Nationalism, sexism, and other evils

I just learned something that is mostly fascinating, and may shock some of our beloved readers.

Everyone knows that a Lebanese woman cannot pass its nationality to her kid (if the father is not Lebanese, while the opposite is possible).

But did you know friends and relatives that a Lebanese woman married to a Palestinian man cannot even let her kid inherit her? (While if she was married to a man of any other nationality then she could actually make her child inherit).

You may ask what is fascinating about it. Well it is the fact that you can be sexist and chauvinistic at the same time and enclose it in a law. Beware that if I use the term sexist that does not at all mean I believe in “Women’s rights” in the liberal tradition. More on this later.

23 Replies to “Nationalism, sexism, and other evils”

  1. Andyou still refer to Israel as a RACIST State??? Wallah, Arab Countries are the most racist in the world. They are against Christians, they are against Jews and they are against (even) their palestinian “brothers”… With friends like these, who needs ennemies???

  2. Oh my God! Very interesting post!! I haven’t heard about that.. Palestinian people even less than “homo sacer” under Roman law (this person that can be killed by anybody etc.) The “innovation”, if I dare use such a word in this context, is that the “homo sacer” condition became hereditary and contagious – since it is contaminating people with full rights, driving their children off the society they initially belong to… It is really fascinating indeed. Feels like it’s going deeper than nationalism, sexism and stuff. it’s really an ethical problem…

    I wonder now if it is the same for a Lebanese man married to a Palestinian. Would his children be deprived of rights?
    A priori, I don’t think so. It is funny how legislators always know when to play the sexist card. Last month, I attended a lecture with Nawal Saadawi and I am sorry to say that but I was really angry against her when she said how great was the French law against the religious signs in school. This law simply expelled Muslim girls from schools, as if these kids (between 14 and 16 years-old) were a very dangerous threat to citizenship and national bullshit values! This was not only a racist law but a SEXIST one. Anyway, it is a bit off topic…

    Just to say, Bashir, that I do share your suspicions about “women’s rights” in the liberal tradition. But maybe not for the same reasons. We’ll see ; )

    @ Battal: Totally agree with you. But still, Israel is a racist state.

  3. Hey Happy Daggers,
    I see that you have been badly brainwashed re. Israel being a Racist state. Think before writing. The words RACISM, GENOCIDE, APARTHEID have lost a lot of their meaning when you apply them on Israel. If you want to continue this discussion outside this forum, please advise.

  4. I believe the issue goes back to the exact wording of the law. It has something to do with the fact the the law mentions specifically that the husband needs to be a citizen of another nation. Since Palestine is not a state (yet) the man is considered stateless and therefore the inheritance (according to the law) cannot work.

    One of many, many laws that need to be re-written.

  5. I believe Jad is correct. Some of these laws depend on reciprocity (labor, property, etc) such that if there is no reciprocating state (no Palestine) there is no reciprocating right in LB.

  6. Interestingly enough, there has been talk of reworking the nationality law to allow Lebanese women to give their citizenship to their children if they’re married to non-Lebanese men. However, apparently, there is agreement that there will be a single exception to the new law: Lebanese women married to Palestinian men.

    This is one thing that both Hezbollah and the Kata’eb can agree on, as the anti-tawteen Hezbollah campaign posters make perfectly clear.

  7. don’t jump too quickly to conclusions sean. Hezb and kata’eb do not meet on that point. hezb attitude towards palestinian issues is much more complex then you seem to think.
    and don’t base your conclusion on your interpretations of what a poster may read like.
    other than that you may wander in ignorance 🙂

  8. Sean, actually there is a loophole in the current law. If a Lebanese woman was to have children out of wedlock, they would be granted Lebanese citzenship.

    Lebanese women who married non-Lebanese abroad and did not register their marriage at the Lebanese Embassy, can pass on their citizenship to their children. They just need to register their children as “illegitimate”.

  9. Yeah, I’ve actually talked to a lot of Hezbollah (and Amal) supporters who believe that there will be an eventual realigning with the Christians, since it is both in the Shi’a’s and Christian’s interest to keep the Sunnis from naturalizing the Palestinians. They’re baffled that so many Christians would be against their arms, since their weapons are, so their theory goes, the last line of defense against Palestinian tawteen.

