Aisha Habli


I grew up in Saudi Arabia, and I loved growing up there. I had a great childhood, lived in a nice neighborhood and went to a good school. But you live in a safe, closed community and you don’t get to see the full perspective of a society or an ecosystem. You’re put in a little safe space where you can practice your “gated” freedom. I then moved to Lebanon when I was 18 to attend university. I had values of being involved and engaged in the community. I came to Lebanon and I was surprised at the sectarian and religious divide in society. I was surprised at people’s sense of indifference to do anything about it. I was also generally frustrated at shisha bars! But living here made me appreciate Lebanon as an Arab country and especially for its validation of freedom of expression. People in Lebanon will not compromise on their fight for freedom. We still have a long way to go, but society today is ready for freedom.