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Joumana Haddad

We need to F.U.C.K., ladies

"Breaking the Wall" by Jeanette Woitzik

"Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall" - Ray Bradbury

 

We need to F.U.C.K., ladies.

 

All of us. In Lebanon and elsewhere in this crumbling Arab world. F.U.C.K., hell yes, as in Fight, Use, Control, Know.

 

Fight our fears. Use our brains. Control our destinies. Know our strengths.

 

F.U.C.K. as in, Face, Unchain, Challenge, Knock.

 

Face our oppressors. Unchain our voices and ambitions. Challenge the prejudices unleashed against us. Knock down those who are trying to keep us at bay and take us back to the dark ages.

 

You see, we Arab women are walking on a road, a road that is supposed to lead us to a brighter, more modern and dignified future. Yet between that future and ourselves lies a huge, terrifying, constantly growing wall, a wall built by our predecessors and reinforced by our contemporaries (and ourselves) day after day, “achievement” after achievement.

 

Come on, let’s together examine this wall through the world of architecture and its techniques:

 

The basis of each wall is the foundation, as we all know. The foundation of our Arab wall is strong, sturdy, immovable. I’d be tempted to say it’s quake-proof. It is invisible and intangible, but despite this, it is not open to doubt or criticism. Why? Because it is not made out of cement, earth and steel, but out of superstition, beliefs, prophecy, and so-called “sacred” verses and holy writ.

 

Why keep going around the root of the problem? I will name it our "bugaboo.” The foundation of our Arab wall is religion, with all the ailments that, in its many forms and types, trail it: blind faith that is impossible to question because of the danger of apostasy or the fear of a fabricated hell, the lack of critical sense, ignorance, backwardness, inability to evolve, the wiping out of individualism in the midst of group thinking and herd syndrome, intolerance, hatred, deadly schisms, bias against women, sexual repression, misogyny, conspiring with political authorities against the people, yoking the people to the cause of political totalitarianism, brainwashing, anesthetizing the masses with fear, crushing personal freedoms in the name of a higher wisdom, etc.

 

Shall I go on?

 

There is, in every wall, a first row of bricks: The first row in our Arab wall is no other than our patriarchal systems that jealously guard our manners and customs, and determine our understandings of virtue and morals based on the concepts of chastity, modesty and purity. These systems are founded on oppressing women and canceling their beings, controlling them, accessorizing them, silencing their voices, paralyzing their abilities, and commodifying them on the male stock market.

 

As for the second row, it is the duplicity of our societies, plagued with hypocrisy and deceit, and the different forms of discrimination against women and minorities – the explicit and implicit – limiting their social, civil, sexual, cultural and political beings.

 

The third row consists of the random, criminal violence that is carried out systematically against women: harassment, beating, terrorization, excision, rape, virginity tests and child marriages, not to mention the crimes performed in the name of Arab honor and the authorities’ turning a blind eye to these crimes, or their lax handling of them.

 

The fourth row is the Arab woman’s resort – without generalizing – to playing the “victim” role (complaining is easier than confronting), and her lack of outrage about the horrible insults to her and her dignity, and her lack of awareness of the fact that she can change her reality – even with baby steps, the most important of which is raising new generations on different values and standards that respect both genders and believe in equality.

 

The fifth row is the cult of machismo that leads to violence – sexual and otherwise, and the role that women play in the continuation of the macho race by negotiating over their basic rights, convincing themselves that men are the superior sex and timidly asking for what is theirs instead of reaching out and taking it, or even snatching it with their nails.

 

The sixth row is our political systems, some of which claim to be democracies, whereas they all are, without exception, competing with each other to spread corruption, oppression, terror, ignobility, injustice and extremism. These political systems are based for the most part on sectarianism, feudalism, nepotism, deals and bargains made under the table. They are systems made almost exclusively by men and for men.

 

As for the seventh row, it is the scandalous discrepancy in salaries between men and women, and the lack of will of most women to achieve financial independence.  You see, machismo was, initially, the product of the “male hunter” ideal: I feed you = I own you. So it is most necessary for women to overturn this ideal by invading the workforce and providing for themselves. Although many are indeed doing that, the percentage of self-sufficient women is still very low in the Arab world. Few Arab women are taught the importance of financial independence. Even those who aspire to emancipation and/or hold a college degree rely frequently on men to fulfill their economic needs.

 

Do you want some more? Write it down: The brick of indifference, the brick of obscurantism, the brick of our contentment at laying blame on others instead of owning up to our responsibilities, the brick of chaos, the brick of illiteracy, the brick of homophobia, the brick of chauvinism, the brick of racism, the brick of treachery, the brick of canceling the Other, the brick of betrayal, the brick of selling consciences, the brick of cowardice, the brick of back-stabbing, the brick of envy, the brick of dishonesty, the brick of censorship, the brick of requisition, the brick of “the end justifies the means,” the brick of lies, the brick of manipulation, the brick of unemployment, etc.

