The revolution has been the battleground of Lebanese women since Oct. 17, the day citizens began calling out the government's failure to fulfill its most basic obligations. Women of all ages and backgrounds have been taking to the streets to protest against the ruling elites and the patriarchal systems in place.
In celebration of women, their fight, and their persistence, Lebanese singer Carole Samaha delivered an amended version to the androcentric national anthem that (for a change) takes women (nisaa') into account. The amended lyrics were first published by Annahar, a Lebanese newspaper, on Oct. 31. A week later, Samaha turned those lyrics into a reality to shed light on the importance of equality. Altering the national anthem that erases women from the conversation is a tiny step towards a much bigger fight and struggle against the patriarchy.
"Our valor and our writings are the envy of the ages. Our mountain and our valley, they bring forth stalwart men," the Lebanese anthem preaches.
"Our mountain and our valley, they bring forth stalwart women and men," the altered version screams
Sexist laws and norms in Lebanon have been normalized, accepted, and even encouraged by many members of society. Lebanon's national anthem is just one strand of that patriarchal hairball.
Women's rights activists in the country have repeatedly called for the amendment of certain laws that undermine women's autonomy, authority, and agency. Lebanon's 1925 nationality law, which denies women the right to pass on their citizenship but grants men that right, is still up and running though it's been 94 years since the law was introduced. The country's personal status laws - which treat women as "subordinates rather than partners" - is another story.
You would think a revamped version of the national anthem would sit well people of all sexes, ages, and backgrounds as it challenges the predominantly male-oriented narratives perpetrated on various fronts. But it was a hard pill to swallow among many Twitter users who claimed the women-inclusive anthem lacks melody, rhythm, and profound meaning. Is this the world we're living in? A world where rhythm is more important than equality and inclusion? The fact that some women are aboard this sexist ship is a shame wrapped in internalized misogyny.
"Neither the melody nor the rhythm are in tune. This is so silly"
"A change in rhythm and melody just for the sake of feminism"
YES, without a doubt YES. Why should women accept being placed on the sidelines? Tarnishing a harmonious melody should be the least of people's concerns. Shouldn't building harmony between the sexes be of more importance?
"Women ruin everything they're part of"
Really? Do we? Let's remember the role women have taken upon themselves this revolution. Let's remember those courageous women who faced authorities on the frontlines and forced a human barricade to separate protesters from armed forces. Let's remember the Lebanese "kick queen" who kicked a loaded bodyguard in the groin because the politician he works for wasn't happy to be stuck in the crowd.
Let's also remember all the women who worked tirelessly to put an end to Lebanon's "marry your rapist" law, which, for the record, allowed rapists in the country to escape ... just by tying the knot with their victim. Writing down the endless list of achievements of Lebanese women isn't what I'm here to do. But for those who believe otherwise, please befriend Google and do your own research on the matter.
"Let her [Carole Samaha] go home, we don't need more silly people"
"I thought she was a decent woman. Changing the lyrics is so stupid. Is changing the country's name next?"
"You're right, it doesn't have a nice ring to it. But now feminists will come at you..."
So the word "feminist" is now an insult? Fighting for equal rights, equal pay, and justice is now being used against us? Well, if you think calling us the F-word is an offense, you should rethink your strategy.
Calling the women-inclusive anthem nonsense is living proof of nonsense in itself. Thank you very much.
A clap-back at sexists: "Can we see the bigger picture here?"
"Can we focus on the bigger picture? It's not silly and it's certainly not wrong to have a women-inclusive anthem ... and the rhythm is something we can work on."