Samee Feras Sulaiman

Award Information

2018 IDRF Program

AnthropologyBrown University

Disability Rights in Lebanon: An Ethnography of Disability, Sovereignty, and Citizenship in the Aftermath of Civil War

In 1981, six years into the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), a loose network of people with disabilities from across Lebanon formed the Lebanese Physically Handicapped Union, the first disability rights organization in the country and the Arab world (Coleridge 1993). During this period of conflict between various sectarian communities, Palestinian refugees, and foreign military forces, disability activists in Lebanon committed to a set of inclusive, non-sectarian, and anti-war politics. Decades after the official conclusion of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), sectarian tensions, outbreaks of violence, foreign invasions, corruption and the mass influx of refugees from neighboring countries continue to debilitate the state and its functioning (?arabulsi 2007). Despite these seemingly unfavorable circumstances, Lebanese disability organizations such as LPHU have found limited success and continue to be at the forefront of pursuing rights of all people with disabilities including citizens and non-citizens in the Arab world, in contrast to organizations focused more on providing services. This proposed research will document and analyze how disability advocates in Lebanon pursue their rights in circumstances in which the state is profoundly incapacitated, the citizenship of various sectarian communities are under constant (and sometimes violent) contention, and disabled refugees without citizenship have no state protections or rights.