102 years ago tomorrow, my great-grandfather, Shafiq Beik al-Azm, was hanged by the Ottoman Governor of Greater Syria, Jamal Pasha “The Butcher”.

My great-grandfather’s crime was his nationalism and his aspiration for his country to be free. He was publicly executed with twenty-one other nationalists on May 6th 1916. The executions happened simultaneously in Damascus and Beirut: 7 nationalists hanged on Marjeh Square in Damascus, and 14 others on Burj Square in Beirut. In time, both squares came to be known as “Martyrs’ Square”. Those men were nationalists executed for the same (t)reason: the desire to be free.

May 6 is called “Martyrs’ Day” in Lebanon and Syria for this reason. It commemorates the bravery of 21 strong men who stood against oppression, yet were hanged for it.

36 years later, in January 1952, my grandfather Abdallah El-Yafi, who was Prime Minister of Lebanon (finally a free country), and after a gruesome political battle spanning three decades, succeeded in extending the ballot to women after he and his cabinet voted for a new policy that allowed women to vote in elections, as well as run in elections. A first. Women’s voices were no longer used only to explain what was for dinner, but could now express and vie for their wants and desires in public life.

Tomorrow is Martyrs’ Day. Tomorrow is also Election Day in Lebanon where I, a woman, will vote, and where 86 of my female compatriots are running for seats in Parliament, a record in the country.

For centuries, people in power have been fighting the bloodiest battles to keep YOUR voice out of the voting station. Today, your voice is heard. You won’t be hanged, tortured, or exiled for asking for expressing yourself and better representation.

Do not underestimate the power of your vote.

See you at the polling stations.


  • Roberto Saad says:

    A moving brief of history with gratitude by all my fellow citizens. Thank you for sharing!

  • Elie Gemayel says:

    God bless their souls

  • Randa Hajj Ali says:

    smalla 3alayke gorgeous inside out!!?

  • Sarah Bishop says:

    Love you ❤️??❤️??

  • Joëlle Atallah Koudeissi says:

    Beautifully said Sara El-Yafi !! Please continue the legacy!! ❤️

  • Joumana El-Yafi says:

    My beautiful Sara , in your blood run the brave, the honest, the leader of good and better! The leader of hope and action for a better Lebanon and a better world !
    God bless you and bless all people who have honest and sincere blood running in their veins ??
    Amazing text, so proud of you???

  • Sarah Chahine Ammar says:


  • Majid Tayyarah says:


  • Rostom Sarkissian says:

    Sara, you rock!

  • Sabrina Rogers-Anderson says:

    ?????? fantastic words and how incredible is your family?! The Yafis will never cease to amaze me.

  • Samantha Lyttle says:

    Wow! Such amazing history Sara, your family is incredible ? I’m always humbled by the sacrifices made by the global collective so I may enjoy my freedom to be heard

  • Nagi Saikali says:

    Sara, your words, your thoughts, your aspirations, your endeavours, your wishes, your deeds, your actions, your brains, your dreams are nothing else but the same as everyone else reading this beautiful text! As a non unified nation, you have what it takes to unify it in the best ways possible! If you feel your destiny is to be part of those genuine individuals that are trying so hard to close that old book filled with corruption that is stopping us, please do so! You have ALL our unconditional support!

  • Pierre Sarraf says:

    Tres beau texte
    Merci Sarah
    Ca ne peut pas etre plus clair

  • Kareem Khaled says:

    Such a strong status which gives much hope ? you’re the best

  • Sarah O’Neill says:

    Love this ❤️ Love you x

  • Mohamad Ayoub says:

    History is not a private property, but it remembers the good and the bad… history is a club not daily newspaper

  • Lamia Tabbaa says:

    Wow sara I didn’t know you were running for parliament . Well done and good luck ! Looking great by the way !

  • Molly Stacey says:

    Beautifully and intelligently written Sara. What a rich history.

  • Wassek El Yafi says:

    Did n’t you forget some other one close to you?❤️

  • Liliane Khoury says:

    you are stunning inside and out my dear friend 🙂

  • Tarek Ksaybati says:

    Yalla one day you will run and may be the first woman prime minister ??

  • Tareq Tamimi says:

    Sara El-Yafi i am proud of being a friend of a wise and clever person like you. The time we met in Greece during the Academy was short but everytime i read what you wrote i found manythings in common. My prayers is we both and all our nations live in peace without those people of interest over our life

  • Asim Shohouri says:

    Sara: I know you are trying to achieve something for the country, keep going like energizer. You represent el yafie’s political blood.

  • Amira Solh says:


  • Samar BG says:

    Lovely Sara ??

