NAYA| Woman of the Month: Malak Alaywe Herz, Lebanon's uprising icon

“To all Lebanese women I say: never underestimate your power. You are strong and tough in so many incredible ways. You can bring down the decades-old political system,” the iconic Alaywe-Herz said.
by Mira Matar

9 November 2019 | 15:01

Source: by Annahar

  • by Mira Matar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 9 November 2019 | 15:01

Photo of Malak Alaywe-Herz illustrated by graphic designer Rami Kanso.

Each month, NAYA’s Woman of the Month series honors one pioneering Lebanese woman who has created change in her field. The series introduces you to these women and highlights their stories. For nominating Lebanese women for this series, you can contact NAYA Editor Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat@annahar.com.lb

BEIRUT: “He was a big man, in a black t-shirt, holding a gun,” Malak Alaywe-Herz, the icon of the Lebanese revolution, told Annahar. “I am a woman, and that is my weapon."

It all started on the night of October 17, when one of Minister Akram Chehayeb’s guards fired his rifle into the sky to disperse a small group of people protesters in central Beirut. However, little did the unfortunate bodyguard know that Alaywe-Herz would kick him back.

This scene was shot and the video immediately made its way to social media, gaining momentum and spreading throughout the nation. Fast enough, Alaywe-Herz earned the respect her bravery merited and she shortly became the protests' icon. 

The famous kick was also illustrated by a number of artists including Rami Kanso. 

“My reaction was but an expression of my accumulated discontent with the corruption in this country,” Alaywe-Herz said. She added that she has been protesting on the streets for a while now against injustice, unemployment, and a lack of basic services.

“The Lebanese labor force remains predominated by men. I have failed, over the past four years, to find a decent job. We [women] are vulnerable to low employment rates that keep to dwindle expeditiously,” she said.

The rebel has got a long history of confrontations with state agencies. Back in 2018, she took part in a demo in front of the Education Ministry. She clashed with one policeman when he took her mobile phone away.

“He wasn’t entitled whatsoever to take my phone… so I punched him in the face,” Alaywe-Herz said. “In this part of the world, women’s rights are not given, they are taken."

Lebanese women have been at the front line of the uprising for the past 24 days.

“To all Lebanese women I say: never underestimate your power. You are strong and tough in so many incredible ways. You can bring down the decades-old political system,” the iconic Alaywe-Herz said. 

Mira Matar contributed this article to Annahar English-NAYA section.

---

Welcome to “NAYA”, the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. NAYA is devoted to women of all generations-NAYA Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.farhat@annahar.com.lb

NAYA on Social Media

Instagram: @NayaBeirut

Twitter: @BeirutNaya

Show Comments

An-Nahar is not responsible for the comments that users post below. We kindly ask you to keep this space a clean and respectful forum for discussion.