L’AMOUR NOUS UNIT – On Love and Freedom in Lebanon
In 2013, Lebanon underwent a silent constitutional revolution: On 25th April 2013 Kholoud Sukkarieh and Nidal Darwiche were the first couple to have a civil marriage in their home country approved.
On 29th August 2013 a second couple, Chaza Khalil and Tony Dagher, followed in their footsteps and fought for their contract to be legally approved. Finally, these two pioneer couples have effectively institutionalised civil marriage in Lebanon.
Like most Arab states, Lebanon does not have civil laws for matters of personal status like marriage, divorce, inheritance, child custody etc. The French introduced Lebanon’s civil laws during their mandate in the 1920s. Yet 18 officially recognised sects reign over matters of personal affairs, forming the biggest religious diversity in the Middle East. Couples who want to get married civilly had to do so abroad - until now.
L’Amour Nous Unit is a documentary photography story unravelling the relation of love and freedom in Lebanon. Portraying Lebanese couples – married civilly or religiously; tracing old love stories of interfaith couples opposing religious authorities and/or their families to be together; documenting a graffiti artist spreading love messages across Beirut; meeting the officials behind the reformation – my aim is to cover this silent revolution from the roots of love itself.
What develops from this uprising might change Lebanon’s future. For now love lies in the present.