife are usually compelled to work in order to provide even the basics for their
children. As a result, children lack proper attention and guidance from, and quality
time with, their parents. At the National Council for the Lebanese Flag, we are
responding to this problem by introducing The Six Pillars of Character Building
to the local schools and providing free training to teachers who will use these six
pillars to help parents in their duties to teach values. These pillars are:
1. Trustworthiness;
2. Respect;
3. Responsibility;
4. Fairness;
5. Caring;
6. Citizenship.

The National Council for the Lebanese Flag was founded upon an honest and
righteous Lebanese determination to build a new generation that cherishes
Lebanon, believes in its pluralist society, and yearns for its renaissance to be
embedded in a civilized environment where justice and peace will always prevail.
Promoting civic awareness and a sense of citizenship, our youth will become more
and more active in their society and will participate more efficiently in building
their own future in our rich and diverse community.

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Austria, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Palestine, Sweden, Syria, and the USA,
Fathers and Sons for Citizen successfully lobbied the government and achieved real
change, as described above.

Our goal is to go the whole way, to work for improvements not only for ourselves,
but rather for all victims of the Kafala system and 1925 Nationality Law. The
overwhelming majority of those suffering do not have the access to the business
world, to government officials, and diplomats that we enjoy. We also want to cover
the entire spectrum of discrimination, including citizenship, health care, and access
to the labor market, education, family unification, and the right to join labor unions.
The 1964 Presidential Decree is a wedge that can help us achieve our goals. We
have been working actively with it. The Ministry of Labor, in an official letter
directed to me on 23 June 2015, declared that the National Conservatory and all
employers hiring foreigners are required by law to obtain health insurance, work
permits, residency permits, and provide end of service indemnity to foreign hires.
Concerning the fees for work and residency permits, as well as insurance policy
expenses, according to decree 17561, dated 18 September 1964 (Organization of
Foreigners Employment), the fees shall be paid by the employer, in this case the
National Higher Conservatory of Music.
Our goal is to join hands with everyone in Lebanon who wants to work for a country
in which nobodys dignity is ignored, in which all our children are created equal,
and of which we all can be proud. It will not happen without a fight, but the piles
of garbage, horrible traffic conditions, and mass emigration of our youth should be
a wakeup call to us all.

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

for their foreign employees or risk legal action. The onus is now on the employers
to obey the law.

The Culture of Impunitys Deadly Consequences

I was recently faced with the life-threatening effects of employers negligence with
respect to the law. Diagnosed with a very serious heart problem requiring surgery
common in Europe and North America, but considered an unusual procedure in
Lebanon, it became clear to me that my legal non-mans land could cost me my
life. The heart operation I required was covered by the private insurance provided
by the National Conservatory to international staff recruited from abroad. As a
state institution, the conservatory insures its Lebanese staff through the government
health care programs, which also should have covered me. From my very first
day of employment in 1994, I was given a social security number and have been
contributing to the LNSS fund for 21 years. Given that my salary is paid directly
from the Minister of Finance and work for a national institution, civil servants
benefits should also be applied to me, but they are not. The additional private health
insurance I purchased out of my own pocket refused to cover my unusual health
condition.

This is where my personal connections as an accomplished jazz musician literally


saved my life. After living for several months in deep depression and with a fluttering
heart, afraid to drop dead at any moment, I solved the problem the Lebanese
way. I contacted an acting government minister who listened to my case. He in
turn contacted a leading entrepreneur and fellow jazz fan who contacted my private
insurer and threatened to pull all his employees private policies from this company.
The company made an exception, which did not establish a legal precedent, which
solved my problem, but not that of the tens of thousands of other victims of the
Lebanese Kafala system.

International Solidarity for all Foreign Workers

Lebanon is a country with one of the most vibrant civil society landscapes in the
entire MENA region. Much attention has been placed on the suffering caused by
the 1925 National Law and the Kafala system, but very little progress has been
made in the two decades since Ive been here. For this reason, a group of husbands
and sons of Lebanese women joined forces almost 15 years ago to work with the
existing womens, feminist, and human rights organization to struggle for the full
citizenship rights of our wives and mothers. From countries as diverse as Australia,

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Lebanons Universally Condemned Kafala or Sponsorship System

Although the Kafala system is normally associated with semi- and unskilled
occupations, it affects skilled workers in the professional fields as well. My status
at work is such that I am not considered Lebanese, but I am also not considered
foreign. As a non-citizen I dont enjoy the privileges provided to my Lebanese
fellow instructors and musicians. Because I married into Lebanese society and am
part of the local labor pool, I dont receive those benefits given to international staff
recruited directly from abroad. Im not really sure how this state of affairs has been
allowed to continue for so many years. For at least fifteen years I have made every
effort to find some foothold within the Lebanese legal system that would oblige my
employers to stop denying me either the benefits given to foreigners or this allotted
to the Lebanese. The fact that Kafil or Kafala is not mentioned a single time in
Lebanese legal texts has made it nearly impossible to resolve this matter until now.
Migrant workers have become prisoners of the sponsorship regime which serves
the interests first and foremost of employers without guaranteeing even the most
minimal rights of migrant labor stated Nayla Geagea, lawyer and Lebanese Centre
for Policy Studies (LCPS) research associate.

The Hidden Truth

I have been vocal for many years, on my own and with FSC. Fearing a possible
backlash, I decided to write a lengthy letter in Arabic to the Ministry of Labor
asking them to define my rights. The response was unexpected and can be seen
as a breakthrough of sorts. The ministry made me aware of a 1964 Presidential
Decree (No. 17561 on September 18 in 1964, Regulating the Work of Aliens) that,
to my knowledge, had never been introduced into the debate on immigrants rights
before. I took this ministerial reference to the well-known human rights lawyer
and former presidential candidate Chibli Mallat, who admitted to me that he also
had been unaware of it. He put a legal team on the topic and we hope for positive
change very soon. The 1964 Presidential Decree says that it is solely the employers
responsibility to obtain a work permits, health insurance, residence permits and the
like, as well as providing an end of service indemnity. After doing extensive digging
with the help of another very supportive lawyer by the name of Farouk Maghrabi,
several ministerial declarations referencing the decree were also located. Very
recently, the current minister of Labor Sejaan Azzi, has, without referencing the
decree by name, decided to enforce its content as a means to discourage Lebanese
employers from hiring Syrian refugees. He had recently declared officially that
Lebanese employers must prove that they have obtained work permits in advance

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

it comes to the issue of naturalization. More specifically, beyond my longstanding


activism, my titles include: 21 year civil servant, professor at the Lebanese National
Conservatory of Music, Principle Saxophonist for the Lebanese Philharmonic
Orchestra, and Artistic Director for the National Conservatory Faculty Big Band.
I can pass this legacy on to my daughter as a father, but I cant help her become a
Lebanese citizen, a fact that distresses me greatly!