 

One brick over another, the wall rises and rises, and there’s no skylight.

 

Yes, ladies, we definitely need to F.U.C.K. more, F.U.C.K. better, F.U.C.K. that wall down before it collapses on our heads and crushes us completely.

 

PS - You thought I meant the actual word, didn't you?

 

Well, that too.

 

Follow Joumana Haddad on Twitter

 

Joumana Haddad is author of many books, among which “I killed Scheherazade.” Her latest book, “Superman is an Arab – On God, marriage, macho men and other disastrous inventions” (Westbourne Press, London, 2012) is now available in Lebanese bookshops and on Amazon.

Arab women need to tear down the wall of oppression. (Image via art-spire.com)

Yes, ladies, we definitely need to F.U.C.K. more, F.U.C.K. better, F.U.C.K. that wall down before it collapses on our heads and crushes us completely.

  • Samer Matta

    It is so sad to see how most of the readers below are scared of by the f word, but not by the double standards and misogyny at display around them, and which the author is criticizing in her article. Just another prove of how superficial most Lebanese are. (oh, and hypocritical too)

    February 24, 2013

  • Rimfire15

    We are one race regardless of sex, colour and creed and everyone of us aspires to be happy and yet we find a perverted contentment to become part of the problem. Whether we feel a global war is the solution by choosing to partake is then to become part of the problem so the answer will always be hidden. Instead of focusing on struggle which only begets struggle, focusing on the changes that need to be made to reduce struggle can only fortify the lessening of it. Our lives will be as beautiful and as abundant as we 'choose' it to make them. Richard Bach once said: 'Imagine the universe as beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing. The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.' When you can practice compassion, love, laughter and happiness then you are giving faith to yourself. You are then given the keys to unlock the doors behind which resides the secrets to living a life that you can expect to be a pure, happy and wholesome experience. When you have become fully aware that you are responsible for yourself here on earth it is when the universe reveals its divine plan. What we do in our lives is vitaly important as why we do it. It is called intent.

    February 24, 2013

  • Abu Musa

    Alain Soral places feminists in two categories: the "flippées" and the "pétasses". I could rant about how Ms. Haddad belongs in the second category and how her brand of feminism - and how she goes about it - is but a way to cope with a series of latent sexual complexes. I could do that, but I just feel sorry for her. She is irrelevant, and therefore the only or primary victim of her unfortunate endeavors is herself.

    February 23, 2013

  • Samer Matta

    And you, mr Abu musa, are both a connard and a goujat who thinks that having a d... gives you supremacy over women. I bet it's really tiny... Your brain, i mean. And i pity YOU for that.

    February 24, 2013

  • trill

    i actually liked everything about this article, great, keep it up!

    February 22, 2013

  • UKMarmar

    You know Mrs Haddad, you are just a controversial writer who opens up a space for yourself to be spoken to with such disrespect. I wonder if you consider re-articulating your ideas in a way that is a fair representation of the many Lebanese who can have a decent, well thought through and normal conversation. It seems you have your brain in your pants most of the time.

    February 22, 2013

  • Peace in the Middle East

    Honestly, you make yourself look like a ... .

    February 22, 2013

  • Peace in the Middle East

    all you do is talk about sex, i wonder, do you have a boyfriend or maybe a girfriend?

    February 22, 2013

  • hoda salameh

    To CEREV: your reputation? If u accept the link between your reputation and the way you use your own v***** then you are worst than the macho man. You are just another self-victimising woman who accepts to be blackmailed on the basis of her sexual manners. Grow up and most of all stand up for your freedom. Most of the comments below give me nausea. Either religiously brain washed people who decided what a good woman's role should be (by the way, FINALLy, shove your religious tongue up your religious a**) or macho men and damsels in distress who can't handle a 4 letter word used by a woman writer.what the heck is wrong with you people?!!

    February 21, 2013

  • CeRev

    Yea, if someone is going to speak on behalf of strong women, I would prefer that it's not so cheap - and pseudo-intellectual. I mean, please write, by all means, write, but be concrete and think about our reputation - it doesn't help when you're using the word "FUCK" to explain what we should do more of...

    February 21, 2013

  • UKMarmar

    Good luck Mrs Haddad! You are dealing with an ignorant male dominated society who believes that God is everything! You are also dealing with primitive under developed thinking. With all due respect what has any Arab Nation (in modern history) contributed in the field of science, technology or medicine? What has any Arab nation done to pave forward or pioneer an idea that reaches to the world? The only contribution the Arabs have made is natural resources but they were too stupid to know they had it and it took the West to realize that and dominate the region. So, you talk about all of this liberation and F.U.C.K. etc. I just wonder if you have considered that you are all actually F.U.C.K.E.D look at your neighborhood - very promising Arabs killing each other!

