Saturday, March 31, 2012

CLDH Press Release


في 8 آذار 2012، بثّ تلفزيون المؤسسة اللبنانية للإرسال( أل بِ سي أي)، صُوراً مُروّعة لفتاة اثيوبية تدعى عالم ديشازا – ديزيزا، مُلقاة على الأرض، أمام سفارتها، كرّرت مراراً وهي تبكي بأنها لا تريد العودة إلى اثيوبيا. ثمّ تمّ تصوير شخص يجرّها بالقوة لوضعها في السيارة، بعد ذلك، علمنا أنّه تمّ ادخال الفتاة المعنيّة في مستشفى للأمراض النفسية، وبأنّ إجراءات وملاحقات تمّ أخذها بحق رب عملها علي محفوظ. ثمّ عَلمنا بأنّها انتحرت شنقاً في 14 آذار، في المستشفى.

لقد استنزفت هذه المأساة الكثير من الحبر، على الشبكات الاجتماعية، في الصحف، قيل وأعيد قوله وكرّر: بأنّ القانون سيء، وبأنّ مكاتب التوظيف هم مستعبدين وبأنّ أرباب العمل في كثير من الأحيان هم سيئي المعاملة...تكررت هذه الافتراضات باستمرار...والتي جعلتنا في نهاية المطاف نفقد التمييز والتفكير في ممارسات مجتمع مدني من المفترض عليه تغيير الأمور.

 نحن، المجتمع المدني، كان بإمكاننا أن ننقذ عالم ديشازا. نحن جميعاً مسؤولون كعلي محفوظ عن وفاتها!
لانّ عالم ديشازا لم تمت تحت ضربات علي محفوظ. كما وأنّه لم يتم دفعها من شرفة من قبل صاحب العمل. اختارت عالم الانتحار لأنّه على ما يبدو لم يُقدّم لها حل آخر.

أتت للعمل في لبنان لأنّه كان لديها ديوناً ثقيلةً، وترحيلها ( الحل الوحيد الذي قُدّم لها) كان يمثّل لها العودة إلى بلادها مع ديون غير محتملة بالنسبة لعائلة اثيوبية: لا يمكن للأسرة إرسال أولادها الى المدرسة وربّما أيضاً احتمال تعرّض الأطفال لسوء التغذية. وبانتحارها هذا كانت تلغي ديونها. من لا يُقدم على هذا الاختيار؟ ممّا لا شكّ فيه بأنّه مُؤلم، لكنّه ليس خياراً بالنسبة للأم، ذلك لأنّ الجواب يفرض نفسه: أن تموت هي ولا تدع أطفالها يموتون.  

و مع ذلك، لقد طالب المجتمع المدني بصرخة العدالة لعالم ديشازا دون أن يُقدّم لها حلاً آخر كان بإمكان عالم ديشازا أن تجد رب عمل آخر في لبنان، أو كان بإمكان المُنظمات غير الحكومية جمع المال لها لإلغاء ديونها قبل عودتها إلى بلادها. في جميع الأحوال كان بإمكاننا النضال من أجل أن تبقى في لبنان إلى حين التوصل إلى حل حقيقي لمشكلتها!عوضاً عن ذلك، تكلّمنا، تكلّمنا وتكلّمنا عن المسؤوليات، الملاحقات القضائية، الإصلاحات الواجب القيام بها، وفي الوقت الذي كنّا نتحدث به نسينا أنّه في المستشفى، امرأة ليس لديها خيار آخر إلا الموت.

لقد قتلناها. عذراً منكِ يا عالم ديشازا.

المركز اللبناني لحقوق الإنسان (CLDH)

بيروت، 26 مارس 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Another Statement on Alem: EU

Local EU statement on the situation of migrant workers in Lebanon

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the EU Heads of Mission in Lebanon:

"The EU Delegation deeply regrets the tragic death of Ms Alem Dechassa, a domestic worker of  Ethiopian origin, and extends its condolences to the relatives of the deceased. We call on the Lebanese authorities to fully investigate the circumstances of the violence and rights  violations perpetrated against Ms. Dechassa and to bring those responsible to justice.

Her death highlights once again the urgent need to improve the protection mechanisms and legal framework governing the rights of migrant workers in Lebanon. 

The EU Delegation urges the Lebanese authorities to ensure adequate legal protection for all migrant workers and to develop and enforce effective policies that ensure the rights of migrant workers at all times. Persistent discriminatory practices need to be tackled. 

The EU Delegation and EU Member States provide substantial support to help improve the situation of migrant workers in Lebanon, at policy level and through support to civil society organizations involved in promoting and protecting the rights of migrant workers"

