Posted by: r.m. | March 3, 2009

legal now…

When I was a young child, maybe 10, I heard my mother say to my brother (who was 14 at the time) that he’s old enough now to make this decision but he should realize that he’d be breaking Lebanese law and thus could end up in jail.

“Hey! If my brother goes to jail, I want to go with him!”

So, then my mother let me in on this simple act of civil disobedience.  My brother – and I – would black out the sectarian affiliation on our national ID card (our ‘Ikhraj el ‘ayd’).  I must confess – I was rather thrilled at breaking the law and had this ridiculous notion of my brother and I being thrown into the same jail cell and it was all, well, rather cool.

Now, our simple act is no longer illegal.

Now, thanks to the strategic efforts of a small group of Lebanon, we Lebanese now have the choice as to whether or not we want to declare our sectarian affiliation.  Those of us who choose to be officially recognized according to their sectarian affiliation have that choice.  And those of us who choose to keep religion private and separate from official papers now have that choice as well.

Finally.

It is a start.  A start towards developing further options in Lebanon. An option for civil marriage. An option for civil laws.  And, let us not forget, an option for being a country of Lebanese rather than a country of sectarian communities living within certain borders.

And it is quite easy. This start. Interested?

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