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exercise: the frontlines of my life

Country: what is your relationship with your country? what do you love about it? what do you want to change in it?

One thing i love most about Lebanon, my country, is that it includes 18 different religious groups. This makes Lebanon unique amongst other middle eastern countries, whose populations are of similar socioreligious orientations. However, this hybridity costed Lebanon times of unrest and civil wars at different times of history. Diversity if a bliss, but the intolerability of subgroups to each others is turning this diversity into a curse. What i aim to change is to make myself and people in my community more welcoming to this diversity. I am confident there are similar peace ambassadors in the other 17 subgroups. We will change this country, some day.

Women's rights: What challenges do you face as a woman in your community? what obstacle you look forward to overcoming?

women in my country are not justly treated in the society and by the law. Until today, for instance, a Lebanese woman cannot pass her nationality to her offspring. A law to protect women from domestic violence was only adopted by the parliament few days ago, after many years of ignorance.
But there is a group of women whose problems are rarely addressed, Muslim women. By addressing the rights of these women i am not lessening the importance of the efforts to increase the degree of rights given to women in the country. Yet, considering this group of women is but a part of tolerability of different subgroups to each other.

International dialogue: What do you want the international community to know about your homeland?

I want people here in Lebanon and the international community to know two things:
1) the orient and middle east are not a homogenous block of the world. Each country in the region is specific and hybrid in its own way.
2) Muslims in these countries are just like other citizens in countries worldwide. They are not the stereotypical muslims you hear about in international media and watch as villains in Hollywood movies.

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