The Sniper Mentality

I have heard the following story time and again. While many acknowledge that Lynn
and I should have been naturalized long ago, they also fear upsetting Lebanons
delicate demographic balance, a consideration which seems to trump other issues
such as human dignity, equality, fairness, and simple right and wrong. I call this the
sniper mentality. People will drive over dead bodies to get to their destination out
of fear. Fear is the enemy. Fear makes us all monsters.

A misguided focus on appeasing fears is leading to a brain on the part of those


educated Lebanese youth who are denied their right to citizenship. My impression
is that almost all children of Lebanese mothers and foreign fathers are destined to
emigrate. For example, Lynn speaks three languages, reads voraciously and plays
several instruments. I assume she will earn her PhD abroad, at a topnotch English
or French language university. She will not be allowed to put her newly acquired
skills and talent in the service of Lebanon because current law bars foreigners from
working in most professions. Having been denied all her rights in Lebanon, her
choice has already been made for her.
However, this lack of respect for the countrys youth also creates an atmosphere
in which those Lebanese youth who are lucky enough to receive citizenship
albeit exclusively from their fathers also dont feel comfortable in the country
anymore. By denying equality, basic rights, and dignity, defenders of the status quo
are actively, and purposefully, breaking the spirits of our youth, who are desperate
to find a pathway towards opportunity and success. And thus todays school age
generation is destined to join the ranks of the millions of Lebanese, who have found
a new home and been welcomed with open arms in North and South America, as
well as many parts of Europe and Africa. Because of the existing laws governing
citizenship, employment, education, and social welfare, most Lebanese have been
able to thrive in the diaspora, as opposed to people from the Americas, Asia, and
Africa living here in Lebanon. The mere principle of reciprocity should make
people stop and think.

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

have been fixed in the first few years, persist. Following a frightening six months
during which I was left un-insured and in need of a life-saving heart operation,
those unresolved status issues became a matter of life and death for me.
My case is important for those who desire a legal system functioning on the basis
of full equality, removing harm done by the oppressive and devastating 1925
Nationality Law and the universally condemned Kafala or sponsorship system,
which has been compared to a form of modern day slavery. Now a twenty-one year
veteran resident of Beirut, issues related to my status have become all consuming.
Resolving those status issues has become my primary focus, and a life mission.
Determined to find solutions and answers, I have decided to aggressively lobby
for change. Because the status quo is so detrimental to my career and family, I am
fighting for change in Lebanon which I believe is inevitable and very long overdue.
Aggressive lobbying, coupled with unflinching determination, can achieve results.
For example, a meeting in 2010 with the Minister of State, Mona Affeiche, set a ball
rolling which ultimately resulted in permanent residency status for tens of thousands
of husbands and children of Lebanese women. Although only a handful of activists,
Fathers and Sons for Citizenship (FSC) lobbied the government persistently for
many years. The 2010 ministerial decision suggests that the hard work of a few can
lead to the regularization of personal status for many and furthermore shows that a
change in personal status can dramatically improve the overall living conditions for
tens of thousands of people in Lebanon.

The 1925 Nationality Law Not without my Daughter!

My wife is Lebanese and our only child, Lynn, has spent her entire life as a resident
of Beirut. Many would argue that Lynn should have received Lebanese nationality
at birth. In many countries the fact that she was born in Beirut to a Lebanese mother
and has since lived her entire life in Lebanon would prove that she deserves the
same rights as any other citizen of her country. Lynn is now 15 years old. The
Lebanese government denied her right to a Lebanese nationality and her Lebanese
identity goes unrecognized based on a law now over 90 years old. Others would
argue that the concept of legal pluralism, pitting confessional interests against
universal human rights, protects the 1925 Nationality Law and upholds its validity.
I, on the other hand, believe it should be thrown on one of Lebanons mountainous
trash piles. The immediate consequences of the law also include the denial of my
personal status rights at work. The fact that I am married to a Lebanese woman
means almost nothing. Although I can easily demonstrate my contributions to
Lebanon, as an instructor for saxophone at the Lebanese conservatory and an
accomplished musician, over 20 years of service to the country mean nothing when

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

On the Front Lines: Fighting for Full Equality

Thomas Hornig, Musician/Activist


Fathers and Sons for Citizenship

The following is a personal story, an example of how legal pluralism and the
culture of impunity affect individual lives, that is my family and myself. Most
of what ails Lebanon can be traced to issues related to inequality. Over the years,
individual activists and NGOs have worked hard to defend the rights of the victims
of the various antiquated laws still in force in the country. Most agree that the
contradictions need to go, but trying to navigate Lebanons multiple layers and
numerous centers of tribal justice can be a pluralistic nightmare. Supporters of
the currently existing system of legal pluralism within the political establishment
remain oblivious to the gridlock it is causing in our institutions and the impact this
has on the lives of people living in Lebanon and Lebanese living abroad.

Regardless of the messy reality of the power struggle between those who want
change and those who want to maintain the status quo, we all know the difference
between a simple right and a simple wrong. Many of us hope to one day live in a
land where everyone stops at a red light and everyone is treated fairly. It is up to
each and every one of us to build a future based on equality, justice and fairness.
Those of us who are in a more privileged position bear the responsibility for coming
to the aid of those who are in need.

And those who are in need are many. I will deal here with the c. 77,000 victims
of Lebanons 1925 Nationality Law, who have been stripped of their inalienable
right to citizenship, as well as the roughly 300,000 migrant workers in Lebanon,
from all walks of life and from all over the world. Deep down we all know that the
treatment of both vulnerable groups is not fair. It simply has to stop! I am one of
those 77,000 victims of the Nationality Law. I am also one of those 300,000 victims
of Lebanons widely condemned Kafala system which governs the lives of all
migrant workers. So this is personal and here is my story.

