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Patriarchy in Jabal Arab Syria : A Long History of Women's Suffering

posted on: Jul 7, 2021

Patriarchy in Jabal Arab Syria : A Long History of Women's Suffering
Druze meeting:

By: Noura Abou Hamze / Arab America Contributing Writer

Jabal Al Arab

Jabal Al Arab, or Jabal Al Druze, translating to “Mountain Al Arab” or “Mountain Al Druze,” has received so much attention, expressing its environmental specificity. Not only that, but it has been a debatable topic among many educators on why and how the patriarchy still exists on this specific mountain. It was the cradle of the Syrian national revolution against the French mandate in 1925, as the leader Sultan Pasha al-Atrush called for a revolution against the French to expel them and recognize Syria as an independent Arab state. He also wanted to establish a popular government and establish a basic law based on the principle of the nation’s absolute sovereignty.

Just as Jabal Al-Arab is characterized by special climatic and topographical characteristics, it is also characterized by an active and effective population.  It is witnessing a mixture of diverse human societies, each of which reflects a part of the geographical environmental characteristics of the region. For example, sheep graze overlooking the eastern slopes and field crops farms such as wheat and barley spread in the eastern plains.

What is Patriarchy?

Patriarchy is defined as the domination of males over females in private areas such as the family, and public areas such as clan, sect, or even the state when the political system is of a patriarchal character as is the case in most Arab countries today.

Historical Background

The settlement of the Druze in Jabal al-Arab dates back to the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, according to what various sources gathered after the Yemeni tribes fled from Mount Lebanon following their disputes with the Qaisiya tribes. The great families that settled in Jabal Al-Arab in the beginning, formed, over the years, a feudal system and a moral system no less cruel, and the difficult mountainous nature played a role in establishing a balance, from which it is not easy to get out.

Patriarchy in Jabal Arab Syria

A study done by Al Shahaf showed that two mechanisms produce patriarchy. The first is the glorification of masculinity and the devaluation of femininity, which is common in all Arab countries. This can be seen in the expression “men’s sister.”  The manifestations of this mechanism also appear at the birth of a female, where they use the expression, “May God Bless you with something better than her,” and when a boy is born, it is said, “Not everyone who became pregnant got a boy.” The second mechanism is the duality of control and submission, which is divided between males and females.

One of the dualities is the male’s social job. As for submission, it is the female’s job, and its manifestations can be seen in “honor killings,” which are still common in Jabal al-Arab, as the law allows first-degree male relatives to kill their females under any suspicion.

Al Shahaf also mentions that the families of Jabal al-Arab still use “added” rooms in the homes of their notables, in which their authority is translated over other family members. The family imposes certain “etiquette” in the guest house, which determines what can be talked about and how to act. A look at the walls of these rooms gives a clear idea of ​​the patriarchal hierarchies within which they are located, for example, the images of leaders and shaikhs, which are placed in the front of the rooms.


This clearly shows how women suffer in the Arab World from deprivation of their basic human rights and even not choosing to live while the Honor Killing still exists, not only in Jabal Arab but also in different countries as well. When will women get the chance to live just like their male counterparts?

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