Daughters of the Republic
A talk with Sihem Habchi, vice-president of "Ni Putes, Ni Soumises"
Tension is in the air in the headquarters of "ni putes ni soumises" in
And "ni putes ni soumises" trusts the republic (the res publica, the common thing, as Habchi remarks) and the rights that it provides for its citizens: racial and sexual equality, secularism, democracy. The values might be old, but "ni putes ni soumises" is new and very contagious. This young association advocates for respect, equality and the fight against any form of discrimination always stressing the rights and duties of republican citizenship. "Patriarchal oppression is still an issue in our society and takes on different forms, violence against women, honour crimes, mistreatment, discrimination and the restrictive culture that many families impose on their daughters" explains Habchi.
Tired of being labelled or harassed, a group of girls and women from the suburbs of
As provocative as their name, "neither whore nor submissive" are the migrant origins of the women –the new Marianne's of the république, they say-. I do not discuss it, or particularly stress it, but yes, I am of Muslim, Algerian origin" says Habchi. And probably on account of these origins, NPNS have found it easy and obvious to reach out to theirs sisters on the other side of the
"Lebanon shows the world the image of being different from other Arabic countries, more open, more European", states Habchi. We try to explain that the pictures of the Monot crew are not representative of the country. A young feminist movement is badly needed in and secularity is just about the solution for the entire country's woes. Lebanon could use a good dose of "Ni putes ni soumises".
Interview: Mina Zapatero
Photograph: Walid Abdelnour