Friday, March 23, 2012

شُبِّه لنا أنها انتحرت، إنما نحن قتلناها


جهينة خالدية - نشر في جريدة السفير

قتلت السيدة الأثيوبية عاليم ديسيسا نفسها في 14 الجاري، إنما يبدو الجزم بالانتحار الذي جاء في تقرير الطبيب الشرعي غير مقنع للمجتمع اللبناني والجمعيات الأهلية والجالية الأثيوبية في لبنان. هؤلاء لا يشككون في التقرير الطبي بقدر ما يشيرون إلى عنف وعنصرية مورسا على عاليم وساهما في دفعها إلى إنهاء حياتها. علما أنه حتى اللحظة لم تظهر أي نتائج للتحقيق وفق مديرة مركز الأجانب في «كاريتاس لبنان» نجلا شهدا لـ«السفير»، موضحة أن «كاريتاس» موكلة من القنصلية متابعة قضية عاليم واتخاذ الخطوات القانونية والقضائية اللازمة بعد صدور نتائج التحقيق».
لتشكيك في مصير عاليم، عرّفت عنه «جمعية أمم للتوثيق» و«دار الجديد» وجمعية «هيا بنا» بملصق يكرر «شُبِّه لنا أنها انتحرت... نحن قتلناها»، هو وفق مدير «أمم» لقمان سليم تذكير بأن هذه الجريمة لا يمكن أن تمر وكأنها لم تحصل، كما يتم العمل على تحضير نشاط خاص في قضية عاليم لأننا لا نكتفي بالبيانات المدرسية التي يكتفي بها حتى في ظل جريمة».
وهو أيضا ما عبّرت عنه «حركة مناهضة العنصرية» التي تنظم الخميس المقبل (29 الجاري) وقفة احتجاجية أمام وزارة العمل، مطالبين بحماية العمال الأجانب في لبنان. ويؤكد علي فخري من الحركة على أن «عدم حماية عاليم أدى بطريقة ما إلى موتها، وهذه الحماية من مسؤولية الدولة التي عليها وضع القوانين اللازمة التي تنظم دور الكفيل ومكاتب استقدام العاملات الأجنبيات وطريقة تعاملهم مع العمال والعاملات».
«النحن» الاتهامية توجه إلى مجتمع قاس لا يتوانى في عنصريته، ولا يخشى التصعيد في مستوياتها، و«النحن» هذه توجه إلى نظام بأكمله منذ لحظة استقدام العاملة الأجنبية من الخارج، إلى وصولها إلى مطار بيروت، إلى الانتظارات في مكاتب الاستقدام، وصولاً إلى العمل لساعات طويلة متواصلة في المنازل وحرمانها من الاتصال مع عائلتها أو ضربها أو إهانتها، إلى ما هنالك من الأفعال والانتهاكات التي ترتكبها «النحن» وتودي بطريقة أو بأخرى لأن يقرر الإنسان المتلقي لهذا التعذيب، وضع حد حياته.
قد تكون قصة عاليم مختلفة، لاسيما أن التقارير تشير إلى معاناتها من «أزمة نفسية حادة»، إنما تبقى المشكلة أن طرق التعامل مع العاملات الأجنبيات في المنازل اللواتي لا يعانين أي مشكلة صحيّة يشوبها خلل عميق، فكيف بالحال إذا بعاملة تعاني من وضع خاص (في حال ثبت ذلك).

لم ينسين

وقد يكون لعاليم وضع خاص، إلا أنها عُنِّفت وهزّت المجتمع اللبناني الذي عاد لينشغل بهمومه اليومية الصغيرة والكبيرة ونسي، إنما هؤلاء العاملات الأثيوبيات اللواتي ينتحبن ويبكين هنا في القداس الذي أقامه «مركز كاريتاس للأجانب» لراحة نفس عاليم، لم ينسين. يتمايلن مع الصلاة والتراتيل الحزينة، يضئن الشموع ويغبن في أفكارهن بعيداً إلى بلاد هجروها ليعودوا إليها ببعض المال لا جثثاً هامدة».
تقول هروتي آلباتشو، الأثيوبية العاملة في الخدمة المنزلية في لبنان منذ 13 عاماً إن «عاليم وجّهت رسالة إلى كل العالم، وبفعل الموت حكت له عن العذاب الذي تتعرض له العاملات في الخدمة المنزلية منذ اللحظة التي تدوس فيها أقدامهن التراب اللبنانية». تدرك آلباتشو أن هناك تحسينات طفيفة في المعاملة وفي غرفة الاستقبال في المطار، إنما هذا لا يخفف غضبها، «فنحن نُضرب لأننا لا نفهم لغتكم، ولا نتقن الأعمال المنزلية كما تفعلون، ولا نطبخ المأكولات اللبنانية، ولأننا نتأفف لعملنا لساعات طويلة في بيت مخدومنا ثم في بيت ابنته وبعدها في بيت ابنه ولاحقا شركته».
تشكك الناشطة والمترجمة الأثيوبية كوبيت بركات، التي زارت عاليم في مركز المعالجة في «مستشفى دير الصليب» قبل وفاتها بأيام قليلة، «في أن تكون عاليم قد قتلت نفسها». تقول: «كنت حاضرة في أثناء مقابلة الطبيب لها، وسألها عن تاريخ عائلتها والأمراض فيها وحقق معها في امكان إيذائها نفسها بأي طريقة، وكانت ترد بالنفي مؤكدة أنها لا تفكر في الانتحار أبداً».
«كانت لعاليم أحلام وطموحات، ومخططات للعمل إلا أن كل ما حصلت عليه هو الألم، وهي مثال الأم التي قدّمت التضحية الأكبر»،وفق رئيس لجنة مركز الأجانب في «كاريتاس لبنان» كمال سيوفي.
وتوجه رئيس «كاريتاس لبنان» الأب سيمون فضول إلى الدولة اللبنانية والسفارات والجهات المعنية لضرورة تنظيم عمل العمال الأجانب في لبنان ووضع قانون يحترم حقوقهم ويحدد واجباتهم. ووجه نداء إلى «أصحاب مكاتب استقدام الخدم بضرورة احترام هؤلاء العمّال»، معتبراً أن «لا شك في أن هناك بُعداً ربحياً لهذا العمل، إنما هؤلاء بشر ولهم حقوق ومشاعر ولا يمكن لهذا العمل أن يكون كتجارة الرقيق». وذكر بأن «في لبنان أسراً وأفراداً ينصفون العمّال ويجدون الطريقة الأمثل لمعاملتهم، إنما هناك في المقابل عنصرية من البعض الآخر».
«ما حصل لعاليم، لم يكن حادثة أولى من نوعها، وقد لا تكون الأخيرة»، هذا ما يخشاه الأب يوناس ديستا. ويقول: «لا بد أن يتوقف هذا النزيف، إذ لا يمكن أن نكون في القرن الواحد والعشرين ولا يملك بشر حريتهم، ولا يملكون الحق في أن يحتفظوا بجوازات سفرهم وحرية تنقلهم. هذا ظلم ولنا الحق في رفع الصوت والاعتصام ضده».

