Palestinian Refugee Woman Symbolically Running for Lebanese Elections

A Palestinian woman is symbolically running as a candidate in Lebanon’s parliamentary elections in a mock human rights campaign highlighting the minorities and Palestinian refugees’ marginalization in the country, ahead of the vote taking place on May 6th.

Under her We Exist campaign, Manal Kortam is drawing attention to the lack of rights � to citizenship, vote, or to hold public office � for her refugee people in Lebanon, though legally unqualified for the nomination.

Introducing the initiative, she tweeted:

Lebanon’s May elections will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Nakba or catastrophe, when Israel forcibly displaced more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes, during the 1948 Palestine war.

Some of the slogans appearing on the posters being publicized on the Facebook page and Twitter page of the campaign were as follows:

Kortam holds a Ph.D. in sociology and is a published researcher on radicalization, segregation, and globalized violence. She says the campaign focuses on the perception of the Lebanese and Palestinian society and advocates for Palestinian and minorities’ rights in Lebanon.

Born to a refugee father and Lebanese mother, Manal points to the significance of socially and politically integrating the Palestinian refugee society in Lebanon’s development:

A population census carried out in 2017 showed that there are 174,422 Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. 63 percent of Palestinians live in camps with poverty and dangerous infrastructures, according to research findings of UNRWA and the American University of Beirut.

In a televised interview, Manal explained that the campaign by no means represents a call for naturalization as the right of return remains to be protected, yet it wants the Palestinians’ human rights to be realized first.

The activist stressed that the flow of Syrian refugees to Lebanon should be a catalyst for politicians to prioritize the Palestinian refugees’ question, which has been pending for 70 years:

Source: Palestine Chronicle