    Finally, both parties are officially opposed to naturalization, even if their official reasons are different. Talking to partisans of both parties, however, leads one to believe that their real motivations are very, very similar.

    I think you’ll see exactly no opposition from Hezbollah or Amal when the issue comes up and the children of Lebanese mothers and Palestinian mothers are denied citizenship.

    But I’m probably just “wandering in ignorance,” whatever that means.

  10. Ya Bech: It’s unfortunate that you always limit yourself to saying, “you’re wrong,” but don’t offer another alternative. Are you saying that despite their gigantic electoral campaign right now, that Hezbollah is actually for tawteen?

    So while you’re right that the Kata’eb and Hezbollah have different opinions on Palestinian issues, naturalization is one among many issues, and on this one, they have the same stance.

    By the way, saying, “it’s more complicated than that,” isn’t really an argument or an explanation. So let’s just say that I’ve consistently talked to the wrong partisans, how do you explain the anti-tawteen campaign?

  11. Ok will attempt a quick explanatory answer.

    What I meant is not that you are wrong, but that you make quick statements that are far from describing the many subtleties involved so much so that you lump-sum Kataeb and Hizbullah in the same basket on the question of tawteen because both are seemingly against it, and you prove that by appealing to a poster.

    First, what Hizbullah or Kataeb or whoever say it is, is not really what counts politically under changing circumstances.

    Second anti-tawteen culture in Hizbullah comes from a narrative of Palestinian solidarity. we’ll liberate jerusalem and neutralize Israel so that we can have Palestinian’s right of return pushed as a given on the negotiation table. Not for a narrow minded “I want the Palestinians out of here”, but for a much grander longterm regional security and ethical solution. Should read more of Khomeini to understanding the instrumentality of the Palestinian question and a specific perception of Islam History and Geography.

    Kataeb if anything is for tawteen because it can help them legitimize even more the idea of confessional cantons. So this isolationist strategy is at the other opposite end of the political spectrum. (One of the reasons why they were for the Cairo agreement in the 60s)

    So the way tawteen or anti-tawteen is perceived is totally different. Which makes the actual idea of tawteen different. We are not talking about the same thing in these different cases.

    The anti-tawteen campaign is part of Hizbullah’s drive (especially since hariri’s assassination) to show that they want to be fully part of this political system called Lebanon. As simple as that. Once the Syrians were out, Hizbullah moved into uncharted territory, having to actually address contradictory questions, perceptions of the Lebanese institutional entity and the Lebanese “other” (that they had already been working on its margins for a while since they entered the legislative process) on a new level. They have been doing that for a long time, but the security vacuum left by the Syrians just pushed them way further into that. I wrote a lot on that on this blog.

    As the anti-Hizbullah campaign gained saliency Hizbullah was even more keen to show that they are truly committed to that state-building process. The campaigns, the national songs, the movies, speeches, etc. it may not mean they believe in all that crap (although many people in the constituency can believe it in one or another), but the actual political outcome of that was crucial for them. The understanding with tayyar goes hand in hand with that.

    Actually none of this rhetoric is new. Hizbullah has always had this discourse, it is now just serving different political goals. Just to give you an example, Nasrallah in a speech in 1984, was saying “the road to Beirut goes through Jerusalem”. In echo to the Arafat or whoever phrase saying that the road to Jerusalem goes through Jounieh.

  12. oups wrote very fast and did not re-read. went a bit in circles. just to simplify. and last comment here.


    1- kataeb has no problem with tawteen if this means federalizing the country

    2- hizbullah is not for tawteen not because they want to kick out palestinians but because they want a lasting ethical solution to the palestinian problem

    3- how this play out shows the huge difference in political action so much so that how the Palestinian question is treated by the different parties is totally different. so lumpsuming political programs on the use of a common word is not a good intellectual strategy.

    4- ex. Hizbullah ministers passed laws for Palestinians to work etc. You can guess what would kataeb have done in the same place.

  13. So you’re basically agreeing with what I said earlier, when I stated that Finally, both parties are officially opposed to naturalization, even if their official reasons are different.

