Pinays in Lebanon dance vs injustice at One Billion Rising

Posted at 02/27/14 1:10 PM

BEIRUT, Lebanon - There was no dancing on tiptoes. At Houna Center in Beirut, more than 20 women rose boldly to dance in unity with their sisters around the world, defying injustice against women.

Ten more women watched and supported their sisters, writing on large pieces of paper their reasons for "rising".

Pinays in Lebanon join call against injustice in One Billion Rising campaign

Dance instructor Junaline Bañez-Moussi, a Filipina who is a Canadian citizen, started One Billion Rising For Justice (OBR) last year in Lebanon, with the help of several co-organizers.

According to statistics, one out of three women in the world will be beaten or raped, equaling one billion women -- hence, the campaign’s name. OBR is a worldwide campaign, and last year, one billion people in 207 countries participated in the event.

"Dancing is the most non-violent way of protesting," said Bañez-Moussi. "It's a feminine energy. It takes up space. It's easy and everybody can get into it."

This year, Bañez-Moussi gave a one-hour Nia dance class, raising $175 through registration. Nia is a dance technique combining dance arts, martial arts and healing arts. She also taught the OBR dance anthem "Break the Chain."

Among the attendees were nine Filipinas.

Rby Mendoza joins One Billion Rising campaign in Lebanon

"Wonderful feeling. So proud to be a part of it. Big thanks, Ma’am Junaline. Had a wonderful time," commented Rby Mendoza on an OBR Facebook post.

The $175 will be used to make recyclable bags from last year’s OBR Vision Wall.

"We had a Vision Wall made of plastic or tarp where the crowd was welcome to write their message of 'I am rising because ____', '" explained Bañez-Moussi.

OBR friends would then sell the bags at a garage sale and the profits would be given toward a women’s cause to be decided later.

Other OBR supporters volunteered their services: Houna Center volunteered their space and others took photos and promoted the event on social media.

Bañez-Moussi is also grateful for the help of co-organizers Lara Khatchikian and Maysan Mahrouf and hopes other women will be part of organizing next year's event.

"I hope that OBR Lebanon can continue to be a part of the main OBR," she said.