    February 21, 2013

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    By the way, if anyone forgot, I need to remind us all that we too, the gentlemen, always need to F.U.C.K. So, if the ladies oblige to Ms. Haddad's imperative, then we will all be one happy liberated society. In fact, I think Ms. Haddad should use her verve to call for a WOMAN POPE, and a Lebanese one to boot. Why not?

    February 21, 2013

  • NotSure1

    Joumana said it all. I am glad you went on and on. Based on some comments, I came to the conclusion that there are many Bricks in the Arab world who just want to be rebuff and give negative responses. I guess Pink Fluid’s song ‘Another brick in the wall’ meant more than we thought.

    February 21, 2013

  • GOWOMEN

    Stinkingly Half-witted and Idiotic Thesis - S.H.I.T. See? I also got your attention. I get the gist of your ideas Ms. Haddad and I support them, but now go Google "need to fuck ladies" and see the resulting effects of this piece. NOW is one lucky site.

    February 21, 2013

  • ZizouZeGreat

    I can't believe my comment has been censored out! All I said was: "Is the punctuation necessary in the title? I am mostly referring to the comma". Please, reconsider publishing.

    February 20, 2013

  • ninak

    1-These men are raised by women. 2- I would only defend women who "want" to be free, ambitious and independent and you can't educate anyone to become like that. You are either born with it or not. You don't become free,ambitious and independent, you should have it in your soul. If you do, no society or man can put you down and stand in the way of your dreams.And from what I see in this society, women enjoy being owned and ruled and disrespected by men because in return they have a roof on top of their heads and are being fed. That too, is how they were brought up by their moms. And once they achieve that they feel they have won and are smart. These moms bring up the men to dominate and the woman to be dominated. It's a vicious circle that won't stop or end unless a woman "feels" inside of her that it is not normal to be...simply...a loser! that demanding your respect and rights does not make you less feminine but rather make him less manly not to respect you. I say start educating these ignorant mothers. And Good luck.

    February 20, 2013

  • Finally

    Loser? You think bringing up the children and taking care of the household is an easy job? I respect my mother more than any woman who left their children at home, with a nani, to work just for the sake of "being free." If the family needed money, I understand, but turning it into a cause is NOT acceptable. There is a reason maternity leave spans to more than a month, and paternity is few days to a week. So the only one ignorant is sadly, you. Not only that, but you disrespected all the mothers more than any husband would do... Good Job!

    February 21, 2013

  • Finally

    F.U.C.K as in Full-off Usless Crap Knit-together. That's right, you aren't the only one who can put together stuff just to prove your point....

    February 20, 2013

  • MadDan

    You're becoming such an attention seeker using such cheap tactics, I'm finding it hard to continue reading your articles. Just stop. Writing. Period.

    February 19, 2013

  • Eva Khouri

    If you're finding it hard to read her articles, then by all means do us a favor and DON'T. We, on the other hand, LOVE reading her articles. And what attention are you talking about? Miss hadad already has all the attention she needs, locally and internationally. And frankly, she is bringing that attention to NOW, not the other way around. Thank you Now for allowing different , much needed voices to express themselves in this swamp.

    February 20, 2013

  • Beiruti

    Really? I think the Madam was only trying to find some opaque way to drop an F-Bomb, however, the attempt is quite transparent. (...)

    February 19, 2013

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Joumana, DO NOT STOP, please. You hit the nail on the head: RELIGION IS THE VICIOUS VIRUS OF OUR LIVES, both men and women. We need to untangle the religious hands that have been suffocating us for generations, herding us inside their walled enclaves of every sect and every denomination that their wars and divisions have created and forced upon us. To your readers who are afraid of the truth you are speaking: When a baby is born in Lebanon, it is first born as a human being. It does not know that it is Lebanese, nor does it care. Worse: It does not know whether it is shiite, maronite, sunni, druse.... It does not care. But within a few years of brainwashing and indoctrination by religious schools, and by the religious political excrement in which we bathe, you create the walls of hatred, of exclusiveness, of separation, and hence the seeds of dysfunctional lives and dysfunctional countries. In the media coverage of Hezbollah, I always see the image of the little 5 yerar old boy dressed in military fatigues and carrying an AK47. This is the crime. This is barbarity at its climax. When will we ever learn? Do not stop, Ms. Haddad. We need the reverse btrainwashing. We need the shock therapy. Thank you NOW for letting Joumana Haddad speak up what we all know, but only a few dare say out loud.

    February 19, 2013

  • hoda salameh

    Jomanah you rock girl! Keep on F.u.c.k.i.n.g. their thick macho heads till they break. You are our voice

    February 19, 2013

  • Metnman

    "shall I stop?" Yes please!

    February 19, 2013