Bart Peeters was born in Belgium in 1966. After graduating as an English/French translator, he spent the next fifteen years combining such diverse activities as translation, journalism, political activism and playing bass guitar in rock bands, regularly taking time off for extended travels around the (old) world. He retuned to University in 2003 to study Arabic and cuneiform script. Since graduating in 2007, he has been based in Lebanon, working as a journalist, translator and researcher. His blog "In the Middle of the East", can be found here.
- Tuesday, 18 May 2010 10:04
The march for secularism received wide coverage in the international press, including the BBC, Al Jazeera and TF1, but not one Lebanese TV station showed up - despite the crowd being as young and photogenic as any in the Independence Intifada of 2005 , and much more diverse, as virtually every sectarian and political community was represented. An enthusiastic and fairly numerous response to a call from an organisation – Laïque Pride - that emerged less than six months earlier, with a cause which is outlined in only the vaguest of terms. As U.S.-based Lebanese analyst Elias Muhanna argued on the Guardian's website a few days earlier, nobody really agrees on what exactly the concept of ‘secularisation’ would entail in a country such as Lebanon, where minorities of eighteen different religious persuasions live side by side. Yet this very vagueness also presents the opportunity to develop a system uniquely suited to the Lebanese situation, as pointed out by another frequently chanted slogan at the demonstration: "La Turkiyyeh, la Franjiyyeh, 'almaniyyeh Lebneniyyeh!" – meaning "No to Turkish or French secularism, (we want) Lebanese secularism!"
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