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Food 4 Thought: Systems of Control and Spaces of Hope

On October 17, 2017 IWSAW hosted Naima Shalhoub, Lebanese-American singer, social activist, and educator, Nadya Mikdashi, co-founder of Skoun, Lebanese Addictions Center, and Zeina Daccache, founder of Catharsis, Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy.

United to launch Naima’s campaign “What do you do for change?” the three inspiring female speakers shed light on the decaying and dangerous legislative system in Lebanon, which drug-users and prisoners are confined to under the Lebanese penal code. However, on the upside, these fierce women are defying the system by profusely lobbying for policy reform to achieve social justice.

Nadya revealed the shocking fact that more than 3000 persons between 18-24 years old are arrested on yearly basis! She added that drug-users are the wrong target, we need to take the power away from the individual, security personnel, and deconstruct the idea of Systems of Control.  Where are the drug laws in Lebanon? She added.

– Non existing.

Behind the scenes of the Baabda prison for women, Zeina narrated her experience working with prisoners. Drama therapy allows inmates to develop new behavior, triggers personal growth, and creates hope. Through drama, Zeina liberates these inmates from their criminal identity and allows them to connect with their human self. However, she doesn’t believe that they should remain behind illusionary bars after they have served their sentence.

Responding to a student’s question on the artist’s responsibility in promoting drugs and sexism, Naima said “are we consuming music as a pill or are we in the project of questioning things? It’s a responsibility to be as true to yourself as you can.”

Naima concluded the event with a song from her Borderlands album, where she left the audience mesmerized by her passion, rawness and touched by her voice.

For a sneak peek from her upcoming EP release, watch her performance at LAU here.

Naima Shalhoub will be releasing her new EP Borderlands at Metro Al Madina, Hamra on Tuesday, October 24! Proceeds from the event will be shared with Skoun, Lebanese Addictions Center. Don’t miss it!