  • Omar Ghandour says:

    “You won’t be hanged, tortured or exiled…”. Sara, my hypothetical question is: what if 51% of the voters turn out to support hanging, torture and forced exile, would you still support the voice of the majority and thus this electoral system? 😉

  • Sathiya Vairam says:

    Amazing ?

  • Jon Swan says:

    I hope you remember some of our reccos about the FDA from the spring exercise.

  • Lamia Jallad says:

    Let’s go! ??????

  • Georges Yazbek says:

    So well said!

  • Sapna Shah says:


  • Nadim Chammas says:

    Thank you for sharing your family’s story and this piece of our common history. I look forward to the day we’ll be able to vote for you (or not!) as our President.

  • Rachelle Mouchantaf says:


  • Hoda Ali Hassan says:


  • Ghenwa Adra says:

    Well said! ❤️

  • Ani Baboyan says:

    Sara El-Yafi it is very sad that this day is no more a national day as has been removed from the list of public holidays in Lebanon

  • Haya Lahham Sharabati says:

    Nice ????

  • Hussein Hadid says:

    Beautifully said. We need women like u that will make us move forward and see the light

  • Dany G. Khoury says:


  • Jitka Dermiskova says:

    That is amazing Sara!! Congratulations ❤❤❤ and THANK YOU ?

  • Chris Taylor says:

    A’na LibnanI Your family history is exceptional, Sara. I love Lebanon!

  • Hassan Damluji says:

    اجدادك ابطال من اجيال بطولة عربيه! وين ابطالنا في هذا الزمن المؤلم؟ ان شاء الله ترجع ناس مثلهم وترجع بلداننا ??

  • Diana Chaar Itani says:

    I hope I will be the first one to vote one day for u Sarah!! U r an empowered ideal woman!!!
    God bless u n ur beloved personality!!!

  • Kirstin Broderick says:

    Wow. Astounding. I had no idea of your family history.Thank you for sharing, Sara El-Yafi. I hope to see you at the reunion in a few weeks

  • Ale H Hejase says:

    Run in four years or “whenever is next time” – you have the chops

  • Hana Samouri says:

    No need for me to comment on this issue. I’m just so proud of you as always ❤

  • Sara Chehayeb Hadifeh says:

    Waiting for the day where you will be running and we will be posting about that kind of powerful presentation!
    “Elli 5allaf ma met”

  • Natalia Miteva says:


  • Sandy Abou Mansour says:

    Gorgeous and brilliant – a force to reckon with! I look forward to the day I vote for YOU ??

  • Zahar Hadid says:

    My dearest SARA,
    u are an empowerment for women not only in Lebanon but all around the Arab world.
    Females like u , are giving us hope that constructive change in women status & attitudes; is happening in our Arabic societies.

  • Klm Grzdn says:

    Too bad we kept all religious holidays and let go of all secular ones made from real sacrifices

  • Wissal El Chaalan says:

    Beautifully and eloquently written! Thank you!

  • Jihad Krayem says:

    Beautiful piece. Our country is so lucky to have you.

  • Claude Tabbal says:

    Edifying status. Thanks

  • Tania Hachem Byrne says:

    Great words of encouragement Sara! 86 is a remarkable number indeed, let’s all cheer for that for now and hope 10% of them get it!

  • Azhar Chughtai says:

    Sara El-Yafi!

  • Nada H-El Husseini says:


  • Rami Abadi says:

    Great Post! You should consider continuing the legacy ??

  • Racha Badran says:

    What a beautiful and powerful post!

  • Leila Jaroudi says:

    Well said Sara!

  • Ibrahim F. Farah says:

    https://youtu.be/dRLNf0XsxQo this song commemorates the martyrs of the 6of may and still used in our days sometimes in weddings عراضة and I hope tommorow we will use it again to celebrate.

  • Omar Mukhtar Khan says:

    What a powerful statement… never knew your story and struggle… more power to you… regards from Pakistan

  • Ibrahim AlHusseini says:

    My prayers are with and for Lebanon.

  • Nelida Nassar says:

    well-worded Sara El-Yafi….

  • Sasha Van de Water says:

    Sara, such powerful words and a striking reminder not only for people in Lebanon, but for people all around the world, to never take for granted what has been fought so hard to achieve. Get out and vote, people! Wherever you are. Be the change you desire! Thank you Sara for reminding us so eloquently. As always, you rock. ❤

  • Jordan Stone says:

    You are making the world a better place

  • Bruno Moysan says:

    Je peux partager chère Sara ?

  • Nicholas Haddad says:

    Please run for elections next time. I will personally work for your campaign.

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