الادعاء على من ضرب عاليم

Nice.


ادعت النيابة العامة في بيروت على اللبناني الذي قام بضرب العاملة الإثيوبية عاليم ديسيسا، بجنحة المساهمة في التسبب بالانتحار. وقد أحيل أمام المحكمة الجزائية المختصة. وكانت صور المدعى عليه قد ظهرت في الشريط الذي عرضته «المؤسسة اللبنانية للإرسال».

New Press Release on Alem's Death

Lebanon: Stop Abuse of Domestic Workers  
Investigate Recent Suicide; Enact Labor, Immigration Protections

(Beirut) – Lebanese authorities should act quickly to reform restrictive visa regulations and adopt a labor law on domestic work to address high levels of abuse and deaths among migrant domestic workers, a group of eight concerned civil society groupssaid today. The government should also announce publicly the outcome of the investigation into the recent abuse and subsequent suicide of Alem Dechasa-Desisa, an Ethiopian domestic worker.

The eight groups are Human Rights Watch, Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, Anti Racism Movement, Amel Association International, Insan, Danish Refugee Council, and Nasawiya.

On March 8, 2012, Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), a Lebanese television network, released a video [4] filmed on February 24 by an anonymous bystander in which a labor recruiter physically abused Dechasa-Desisa outside the Ethiopian consulate in Beirut. As she protests, he and another man drag her into a car. LBCI later identified the man beating Dechasa-Desisa as Ali Mahfouz, [5]the brother of the head of the recruiting agency that brought her to Lebanon [6]. Mahfouz agreed to be interviewed on television and alleged that his brother’s agency had been trying to return her to her home country because she had mental health problems.

Police arrived at the scene shortly thereafter, found the car still there, and took Dechasa-Desisa to a detention center. Following a request by Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, who maintains a presence at the detention facility, they transferred her for medical care two days later but did not arrest those who carried out the beatings. Dechasa-Desisa committed suicide at the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital in the early morning of March 14. A social worker from Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, who visited Dechasa-Desisa at the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital, told Human Rights Watch that a Lebanese forensic doctor examined her on March 10.

“Alem Dechasa-Desisa’s death is an outrage on two levels – the violent treatment she endured and the absence of safeguards that could have prevented this tragedy,” said Nadim Houry [7], deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should adopt long overdue protections to end rampant abuses against domestic workers and bring down their death toll in the country.”

Following the wide circulation of the video, the labor and justice ministers announced on March 10 that they were opening investigations into Dechasa-Desisa’s beating and ill-treatment. The outcome has not been made public and it is unclear whether the prosecutor will pursue criminal charges against Mahfouz. The Labor Ministry, which regulates recruitment agencies, has yet to report on any measures against Mahfouz’s labor agency.

“The Lebanese authorities only opened an investigation because they found themselves in the media spotlight,” said Houry. “The government urgently needs to address the root causes that are driving so many migrant domestic workers to despair.”

In 2008, Human Rights Watch documented deaths of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and found that there had been an average of one death a week [8]from unnatural causes, including suicide and falls from tall buildings. KAFA (enough) Violence & Exploitation, a Lebanese women’s rights [9] group, compiled information about nine deaths in August 2010 [10]. According to Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, five Ethiopian domestic workers are currently at the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital after being transferred there from the General Security detention center.

Lebanese families employ an estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers, primarily from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Philippines, and Nepal. Domestic workers are excluded from the labor law and subject to restrictive immigration rules based on employer-specific sponsorship that putworkers at risk of exploitation and make it difficult for them to leave abusive employers. The high incidence of abuse has led several countries, including Ethiopia, to bar their citizens from working in Lebanon. The ban on official travel to Lebanon has not halted the migration of domestic workers and may contribute to women being smuggled or trafficked into the country.

The most common complaints documented by the embassies of labor-sending countries and civil society groups include mistreatment by recruiters, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, forced confinement to the workplace, a refusal to provide any time off for the worker, forced labor, and verbal and physical abuse. Despite repeated public announcements by Lebanese officials that they would improve conditions for migrant domestic workers, reforms have been limited. A compulsory standard employment contract was introduced in January 2009, but is only available in Arabic so far and provides far weaker protections than those available to other workers under the main labor law.

Efforts to introduce a new law to regulate the presence and work of domestic workers have failed to gain momentum. In February 2011, Labor Minister Boutros Harb proposed a draft law to regulate the work of migrant domestic workers that would keep the current sponsorship “kafala” system in place, but his draft law was abandoned as a change in government took place. On January 23, a new labor minister, Charbel Nahhas, publicly announced that he would look at abolishing the “kafala” system, but he resigned over unrelated matters a month later. The newly appointed labor minister, Salim Jreissati, has yet to announce any plans to put an end to the widespread abuses against domestic workers.

“The lack of legislated labor rights for domestic workers and restrictive visa policies contribute to domestic workers’ isolation, mistreatment, debts, and inability to escape from abuse,” Houry said. “The government should make reform of the sponsorship system a priority and adopt a new labor law on domestic work in line with international standards.”

