What does it mean to live in Lebanon without Lebanese citizenship even though your mother is Lebanese? Benita Kawalla pursues this question in her paper “People like me, they have to bypass- Lebanese young adults without citizenship”: The paper examines the situation of young adults, children of binational parents in which the Lebanese mother cannot transmit them her nationality because of the restrictive Lebanese nationality law. Using the concept of performative and affective citizenship, she claims that these young adults perform their Lebanese citizenship by political and social activism for a more inclusive citizenship law, by finding coping strategies to exercise basic human rights and by feeling Lebanese and stating their right to be legally Lebanese.
In Lebanon, a rapist could avoid criminal prosecution by marrying their victim. That was until August 16th 2017 when the Lebanese Parliament voted on the abolishment of Article 522. Thereby, Lebanon joins a number of other Arab states. Given that marital rape and underage marriage remain legal, it is a benign step towards the protection of women’s rights only, but a primer.
When women in the Middle East make the headlines, it is usually as victims. Disturbing stories of the so called 'Islamic State' (ISIS) kidnapping and raping tens of thousands of women are sadly often the ones which stick in the Western memory. But there is more to women's political lives in the region than their victimisation and oppression. We decided to look to the future, present and past in this issue, in order to present an alternative narrative which challenges these representations of women.