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LOVE AND REVOLUTION

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Philadelphia Couple Gets Married and Then Joins City’s Protests. via Philadelphia Inquirer/TYGER WILLIAMS / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Psychologists and analysts such as Dr. Lillian Glass and Dr. Carla Marie have focused on the role of romantic relationships in the development of the individuals involved. However, the impact of these partnerships on the development of society, not only the individuals involved, is understudied. In other words, this research discusses the role of these partnerships in advocating for social justice, women’s rights, and equality.

Focusing on examples from the Middle East and the Western world, the author argues that partnerships can bring positive changes to the society, such as in the improvement of women’s situations, fighting corruption, and bringing social change. 

Contemporary Lebanese protesters: Lovers and Fighters

  “When people see women on the ground, they feel more secure that they can come,” said Maya Fawad, a Lebanese protester.   

In fact, the protests in Lebanon that started in 2019, have  included couples fighting against corruption, capitalism and oppression.

Malak Alaywe Herz, a woman who famously kicked the bodyguard of Education Minister Akram Chehayeb and became an icon in the current anti-government protests, poses for a picture in her wedding dress with a national flag alongside her newly-wed husband Mohammad after their marriage at Riad al-Solh square in the centre of the capital Beirut.

A couple wear Lebanese flags as they walk along a street during ongoing anti-government protests in downtown Beirut, Lebanon November 2, 2019. (Reuters)

Lovers and activists in History

Laure and Joseph Moghaizel;

It seems that the joint struggle of men and women is not only evident in the contemporary world, but also the old one. 

Laure and Joseph Moghaizel were two political activists who brought real changes to the Lebanese society. In her article, “Couple’s Activism in Lebanon: The Legacy of Laure Moghaizel, Rita Stephen argues that the family institution can bring about positive changes and contribute to the success of feminism.   

The couple have dedicated their lives to the fight of oppression, violence, patriarchy, and polarization between Muslims and Christians.   Between the 1970s and 1990s, Lebanon witnessed a civil war that increased the gap between Muslims and Christians. Given their dedication to the human rights cause, Laure and Joseph initiated movements that aimed to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians during this period; the Lebanese association for human rights (LAHR) was formed under Moghaizel’s leadership. Laure believed that peace can only be attained through the joint struggle of “women and men.”

LEBANESE GOVERNMENT Signing and ratifying CEDAW. Source: Civil society Knowledge Center

The human defenders and partners have pressured the government to sign and ratify the convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Laure has lobbied for this step through the Lebanese Association for Human Rights, while Joseph pressured the government through his position as deputy in the Lebanese parliament.  

The couple will always be remembered in history, given their dedication for the human rights cause in Lebanon. In short, building on Rita’s article on the power of partnerships, the author argues that the Moghaizel’s case proves that family institutions/love institutions can bring positive change to human rights in the Middle East.  

Simon de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre:

Bogart and Bacall of existentialism…De Beauvoir and Sartre in 1946. Photo: Getty Images

Simon de Beauvoir and Jean Paul Sartre are a couple known for their revolutionary ideas. They brought changes in the philosophical, political and social life. Jean Sarter was the father of existentialism, while Simon was the champion of feminism; her book about second sex inspired the second wave of feminism. Simon and Sartre met in 1929 in Paris and they started an open relationship.   

“The comradeship that welded our lives together made a superfluous mockery of any other bond we might have forged for ourselves,” said Simon De Beauvoir on her relationship with Sarter.  

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

“I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors, because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love,” said Kahlo in a letter to Rivera.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were political activists and artists who proved that partnerships could bring positive changes to art and politics. Rivera’s work and ideas inspired President Roosevelt to initiate programs that aimed to increase job opportunities for artists.  

Rivera and Kahlo participated in various demonstrations, siding with the workers and advocating for communism. 

Kahlo and Rivera during the red aid demonstrations in Mexico

In 1954, Frida and Rivera appeared together for the last time before her death to protest American intervention in Guatemala.  Both couples will be remembered in history for their joint struggle and activism.  

As mentioned throughout the article, partnerships can have positive implications on society. Instead of examining the impact of partnerships on the individuals involved, the author tried to shed light on the importance of the joint struggle of men and women in old and contemporary examples. 

The case of Laure and Joseph Moghaizel proves that the ‘family institution’ can bring positive changes to the society. As a result of the joint effort of Laure and Joseph, the Lebanese government was pressured to sign the CEDAW; a convention that protects the basic rights of  women. 

All three couples mentioned have dedicated their lives to art and revolutions, defending the rights of the working class and advocating for communism. Similarly, the Lebanese protests have also included men and women, fighting for their basic rights. In short, the author believes that the joint struggle of men and women is necessary to bring radical changes in the social, political, and economic sphere. Partnerships are more than just a ‘romantic connection.’