To all you claimers of "Lebanon is Wonderland" and "racism is wrongly placed in Lebanese context"....count your words. And while you are at it, read this.
It’s hard to express how disgusted I was by this man. How disgusted I was by how justified he felt he was. How disgusted I am that we share the same passport. How disgusted I am that this behavior is tolerated because it is so pervasive.
Lebanese attitudes to race are evident everywhere in Lebanon on a daily basis. In our behavior towards the citizens of Syria, Egypt, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and beyond who are treated like second class citizens in our country. How can we be proud of a country that abuses the very people that help it function on a daily basis?
We have heard the stories about the abuse of household staff from these countries. Foreign television stations have even dedicated entire documentaries to our institutionalized modern-day slavery. We’ve heard stories of black tourists being denied entry to nightclubs based purely on the color of their skin. We’ve also heard the stories of non-Lebanese people being refused access to swimming pools. It’s hard to believe it’s 2011 sometimes in this city.
Instead of embracing a sort of multiculturalism, instead of learning some new languages, customs and cuisines, we marginalize the very people that could enrich our social fabric and move us away from the navel-gazing self-delusional chauvinistic and sectarian pseudo-patriotism we bandy about.
We are nothing. We are a country of 4 million people that doesn’t have electricity, running water or functioning Internet in 2011. How dare we look down upon others? It’s time for some soul-searching, as a nation. The world is passing us by; we are decades behind most of the region in a million ways.
Sunday night I was ashamed to be Lebanese. But I didn’t want to create a scene. But my girlfriend forced us to, and she was right. Edmund Burke said that the only thing needed for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. I’m not pompous or self-interested enough to claim I’m a good man. But I will never stay silent when I see that kind of behavior again. And maybe, one day, I won’t be ashamed on the flight back to Beirut.