Lebanon voted in favor of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention No. 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers [11], adopted in June 2011, but has yet to take steps to ratify the treaty or bring itself in compliance. The ILO Convention establishes the first global standards for the estimated 50 million to 100 million domestic workers worldwide. Key elements of the convention require governments to provide domestic workers with labor protections equivalent to those of other workers, to monitor recruitment agencies rigorously, and to provide protection against violence.

Lebanon also has a poor record of punishing abuse against domestic workers. A 2010 Human Rights Watch report, “Without Protection: How the Lebanese Justice System Fails Migrant Domestic Workers [12],” reviewed 114 judicial decisions involving migrant domestic workers and found that not a single employer faced charges for locking workers inside homes, confiscating their passports, or denying them food.

A review of 13 criminal cases found that it took an average of 24 months to resolve them and that the prosecutions resulted in light sentences. The most severe sentence for beating a domestic worker, of which Human Rights Watch is aware, is one month in prison, imposed by a criminal court on June 26, 2010, against an employer who repeatedly beat a Sri Lankan domestic worker.

“Lebanese authorities should look into several aspects of Dechasa-Desisa’s death – the abuse captured on video, the lack of police investigation into the abuse prior to the video being circulated, and the circumstances of her death while in the care of a hospital,” Houry said. “The government should also adopt a national plan to improve domestic workers’ ability to report abuse and train police, immigration officials, and judges on how to better respond to these cases.”




Background on Alem Dechasa-Desisa
Dechasa-Desisa was a 33-year-old Ethiopian national from the Burayo neighborhood of Addis Ababa. She had two children. She arrived in Lebanon in December 2011, through a Lebanese agency, using irregular channels since Ethiopia has a ban on sending its citizens to Lebanon.

The social worker with Caritas Lebanon Migrant Center, who monitored Dechasa-Desisa’s case after she was held at the General Security retention facility on February 24, said that she first worked with a Lebanese family for a month but was returned to her agency due to communication problems. She did not get paid for the first month of work. She worked for a second employer for a few days but was sent back to the agency again.

Dechasa-Desisa told the social worker that a recruitment agent beat her and threatened to send her back to Ethiopia following her dismissal by her second employer. She said she needed to earn money to repay debts she incurred in Ethiopia to travel to Lebanon and to send money to her family. The agent tried to take her to the airport twice to return her to Ethiopia, but she resisted and screamed at the airport. Upon returning to the agency, she tried to commit suicide by drinking Clorox. The agency claims she also tried commit suicide a second time by jumping from a car.

On February 24, the recruitment agent took her to the Ethiopian consulate, contending that she had mental problems and asking if she could be left there. A Lebanese activist who spoke to a consulate official told Human Rights Watch that the Ethiopian consulate allegedly refused and told them to take her to a mental hospital. The agent, with the assistance of another man, then appeared to physically abuse Dechasa-Desisa and force her back into the car against her will. That was the incident captured on video by a bystander and circulated on the internet two weeks later.

Shortly after the filmed incident, police arrived at the scene and took Dechasa-Desisa to a police station, and then to the General Security detention center for deportation. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that Dechasa-Desisa displayed signs of a nervous breakdown, crying incessantly, and that she was transferred to Nawfal Hospital the next day. After her condition did not improve, she was transferred on March 2 to the Deir al-Saleeb psychiatric hospital.

On March 8, there was a public outcry following the circulation of the video. The public prosecutor opened an investigation. A forensic doctor and a representative from the Ethiopian consulate visited her for the first time at the Deir al-Saleeb hospital on March 10. The Ethiopian consulate also announced that it had filed suit on her behalf. On March 14, Dechasa-Desisa committed suicide by reportedly strangling herself with bed sheets.

Global Response to Alem’s Suicide


Solidarity with Alem Dechasa’s plight has continued to grow since the Ethiopian maid’s suicide nearly two weeks ago. Major media outlets,including The Guardian, are paying close attention to the legal and social aftereffects of the very public case. Both Lebanon and Ethiopia have announced their cursory vows to “fully investigate” the incident, treating Dechasa’s death as a single occurrence rather than the product of systematic neglect.
More valuable, and ultimately more constructive, are the civilian responses from both in and out of Lebanon. Global Citizens Voices has curated an extensive record of social media reactions to Alem’s tragedy. Check out two campaigns launched to address the plight of Ethiopian domestic workers in the Middle East here and here.
Lebanon hosts a sizable, internet-savvy activist community who devote particular consideration to migrant rights. Their perspectives tend to offer an evaluation of Dechasa’s death with the social and historical context that governments disregard. For instance, a Lebanese blogger recently skewered Ali Mahfouz’s appearance on a local news show; Mahfouz is Dechasa’s former employer and the man caught beating her on video. Mahfouz attempts to absolve himself by claiming that Dechasa was insane – a claim he has sustained since his initial capture. The entire piece deserves a read, but the conclusion is especially powerful:
Alem Dechassa was killed three times. Once when her body was violated in front of her embassy and dragged into Ali Mahfouz’s car. The second time was when she got so desperate and took her own life. The third time was with the Lel Nashr episode that portrayed her as insane. The end result is simple: the victim becomes the abuser and the abuser becomes the victim. Well done New TV. Well done.
The Anti-Racism Movement, a migrant rights group based in Lebanon, responded similarly to Mahfouz’s deflection. Their brilliant piece further addresses the social apathy that perpetuates migrant and domestic worker abuse:
Today another domestic worker died. But today the sorrow in me is not only because another lost innocent soul, but also because you all knew who she was, and witnessed her death. And with your silence you have participated in her murder. You murdered her when you didn’t demand a law to protect her, when you didn’t object for the resignation of a Minister who fought to cancel her slavery legal system called Kafala.
Unfortunately, bigoted commentary periodically punctuates social media reactions. Claims that the Lebanese, Arabs, or Muslims are “barbaric” or “evil” offer no solution to the domestic worker crises. On the contrary, such attitudes only deepen the chasm between employers and employees. Effective initiatives seek to raise social awareness, promote social change, and prompt legal reform – these are the all-inclusive efforts championed by groups such as the Migrant Workers Task Force, who organized a local and migrant dialogue at their student center. Migrants from varying backgrounds expressed their frustration with the failure of either the Lebanese government or their own representatives to address the chronic mistreatment of domestic workers.
Ethiopian filmmaker and domestic worker Rahel Zegeye was among the migrant speakers, particularly criticizing the Ethiopian government for their resigned posturing, which only appears to awaken in high-profile cases. In stark contrast to the diplomatic desultory, Rahel’s emotional concluding statements demonstrates that the fire ignited by Dechasa’s death will not end with the Mahfouz’s punishment, but with the procurement of sustained social and labor justice for all migrant workers:
If it was an American worker who is getting abused, I’m sure things would not have been the same. I urge all of you to step up for action, and I’m happy that we’re getting support from our Lebanese friends and I’m sure we can do something to stop this. I do not want to leave dirt for future generations of workers like the previous generations have left for me, and I don’t care if I have to die for this cause.

