My Nationality, My Right

My brother and I were always treated equally by our parents. We were both loved the same, and given the best my parents could give. We both got the same education opportunities, the same quality of clothes, toys, and travel opportunities. We were both expected to be responsible, respectful adults and we were both supported and respected equally. With my parents’ upbringing and our hard work, we have both grown to be successful, and accomplished adults. Thankfully, we have both made our parents equally proud.

But my brother and I are not treated equally by the Lebanese government, because he has the right to pass on the Lebanese Nationality to his children and I do not. To them, our respective genitalia are far more important than our education and achievements. In what dictionary is this any representation of basic human rights which the Lebanese government claims to uphold? “The Switzerland of the Middle East” is nothing more than a fallacy if the Lebanese government doesn’t grant 51% of its population the basic human rights of citizenship and nationality.

I consider myself to be a very patriotic Lebanese citizen. I love my country to my very core. This is why I am enraged by this latest decision that refuses Sameera Swaidan the basic human right to give her children the Lebanese Nationality. And threatening her, a Lebanese citizen, with deportation, for not paying the Residency fees of her children because her Egyptian husband has passed away, is unbelievable.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights (Article 1) and everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status (Article 2) This was written in 1948 so Lebanon has still not upheld this Declaration even after 62 years.

The case of Sameera Swaidan is another example of how outdated the Lebanese law is, and how badly it needs to be reviewed and amended. It also shows how we, the Lebanese people, get so preoccupied with meaningless political parties and idolizing Warlord political leaders and upholding sectarian prejudices that we forget to fight for the important issues that affect us all.

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