Blog archive: Lebanon

  • 27th May 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    For months, the bodies of Hizbullah fighters killed in Syria have been returning to Lebanon for burial. At first the Lebanese Shia movement drew a veil over the circumstances – and country – of their deaths. Then, as the casualties became more difficult to conceal it changed tack and the men were...
  • 30th January 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Whenever I write about the Lebanese rumpus over civil marriage, I have to keep reminding myself that it really is aboutcivil marriage and not gay marriage. The opponents of civil marriage in Lebanon are exactly the types you would expect to find in other countries opposing gay...
  • 29th January 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In an extraordinary fatwa yesterday, the Grand Mufti of Lebanon  threatened to excommunicate any member of parliament or government minister who supports the legalisation of civil marriage. "Every Muslim official, whether a deputy or a minister, who supports the legalisation of...
  • 28th January 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It wasn't a high-society occasion and the bride and groom were not celebrities but it has become Lebanon's most talked-about wedding in years. Even the president and government ministers have expressed opinions on it. Khouloud Sukkariyeh and Nidal Darwish tied the knot last November in what is...
  • 20th January 2013
    By
    Brian Whitaker
       Mouna is a lesbian from a Lebanese family and she has a problem: "I love my mum, but I can never tell her I'm gay. She'd kill me. Or she would make herself sick and die – and then I'd have killed her. I don't want to break her heart but I'm 35. The only way out of the house...
  • 5th May 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The offending article (larger version here)    Student Mohamad Sibai was in Hamra Street, Beirut, when he witnessed a "disturbing" sight. So disturbing, in fact, that he could scarcely believe what he had seen: "I couldn’t get that image out of my head for the whole day."...
  • 13th March 2012
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Daft attempts to control what is published on websites have long been a speciality of the Saudi authorities (here and here, for example) but now the infection seems to be spreading to Lebanon. The Lebanese information minister, Walid Daouk, has proposed a law that would require all...
  • 4th August 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The turmoil in Syria is threatening to spill over into neighbouring Lebanon. On Tuesday night, a small group of protesters holding a vigil outside the Syrian embassy in Beirut were attacked by pro-Assad thugs (see video above). "It was all planned. They came, started chanting for Bashar and...
  • 28th July 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
       Lebanese musician Zeid Hamdan was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly defaming President Michel Suleiman in a song. If convicted, he could be jailed for up to two years. Most Arab countries have laws against insulting – or, in some cases, merely criticising – the head...
  • 29th May 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    On Syria's 11th Friday of protest, dedicated to the spirit of the great Syrian hero Youssef al-Azmeh – who stood in Maysalun with his small band of patriotic soldiers and defied the huge might of France's colonial army, preferring death to servitude – I think of all the brave men and...
  • 7th March 2011
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Thousands of people demonstrated in Beirut on Sunday, calling for an end to sectarianism in Lebanon. The size of the protest (around 8,000, according to Reuters) was considerably larger than a week earlier, when just a few hundred braved bad weather for a similar demonstration...
  • 23rd October 2010
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A symposium was held in Beirut earlier this month under the auspices of the Florida-based International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association – basically aimed at promoting Lebanon as a "gay" tourist destination. Some members of Lebanon's LGBT community were uneasy about it (to say the...

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