Time to update Lebanon's census
The need for a new Lebanese census?
When colonial France created Lebanon in 1920, the French saw an island of Christians – specifically Maronite Catholics – in an overwhelmingly Muslim-majority region. A heavily flawed national census, taken in 1932, reflected the majority Christian nature of Lebanon. Lebanon’s consociational democracy was based off of findings from the census, solidified in a 1943 agreement to always appoint a Maronite Christian as President, a Sunni Muslim as Prime Minister, and a Shiite Muslim as Speaker of Parliament.
It is clear today that Christians no longer constitute the majority of Lebanon’s population. An updated census would not only reveal Lebanon’s true ethno-religious makeup, but would also be a step toward ensuring all groups are fairly represented.
Source: US-Middle East Youth Nethwork
Not worth a thousand words
A photo was released earlier this week of a women’s rights conference at University of Qassim in Saudi Arabia. The photo features a sea of men filling up a lecture hall – not one woman is visible. Photographs such as this one easily fall into well-established stereotypes concerning sexism in the Arab world. While Saudi Arabia certainly ranks pitifully low compared to the rest of the world on women’s rights, isolated images such as this that play into overplayed stereotypes jeopardize cross-cultural understanding.
Parks and occupation: archeology is the new security
George Orwell wrote in his dystopian novel 1984 that who “controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past.” Currently, Israel is recalling Orwell’s words as it digs up Palestinian land in the name of archaeology, and with the goal of excavating a past that fits conveniently into the desired Israeli historical narrative.