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Politics - First Lady Sleiman speaks on Arab women's day.

NNA - 31/1/2012 - Following is the statement of First Lady Wafaa Sleiman on the occasion of the Arab Women's day: "The Arab Women's Day comes about this year amidst unprecedented changes sweeping over the whole region. Women are assuming active and efficient roles in the unfolding events, out of a conviction that they cannot merely assume the role of bystanders and that they must have a say in the course of the events which are shaking their societies. Moreover, women are hopeful that the changes will lead to underpinning the humanism of their societies, to achieving a greater balance between their components, and to promoting those values which respect the entity, specificities, and individuality of human beings, notwithstanding their gender, religion, or social class.

As a result of all these changes, some fears and anxieties are springing up. Women fear that, in the end, some hurdles might crop up, hindering the course of the struggle they have been leading for the last century. They are afraid the changes might pave the way for thoughts and currents aiming at putting restrictions again on their potentials, their freedom, and their legitimate aspirations to equality, all of which were granted by the Creator, and definitely not a human gift nor a donation.

Thence, today's struggle requires an increased level of awareness, as well as steadfastness in pressing on for changes and cooperation among all women's rights activists, notwithstanding their position or the civil society group they work for, for the purpose of upholding and protecting the accomplishments achieved during the last decades. Consequently, we must endeavor to give a boost to the accomplishments so that they reach the legal and human levels of other civilizations and countries, in conformity with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other relevant charters and conventions.

It is no longer permissible to leave women behind, mired in their dread and dealing with the marginalization attempts in the midst of the prevailing current tide of changes. For any transgression of their rights, any dent in the cornerstones of the legal and social edifice they have erected during their long march shall definitely have repercussions and reverberations throughout the whole Arab World. Our discourse must be made uniform and uttered loud and clear; moreover, it should be clear in its wording and in its objectives. During the previous few months, Arab women have specifically proven that they were capable of sacrificing their lives on the altar of their creed and of struggling for it according to the criteria of right and humanity.

In Lebanon, we are to keep on struggling in order to wipe out any injustice facing women and to remove any social and legal flaws and imperfections. The latter constitute an insufferable ignominy in a society which has experienced openness and enlightenment. Furthermore, Lebanon's land was the cradle of divine religions, all of which gave precedence to the value of the human being and did not distinguish between people based on gender, race, or social status.

Progress and modernism, a ray of light for each Lebanese citizen who seeks to promote his motherland's deeply-rooted and authentic civilization, intuitively and spontaneously call for the advancement of the level of human beings and of their dignity on the echelon of human values. Progress and modernism do not only entail advancement at the levels of technology, building, or external radiant influence and reputation.

From its human dimension, modernism revolves around achieving equality and justice among people. So how are we to tackle these values and aspirations if some of us can't find a problem with the violence perpetrated under the shelter of a household's roof? Besides, how are we to achieve the equality as prescribed by the law and by all human and social principles if women married to a foreigner don't boast the right to pass their nationality to their children? These are but a few questions and enquiries strewn on the long road of the struggle for rendering reality conform to values, words conform to actions, and yesterday's civilization conform to the future's modernism, thus without turning a blind eye to principles.

It indeed takes a lot of courage to let go of the negative view of women, with what it includes of chauvinism, discrimination and belittlement. It takes courage to voyage into the realm of a humanism protected by modern legislations and governed by a social thought which supersedes some outdated, obsolescent customs and traditions, alas, still deeply-entrenched in the minds of numerous persons as if they were the inexorable, revealed truth! These are my aspirations, my request, and my resolve on the occasion of the Arab Women's Day. I partake the hope, along with many civil society actors who reflect the unwavering and faithful people in Lebanon and in all other countries of the Arab World that they are not but a fleeting dream and a transient wish. They are, nonetheless, the ultimate road to a bright new dawn for Arab women and for all humanity."


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Publication:National News Agency Lebanon (NNA)
Date:Jan 31, 2012
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