“Yes to freedom of expression! Unless criticizing the state, God, the Prophet, Christ, the president, the Church, the Bible, the Quran, the martyrs, the Resistance, the Lebanese army, the civil war, sectarianism, the custodian of the two holy mosques, the pope, national unity, friendly countries and neighboring countries.” This is the text of the cartoon on the front page of the newsletter “FREE” which is currently being distributed around university campuses in Lebanon.
FREE, which stands for “Freedom and Right of Expression Event,” is the first issue of a series of uncensored newsletters produced by the Lebanese NGO March. It highlights censorship issues in Lebanon and focuses on the importance of freedom of expression following too many instances of censorship its producers say have been occurring recently in Lebanon.This isn't quite fair. Everyone in Lebanon agrees on one thing: that Zionism is evil.
“We started with the right of freedom of expression,” says Lea Baroudi, a co-founder of March, “because in a country like Lebanon, where there’s so much cultural diversity, if we do not accept the different opinions of one another, we cannot live together.”
In a country with 18 different religious communities that don’t think alike, there’s a need to “agree to disagree,” Baroudi says.
March is a civil movement that focuses on raising awareness about basic rights and civic duties. It aims at instilling these values at an individual level while simultaneously fostering dialogue and reconciliation between Lebanon’s diverse communities.
That's a start, isn't it?