Women Under Siege: Stateless in Lebanon | Linda Dorigo
Lebanon, and its capital Beirut, are often represented by the media as islands of freedom in the Middle East. The well-heeled neighborhoods of Achrafieh and Downtown are reminiscent of a Parisian boutique; while nightlife in Gemmayze and Hamra could compete with the scene in Berlin. But, behind the glossy images of ultra-futuristic skyscrapers and flawless female bodies, Lebanon is a country where women are not allowed to pass citizenship on to their children, or to their non-Lebanese husbands.
The consequence of this lack of legal status is a lack of social rights. The children of a Lebanese woman who is married to a non-Lebanese man are not legally considered Lebanese citizens, even if they were born and raised in Lebanon. They are al-Maktum Qaid, or “stateless.” Being a Palestinian refugee, or a descendant of those who rejected the Lebanese citizenship during the last census in 1932 to avoid military service (when Lebanon was still under French mandate), is another way people acquire the status of al-Maktum Qaid. The stateless do not have passports, do not have access to public health care, cannot attend public schools, and cannot own private property. Marriage and travel also become difficult or impossible. Furthermore, children excluded from nationality rights can be denied residency and deported, thus breaking apart families.
Read more at Jadaliyya.