Full Link 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Shit Racist Lebanese Say

We at the Anti-Racism Movement have the honor to present to you "Shit Lebanese Racists Say"

Read the disclaimer below, watch the video and pass it on to your loved ones !




The Disclaimer:
We are NOT implying that all Lebanese are racist. This video is meant to point out and shame shit racist Lebanese say. It is also meant to raise awareness on racist things we might say unintentionally.

Another Story

Mireillee Hammal
المكان : سيارة التاكسي من العدلية إلى عين الرمانة
الزمان : 21 أذار - الساعة السادسة والنصف
الشخصيات :
سائق التاكسي اللبناني : " كل جنسن هيك.. ما تصدقي كل جنس العبيد نجسين وبدهن دعس "
السيدة اللبنانية جالسة في المقعد الخلفي: " على رايتك، ما بقى يتهدوا. بدا 150 $ بنتي قالتلي تنقبر بزيادة عليها 100 $. أنا جبتا تنضّف. أنا عندي فاريس وديسك. عم طعميا وشرّبا شو بدها بعد ؟؟ 150 $ نجسة نجسة يا خيي. "
سائق التاكسي اللبناني: " اجتاحونا شو عم تحكي إنتي. عبد أسود وبدو يحكمنا ؟؟ "
أنا : جالسة في التاكسي وأردد في قرارة نفسي.. هذا ما لن أندم عليه عندما سأغادر هذه المدينة.
قصة حقيقية وواقعية وليست من نسج الخيال

Lebanese Factory to Deport Striking Migrant Workers


The employees, who earn just US$300 a month on average, have US$100 taken from their pay packet every month to pay for visa forms, the Nepalese Embassy in Lebanon said.
Lebanese employees at the factory received a salary increase last month, but pay for migrant workers remained the same, despite rising cost of living across the country.
Following failed negotiations on increased wages, 22 Nepalese and 26 Indians went on strike demanding their higher wages and better rights.
Police arrived at the strike on Tuesday, with the factory's owners trying to deport the protest's three leaders – Nepalese Rajandra Kumar, Narayen Dahal and Indian Ravinder Singh.
However, the workers are threatening to leave en masse if the deportation move goes ahead.
"They are saying they want to send the three of them and the rest of them they want to let them work but I don't think the rest of them will accept that. All of them want the same rights – those three are representing them," Priya Subida, a representative of the Nepalese embassy in Lebanon, said

On Madness, Violence and Suicide


If we look a bit closer, we will realize that we are and have been surrounded by madness narratives for quite some time. One recent “act of madness” is the killing spree conducted by an American soldier on 16 Afghani civilians, including 9 children. Memorable others include the attacks and killings of Egyptian Copts by a “deranged” egyptian man in 2006 in Egypt, school shootings in the US, and the Ford Hood shooting. These acts of violence were considered “deranged” and “a product of mad individuals” by both Egyptian and American governments and by no means rational, intentional forms of violence. Somehow madness arguments make stories of violence, racism, and terror less shocking and more acceptable. They (acts of violence) become not the product of a violent military and social system but an act of a deranged soldier.

***

As for me, the story of Nietzsche going mad one day at the sight of a man abusing a horse keeps hunting me, and I wonder what my breaking point will be. As I was going back home today in the Service, three non-white non-Lebanese looking women were crossing the road when two men on a motorcycle started screaming things at them and laughing, and the two other women in the service started laughing as well “shoo 2alla? Shoo 2alla? hahahaha” Is that funny, I thought. is everyone going mad or am I the crazy one here?

More

Hmmmm...


Thanks Ibrahim Diab.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ethiopia seeks full investigation into suicide of maid beaten in Beirut


Ethiopia is lobbying Lebanon to investigate fully the death of an Ethiopian housemaid who killed herself after being beaten on the street in Beirut.

Real Racism

The world community does not judge a country on its scenery and its culinary excellence alone, and the Lebanese people, who are so rightly proud of their nation and its history, must now confront the fact that racism in this country is real, and has serious, tangible effects.

