The fifth meeting of the Civil Impact Forum on “Lebanon between Citizenship and Managing Pluralism: Context and Problems”

The fifth meeting of the Civil Impact Forum on “Lebanon between Citizenship and Managing Pluralism: Context and Problems”
The fifth meeting of the Civil Impact Forum on “Lebanon between Citizenship and Managing Pluralism: Context and Problems”

The Civil Influence Forum continued this morning’s monthly “morning dialogues”, with the fifth meeting being held at the Gefinor Hotel – Rotana Al Hamra, in the presence of a group of academic, administrative, legal, constitutional, cultural and intellectual personalities, retired military personnel, media professionals, civil society activists, the president and members of the forum.

The fifth meeting was held under the title “Lebanon between Citizenship and Managing Pluralism: Context and Problems”, inspired by the National Accord Document with its reform clauses and the option of returning to the constitution, to build a state of free, sovereign, just and independent citizenship, a state of coexistence.

First, the national anthem, then an introductory documentary about the forum, entitled “Ten Years of the Cause, Lebanon and the Man.” Then a review documentary of the fourth meeting of the “Morning Dialogues” entitled: “Lebanon and the Parliamentary Elections Law: Fair Representation and Effective Governance.”


Then was the speech of the member of the Board of Directors of the Forum, Eng. Elie Gabriel, who pointed out that “the Forum of Civil Impact decided to struggle for the restoration of the identity of citizenship, which arose since the establishment of the state of Greater Lebanon, and was mentioned in the spirit of its constitution in the year 1926.”

He added, “We are convinced of the cumulative, calm and purposeful work, pointing the compass to save Lebanon from this dangerous quagmire and build public policies implemented by good governance, and this lies at the core of the goal and message of the Civic Influence Forum, as we are at a delicate historical moment in which gray solutions are useless.”


The facilitator of the dialogue, researcher Shaden Hani, spoke and said: “There are social, religious and political dimensions that contradict the concept of citizenship in Lebanon. When we say citizenship, we say homeland, as a person needs a homeland in order to practice citizenship, so there is a relationship between the two based on a historical, social, political and religious culture.” She pointed out that “the geography of Lebanon was not defined until after the First World War and the establishment of Greater Lebanon in 1920.” And she pointed out that, “Since independence and after it the 1943 Charter, opportunities have emerged and attempts have been made to build a real state, but no rules or provisions have been developed or practiced that take care of the unity of the homeland and its people and consolidate this entity and confirm its pillars, just as the politicians who took over the affairs of government did not give the citizen his full rights.” . Also, “the citizen did not fully fulfill his responsibilities.” Therefore, “the state’s lack of commitment to carrying out the duties required by its existence gave way to local – feudal and religious leaders to grow and influence, as the citizen felt that the leader, feudal lord, politician, and clergyman was the only guarantee for him in light of the state’s inaction, and this is what perpetuated sectarianism and sectarianism.”

Also read: Goodbye.. “Al-Orouba” Library in Tire

Hani talked about “temporary privileges,” pointing out that “there are 18 sects and sects in Lebanon that form religious pluralism, and the constitution preserves the rights of each of them. The constitution gave a temporary privilege that became permanent when distributing powers to the sects. And it is the one that entered into “a struggle over political influence, resorting to bullying others from outside Lebanon, to the extent of entering into local wars.” Lebanon has become an arena for regional conflicts. This “has increased the divisions and unilateralism in light of the religious pluralism that exists in Lebanon.” And the invention of the word “coexistence between sects is nothing but ashes in the eyes.”

And while Hani criticized the loss of “one vision for Lebanon,” she considered that “pluralism, which is a source of enrichment and wealth in many countries, has become, in its religious formation in Lebanon, a source of ills and contradictions.” And she believed that “the situation is complicated,” calling for “getting out of what we are in,” starting with establishing a “democratic political system,” and “adopting the law as the only reference in disputes and disagreements, protecting rights equally, and respecting cultural and religious differences and customs between groups.”

She concluded, stressing, “There is no alternative to the establishment of the state, but we must strengthen it by all cultural, educational, media and social means through solidarity and unity that politicians have prevented from a people who have sufficient awareness, wealth and maturity to rise and build a homeland.” The healing medicine is the separation of religion from the state and the preservation of the privacy of religions and individuals in the worship of God.”


It was an intervention by Dr. Makram Aweys, in which he considered that talking about “Lebanese citizenship and diversity” is sensitive and important, “because it not only determines how we, as Lebanese, will communicate with each other, but also determines how we will work together to build the future Lebanon.” Aweys divided his intervention into three parts: the first was a presentation of “the reality of the situation we are in and how we, as citizens, deal with our state and with each other.” The second part dealt with “what political options are available to us to address the issue of citizenship and diversity from a political point of view.” As for the third and final part, it dealt with future aspirations and “suggested ideas on how to enhance citizenship and deepen respect for diversity in Lebanon.”

And he considered that “despite foreign interference in our internal affairs, which has disrupted our political life sometimes over the past decades, the Lebanese are still greatly affected by a number of internal factors, including those related to the files of the 1975-1990 war that have not yet been resolved, and which prominently include the fate of 17,000 missing persons.” And forcibly hidden, the failure to achieve effective reconciliation at the level of the people, the inability to agree on a common history approach since the end of the war in 1990 and the failure to implement our amended constitution after Taif. In addition to the constant fear among citizens that they will not be protected by the state, especially if they live in areas where they constitute the minority, or where potential clashes may occur between two or more groups. This is what shaped the demographic movements in the country and also affected the limited return of the displaced to their areas.”

He pointed out that instead of “dispelling feelings of fear, threat, alienation and frustration towards the state,” they have been “bolstered through an electoral system that is still heavily biased in favor of these leaders and parties.” He spoke of “the failure of our educational system, since Taif, to promote knowledge, understanding, and respect for other citizens’ backgrounds, identities, religious groups, special needs, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and so on.”

After Aweys talked about a group of negative phenomena, he referred to “some options that can be resorted to and identified them on several levels: the first of which is teaching human rights in all schools in the light of very clear and specific curricula. The second is to review civic education and shed light on how the Lebanese system operates. The third is the critical knowledge of history through the introduction and adoption of agreed-upon curricula. The fourth is to promote a model that can help build a state that respects international agreements and treaties that include Lebanon. Fifth, giving the Constitutional Council the authority to interpret the constitution. The sixth is to make the independence of the judiciary a top priority, and remove it from the control of the Ministry of Justice while providing the necessary protection for judges. The seventh is the formation of a national committee to draft a new civil personal status law. The eighth is reforming the electoral process to remove it from the division of small constituencies promoted by sectarian parties and their leaders. The ninth is the introduction of a new law for political parties, which prohibits parties from receiving funding from non-Lebanese. Likewise, the rapid move towards e-government for most transactions.

He concluded by calling for “launching a large workshop and completing it in a comprehensive manner that takes into account the diversity of Lebanese society,” noting that “our diversity should be a source of celebration, not a source of permanent fear that divides citizens, because in the end the Lebanese will not be able to build Lebanon on solid ground and will remain weak.” Faced with ambitions and internal and external threats if they do not seek to deepen the sense of citizenship. Although it may take time, perseverance and effort, progress is possible, so that we have a diverse Lebanon that embraces citizens who feel their citizenship and that they are involved in its affairs.

In conclusion, there was a discussion between the forums, posts and participants.

Share this topic: