Interview with Rami Merza from Lebanese Vegans
Rami Merza is the executive director of an impressive organization called “Lebanese Vegans”. As the organization states, “the Lebanese Vegans social hub is the only animal rights and vegan support center in Southwest Asia and North Africa.” Having followed their work for a while, I was curious to learn more about this impact- and meaningful project. Let’s get to it!
Question: Hi Rami, it’s so nice to meet you! I have been admiring the work you do for the vegan movement (and therefore, the animals) for a while now. Could you please introduce yourself - and your wonderful organization, “Lebanese Vegans”?
Hello Soraya and thank you so much for this opportunity. I am Rami Merza, a vegan obsessed with animal rights activism. It has been a huge part of my life for the past few years. I started organizing and attending street activism in 2018 at 17 years old. In 2019, I joined Lebanese Vegans - a pioneer in vegan activism in Lebanon and the region - with the screening of Dominion.
Question: How did this project get started - and what were the exact reasons?
Back in 2016, Georges Hayek founded the Instagram and Facebook of Lebanese Vegans. In 2019, they organized their first event, and everything scaled up from this point onwards. 12 events since then, the inauguration of the Lebanese Vegans Social Hub in 2020, the first vegan billboard campaign in 2021, and in 2022 the first vegan radio campaign. The primary motivation and goal behind all of that have always been the animals. We want to use every method that is available to spread awareness about the rights of the most oppressed beings in history.
Question: How is veganism accepted in Lebanon generally?
Veganism is quickly growing in Lebanon. With more and more activists going on the streets and educating the public, the local community is ever-growing; more and more people are becoming aware of what happens between the walls of a slaughterhouse, and are changing their actions accordingly - by becoming vegans!
Question: How did you personally become a vegan - and how long have you been one?
I became vegan pretty “naturally” I would say, I heard that word, googled it, and said to myself “why would anyone want to NOT be vegan and cause so much abuse and death?”. 5 years later, I still think it is the best decision I took.
Question: What are your favorite, vegan and Lebanese dishes?
Hummus! Sounds cliché coming from a Lebanese citizen, but I can eat it all day every day. Otherwise, vegan sushi is high up the list as well.
Question: What are your goals for Lebanese Vegans in the future?
We have many, many plans for Lebanese Vegans and the Social Hub in the coming years. From expanding our activity types and reach by targeting new audiences, as well as growing the vegan community here in Lebanon with the help of our Social Hub.
Thank you so much for taking your time for this interview, I wish you and your team the very best!
If you want to help/and or follow Lebanese Vegans, please check the following outlets:
photocredits: lebanese vegans