20.8.05

And what about this?

From time to time, Professor As'ad Abu Khalil rubs me the wrong way and frustrates me as much as some here do. And I disagree with him about certain things as I disagree with some of you here. I still love you all, of course. But what about (Extremely graphic pictures, so don't click unless you are prepared to see something extremely terrible.) this? Doesn't this deserve some attention? And sure, we don't know the exact reason why young Sri Lanki maid Sushar Rosky committed suicide. But let's think a bit about the situation of many like her in Lebanon. Lets talk about Lebanese labor rights...and Lebanese human rights.

There's no harm in some honest reflection.

12 Comments:

At Saturday, August 20, 2005 9:42:00 AM, Blogger callipyge said...

I've never encountered more racism than while living in Lebanon. It was sickening. Maids were not allowed to swim in the pools at the beach, maids were not allowed to try on clothes in some stores, many maids did not have a bed to sleep on (and were forced to sleep on the floor of the dining room...), some brown/black people were mistaken for maids based on their skin color...
Who do the Lebanese think they are??? We're already battling anti-arab racism in the West, so it's not like we have the luxury of thinking we're better than others ya3ni.
3anjad! Instead of learning from all the shit we encounter from Europeans and Americans, and becoming more "worldly", the Lebanese transform into these little domestic tyrants with people from a different race than theirs. And why??? Because they are rotten, for starters, and second: because they can. But I seriously doubt that our fucked up Lebanese law is going to do anything about that before they even start looking at the unequal condition of Lebanese women's rights in the country. So, basically, nothing is ever going to be done about this and it makes me so mad.

 
At Saturday, August 20, 2005 11:45:00 AM, Blogger Eve said...

Lebanese are, sadly, among the most racist people in the world. If there is no side of difference between you and them, they'll still dig for some deep-hidden one and judge you for it. Do you, for example, how difficult it is for Russians to get a Lebanese visa, because we all know what Russian girls symbolize here. It's not the first time I encounter such thing with maids. One maid threw herself from the building where I live a couple of months ago (or fell when she was trying to escape, I don't know).. I'm guessing the investigation is closed by this time. What to expect when we have such corrupted system?

 
At Saturday, August 20, 2005 3:26:00 PM, Blogger Tempest said...

You are not making any sense. The Lebanese this, the Lebanese that... What are you? Visitors? If you care that much, work to change things. I don't see you protesting against racism. I don't see you protesting for woman rights...

Another Lebanese thing: we like to talk, but when it comes to doing... wen el sahra ce soir?
(notice the WE).

Racism exists all over the world. Generalizing will get us nowhere, action on the other hand will.

Personal example: We don't have a maid. However, my grandparents are old, and living alone, and we got someone to help them. She's ethiopian. She's part of the family. When I call to say hi, I talk to her as well, if there are kids around, they're not allowed to order her to do this or that. It's a job, she has a few things to do every day. When I was younger, we also had a maid at our place. I was grounded for a week because I changed the channel and made her leave while she was watching TV in the evening.

The point is not to brag, or talk about myself. The point is, you DO it.

You don't complain about "The Lebanese", this unknown entity that is everybody and nobody at the same time. You get up, and you do something. Otherwise, you shut up.

Which brings us to that old fart who's never heard of a comb, As'ad. The guy lives in America, but he hates them. He's Lebanese but he hates us. He spews hatred and bigotry while pretending to be against both. "Ohmigod! It's the right-wing christian zionist fundamentalist warlord neocon fascists. "

As'ad is a crazy hippie, it's useless to even read the crap that he spews. He hates Lebanon and all it represents, and naturally will try to say anything, twist around anything, just in order to show Lebanon in the worst way possible.

 
At Saturday, August 20, 2005 6:48:00 PM, Blogger callipyge said...

I was raised by a wonderful Philippina woman who is literally treated as an entire part of our family. My family does a lot of "rude" things when they go to other people's houses and are not shy at all about telling their friends and acquaintances what they think of the way they treat their employees, in their own house. But, as you very well know, there is only so much you can do in Lebanon without hitting a wall. I experienced that first hand as a woman. People love to talk about how Lebanese women are better off than women in other countries. But when it comes to amending the law, nobody is there.
It is my utter conviction that this same apathy (on the part of our law-makers) carries on to the field of how foreign nationals are treated in our country. There are a few good lawyers in Lebanon that work to defend the rights of philipinas and sri lankis, but they'll only be as successful as the government and society allows them to be.
Israel does apartheid? Lebanon does modern-day slavery. Wayyyy backwards.

 
At Saturday, August 20, 2005 7:03:00 PM, Blogger callipyge said...

For the record, I thought "Angry Arab"'s text was wildly exaggerated (many people die anonymously in Lebanon without having all the Hariri-tralala done for them), but nothing of what he said about how maids are treated in Lebanon was wrong. Of course, it was a wild generalisation, but we would be utterly blind to deny this is happening in Lebanon. Maybe not under our own roofs. But certainly in our neighborhood.
Angry Arab seems to be angry at everyone and not just at Lebanon, so I am not angered by what he says.
The web is full of amnesty international and ILO reports of how bad those women are treated by our fellow nationals.
If you read French, even Le Monde Diplomatique, had something to say about this neo-slavery.
http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/1998/06/FAVRE/10564

Nobody is making this shit up.

