A culture of blame
From Ghadi Francis to Myriam Klink
Just over a week ago, female Al-Jadeed reporter Ghadi Francis was brutally beaten outside a hotel in Dhour Choueir, where an event for the Syrian Social Nationalist Party elections was being held. A day prior to the attack, she reportedly posed a question in a news report that sent a wave of intense criticism in her direction from the SSNP leadership. “Isn’t it time for the SSNP to have its own Arab Spring?” she asked.
Francis herself is an SSNP member. And in a patriarchal society like Lebanon’s, Francis is in no position to scrutinize the antiquated tactics of the men who control politics. She is, after all, a woman. A woman’s body houses her honor and the honor of her family, which are considered in need of protection. As such, she is expected to fulfill certain socially-constructed roles, none of which involve criticizing the male hierarchy or its decisions.
If a woman steps outside the strict boundaries of behavior prescribed to her, she faces communal rejection, stigmatization, violent assault (as in the case of Francis), and even death by way of “honor killing.”
The attack on Francis made little more than a dull murmur across media channels. Instead, all eyes were on another Lebanese woman last week: entertainer Myriam Klink, who became the focus of intense public scrutiny after a video clip of her performing the sexually-suggestive song “3anter” on an OTV entertainment program went viral on the web.
Angie Nassar is a reporter and blogger at NOW Lebanon. You can find her on Twitter: @angienassar.