On the front line

I never tire of telling people that all the best things that have happened in my life
over the past two decades happened in Lebanon: Forming a family, having a child,
performing with the best artists from the region and around the world. I love this
country and miss it dearly every time I travel. But personal status issues, that should

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

In conclusion, I would like to reflect on whether these crosscutting cleavages,


dividing people along linguistic, confessional, or ideological lines, are as detrimental
as many claim, or whether they can actually provide the platform for positive social
change. Individuals develop a sense of belonging within communities based on
their mother tongue, their familys religious faith or ideological convictions, as well
as other identity markers such as social class or region of origin. I wish to argue
here that downplaying these important attributes does not necessarily promote
cohesion within diverse communities. Today, both Austria and South Tyrol are seen
as role models within the European context, despite their violent past. The Austrian
system of social partnership has permitted the red and black camps to work
through the differences between the often highly divergent interests of organized
labor and big business. The South Tyrolean proportional model of ethnic balance
is seen as one of the most successful models of minority empowerment anywhere
in the world. Given that an emphasis on ideological, class-based, and linguistic
differences has been a source of genuine conflict transformation in Central Europe,
might a promotion of confessional identity play a similar role in the Middle East?
My experience in Lebanon is that we dont have too much religion, but rather
too little. Rapping up these personal reflections, Id like to point out two areas in
which a stronger emphasis on personal faith could play a positive role. The first
is the largely underdeveloped role that Catholic social teaching (CST) could play
within the Lebanese context. Championed by the current Pope, Francis I, CST
looks back on a 125 year history, beginning with that Papal Encyclical Rerum
Novarum in 1891. Of equal importance is the emphasis of the role of the family
in society. Work/life balance, as described above, has been championed in many
predominantly Christian countries around the world by both the left-wing labor
movement and the Catholic Church. Among other things, these family-friendly
policies have been able to significantly reverse the decrease in population growth
which had plagued Central Europe in the 1970s and 1980s. Promoting confessional
identity although seen as being counter-intuitive by many in Lebanoncould just
be the key to solving some of the countries many problems, while simultaneous
offering outsiders a gateway to join Lebanese society.

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Revolution of 2005, OCV was anchored in the so called Boutros Electoral Law
Proposal of June 2006 and ultimately codified in the so called Doha election law of
2008. It has yet to be implemented. However, the work on the Boutros Draft, as
a researcher at NDUs Lebanese Emigration Research Center (LERC), did provide
this author with valuable experience in participative democracy and civil society
activism. The National Commission for the Reform of the Electoral Law established
a stakeholder process, in the summer of 2005, which empowered reformed minded
scholars, educators, researchers, and activists, to work collectively on drafting a
new election law for Lebanon, following the withdrawal of Syrian occupation in
the spring of 2005. Although the Boutros Draft was never implemented, it did help
establish two important civil society networks, i.e. the Civil Campaign for Electoral
Reform, in the NGO sector, and the University Initiative for Electoral Reform, in
the field of higher education. Both umbrella organizations are still active today; this
author was involved in setting up the latter.

Culture and Religion

As described above, language and ideological affiliation have played a significant


role in dividing South Tyrolean and Austrian society respectively. These linguistic
and partisan cleavages offer, however, a point of entry for immigrants who can gain
access to their new host societies by aligning themselves with the German, Italian,
or Ladin ethnic groups, in the case of Italy, or the red labor movement or black
predominantly Catholic entrepreneurial and agrarian communities, in the case
of Austria. Marrying into one of these camps facilitates the process of integration. In
Lebanon, with its 18 officially recognized religious denominations, the primary social
cleavage runs almost exclusively along confessional lines. Crosscutting cleavages,
such social class, gender, age, or region of origin are secondary in nature. Although
immigrant men stand almost no chance of ever becoming Lebanese citizens, they
can join Lebanon by affiliating themselves with one of its sectarian groupings.
My experience in Austria as well as with other small European nation-states such
as Switzerland and the constituent parts of former Yugoslavia, or the German ethic
enclave of South Tyrol in Italy is that small entities are relatively resistant to fully
assimilating immigrants from other cultures. In the Middle East, Lebanon is no
exception in this respect. Although excluded from many human rights, including
acquisition of citizenship, membership in labor unions, or the political franchise,
immigrant men can nevertheless integrate into Lebanese society by affiliating
themselves with one of its many confessions. Participation in Lebanons vibrant
civil society provides a second point entry into the host community.

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

As a foreign man marrying a Lebanese spouse, the first surprise one faces is the
impossibility of attaining citizenship through marriage. Because of the patriarchal
and patrilineal nature of Lebanese family status laws, women are banned from
passing their citizenship on to their husbands. For most immigrants in Lebanon, the
more shocking issue is that this limitation of womens citizenship rights also applies
to their children. Like Austria, Lebanon adheres to the principle of Jus Sanguinis.
Unlike many countries in Central and Eastern Europe, only male Lebanese enjoy
the right of blood.

A recent survey of the MENA region carried out by this author, as guest editor
for Lebanons womens studies journal Al-Raida (Citizenship and Gender in the
Arab World, No. 129-130, 2010), illustrated that with the exception of Libya, all
North Africa states have begun phasing in full citizenship rights for their women
in the area of family status legislation. It should be noted here that, although the
Lebanese state is making it increasingly difficult, foreign women can still attain the
citizenship by marrying a Lebanese man. An equally pressing issue is the right of
employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers. Immigrant
men are banned from the internationally protected human right to join labor unions.
This limitation of the political franchise applies to all other areas of democratic
decision making as well.