    And I’d go one further to say that while the official reason is because a belief in the Palestinian right to return (as even some LF or Kata’eb will agree), I hear more than a couple Hezbollah partisans (and especially Amal partisans) agree that mostly, they’d just like to see the Palestinians gone. But again, whatever the reasons behind the anti-tawteen rhetoric, the end result will likely be the same: all sides will likely agree that Lebanese women married to Palestinian men shouldn’t be allowed to pass their citizenship on to their children.

    Ironically enough, when Lebanese nationalism manages to stoke some sort of sectarian cohesion, it’s often at the expense of the Palestinians.

  14. Have you really read what i wrote? because i had to waste a lot of time explaining things…

    Ok again.

    Kataeb does not mind tawteen.

    Hizbullah would logically have no problem with Lebanese woman inheritance if married to a Palestinian man. Al Manar had a program on women citizenship and full rights given to her not long ago, as well as al Nour radio.

    The partisan you speak to is not official party policy.

    Please don’t pollute this blog with your ideological lump-summing.

    Sorry to say it that crudely but it is just deplorable what you write.

  15. We’ll see who’s right if the law ever gets changed.

    Pollute this blog, eh? Is that what you’re calling views that are different from yours? Pollution? That’s fine. Honestly, if it weren’t for David’s posts, which are intelligent and well written, I probably wouldn’t ever come here – and I’m not the only one. However, I will admit to a strange attraction for your posts that’s similar to my inability to ignore Michael Totten.

    Finally: the “Kataeb does not mind tawteen.” That’s rich, man. Keep on keeping on with your “research,” habibi.

  16. I already explained why the kataeb could “play the tawteen card” if you prefer that way of putting things. Why the Kataeb would want the tawteen.

    Basically the question of tawteen in Lebanon has nothing to do with the question of rights, but with political prerogatives whether for kataeb hizbullah mustaqbal or whoever. Being with or without ‘tawteen’ has nothing to do with the fact that Palestinians are going to get more rights.

    Sorry if you are hurt, but I just find the way you phrase certain things a bit dangerous. I may explain that later on. This was not meant personally, I was talking about what you write. I find you to be a nice person in reality. Sorry again.

  17. Kiss and make up ?
    Bech-from-the-land-that-came-to-be-called-lebanon, keep theorizing and saying you’ll write more about concrete examples later, loving it :):):)

    Sean, I’ll add one more thing: it’s not only shias or christians, it’s sunnis as well. Well at least when they know they’re talking to non-sunnis 🙂 It’s always the palestinians’ fault when lebanese from different religions gather, only way to spend a good evening shouting your opinion without killing each other.

    As for Bichboch, akid with you 100%, Nasrallah very deep deep down in his soul believes he’s going to free jerusalem. That’s the sole reason Hezb is against tawteen 🙂

    Btw chou tu es docteur maintenant ? La soutenance ?

  18. sandrine ya ikht, I don’t think you get my point. and i have explained with examples.

    la soutenance c’est pas pour bientot ma chere.


    The twin fascisms that causes most massacres, wars, “conflicts” today:

    Arabism is racism (Arab racism)!
    Millions upon Millions are/became victims of Arabism which is the worst current form of racism in its gigantic proportions, like: Kurds Jews (not just in Israel…) Berbers (the real natives of North Africa), ASIANS (maids in: Lebanon,Bahrain,Kuwait,S. Arabia,UAE, etc.) Africans (noty just in the genocide in the Sudan & in Egypt on native Nubians by Arab invaders – till today), Persians, etc.

    Islamism is bigotry (Islamofascism)!
    The Islamic supremacy that “works” towards its vision of “final Islamic domination on the entire planet”, from Middle east to Africa from Asia to Eurabia, from terrorism & massacres in multiple countries (like: Thailand, Phillipines, China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon India, USA, France, Israel, Russia, UK, etc.) to propaganda,

    Let’s face it! that entire war on Israel & the Jews since the 1920’s by their facsist Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini who started the “genocide campaign” [and continues by the children/grand children of Arab immigrants into Israel – Palestine – now convenienently called “palestinians”] in a clear outlined declaration to ‘kill all Jews’, is nothing but out of pure Arab Muslim bigotry.

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