Tuesday, November 28, 2006

anti-sectarianism campaign gets covered by Wash Post

The Washington Post runs an artilce about the recent anti-sectarianism campaign that a marketing agency in Beirut launched. check it out.

Anyways, my favorite part of the article is its conclusion - and it has barely anything to do with the campaign itself. I'll copy and paste it over here just in case you don't get the chance to read the entire thing.
At a cafe near downtown, Randy Nahle, a 21-year-old student, wondered about the way out. His father is Shiite, his mother Maronite Catholic. The neighborhood he sits in, like virtually every one in Beirut, has its markers: the posters and religious symbols on walls, the muezzin or the church bells that identify its affiliation.

For once, he said, something organized spoke to his rejection of being "categorized or oversimplified."

He smiled at his favorite ads, the ones that identified doctors by their sect. "It has infiltrated our fabric so much, almost indelibly," Nahle said. "If I have an earache, an Orthodox doctor will understand it better. It's an Orthodox ear."

He recalled sitting with a Shiite woman at a cafe near the American University in Beirut. She treated him as a fellow Shiite until he revealed his mixed background. She looked at him disapprovingly. It's bad for the children, she said. "They're going to come out confused," she told him.

"I said, 'You know, the problem of this country is we don't have enough confused people. The problem is we have too many people blindly convinced by their political orientation, by their religion, by their community's superiority.' "

She smiled, he recalled, and then laughed a little uncomfortably.


R said...

Man do we have a long way to go... everytime I think about the piece of crap (discriminatory) laws we have that govern marriage and citizenship I just remember where we are compared to where we should be.

Then I start to wonder when will we ever get to fixing that. You need to educate the public sufficiently to get support for changing the sectarian (and sexist)laws that we have. Then you need to change the laws that allow you to change the laws. Then you need to change the laws. Not to mention the constitution, and separation of church and state...

Unfortunately, we need a semblence of stability to solve those problems. And we don't have that...

Doha said...

I think now we know what to tell everyone when they ask about how the children will be raised ;)

Mustapha said...

Speaking of which guys,
eimta 7a tshiddoulna el himmeh? :)

Back to the campaign, I think it's a good start, but it left much to be desired.

Raja said...

2reeban mustapha, 2reeban

Anonymous said...

I'll post here the same thing I posted on Mustapha's blog:

The notion that you have to educate the people FIRST, and then they will learn and demand the system change is a naive notion. We all know that as long as the status quo is as it is, people will have no incentive to "get educated". They'll smile and nod, and give it lip service, and carry on with their sectarian ways.

What's needed is a top-down approach. A new set of laws has to be imposed on the country, and then the people will adapt.
The model of modern Turkey (Kemal Attaturk) comes to mind, when it comes to how you successfully stamp out sectarianism, and install a modern, secular, state.

Sadly, Lebanon lacks that kind of visionary leader.

Umm Kais said...

I LOVE this article. And remember, the grandchildren will be Buddhist :) That would be fun to put on a Lebanese ID. (Like they'd even let us!)

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