The thousands of women parading along Lebanon’s sunny beaches this summer in skimpy bikinis or strolling the city’s pavements in miniskirts or shorts will all technically be breaking the law. “Some laws have not been amended for decades,” Judge John Azzi, an advocate for women’s rights, told Agence France Presse.
“It is as though nothing has changed” since Ottoman and French rule over Lebanon, when the country’s laws were passed, Azzi added.
One 1941 law, for example, still prohibits women from donning a two-piece and hitting the beach.
While such laws may prompt laughter among some people, others say they could also be viewed as appropriate among conservative societies in the Middle East and elsewhere.
“If you ask the opinion of more conservative people, these laws are not at all shocking,” said MP Ghassan Mokhayber, who sits on parliament’s administration and justice committee.
However, some laws are outdated by any standards.
Lebanon has not yet introduced into its legal system words such as “Alzheimer’s”, “Parkinson’s”, or even “coma”.
Instead, judges use the words “insane” or “fool” for the person in question — as did their predecessors in the days of Ottoman rule over Lebanon from 1513
“How can these terms still be used today in the 21st century? It’s incompatible with the evolution of science,” Azzi said.
“An archaic law is like expired medicine: after the expiration date it becomes harmful. The law becomes unjust.”
A rapist, for example, is let off the hook if he marries his victim