A review in Middle East Eye by Naima Morelli led us to to the bilingual open-source comic collection Where to, Marie? / لَوين مِنوَصّلِك يا ماري؟, a collaborative project by writers Bernadette Daou and Yazan al-Saadi; artists Rawand Issa, Razan Wehbi, Tracy Chahwan, Joan Baz, and Sirene Moukheiber; translator Lina Mounzer; and web developer Layal Khatib.
It’s available for download at wheretomarie.net.
As Morelli writes in her review, the collection focuses on the stories of five fictional female characters, and through them traces the history of the Lebanese feminist movement.
A repeated — and ironic — accusation leveled at feminist movements in Arab countries in general and Lebanon in particular is that they are vectors of westernization. In actual fact, the region’s feminist movements were born and developed in the context of nationalist and communist movements and as part of the struggles for national liberation. Feminism was not a foreign ideology ‘imposed’ by colonialism, but was instead indigenous to our societies. Women have long been struggling against colonial powers for equality and social justice, as well as against sectarian personal status laws and the entire patriarchal social structure than enforces them.
The collection’s five comics, sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Beirut office, are published under a creative commons license. The book, as the authors note in the endnotes, is not a “strict typography of the varying currents of feminism that have appeared in Lebanon over time,” but rather personalized stories of individual women.