The arresting of some young men and women accused of the contravention of ethics and morals in the city of Tartous is just one of many incidents which caused us questioning a clear definition for ethics and morals, what determines them, and who?

"All for Syria" website mentioned that many young men and women were arrested for the contravention of ethics and morals along the coast of Tartous. some of them are still behind bars and others have been released after they have been inquired by the investigating magistrate in Tartous.
The pretext of the contravention is that they were practicing a behavior that does not relate to our customs, traditions, or even to the personal liberty. This is according to the policemen's point of view. Of course, If the judge thought they were really against the general morals and ethics, they may be penalized for no less than a three months imprisonment.
In another incident, a lady says that before five years, she was arrested with a group of guys above eighteen years old for contravening of ethics and morals. They were riding a car on Damascus- Homs highway and it was midday though, she says. Some were discharged and others were kept under arrest..Till now and after all these years, this accident is still haunting some of them and tarnishing their family life. She, the lady, after getting married and having two children, this case still besieges her for no reason but that the police regarded riding a car with some guys is a violation of morality.
This case actually is not as simple as it sounds, it is subjected to law which punishes by imprisonment and fine..it also undergoes jurisprudence that extends its framework most of the times..it begins with a policeman and ends with the judge's point of view.
Article 517 of the Syrian penal law penalizes for the violation of general morals by any mean mentioned in the first act of article 208 by imprisonment for three months to three years.
While article 518 declares: it's penalized for violation of general morals by any mean mentioned in the second and the third acts of article 208 by imprisonment for three months to three years and by a fine from thirty to three hundred Syrian pounds.
Back to article 208 which is concerned with the publicity of some actions, it declares:
“1. Actions and behaviors that occur in public, in an open place for people, or seen by someone who is unrelated with the action because of a mistake committed by the person who did the action.
2.Speech or scream, whether been loud or conveyed via electronic devices, when in both cases could be heard by an unrelated individual.
3.Writing, drawings, hand-made pictures, photos, films, symbols or shooting in all their kinds and forms, if all have been exposed in public or an open place for people, or if they have been sold, offered to be sold, or been distributed to one individual or more.”
Here we will not mention the discrimination between men and women in contravening ethics and morals because we will discuss this specially alone. All what we ask for is just a specific definition for ethics and morals, what are these morals, how can we evaluate them, and on what basis?
The contravening of ethics and morals in one city or village is different from what it is to contravene them in another city or village. Standards differ from one place to another. The terms morality and ethics actually differ from one family to another..if the view to general morals and ethics is a general view and what all people or citizens agree on, then the difference in the evaluation since tens of years till now should be taken into consideration..this definition should be generalized so that every individual knows his decency limits..
Holding hands between a male and a female is not allowed in this area..It’s forbidden to shake hands between men and women within these borders..It’s not allowed to drink alcohol along the beach..It’s forbidden for a group of males and females to ride on one car if they are not related or married..etc
Not allowed, allowed, it’s forbidden are all signs that must be written or announced so that we know the limits of morals and ethics in a country considered as a mixture of different cultures and religions..otherwise, it is an abuse of law and it is an obvious violation of the personal liberty..
Finally I wonder how can a father or a mother beat his/her child in a violent way in the street be regarded as a personal liberty that no one has the right to interfere, and how it is allowed for men to spit and pee in the street claiming that no law deter them from doing that.. while a hug between a young man and a young woman in a public place is a contravention of those general morals and ethics!!!!

Ruhada Abdoushm The Contravention of Ethics and General Morals.. A Voluminous Dress that Should be Constricted, 28-10-2010

Translated by: Sarah Salimah

Source by SWO (Syrian WOmen Observatory)