Protest in front of Ministry of Interior: Friday

لأن العنف الذي تتعرض لهن العاملات الاجنبيات في المنازل هو العنف الذي يؤدي الى إنتحارهن، ولأن إحتجازهن داخل المنازل، الاحتفاظ بجواز سفرهن، والضرب والشتم والاهانات والعمل دون يوم عطلة واحد ودون ساعات محددة يعتبر في كل أنحاء العالم استرقاق وإستعباد، حان الوقت لنفهم نحن المقيمون في لبنان، ان اليوم الذي نسكت فيه عن العبودية الحديثة والذي يمارسها اللبنانيون والتي تحميها الدولة اللبنانية من خلال نظام الكفالة الظالم وغير القانوني حسب الاتفقيات التي وقعها لبنان، ونسكت فيه عن العنصرية ومن يمارسها وايضا، نسمح لها أن تكون ممارسة عادية وطبيعية على أن تكون ممارسة خارجة عن القيم الانسانية وجريمة ترتكب ويجب المحاسبة عليها.

من بعد مقتل ألما، العاملة الاثيوبية التي شنقت نفسها في دير الصليب ووجود الفيديو الذي نشر على ال بي سي، نقوم نحن ناشطين وناشطات لبنانين بالتجمع أمام وزارة العمل اللبنانية لنذكرها بمسؤوليتها لسن قوانين تحمي العاملات والعمال الوافدين إلى لبنان وإدراجهم ضمن قانون العمل و وتحميلها مسؤوfلية تأخير إلغاء نظام الكفالة الذي تسبب بشكل غير مباشر بقتل إلما وذلك بالتزامن مع حملة قانونية لمحاسبة من يجده القضاء مسؤولا عن وفاة إلما.

ندعوكم للوقوف معنا نهار الخميس الساعة الواحدة ظهراً أمام مبنى وزارة العمل على المشرفية. لنذكر الدولة وأصحاب مكاتب الإستقدام ان للعاملات والاجنبيات من يدافع عنهن ويعمل على تحقيق العدالة والانصاف لهن ومعهن.

نحن لا ننسى ولن ننسى.

Thursday, March 29, 1 PM at Ministry of Labour, Msharafieh

Everyone Knows Alem Now

One video is out and the world is outraged.
Everybody is writing and posting and reposting.
Everybody.
Even the Lebanese officials themselves are 'outraged'.
The same policy makers and doers who have done nothing on improving the living conditions of domestic workers are outraged now that their reputation is at stake.
They are not faking it.
Not at all.

France 24

NYtimes

AlJazeera

NowLebanon

Kabobfest

DailyStar

Death of a phoenix

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Cleaner Conscience: the Politics of Domestic Labour

In short, the first thing to do is to break the embarrassment of domestic help down into its constituent parts: it is one thing having a cleaner and feeling embarrassed about it, because you should be doing it yourself; it is another thing having a cleaner and feeling ashamed because you offer no job security and no holiday pay and no contractual equity of any sort. It's all a bit of a fail, but you can always fail better.

An Open letter to the Ethiopian Consul in Lebanon


Dear Asaminew Debele,

The tragic and untimely death of fellow Ethiopian and mother of two Alem Dechasa has once again blown the cover masking the utter and complete lack of concern your government continues to show to the plight of Ethiopian women across the Arab world.
Alem did not have to die at this point in time nor indeed in this appalling way if you had only accorded her the support she desperately came to seek from you as her official representative in that country. Your unspeakable failure to act means an innocent hard working Ethiopian woman was savagely beaten and hounded around by a gang of Lebanese thugs outside your consulate until she was eventually taken to die in circumstances not conclusively known even to you the Ethiopian head of mission.
Sir, the primary duty of any diplomat is to provide protection and support to fellow citizens in a foreign country in which he/she is sent to represent his/her country. However, either because of your incompetence , lack of compassion and concern or perhaps total disregard to care for those you have been delegated to represent, you have stood aside when tens of Ethiopian women were subjected to some of the worst inhuman treatment at the hands of their employers.
How could you live another day knowing you could have prevented Alem's unacceptable death if you had acted promptly by intervening to stop her being overpowered and bundled away to her death in the back of a car ? Could you not have escalated Alem's daylight abduction and beating to the highest authorities in the land ? How much more desperate did this have to be for you to put a halt to your other duties and personally get involved in seeking an amicable outcome to whatever dispute she might have had with the employer/thug who abused her in front of the world ? I accept you could not have anticipated the death of Alem but surely you could have been more proactive in dealing with a situation so critical as this has been from the moment the Ethiopian young lady run away to your consulate.
You have told the Lebanese media how shocked you are about Alem's death. Surely the shock you have felt must be the result of your regret for failing to have done more to come to her aid.
One wonders just why the government which you represent has failed for so long to tackle this most urgent of problems for Ethiopian women in the Middle East. How long will this continue ? Could a more stringent and tighter regulation not help end this unspeakable misery ?
More specifically , as the head of the Ethiopian mission what will you do now to help bring the attackers of Alem to justice ? Or will you just brush this serious incident aside once public interest wanes in the days and weeks ahead ? Will you investigate what happened to Alem right from the start ? Better still, will you publish your investigation or whatever report you commission to ascertain the facts of her case including the facts surrounding her untimely death ? As I am sure you will accept , the circumstances of her death are mysterious. And only an independent Ethiopian-led investigation will deliver a result acceptable to many if not most people following this entire episode.
The lessons to be learnt from the circumstances of Alem's death are of wide reaching significance to the thousands of Ethiopian women scattered around the Arab world to make a living for themselves and their families back in our country. Hence, Ethiopians will be watching to see what you will do to follow up on Alem's case and explore ways to improve the wider problem of the general plight of young women in Lebanon and across the Middle East.

