Members of the Lebanese parliament, like lawmakers elsewhere, are elected with a mandate to uphold the constitution and represent the interests of voters.
Nawaf al-Moussawi, deputy for the district of Tire in southern Lebanon, accompanied by 20 armed men, stormed a police station in the coastal town of Damour on 13 July and assaulted his former son-in-law, who was being questioned about an altercation with Moussawi’s daughter.
Moussawi’s self-defense sparked heated debate across Lebanon and many viewed the incident as the act of a desperate father rescuing his abused daughter and children.
Others condemned Moussawi, who clearly violated the law he was responsible for enforcing. Critics said Moussawi violated the rule of law by trying to take matters into his own hands.
To complicate matters, Moussawi is a prominent member of Hezbollah, whose Iranian agenda and arsenal make him the antithesis of the Lebanese state. Considered one of Hezbollah’s most hawkish elements, Moussawi is famous for his verbal altercations at the pulpit of parliament. Such a recent performance has earned him a disciplinary suspension from activities by his own party for comments deemed offensive to Christians.
The crux of this tragic event is not only the continued implications of Hezbollah’s weapons and its hindrance to the Lebanese state, but rather the fact that Hezbollah and other Lebanese political parties have failed to provide a framework. appropriate legal framework that governs women’s rights, especially in disputes arising from marriage.
The ordeal of Moussawi’s daughter is quite frequent. Hundreds of Lebanese women are victims of the patriarchal system which weakens them before the religious courts which often take the husband’s side.
The Ja’fari Shia court, in which Moussawi’s daughter fought against her ex-husband, deprived her of custody of the children, which discriminatively grants custody to the father at the age of 2 for the boy and 7 years for the girl.
That Moussawi’s ex-husband belonged to a powerful Shiite clan in the Bekaa Valley and that his father ran the office of Iranian Ayatollah representative Ali Khamenei in Lebanon made him untouchable and even more powerful than a elected deputy of Hezbollah.
Despite the colossal efforts of civil society and activists to amend discriminatory laws and push for a civil legal code for marriage, Lebanese politicians have refused to respond to requests, preferring instead to side with religious institutions.
As fate would have it, Moussawi is a member of the parliamentary subcommittee that was examining civil status laws that would empower his daughter and women in general.
Addressing tears in his eyes to the committee announcing that his family is affected by these laws, Moussawi has always aligned himself with Hezbollah’s conservative leanings and said that “women’s rights can be protected by laws in force. force and that the judiciary should be reformed rather than asking for amendments to pre-existing texts.
However, it is not just about Moussawi or his theologically oriented Iranian party, but rather an archaic political system that displays liberal values and diversity but fails every step of the way to prove that it is ready to go. reform.
Moussawi’s assault at the police station brought back the just demand for equality and justice for women and all Lebanese by revising existing legislation that treats them as cult subjects rather than citizens.
Anyone who tolerates Moussawi’s act of self-defense as that of a desperate father and claims they would do the same for their own daughter should remember that while Hezbollah and its weapons and parliamentary office immunity from Moussawi couldn’t save a battered woman from legal abuse so what would be?
The true measure of power is not measured in tribal, economic, political or military power, but in the state’s ability to protect its people by updating laws and upholding the rule of law, which would protect Moussawi’s daughter and all generations to come.