Since Oct. 17, when a scattered group of protesters gathered in Beirut’s Riad al-Solh Square to ask the resignations of all ruling elite, women have positioned themselves on the frontlines of what should be considered a women steered revolution.
In a few days the spontaneous anti-governmental protests sprawled throughout Lebanon becoming the most inclusive movement the country has witnessed since the end of the civil war transcending sect, class and geographic lines. It’s in this horizontal based struggle that women unapologetically occupied space, physically – “I exist” – and reclaimed their role in the fight against an oppressive political system tightly entrenched with the patriarchal one. They naturally emerged as fearless leaders guided by an ancestral anger, passed down from generation to generation, built on centuries of denied rights, persecution and violence.
They are unapologetically occupying male dominated spaces, guiding the protests, interposing the army with their bodies, imposing road blocks and calling for women’s rights including refugees’ rights, lgbtq+ rights, migrant workers’ rights and human rights in general.
After centuries of imposed white feminism conditioned by savior complexes and orientalism, feminist movements back in Europe should attentively follow what’s happening not only in Lebanon, but also in Iraq and elsewhere in the region, and take example in terms of practices and demands in the attempt to build a more transnational intersectional exchange.
The photos portrait the emotional, political and active involvement of women during the protests in Beirut. Women have always been on the frontlines of uprisings, but their role has often been censored by male-oriented narratives.