Sincerely yours,
Tadeos Anteneh

Link

Urgent

عاجل - يرجى النشر: في بلدة بكفيا - المتن، في معمل الكرتون الشهير هناك، يعمل أربعون عاملاً هندياً ونيبالياً، قام صاحب المعمل مخالفا قانون العمل بخصم تكاليف اوراق اقامتهم من أجورهم، فردوا بإضراب تحذيري لثلاث أيام، قوى الأمن اللبناني الفاشية اقتحمت المعمل وفضت الاضراب واعتقلت أربعة عمال منهم، وتهدد بترحيلهم . مجموعة من النشطاء اللبنانيين توجهت الآن إلى المنطقة - للتنسيق والمساعدة القانونية واللوجستية الاتصال على رقم الرفيق علي 71421593

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Lebanese Help: New TV Hosts Ali Mahfouz – The Man Who Beat Up The Ethiopian Maid



The “Lil Nashr” TV show, hosted by Tony Khalife, had Ali Mahfouz as one of its main guests for its Saturday March 17th episode. Mafhouz is the man that beat up the Ethiopian maid in front of her embassy. The maid has since committed suicide.
Using the platform of the TV show, Mafhouz tried to come off as an affectionate man who deeply cared for the girl and was trying to sort out her affairs. He even went further than that and said he would never beat her up and that moment outside the embassy was unlike him.
The rest of this post will be assuming that Mr. Mafhouz was, indeed, acting outside of his character – although I have to say that modern psychiatry and psychology would assert that this violent behavior is, in fact, within his character, whether he wants to admit it or not.
Now, Mr. Mafhouz goes even further and argues that the maid, whose name is Alem Dechasa, was mentally ill and an unstable presence for him and the people she knew. He even cites a coroner’s report that she was having auditory hallucinations while still alive to “prove his point.”
The end result of the episode, which I was able to touch from both my parents, is that many individuals have lost their compassion to the maid and are now seeing her as an insane person, which clears Mr. Mahfouz. He is not in the wrong anymore.
Let’s get a few things straight.
1) A coroner’s job is to examine a dead body for a cause of death, among other factors. There is no way that a coroner (or medical examiner) can tell if the deceased person they’re examining was having psychotic episodes while they were still alive. It is beyond their scope. It is impossible to tell if a dead person was mentally ill via an autopsy and more importantly, there’s no way a coroner would have the authority to write a report containing such information.
2) I am very dismissive when it comes to Lebanese media for many reasons. But I never expected a TV show to host a man like Ali Mahfouz without advocating the victim’s side. This is not how proper journalism works, especially if it’s a TV station that supposedly respects itself. For the entire duration of the show, the arguments of the Ali Mahfouz camp were so front loaded that any attempt to speak on behalf of Alem Dechasa were rendered meaningless. This leads me to point 3.
3) The purpose of the episode, which I’m sure Tony Khalife is very proud of, was not to showcase the Alem Dechasa abuse in an objective manner. It was simply to help clear Ali Mahfouz’s reputation and to convert him from the man who led an innocent woman to her death to a man who was simply escaping the ramblings of a lunatic. Judging by the reactions I got from my parents, which I’m sure echo many other households that decided to tune in, their goal was achieved. New TV must be very happy with themselves.
It is a sad day when a victim’s reputation is tarnished just so an influential Lebanese man can escape the consequences of his actions. A few days from now, the whole affair will be forgotten. It has already started. Those who had thought Alem Dechassa was innocent are now believing the contrary. The rationalization of the Lebanese ego that a Lebanese can never behave this way is starting to work full throttle. The government will soon follow suit, especially as the wheels of Mr. Mahfouz’s “wasta” start spinning.
Alem Dechassa was killed three times. Once when her body was violated in front of her embassy and dragged into Ali Mahfouz’s car. The second time was when she got so desperate and took her own life. The third time was with the Lel Nashr episode that portrayed her as insane. The end result is simple: the victim becomes the abuser and the abuser becomes the victim. Well done New TV. Well done.

True

Thanks Ibrahim.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Aha


لاكسمي البنغلادشية: sorry أنا ما عملت شي

بعد 15 شهراً على توقيفها احتياطياً، أمر القاضي بإطلاق سراحها لـ«عدم كفاية الدليل». اليوم، وبعد حكم القضاء، تسأل العاملة البنغلادشية، ليبي لاكسمي، من سيعيد لها اعتبارها المعنوي؟ الجواب الذي ستقدّمه الدولة لها هو... «لا أحد». هكذا، يمكن لشخص، فقير غالباً، أن «يتخ» في السجون اللبنانية قبل أن تثبت براءته. ففي لبنان، لا يقدّم في مثل هذه الحالات أي تعويض، بحسب القانون، هذا إن سُلّم جدلاً أن هناك ما يمكن أن يعوّض سني السجن.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ethiopians in DC mourn Alem Dechasa


Concerned Ethiopians in the Washington DC Metro Area gathered in front of the Embassy of Lebanon Thursday to mourn Alem Dechasa, the Ethiopian girl who died after she was attacked and abducted outside the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut early this week. We also expressed our outrage over the killing of Alem and presented our demand to the Government of Lebanon to bring the individuals who committed the crime to justice.

During the silent protest, First Secretary of the Lebanese embassy, Mr Toni Frangie, came out to speak to us.