As a former shop steward and union organizer in the salaried workers union in
Austria (Gewerkschaft der Privatangestellten-GPA), my natural inclination was
to seek out like minded immigrants and friends and colleagues in Lebanon who
supported an expansion of the rights of non-nationals in the country. As described
above, my first attempt in this direction was in the field of gender equality, and more
specifically the interests of working fathers. Together with the Lebanese human
rights organization, Collective for Research and Development Action (CRTD.A),
I attempted to find employers interested in introducing work/life balance schemes
into their organizations, an endeavor which was to ultimately fail at the time. It was
in this context, however, that I met Tom Horning. Together we formed the mens
NGO, Fathers and Sons for Citizenship (FSC), which worked in close cooperation
with CRTD.A in the struggle to expand full citizenship rights to our wives and
the mothers of our children. This movement has proven, as opposed to the trend
in North Africa, to have been ultimately unsuccessful in Lebanon over the last 15
years. Another field of frustration has been the movement to introduce OCV in
Lebanon. Widely accepted throughout the world including many predominantly
Arab and/or Muslim countries, voting from abroad in national and local elections
has been systematically blocked by the Lebanese power elite. Following the Cedar

20
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

afford. Today Hungary is a member of the European Union in good standing,


having proven capable of integrating the logic of the market and the needs of its
nations workers and families.

While transitioning from Austria to Lebanon almost two decades ago, I attempted
to adapt the human resources development tools we had designed in Europe for use
in the MENA region. At the time, this approach was rejected by both employers
and scholars in the region alike as a luxury that only the West can afford. Ten
years later, globalization began to force MENA organizations, be they non-profit,
commercial, or governmental, to become more in tune with international realities.
The trend towards American and European certification and accreditation has
brought Western monitoring bodies to the region that are also paying closer attention
to gender equality and family-friendliness issues. I am now working as an academic
with organizational reform responsibilities and have come to realize how difficult
the uphill battle of reconciling career and family needs in Lebanon can be. For
example, suggesting that a conference, training program, or career advancement
seminar should provide childcare services still meets with resistance from both my
female and male colleagues.

It remains to be seen who will take the lead within the MENA region in promoting
global gender mainstreaming standards in the workplace. Both subsidiaries of
multinational corporations and American system Arab universities, with their
international format and global perspective, would be a good place to start. For
this to work, however, gender policies in general, and work-life balance schemes
in particular, must deal with the specific socio-economic traditions prevalent in the
region. Reform must be organic if it is to take root and thrive in the Middle East.

Joining Lebanon

Moving to Lebanon in 1999, I was immediately confronted with realities which


reminded me in many ways of the challenges faced by those outsiders who
wanted to fit in within the Central European context. These included legal issues
such as the right to take on the local citizenship, which had been blocked for me
by Austrian nationality law; the right of foreigners to vote in labor union and
municipal elections; absentee or out-of-country voting; as well as more culturally
embedded issues such as the pressure to take sides within the confessional mosaic
of Lebanese society, similar to my experience within the linguistic conflict in South
Tyrol or the ideological divisions in Austria; and finally the attempt to reconcile
my responsibilities as a working father from the Global North within the cultural
realities in the Global South.

19
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

The international business community had become aware that family-friendly


hiring, scheduling, and promotion schemes were good for business. Expanding the
logic of family-friendliness from a uniquely womens issue to a genuinely gender
mainstreamed approach was already boosting productivity, sales, and retention
rates and thus benefiting employers, employees, customers, and the public sector
servicing all three. The bottom line doesnt lie. In the case of the family-friendly
workplace, by the end of the millennium it had become clear that the interests of
profits and people go hand-in-hand.
The internationalization of the corporate world in the second half of the 20th century
forced companies to deal with the cultural diversity of the workplace throughout the
West. With the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s,
the multicultural workplace became even more complex. Today, Brazilian, Russian,
Indian, Chinese, and South African (BRICS) manufacturers and trading companies
are becoming global players, complicating this diverse mosaic of entrepreneurial
traditions even more. Flextime, working online from home, extended parental leave
for fathers and mothers, creative promotion schemes allowing working parents to
keep up with the changes in technology and workplace organization while on leave,
and part-time employment for mid-level and senior staff all belong to the spectrum
of gender mainstreaming options of any modern organization in the Global North.
Extending this model to the rest of the world has proven challenging, even daunting,
in many cases.

As a developer and designer of gender mainstreaming and family-friendly


assessment and training tools in Europe in the 1980s and 1990s, I personally
experienced how employers in the public, private, and NGO sectors struggled
to keep up with the rapid changes in the workplace in this phase of accelerated
globalization. The work-life balance approach was developed simultaneously in
many EU member states and in North America, based on their individual socio-
economic traditions. In the US, the womens movement, and more recently the
nascent mens movement, worked hand-in-hand with state-of-the-art multinational
corporations to convince employers that balancing career and family needs was
profitable. In Europe, both the labor movement and the Church played a larger
role in promoting family-friendly business practices. As the former communist
countries prepared to join the EU, they swapped their centralized, Marxist-Leninist
gender equality regimes for the Western model, which highlighted flexibility and
personal motivation. I was on the ground as a trainer in Hungary in the mid-1990s as
this former East bloc country struggled to prepare its workforce for EU accession.
The most common argument given for not introducing gender mainstreaming and
work-life balance at the time was that this is a luxury that only the West can

18
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Identity Politics in Sdtirol/Alto Adige

The Italian province of South Tyrol is in many ways similar to Lebanon. The
predominant cleavage within society is linguistic rather than denominational,
however. Because of its violent past, each of the three ethnic groups, Germans,
Italians, and Ladins, today enjoy protection through a quota system in the public
sector. Referred to as ethnischer Proporz/proporzionale etnica, this regime also
guarantees the use of the two dominant languages, German and Italian, throughout
the entire province, as well as Ladin in the Rhaeto-Romance region of Gherdina /
Val Gardena/Grdner Tal. The experience of living in South Tyrol with a girlfriend
from this region in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s is almost like marrying into a family in
Lebanon today. If youre lucky, the womans family will welcome you with open
arms. However, you are then expected to make a decision with respect to your new
identity. As mentioned above, the decision in South Tyrol is linguist, which in my
case meant opting for the German ethnic minority in Italy and supporting its cause.
In Lebanon the decision is partially automatic because of the confessional family
status court system, which forces an immigrant to declare his or her denominational
status when getting married and then binds one to these loyalties throughout life.
Having lived in the US until the age of 19, my experience in Austria and Italy help
facilitate the adjustment to the multiconfessional, multiethnic reality in Lebanon.
Around the world, linguistic and denominational social cleavages are overlaid by
gender issues. In the Middle East this is particularly evident. These so call counter-
cutting cleavages, impacting people according to their religion, mother tongue,
sex, and career trajectory, have a huge impact on the role fatherhood plays in the
workplace and in society in general, a topic I will deal with in following.

