Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What's so civil about this marriage?

As usual for Beirut/NTSC, everything gets sparked by an ad.... In this case, it is the ad of Nadia travel specialy tailored for couples who want to have a civil marriage in Cyprus as civil marriage is not allowed in Lebanon (Not even when it was an "option" - the clergy had the most furious of replies to politicians who dared dread their livelihoods and authority over their "desciples.")...
Naturally, I have nothing against civil marriage, because both of my brothers had one for different reasons (Sparing me the costs that usually the best man - who is often the brother - has to incur in the traditional Maronite wedding... (If I inderstand correctly, renting the car, paying for the bachelor party, the flowers, etc...)).
However when MP Nayla Tueni - the youngest female MP or maybe the youngest altogether at 23 years old - (But not the foxiest female MP, the award goes to Setrida Geagea) gets married in a civil ceremony in Cyprus to TV presenter Malek Maktabi (Whose program "Ahmar bel khat el arid" (Red in bold letterings) was so controversial it is rumored that the new season has been self-banned by LBC) I am left fuming in rage!
Why? Because instead of Tueni having the balls (Sorry, she is a female, so no balls there!) to bring the issue to the floor of the parliament to be married in her own land, she ends up "eloping" to Cyprus like any other Lebanese female who wants to have a civil marriage (Because she is Greek Orthodox and he is Moslem Shiite - an interconfessional church wedding forbidden here and a Moslem one too unless one of the two converts) instead of using her political power and all the hopes of change "because of the voice of the youth" (As Greek Orthodox Archbishop Audi has put it when he backed her up) are found shattered.
I can understand why she doesn't want to convert to being a Shiite because this would upset the already very frail confessional system in the parliament (She was elected on the Orthodox seat in Achrafieh, so she has to stick to her guns), but frankly, I am hugely disappointed. Truly, if anyone could have brought the issue of civil marriage in Lebanon (Which thousands and thousands of couples are doing anyway in Cyprus) to the forefront for a sensible debate and eventually a new law, it could have been Nayla Tueni - Mrs. Maktabi from here on.
As Beirut/NTSC wishes the bride and groom all the happiness, it only wonders what kind of an MP Tueni-Maktabi would make if - when the issue was so personal to her - she did not dare attack it head-on, so what to leave when the issues have to do with something she did not experience herself.
On the bride side - sorry, the bright side - Tueni-Maktabi might stop calling every Shiite as "running in the Iranian orbit" (Her words on so many issues and parties - from Hizbullah to the Tashnag) since she now in bed with one - litterally (Malek Maktabi is not only Shiite, but also his ancestors hail from Iran!)....

9 comments:

nightS said...

Ahh..well this is Lebanon..you can't expect anything to happen but this...

di3ano..(Lebanon not Malek :))

élan vital said...

Does the root meaning of the Word LEBANON mean Contradiction? I mean what a Country, What a People. god (had I believed in one) bless us all :-)

Anonymous said...

well, i think we have to give her credit first for having the civil wedding itself...

Although some people in Lebanon have civil weddings, it is still highly frowned upon, especially if it involved inter-religious marriage...

I still think she is brave, being in the political system and all.

If she would have to struggle for it in the Lebanese system first, who knows when she might be able to get married... i would say when the middle east crisis is solved...i think that is a very long time from now ;)

So, I think she did well, but i hope that she will indeed "attack it on the head" from now on.....

Anonymous said...

Change doesn't come 'from' Beirut. Change comes 'to' Beirut... from somewhere else

(quote inspired from Obama)

Armigatus said...

Change doesn't come 'from' Beirut. Change comes 'to' Beirut... from somewhere else

(quote inspired from Obama)

Vicky said...

If every would-be married couple would threaten to get hitched in Cyprus, the powers that be might soon get the message and reform the law. Now if the practice could just be seen as the trendy thing to do, it might just work :-)

Anonymous said...

I got married in Cyprus last June, and I couldn't agree more with your point of view.
Here we have an MP and a famous TV figure, going to Cyprus to get married, instead of using their powers for the good of their fellows Lebanese citizens.
So tell me, if an MP or a famous TV personality didn't push for what they (presumably) believe in, who will?

Anonymous said...

Interesting posting but there are two minor details that are not very accurate.
Mixed mariages are neither rare nor as complicated as you make them seem. Interconfessional church wedding are possible in most christian communities (Catholic communities allow mixed marriages between Christians and Muslims, Orthodox communities allow mixed marriages between christians of different confessions), and both Sunni and Shiite communities allow for mixed marriages providing the husband is muslim and the wife non-muslim.
So Nayla Tueni could have gotten married to Maqtabi in front of a Shiite authority without converting (I have a Christian friend who did exactly that).

This being said, her marriage isn't the first high profile civil mariage. Walid Joumblatt is also married under civil law (his wife is half sunni half christian).
I wonder if Nayla's grandmother Nadia Hamade-Tueni converted to christianity (she was half Catholic half Druze, but officially Druze like her brother Marwan Hamade, although this is not allowed under Druze law).

As for the proposed civil mariage law in Lebanon, it would have made divorce between people married abroad much harder. You should check out its content. It's actually a very conservative law. It reminds me of the inheritance law for Christians and Jews in Lebanon. It is a civil law that is much more conservative than the religious law of catholics, for instance... (you should see the way it discriminates against children born out of wedlock) So making things "civil" isn't always progressive...

Tarek Chemaly said...

Dear Worried Lebanese, thanks a million for all the clarifications... I will sleep less ignorant tonight! TJC