Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lebanon: The Suffering of Alem Dechassa


Alem Dechassa was a 33-year old Ethiopian domestic worker in Lebanon. Her suffering has restarted the tired debate on the rights of migrant workers in Lebanon and the rest of the Arab world. Two weeks ago, a video surfaced online showing Dechassa being abused outside the Ethiopian consulate in Beirut. For over a minute we watch Dechassa callously kicked, beaten and dragged by her hair. Eventually she’s forced into a black BMW. As she cries out helplessly, she’s ordered to shut up. The chorus of onlookers do little to help her. They implore the man beating her to leave her alone. No one ventures to help her. No one ventures to intercede for this woman. We wonder what further punishment awaits her as she is stuffed like a lifeless doll into the back seat of the car. We wonder what is her crime.

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