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Rayan Majed

When killing a woman is a “private
matter” and nudity a public matter

I Am Not Naked, I am Free (Facebook)

BEIRUT - “What is important in this country is the image, and the others’ perception, and avoiding scandal.” This is what Layla Awada said, a lawyer working with KAFA, who is following, with amazement, the case of Manal Assi, the woman who was killed by her husband Mohammad al-Nahili on February 4th at their home after he beat and tortured her in front of her parents, neighbors in Tariq al-Jedideh.

 

“The real scandal is that we are living in a country where a husband can kill his wife and, after her death, accuse her of adultery and no one considers that such a crime is an attack on Lebanon’s dignity and image,” Assi said.

 

“But the pictures of Jackie Chamoun, or a cartoon for instance, could undermine the dignity of the country.”

 

For caretaker Youth and Sports Minister Faisal Karami, who objects to the draft law on protecting women in Lebanon from domestic abuse, the issue of husbands beating their wives and causing their death is “a private matter”. However, the issue of freedom and one’s ownership of their own body is a public matter that affects the dignity of the country and undermines its honor.

 

The topless pictures of Chamoun, who is taking part in the Sochi Winter Olympics, have gone against the principles of our “conservative society,” according to our minister and other Lebanese.

 

“The Woman’s body has come to symbolize the honor of the country and her nudity is a source of concern since it brings the taboo of sex back to the surface. When a woman exercises her freedom to do what she wants with her body, she is faced with violence, because she is threatening the patriarchal system that aims to dominate her,” said Researcher and Secretary of Woman of the Mediterranean Nadia Issawi.

 

According to Rina Sarkis, a psychoanalyst, sports activities elevate the relation with one’s body to a new “noble” level.

 

“Sports take the body to its extreme as it becomes a tool, like voice for singing. For sportsmen and women the body is sacred because it is noble and beautiful and this is what Chamoun’s pictures represented,” Sarkis said.

 

Sarkis, among others who took to social media, wanted to investigate Karami’s achievements as a Youth and Sports Minister.

 

“No one knew anything about this minister before he decided to be aggressive with such a perfect body as an attempt to cover up his shortcomings,” she adds.

 

Chamoun has received both criticism and praise on social media outlets for her decision to participate in the shoot, but has been defended by media rights groups and even Lebanese politicians. The controversy has received attention in press outlets around the world, and a Twitter campaign has been started in her support. She has since apologized for the photos and video.

I Am Not Naked, I am Free. (Courtesy of Facebook)

What is important in this country is the image, and the others’ perception, and avoiding scandal.

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