Father Friendly Policies

The issue of fatherhood was not new to me by the time I moved from Central Europe
to the Middle East. Although I did not yet have children of my own, I had worked
extensively with and for Austrian governmental agencies and the social partners on
the so called father friendly workplace. The goal of these policy-related schemes
was to enable men to get a life so that the mother of their children could advance
in their careers. By the time I moved to Lebanon in 1999, work-life balance for
working mothers had been on the agenda for almost half a century throughout the
Western, industrialized world. More recently, assisting working fathers to reconcile
their career and family needs had also gained the support of governments, the social
partners, NGOs, and the media in North America, the European Union, Australia,
Japan, and more recently in the new democracies of Europe and Latin America.

17
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

participation in the democratic process. Because of the attraction of the German


and Swiss labor markets, Austria has a considerable diaspora living in neighboring
countries. During the economic boom years following WWII, the country also
attracted a huge number of low-skilled economic immigrants, referred to as guest
workers, primarily from the (now defunct) neighboring country of Yugoslavia, as
well as from Turkey, further to the south. Its universities also hosted a large number
of international students. The foreign business community was made up primarily
of Germans entrepreneurs.

For foreigners living in Austria, naturalization was possible, but only under the
condition of giving up ones current citizen, i.e. dual citizenship was banned in most
cases. Due to the principle of Jus Sanguinis, or the right of blood, citizenship was
passed on through the bloodline, be it that of the father or the mother. Citizenship
based on Jus Soli, or the right of place, was the norm in most of the North, including
my place of birth, i.e. the United States. Thus I was forced to choose between my
American and Austrian identities, at least from a legal perspective. It should be
noted here that both absentee voting (OCV) and foreign participation in municipal
elections (Auslnderwahlrecht) were common practice throughout the European
Union at the time. Within the EU, the principle of Jus Soli was more common in
western states such as France and the UK, whereas Jus Sanguinis was the norm in
Central Europe.

I was active in both the campaign to introduce OCV for Austrians living abroad, as
well as the struggle in give foreigners the right to vote in municipal, labor union,
chamber of commerce, and student union elections. The large Austrian diaspora was
eventually able to pressure their parliament in Vienna into passing a law introducing
absentee voting. It was only after Austrian accession to the EU in 1995, however,
that the exclusion of non-nationals from the political franchise was slightly altered,
giving EU citizens the right to vote in some elections. The overwhelming majority
of foreigners, primarily Serbs, Croats, Turks, Kurds, Slovenes, and Macedonians,
continued to be excluded from their rights to suffrage. Finally, with the collapse of
the Soviet Union and its bloc of satellite states in Eastern and Central Europe in
1989-1991, the struggle began between the more restrictive approach to immigrants
rights common in Austria and Germany, and to more open and welcoming approach
practiced in the west of the continent. In most cases, the new EU accession states
such as Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, or the Baltic States opted
for the less generous alternative.

16
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Flashback Austria

Having spent most of my adult life in Central Europe, prior to moving to the Middle
East in 1999, I hope to briefly compare several issues related to legal pluralism in
both an Austrian and Lebanese context. According to Gunther Teubner in Global
Bukowina, Austrias mlange of cultures and legal traditions is as much a result
of globalization as it is rooted in the thorny interconnectedness of nation-state law
and the legal traditions of those immigrants and minorities within its borders. As
in the case of Lebanon, the Austrian legal system contains remnants of its imperial
past (be it Ottoman in the former or Habsburg in the latter), civil war divisions
(be it 1933-1934 or 1958 and 1975-1990), periods of foreign domination (be it
the French or the German), and post WWII republican rule. Four issues, which
are also relevant in a Middle Eastern context, played a role in Austrian domestic
and international politics during the 1980s and 1990s, at which time I was active
in civil society movements there. The first was out-of-country or absentee voting
(OCV); the second being the right of non-citizens to vote in the elections of
the various representative bodies within the country referred to in German as
Auslnderwahlrecht, the third being the issue of citizenship acquisition, either
by birth or naturalization. This was overlaid by a fourth issue, i.e. the subdivision
of Austria into two political factions (emanating from its civil war of 1933-1934),
the Socialist red camp, and the black camp anchored in the Christian Social
establishment. Most of Austria was divided along this red/black partisan line,
including its large nationalized industries, as well as it cultural and educational
institutions, and even its sports and mountaineering organizations. To become fully
integrated into Austrian society, it was beneficial for immigrants to align themselves
with one of the two dominant ideological camps.

Prior to Austrias accession to the European Union, its legal system, with respect
to foreigners rights, was based on a principle, established in the inter-war period
between 1918 and 1939, called Inlnderprimat. Introduced by the countrys
social partners (organized labor and the chambers of industry and commerce), this
concept gave primacy or priority to the nations in-land citizens, at the expense
of those residents who had become out-land foreigners following the collapse
of the multiethnic, multiconfessional Habsburg Empire. The process of excluding
those former imperial subjects from most of their civil rights, i.e. those who had not
opted for Austrian citizenship at the end of WWI, occurred in Lebanon as well after
the defeat of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the French mandate in
1923. Based on the concept of primacy for citizens living in-land, both Austrians
living outside the country and non-citizens living in Austria were excluded from

15
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Working Fathers in the Lebanese Marketplace of Ideas

Eugene Richard Sensenig


Faculty of Law and Political Science-FLPS Notre Dame University-NDU
Fathers and Sons for Citizenship

Fatherhood is a surprisingly contentious topic in many parts of the world today.


However, seen in perspective, the fact that paternity is an issue at all is indeed a sign
of progress. In the past, the role of the father went largely unreflected upon, both
legally and culturally. The male role was seen as a given, a bedrock of society, not
to questioned. When discussing issues such as family status legislation, citizenship,
career advancement, or access to welfare benefits, pushing the boundaries of the
acceptable seemed to be a female prerogative. Things are now changing rapidly.

