The series of horrifying violations to our right as people from those who are in power in this wonderful country continues.
We’ve all been driving or in cars and suddenly find ourselves boxed in by a convoy for some politician who decides that his right of passage, as are the rest of his rights, more important than yours; who decides that your car and safety are irrelevant and who has no problem in killing you to make sure he gets his way, literally.
The mode of management for these convoys is to avoid them. You see those dark, tinted SUVs approaching and you run the opposite way. They are barbaric, lawless people who hold the rule of law in their hands: there’s nothing you can do just deal with it.
In fact, even the new driving law will NOT be applied to these convoys. Why? Because the government won’t apply a law on itself, but will screw you over again and again for your money so they can play house, not legislate, not vote for a president, not run the country and still take away your rights whenever they can.
Lawyer Rania Ghaith was stuck at a red light on Monday in front of one of those convoys at the Qantari intersection that leads up to Hamra. The convoy in question behind her was for our minister of internal affairs Mr. Nouhad el Machnouk.
The policeman at the intersection was telling Rania to run the red light and break the law so the convoy can pass. She stood her own and waited. When the light turned green, she let the convoy pass and would have been on her way hadn’t that policeman, who was NOT a traffic policeman and as such had no place to regulate traffic, pulled her over.
What happened next was not him simply writing her a ticket.
It was him pulling Rania out of her car, by her hair, and assaulting her physically in the middle of the street.
Unfortunately no one filmed the incidence but there were plenty of eyewitnesses. The physician’s report of Rania’s condition immediately following the incident also confirmed that she was the victim of a physical assault.
The ironic part is that the convoy was just a decoy.
This isn’t the full story, sadly.
Rania filed a lawsuit against the officer in question immediately, and the preliminary trial was today. In that trial, the overseeing judge in Military Court Hani Al-Hajjar did not, according to MTV:
- Ask for the physician’s report on Rania’s condition,
- Did not call for eyewitness testimony,
- Did not let Rania Ghaith testify.
As such, the judge decided that the man was innocent and could be released. He did not pay any bail, and the Lebanese Syndicate of Lawyers has not taken any steps in trying to defend the rights of one of their own.
Of course, this shouldn’t come as a shock in a country of no law, misogyny, and in the presence of people who think they are always above the law and who have no problem in making sure you know it at every single second of every day.
Not only was that policeman breaking the law by operating at that intersection, he also violated the law by assaulting a Lebanese citizen whose only fault was standing at a red light, respecting her country’s law at a time when he didn’t want that.
That policeman, whose name we unfortunately don’t know, violated Rania as a Lebanese, as a woman, as a citizen who respects the law, as a simple human being who should NOT be assaulted because the policeman had a testosterone rush because a woman defied him. And what’s worse, Lebanon’s military court – the same one that found Michel Samaha not *that* guilty – has now declared him innocent.
How long should Lebanese citizens, women and men, be the victims of the whims of policemen who know they have no reason to break our rights, our bones, our spine because they will get away with it anyway? How much proof do we need to get rid our streets of such elements that only serve to endanger us? What would have happened had that policeman been a bit angrier? Would he have shot Rania because she didn’t break a red light?
Does anyone even hear how silly it is to have a headline that goes: Policeman assaults woman because she stopped at a red light?
Let me take this a step further: how horrifying is it that this policeman not only assaulted that woman for not breaking the law, but has been declared innocent and is back on the streets, ready to attack other women, and other people on a whim?
Mr. Nouhad el Machnouk: You should not accept such a thing to pass by unnoticed. Your convoys, and those of every single politician in this country, are not more important than our well-being, than rights, our existence. You should not accept for Rania Ghaith to become yet another victim of abuse by those who are above the law, and who have the political backing to spit in her face during her trial: “If I were in my friend’s place, I would’ve torn you to pieces.”
This is not a country, this is a jungle.
Rania Ghaith, I hope you get your justice sooner rather than later.