 
At Saturday, August 20, 2005 9:12:00 PM, Blogger End racism said...

It's disgusting to see how Sri Lankan maids are treated in Lebanon. I would never ever approve of having a maid in my house because I don't believe in the superior/inferior/serving ideology as so many Lebanese do. My neighbours' maid used bed sheets to escape from the balcony of the 3rd floor because she was abused so much by her "masters". The Lebanese "security" forces eventually found her and put her in a cage, as if she were an animal. It disgusts me so much how the Lebanese think so highly of themselves. I have had many Sri Lankan classmates in Canada, and I feel so embarassed when I think about the way they treat Sri Lankans here (even though my classmates probably don't know the situation). Also, it's not just Sri Lankans, it's also Filippino maids. Wasn't there a news story on the wife of the Ambassador of the Philippines in Lebanon being told that she couldn't go in because maids weren't allowed to go in? Lebanese society has become so decadent.

 
At Saturday, August 20, 2005 9:23:00 PM, Blogger Eve said...

well Tempest, your personal example is, unfortunately, not the general rule here. Sometimes, denial does not do you good. I do not care about what Angry Arab said, aslan I don't follow his blog. What I know is that I live in a society where I'm constantly being asked for my name and place of birth just to check my background. We bring people from other nationalities to clean our streets and take out our garbage. If a Lebanese marries a citizen from the Philippeans for example, it would be hell for them if they decided to live in Lebanon. The concept of "modern slavery" is still widely spread around here. I'm not talking about other nations, which may be racist as well, since I haven't really live abroad enough to judge. Halla2 you ask what to do: it's about new concepts that desperately need to be inserted in the education of the kids since the start. You (or we or I, yalleh baddak) need to shake the government a bit, and start with new legilations: at least one as simple as: if you throw one piece of paper out of your car, you'll be fined 100,000 L.L. Mathalan! will anyone dare to throw anything then? All this is not very easy to accomplish. If officials listened to us, kinna 3aysheen bi alf kheir. Another option is: I'll run for parliament, vote for me!

 
At Sunday, August 21, 2005 3:46:00 AM, Blogger Lazarus said...

It comes down to two things: education, and accountability. (I will generalize here ...) Lebanese are brought up in certain ways that don't allow them to understand that the things they do can be detrimental to others, for example, the maid who commited suicide. this is a rampant issue in lebanon - a friend's brother has married a japanese, and there were instances when she was treated like a maid because the way she looks. These things are evident in the language we use, i.e, we don't say "our maid", but rather "our sri-lanki" as a mass generalization. This can, and must, be changed through certain educational practices. Family influence is important, of course, but so it the community you are brought up it. The same racism is also seen between sects, and for the same reasons. The second issue is accountability. Its all good if you make some new law that states you must pay a certain fine for behaving in a certain way, but if you aren't held accountable . . . the first example that comes to mind is the cellular law (for those who don't know, the govnt passed a law banning you from using a cellphone while driving). This was upheld for what? the first month or two? Now it is long forgotten. A person passes a red light, and the traffic officer has almost no authority to issue a ticket! Laws are meaningless without the developped social responsibilities.

And about russians not allowed to get a visa easily - this applies to most eastern europeans. Interestingly enough, this year Iraqis also had a terrible time getting visas, and quite a few of them weren't refugees running from Iraq, but businessmen who have travelled to Lebanon FREQUENTLY in the past few years for business purposes. Imagine the money lost by racist selection . . .

And Eve - run for parliament. If you have an original platform that deals with the REAL issues on the ground, people will vote (well, no guarantee that you will win :) ). but it is time we have some new blood in the government.

 
At Sunday, August 21, 2005 1:36:00 PM, Blogger Tempest said...

Marsden, you were ashamed... is that because you looked at your fellow sri-lanki classmates and immediately associated them with maids? Then you blame this on our society? Blame yourself, friend.

Everyone else, I'm not denying that there's a problem, and all I'm saying is this: we didn't have a chance to do anything about it before. Let's get serious and realistic for a second here, do you think ANY university student would have cared to go and protest for better environmental regluations 2 years ago when the country was still occupied by Syria? No. It wasn't a crucial issue.

All I'm saying is that we have the chance now, so, instead of sitting and philosophizing (I LOVE THAT WORD!), we can actually do something. Blogs could be a launching pad for us to organize protests, write petitions, etc...


A little less blaming it on EVERYONE else in this tiny country, and a little more action please...

All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me
A little more bite and a little less bark....

 
At Sunday, August 21, 2005 9:59:00 PM, Blogger Delirious said...

This is the story as it appeared in the Daily Star.
According to them, the poor girl was homesick...

 
At Tuesday, August 23, 2005 2:38:00 AM, Blogger Firas said...

"Sirilankiyyitkon min wein? Na7na sirilankiyyitna filipiniyyeh" :)

My question is: can this forum be used to do something about this? Can the ideas here be turned into an actionable plan?

 
At Tuesday, August 23, 2005 5:35:00 PM, Blogger End racism said...

Marsden, you were ashamed... is that because you looked at your fellow sri-lanki classmates and immediately associated them with maids? Then you blame this on our society? Blame yourself, friend.

No, I didn't associate them with maids, but I know that most Lebanese DO. Hence the embarrassment.

 

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