In the Global North, parental rights issues have been in transition for several
decades. Working mothers have successfully fought for equal access to the career
market and today enjoy generous benefit schemes throughout Europe and North
America, as well as other industrialized democracies around the world. Father-
friendly policies in the workplace, in education, or in the provision of social
services have gradually begun to recognize the need for more flexibility, so that men
can more easily balance their career and family needs. Much remains to be done
however, and both womens and mens organizations see themselves confronted
with a backlash rooted in the undermining of employees rights, and civil society in
general, because of the global economic crisis.

In the Global South, the gendered roles of women and men are being heatedly
debated. However, to date little progress has been made in challenging the concept
of the man as the key breadwinner in the family. Laws governing employment,
education, marriage, inheritance, child custody, and criminal violence continue to
promote a traditional, ideal father and mother who in reality no longer exist
in many parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. As opposed to the secularized
legal systems now dominant in the North for more than a century, Southern
laws governing gender related issues are often either strongly influenced by
age old cultural traditions or are still the reserve of religious courts anchored in
jurisprudence dating back more than a millennium. This presentation will deal with
the personal experiences of this author in navigating both worlds, i.e. the secular
laws and traditions of Austria and the United States, on the one hand, and the multi-
confessional, legal pluralism that dominates todays Lebanon.

14
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

The disjointed nexus of gender and citizenship in Lebanon extends to womens


participation in the political life of the country. Womens representation in
Parliament is one of the lowest in the world and even in the region, currently
standing at 3.1%. Men Parliamentarians have persistently refused to adopt a quota
or any legal provision to ensure equality of candidacy and inclusion of women and
refused such proposals in 2008 and 2010, in spite of the polls showing that over
65% of Lebanese favor a quota or a law that can guarantee womens participation in
party lists and candidature to office. It is also quite rare that a woman is appointed
to a ministerial post.

One positive development, however, is that women judges now comprise 45% of
all judges, which is one of the highest percentages in the region. There is an active
Council for Lebanese Women, although Parliament often neglects and undermines
the womens issues raised by the Council. Although there are now many gender
focal points in various ministries and in the cabinet, Parliament and other official
bodies ultimately responsible for gender mainstreaming work without clear goals
or indicators. In the larger scheme of things, these efforts remain lukewarm.
Neither the focal points, the Council on Lebanese Women, nor the great number of
women judges can be effective if the law continues to run counter to full equality
for Lebanese women.

The last point I would like to make is on the concept of Legal Pluralism. I believe
this to be a misnomer since pluralism carries with it a positive connotation; we
like the terms pluralism and diversity and consider them to be good things. In legal
matters, however, they are not. Therefore I would prefer the terms multiplicity and
contradiction as more accurately describing Lebanons legal system. Multiplicity is
a better term to describe the effect of overlapping and intersecting legal paradigms.
In the case of the Lebanese personal status law, it is not a good thing to be pluralistic
because it does run counter to equal legal status and full equality of citizenship for
women; it also undermines the rights of women to their own bodies and souls,
freedom of conscience and opinion, and it precludes full non-discriminatory
participation in the life of their communities.

13
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Preamble to the Lebanese Constitution, which also contains several articles


that ensure equality of citizenship under the law. Lebanon is also party to most
international human rights treaties, all of which have provisions relevant to
our discussion, including: the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women- CEDAW, the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights- ICCPR, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural rights- ICESCR, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child- CRC,
and many other treaties as well. All of these human rights treaties are based on the
overarching principle of equality and non-discrimination and mention specifically
the equality of men and women in all spheres. The Convention on the Rights of the
Child also includes important provisions on the rights of the girl-child.

One of the first obligations for states that have signed on to international agreements
is to harmonize their laws with the provisions of the treaties. Lebanon, like most
other states in the region, has not done this. This is why we see persistent legal
and institutionalized discrimination against women. In Lebanon we have over
15 personal status law systems, and all of them are based on traditionalist and
patriarchal approaches to the relations between men, women and their families.
Beyond the inherent inequality between men and women that is institutionalized
in the provisions for inheritance, custody laws, marriage, and nearly everything
else, these systems create inequalities between Lebanese themselves based on their
social and confessional status. They are, therefore, not consistent with the above
guarantees of equality of women with men under the law.

The Lebanese nationality law does not allow women to give nationality to their
children, which is another major violation of the constitution and treaty commitments.
Not only is it inherently unfair and creates two degrees of citizenship, but it
creates statelessness on a daily basis in Lebanon. It is easier for a child born out of
wedlock with unknown parentage to become a citizen in Lebanon, than for someone
born of a Lebanese mother and a foreign father.

The most recent law criminalizing violence against women and domestic violence
fell short of what KAFA and other human rights organizations and activists were
demanding. The law contains a provision that it should supersede all previous
laws, except personal status laws, thus ensuring continued discrimination between
Lebanese on a sectarian basis. The law also refused to recognize marital rape as a
crime, despite attempts to amend Article 503 of the Penal Law, opposed by religious
and sectarian leadership. Moreover, Article 522 of Penal law, not yet cancelled
definitively despite efforts in that direction, reduces the crime of rape if the rapist
marries his victim, which is a direct import from religious laws.

12
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Non-Equality Under Lebanons Parallel Legal Systems

Fateh Azzam
Director of the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship.
American University of Beirut-AUB

I want to thank Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU), the Konrad-Adenauer-


Stiftung (KAS), and all the organizing committee for inviting me to participate in
this panel. I hope this will be the first of many cooperative ventures between the
Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at the American University of
Beirut, NDU, and KAS.

The Asfari Institute at AUB is new; this is only the second year of our operation.
Our purpose is to research and support work on civil society and citizenship
studies, acting as a bridge between academia and practitioners on the ground in
order to empower active citizenship as well as academic participation in the life of
communities in Lebanon and the region as a whole.

This panel topic is of utmost importance. The gender-citizenship nexus translates


into an uneasy relationship between women, their communities, and the legal
system, particularly family status laws, and it is a crucial topic to broach in the
context of Lebanon and the region today. Looking at the broader context, it goes to
the heart of traditional concepts of identity and belonging, equality of citizenship
under the law, and social and political hierarchies. Who are we, who belongs to
us, and who doesnt? States in the Arab region have not come to terms with the
dichotomy between those traditional concepts and how they meet the requirements
of a modern nation-state where all citizens, men and women, are equal before the
law and have both rights and obligations.

