Thursday, May 20, 2010

new vocab, to bring the western media up to speed on Lebanese thinking

Here are a few suggested points to share with the media, to keep them from misrepresenting Lebanese people.

- Sectarian labels are oppressive. You wouldn't label US politicians as black or white, and we feel the same about labeling Lebanese people by their sect, rather than their culture and intellect.

- The lash back against Lebanese and Lebanese Americans felt recently is not form conservative middle easterns, who have historically accepted that Lebanon is more liberal than them. The lash back was from western "experts" who insist even more on pigeon-holing Lebanon as supposedly overpowered by conservatism, and negate its role as a pioneer in ending religion discrimination. Maybe these experts feel challenged that it's no longer west alone that can pioneer such good causes.

- Being racist or sectarian is judging an entire sect or ethnicity based on the acts of some individuals (dictionary definition of racism)

- US civil right movement made most of the world evolve out of racism, now remains the other prejudice: sectarianism.

- Sectarianism is a prejudice exists in both eastern and western uniform cultures. A diverse culture like Lebanon, where sects willingly mingle and not just co-exist, are best equipped to challenge this prejudice.

- A sense of superiority rooted in the past prevents some people from learning about diversity from Lebanese people or other immigrants

- It is akin to an old corporation to hold on to an outdated sense of superiority, and resist learning from an agile start up, Lebanese Americans in this case, about replacing religious discrimination with a new way of thinking.

- marches and populist movements for secularism such as this one, shows the population's intent to do away with the outdated sectarian system in Lebanon. The opposition, lead by the Lebanese patriotic party states in its charter page and in its speeches that it opposed religious discrimination in Lebanon.

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