On the occasion of international women’s day, sponsored by Vice President Farid Makari of the House of Representatives, the Young Women’s Christian Association hosted an event on March 16, 2016 honoring Dr. May Chidiac. Under the slogan of “A World in a Woman”, the YWCA organized the event to comment Dr. Chidiac’s efforts in combating “violence and defeat” and her “pursuit of freedom of expression and justice”.
In his speech, Mr. Makari addressed Dr. Chidiac stating, “Your suffering, May, is the conscience of our political actions and your injuries are the blood that gives sustenance to our national project. It is impossible not to have respect for your commitment, will and your strength”. He also thanked the YWCA for “its efforts towards strengthening women’s capacities and creating opportunities allowing women to become active members of society and participating in national decisions” expressing his wishes to see parliament as the home of female leaders who will thrive in legislations in a realized attempt to increase the political representation of women in Lebanese politics.
Mr. Makari’s speech was followed by a documentary that marked milestones in Dr. Chidiac’s life and career. It outlined the tragedy that left her fighting for her life, her return to journalism exactly 10 months after the attempt of assassination on her life, and the 40 surgeries she has endured over the years. Yet it also highlighted her triumphs such as writing her doctoral thesis and publishing two books Heaven Can Wait and Television Exposed, not to mention establishing the May Chidiac Foundation Media Institute.
Roula Khouy, director of the YWCA, saluted Dr. Chidiac for the “force of her will and personality” as a woman who “faced death without yielding all due to her faith in God and her homeland”. She also stated “This outstanding woman, despite the tragic events that befell her, continues to believe in free speech and strive for an independent and sovereign country”. Dr. Khoury then brought her speech to a close, personifying Dr. May Chidiac as a “majestic cedar of Lebanon, sturdy in the face of storms and challenges”.
Daneilla Chemali, the President of the Committee on World Women’s Day at the YWCA, praised Dr. Chidiac’s mind and “her daring and professional spirit who will carry her love of the word until the end”.
Active member of the May Chidiac Foundation Maha Shaer described the distinguished journalist as a hero, liking her to a phoenix who was given the choice between Heaven and Lebanon, and chose Lebanon.
The Four Knights quartet sang four patriotic songs, leading the participants to dance the dabke, lifting the atmosphere of the ceremony.
In her speech Dr. Chidiac reflected on memories of fighting for the rights of her peers even in childhood, and telling her mother she doesn’t intend on “leaving this world without a trace”. On the topic of her attackers, she stated, “they wanted to silence me and teach a lesson to every Lebanese person with dreams of Lebanese sovereignty, without knowing they had knocked on the wrong address”, emphasizing that she will never stop persevering in her fight for “free expression, culture and civilzation.” She ended her speech in hopes to one day see Lebanon as a “country where life is good, far from oppression and absurd wars, and a country that distances itself from conflicts, a country of joy, peace, and wealth.”
Afterwards, Dr. Chidiac received a commemorative plaque from the members of the YWCA board.