One thing that all states have in common, both within and beyond the region, is that
the burden of traditionalism and identity politics almost always falls on the shoulders
of women. Patriarchy is a global phenomenon and the degree to which states are
able to soften the patriarchy and traditional approaches to social organization in
favor of womens rights, varies from one society to the other. In Lebanon, the
pretense at modernity and social openness is belied by a persistent unwillingness to
bridge this gap in terms of womens ability to exercise their human rights and to be
full and equal citizens with men under the law.

Commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is enshrined in the

11
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

As an ideological foundation for policy development, approaches to nationalism aim


to foster a form of homogeneous identity-based unity, whether through harnessing
the continuity of historical and cultural roots (primordialism) or demonstrating
features of sovereignty and progress (modernism). In the same discourse on
approaches to nationalism, nevertheless, we see tensions between the promotion
of a common identity and the nature of human, social, and global development.
zkirimli (2000) maintains that the inherited attributes and attachments in
primordialism particularly the naturalist, perennialist, and sociobiological
approaches conflict with and limit the individual and social constructions of
ethnicities and identities. Identities and ethnic attributes within communities have
become increasingly different from the natural and dominant ethnic attachments.
Many of these differences result from choices individuals make in multi-cultural
societies such as choosing what languages to speak, religious practices to follow
(Brass 1991), and whom to marry (Smith 1995). Such pretexts prompt a recognition
of what Guiberneau (2007) identifies as the dark side of nationalism.

Next Years Agenda?

The objective, I believe, is to narrow the discrepancies between legal frameworks.


We do this by highlighting these gaps and dealing with the resulting conflicts.
Roots to these differences are often embedded in cultural practices, especially
when focusing on gender-related injustice like citizenship. Education is a critical
space to observe manifestations of gender-based injustice. Some key areas that are
under-researched are:
1. How does the legal status of citizenship influence access to public schools and/or
the Lebanese Baccalaureate (who has access to public schools and who doesnt?)
2. How does the law reinforce gender roles in schools (Only women take maternity
leave) and how does it affect professional practice of women professionals? (Do
some women not take the full maternity? Do some schools not hire newlywed
women?)
3. How do students who have limited civil rights because of nationality engage
in learning for active citizenship (whether through formal civics or non-formal
community service programs)?

10
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

In contrast to the inherent attachments asserted by primordialists, modernists view


nationalism as a construct of modernity that nations emerging out of colonial
rule create under developing governments, social movements and global trends.
Some features of modernity that have informed nationalism include autonomy to
produce knowledge; power through critical discourse (i.e. democratizing society by
debating rights and justice); and empowering the self with processes (i.e. dialogue,
literacy) and codes (i.e. human rights) (Delanty and O'Mahony 2002). What differs,
though, amongst modernists, is what whether they perceive the economic, political,
or socio-cultural domains to be the predominant factors (zkirimli 2000). These
are outlined and illustrated in the context of policy in Lebanon in Table Two.

Socio- Preserving and transmitting Civics, history and geography in


cultural (e.g. national culture via Arabic as compulsory subjects
Hroch. education and social across all grade levels for
1995 system citizenship education
9
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Gender-Related Injustice Involving Citizenship in Lebanon

Bassel Akar
Center for Applied Research in Education-CARE
Notre Dame University-NDU

Drawing upon the work of experts in the field (Osler & Starkey, 2005), I will refer
to two major discourses involving the definition of citizenship, the first of which
focuses on the elements of citizenship, the second of which focuses on the very
nature of the relationship between the individual and the community. With
respect to the elements, there are three main elements:
Status: Passing on citizenship to children.
Participation: Patriarchal lineality
Feelings: Not feeling at home in Lebanon.
In this context, passing on citizenship involves a number of controversial
situations in Lebanon: the law restricts Lebanese women from granting citizenship
to her children because fathers and not mothers are allowed to pass citizenship
to their children. In the same vein, the Lebanese-American scholar Suad Joseph
describes this as a method to keep up with the male dominance within the family.

Approaches to Nationalism
In contemporary discourse, nationalism has been typically examined and debated
under two contrasting paradigms, the primordialist and the modernist approaches
(Hearn 2006). Primordialists view nationalism as part and parcel of human nature
or, as defined by Geertz (1957), culturally inherited and, so, as natural as being
born. By capitalizing on commonly shared ethnic ties, primordial attachments
provide the essential cement for society (Smith 1994, p. 377). You can notice
that Table One outlines a set of four primordial approaches examined by zkirimli
(2000). It also presents examples of their manifestation in policies in Lebanon that
aim to promote and sustain unity and attachments to the nation and Arab identity

8
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

calls for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, it has
not yet implemented laws that are commensurate with the values stated at that
conference.
Women pioneers have knocked loudly on the rigid walls of the stiff laws and
regulations that govern womens status in Lebanon. In 1952 Lebanese women
did acquire the right to vote and to participate in national elections, but since then
there has been no substantial progress. The political participation of women in
Lebanon falls embarrassingly short when compared to regional and international
standards. A myriad of civil society associations that are devoted to the rights of
women are committed to legal justice for women and work extremely hard to
achieve this important goal. Those associations, because of their important goals,
face unjust and unfair obstacles at the levels of ordinary society and government.

To achieve justice for women, I believe it is imperative to mobilize national


and local government by networking with international associations in order to
efficiently expose the injustice and then change it. To achieve this, great patience
and endurance are needed; with time the truth concerning the equal dignity of
women will necessarily prevail and be enshrined in Lebanese law.

7
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Legal Discrimination against Women and Marginalized Groups

Mada Arslan
Committee for Women Political Empowerment-CWPE

Legal Pluralism is a soft and diplomatic expression often used today to disguise
legal discrimination against women and marginalized groups. Many claim
that this encourages malpractices against women in their home, in their family
life, and in the public sphere. Although the nature of malpractice is relative since
it is determined by various social, economic, and educational conditions, and
differs in different sectarian groups, it is still the case that there is a pervasive
attitude within the inherited customs, habits, and norms, commonly accepted in
Lebanon, that relegate women to an inferior status.

