غرام is an online (web/app) and offline (chart crossing male partner sects with female partner sects) portal that allows youth to choose the gender, age and sect of each person in the relationship, and receive information about the marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance laws that apply for their particular scenario. e.g A Sunni Muslim man can marry a Christian woman without her having to convert, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man without converting. The portal also offers testimonials from mixed couples about their experiences.
"My boyfriend is Druze. I love him and I can’t let him go. But my religion doesn’t permit me to have him. I can’t tell anyone that my boyfriend is Druze because many would mock me, or would say that it’s more respectful for me to die than to marry a Druze."
Some youth are for, and others are against mixed marriage. However, even those who are for mixed marriage experience difficulties. Even though they have no objection to having a relationship or getting married to someone from a different sect, they often hesitate or withdraw from that relationship because of social pressures from family, relatives and community. These participants feel isolated because they might not know many in their social network who are in a similar situation. They feel excluded and alienated from a community that doesn’t give them the support and empowerment to pursue a relationship they are confident in. Additionally, they are unaware of the laws and rights attached to mixed marriage. They hear from their network that it’s prohibited, impossible, difficult or shameful. Mixed marriage laws and rights are confusing in Lebanon, with very different procedures applying based on the gender, sect and age of each person in the relationship. However, there are a number of possibilities in public policy for mixed marriage either through converting one’s sect on paper, or through civil marriage abroad. Therefore, the key barriers around Sect and Marriage are alienation from the community and a lack of awareness of mixed marriage policies.
An online (web/app) and offline (chart crossing male partner sects with female partner sects) portal that allows youth to choose the gender, age and sect of each person in the relationship, and receive information about the marriage, divorce, custody and inheritance laws that apply for their particular scenario. e.g A Sunni Muslim man can marry a Christian woman without her having to convert, but a Muslim woman cannot marry a Christian man without converting. The portal also offers testimonials from mixed couples about their experiences.
Young mixed couples more aware of how their marriage rights vary depending on their sectarian identities. This would empower them to (1) find a clear pathway towards a mixed marriage procedure and (2) become more engaged in the ongoing battle towards shared marriage laws for all Lebanese.
The weekend of the 7th and 8th of July 2012 marks the pilot of five Imagination Studio ideas: غرام، صحبة، مشوار، خبرية، دردشة. The pilot platform is an Imagination Bus, which transports the five ideas to two regions in Lebanon: Jbeil and Zahleh. When the bus arrives to its destination, Imaginers set up a pop-up Imagination Market. Each idea has a booth within the market, and invites youth to experience what is it is like to participate in the idea there and then. We are very interested in the feedback that youth give us, and in evaluating the impact that our ideas have on integration behaviours in the areas we’re visiting. This helps us improve and iterate the ideas on a small scale early on, before time and money is invested in implementing them on a large scale and longer term.
This is the Sect & Marriage idea we will be testing at the booth:
غرام: Youth passing by come across two decks of cards one of female sects, and the other of male sects. They may choose any combination of cards from each deck, and a fortune teller at the booth will share with them the marriage rights for that particular combination of sects and genders. The information the fortune teller gives is based on accurate laws gained from reviewing policies and interviewing religious leaders and lawyers practicing in family law.
Stay posted to find out more about how you can volunteer to help with preparations or resources for Imagination Bus and Market!
Roland Abou Younes: He lived in a house with a creative strong father and a resourceful beautiful mother. He was raised in a harmonious environment where intuition is the compass, then got introduced to a society where he insisted on remaining genuine with who he was. A human who is interacting with other humans, invited to be God. Religious and non sectarian. Specialties: Life Coaching, Business Development, Conflict Transformation, IT Consultancy.
Ghassan Bou Diab
Joanna Choukeir: Communication designer who founded Imagination Studio because she believes that co-creation can improve our society. She is currently doing her PhD and lecturing at the University of the Arts, as well as working with Uscreates.