On 26 April 2013, the Committee for Women Political Empowerment launched


a campaign for womens rights titled She gave you the right to life, so give her

her rights ( ), supported and attended by a number of

important women personalities. The campaign demanded that:
1. The new electoral law would include a quota for the political participation of
women;
2. The original integrity of the domestic violence law, issued in March 2013, be
restored immediately;
3. The nationality law would allow Lebanese women to grant Lebanese
citizenship to their children;
4. The personal status and custody laws would be radically reformed, since these
are based on sectarianism that encourages discrimination based on religion.
This law should be a civil law that promotes equal rights and duties and not
one which encourages the separation of children from their mothers at an
early age (daughters: age 9; sons: age 7) in the case of divorced women.
Actually it is well known that the personal status law has always been a
controversial one among Lebanese, as it promotes a mentality that undermines
the true complimentary nature between man and woman by presupposing that
men are superior to women.

Although Lebanon ratified the CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination


of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, was adopted in 1979 by the
UN General Assembly, it is often described as an international bill of rights
for women) agreement in 1996, following the 1995 Beijing Conference, which

6
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

being of significant urgency, including full citizenship rights for women and the
integration of the children of foreign fathers into Lebanese society, faith-based
social justice theory, civil society studies, and legal reform. An overview of those
civil society players involved in this initial dialogue is included at the end of this
volume.
Cooperation between the educational and NGO sectors of civil society in order
to introduce a discussion on the Gender-Citizenship Nexus in school and
university curricula.
Networking with legal scholars and civil society activist to highlight and promote
the cases and causes of individuals seeking equal treatment in Lebanon.
Coordination of the network will be located at Notre Dame University in close
collaboration with the Asfari Institute at the American University of Beirut.

5
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Prologue
Civil Society Networking within the Gender-Citizenship Nexus

The Gender-Citizenship Nexus panel was conceived as a kick-off event for


further activities in the field of legal pluralism, focusing primarily on its impact on
the system of Lebanese family status law and its implementation by the confessional
courts. Commissioned by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftungs Beirut office, the staff
at the Pope Benedict XVI Society (PBS) contacted a total of 280 NGOs and
academic research centers in the fields of legal reform, citizenship, gender studies
and womens rights, migration, human rights, and faith-based political activism. A
total of 12 institutions and initiatives were involved, either directly or indirectly, in
the preparations for the 16 December 2015 event at NDU. The goal of this forum
was to lay the groundwork for further collaboration within civil society between the
NGO sector and institutions of higher education.

Following the December panel, the PBS re-contacted all those invited to the panel.
Together with a handful of activists and scholars working within the nexus of
gender, citizenship, migration, and faith-based jurisprudence, a network has now
been established, which will facilitate a national conversation and debate moving
forward on these topics in the coming years. On the part of academia, researchers
and educators at the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship at AUB, the
Center for Applied Research in Education and the Faculty of Law and Political
Science the latter two both at NDU have committed to this process. Within
the NGO sector, the Committee for Women Political Empowerment, the Lebanese
Center for Active Citizenship, ABAAD Resource Center for Gender Equality,
National Council for the Lebanese Flag, and Fathers and Sons for Citizenship have
informed PBS of their intention to work within the network. A number of other
NGOs contacted for the event, most importantly FE-MALE and CRTD.A, have
indicated their potential interest in collaboration.
The next steps for the civil society network generated by this event include the
following:
Working with faith-based institutions and religious leaders on the topic of equal
treatment under the law for women and immigrants in Lebanon.
Collaboration with inter-faith initiatives and research centers in establishing
dialogue between Muslim, Christian, and non-confessional leaders and activists
on the topic of gender and citizenship.
Working on those concrete issues which were highlighted during the panel as

4
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Introduction

This publication launches the cooperation between the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung,
the Pope Benedict XVI Society, the Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship
at AUB, and the Faculty of Law and Political Science at NDU. Under the auspices
of the Adenauer Foundations Rule of Law Programme Middle East/North Africa,
activists and scholars from various NGOs and universities in Lebanon met to
discuss the impact of the parallel or conflicting legal systems prevalent in Lebanon.
Dubbed legal pluralism by legal scholars and political activists alike, the
existence of religious family status courts, for the countrys 18 officially recognized
confessions, and a secular court system, for all other issues affecting Lebanons
public and private entities and its people as individual denizens of the country, is
unique in the Middle East.

This volume contains the presentations of both grassroots activists, university


researchers, and scholars working in the interface of the two sectors of civil society,
i.e. activist-scholars bringing together the resources and insights of the academy
and the proverbial Arab street. The nature of the texts included here is thus
intentionally eclectic in order to promote the synergy that only this kind of free
exchange of ideas can provide. Meeting at NDU on 16 December 2015, the panel
discussion documented here brought together representatives from fields as varied
as human rights, feminist studies, citizenship empowerment, pedagogy, migration
and refugee issues, faith-based social justice theory, civil society studies, and legal
reform. An overview of those civil society players involved in this initial dialogue
is included at the end of this volume.

3
Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Table of Contents

Introduction .............................................................. 3

Prologue........................................................................... 4

Legal Discrimination against Women and Marginalized Groups ..... 6


Mada Arslan

Gender-Related Injustice Involving Citizenship in Lebanon ................. 8


Bassel Akar

Non-Equality under Lebanons Parallel Legal Systems .................. 11


Fateh Azzam

Working Fathers in the Lebanese Marketplace of Ideas.......................... 14


Eugene Richard Sensenig

On the Front Lines: Fighting for Full Equality ........................................... 23


Thomas Hornig

Epilogue ....................................................................... 29
Philip Honein

References and Further Readings ........................................ 30

List of Contributors .......................................................... 31

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Gender-Citizenship Nexus

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
Beirut Office

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to all those who provided the possibility to complete this
report. In particular, we thank the Pope Benedict XVI Society and the
Faculty of Law and Political Science at Notre Dame University. We wish
to thank Mr. Peter Rimmele, Professor Edward Alam, Ms. Acacia Polatian,
Ms. Honore Claris Eid, Ms. Jasmin-Lilian Diab, and Dr. Christy Mady
for their support in organizing the 16 December 2015 event, upon which
this publication is based.

This booklet has been published with the support of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung,
Lebanon office. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors
and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.