Ato Tekle Sahlemariam, who spoke on our behalf, expressed his gratitude to Mr Frangie for his willingness to hear our concern and communicated to him that Ethiopians are seeking justice for the crime against Alem.

Mr Frangie expressed his sadness about the death of Alem and assured us that full investigation is underway. From his demeanor, one can tell that he appeared to be genuinely moved by our grief.

All of us left the embassy feeling better because of Mr Frangie’s assurance that Alem will get justice.

The ultimate justice is of course to eliminate the Woyanne junta that is the primary cause of Alem’s tragic death and the suffering of millions of other Ethiopians. The Woyanne ambassador was watching and doing nothing when Alem was dragged to her death. Probably because he is one of those individuals who are profiting from the human trafficking of Ethiopian women and she is one of his victims.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Alem Desisa is Dead, when will you do somthing about it? [English Version]

It's been always really hard to explain how a girl, a migrant domestic worker ends up committing suicide. And what makes it harder is when this girl is killed and then claimed that she had committed suicide in order to protect the Lebanese employer from legal prosecution.

In the Anti-Racism Movement, we have been trying hard to follow up these kind of incidents, and each time we end up hearing the same news: "An alien domestic worker had committed suicide by jumping out of a balcony, or burned herself or hanged herself in Mahala al-Jadeedah.

In the Anti-Racism Movement we always try to verify the news and get to the bottom of it and try to search for the answer in the building where the incident took place, then we ask the neighbors and the surrounding shops on whether they have spotted the "suicided", then we head to the police where answers should be provided. But the  answers are not given, and we go back to the employer to try to know the answer why she had committed suicide.

Each time we do this. Sometimes where we get lucky to get answers from the employer or obtain the standarized police report, the result would always be the same:
"An incidence of suicide had been reported to the police, where the police had attended to verify the incident with the presence of the coroner who submitted a medical report that he had found no signs of violence, rape nor struggle so he concludes that it's a suicide incident." And what's so strange that none of the lifeless bodies are examined for toxicity, unless it's asked from the doctor by someone who would pay the $200 cost of this test, but not the state of Lebanon. And so the case is closed after this amazing report and the embassy or the consulate is requested to permit the transfer the deceased body back to her homeland.

Three years and we had been exposed to the same situation and same report. Three years and not a single thing has changed. Only one new thing has been done: once in the Police report: "… a body of a Nepali domestic worker from Africa…"!

No change in the media, its coverage of this situation or its amount of attention regarding this same issue. No change in police actions and its professional investigation that it carries out in each of the cases. No change in embassy or the consulate in protecting their right in staying alive. And No one changes anything.

Today another domestic worker died. But today the sorrow in me is not only because another lost innocent soul, but also because you all knew who she was, and witnessed her death. And with your silence you have participated in her murder. You murdered her when you didn’t demand a law to protect her, when you didn’t object for the resignation of a Minister who fought to cancel her slavery legal system called Kafala.
You murdered her when you saw how she was dragged by the hair and beaten in the middle of the street, and only found it enough to share the video on Facebook and object while setting in your comfortable houses on your fancy computers.  You murdered her when you were racist to her sisters, when you forbade them from swimming in your pools, from shopping in you markets and from eating on your tables. You refused a weekly day off, you refused to eat their own food, you refused them practicing their normal life without affecting their duties towards you. You murdered her when you confiscated her passport and called her by her nationality not by her name.  You murdered her when you didn’t pay her her salary, when you raped her and when your courts didn’t give her justice, when you made her sit behind for being ashamed of her sitting beside you. You killed her when you preferred sitting still in your relaxed house rather than doing action and demonstrating for her protection and when you didn’t support the law that guarantee her rights as a human being.  You killed her when you dealt with the legal trafficking office that buys and sell the slaves. You killed her when you didn’t ask why she had committed this action to her soul.

Why would a woman who left her family thousands of miles away, leaving behind her house, her homeland, her friends, her kids and maybe her first love, borrowing thousands of dollars to come to Lebanon through many airports of Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and then Jordan end up in Beirut airport? Sleeping on naked floors of airports, trapped in small unwelcoming waiting rooms only to get to Beirut, to be led and delivered as a goat. Brought to the trafficking office to be sold to the family that pays most and consider her as its own property.

Why did she commit suicide after going through all of these hardships to only work hard for couple of hundreds of dollars to be sent to her old mother and  father or to her  son and daughter to be able to have a decent life and education, or to her husband to establish a work that can elevate them from the hardships of the poverty or to her brother so that he won't go beg in the street, or to save enough money so that she would go back to her country to continue education?

Have you ever considered that she might have missed her family and never was she allowed to contact them?

Have you ever considered that she works 17 hours on daily bases with no rest?

Have you ever considered that she had not been paid her salary for two years where her father might be homeless her mother might be dead or her whole family might be strayed?

Or maybe raped?

Or beaten?

Or was forbidden from practicing her religion, tradition and culture?

Or had worked in three houses at one time ?

Never given the chance to visit her homeland through the three years of her work

Never been given food to eat more than once a day?

Slept on the naked floor in the balcony?

Aren't all of these enough reasons to commit suicide?

Haven't they killed her when they did all of this to her?

Does the Lebanese investigator need Sherlock Holmes to help him in finding the obvious?

Hasn't your indifference killed when you saw what happened to her and stood still as if nothing had happened?

You killed her three times, when you didn’t do her  justice to her sisters, when you didn’t move a finger for her and when she died and you didn’t mention her name.

My grandmother had always told me: "those who are silent when there's injustice are mute devils."

Alim Deseisa today is the victim of your mute devils.

When will you decide that you will stop being accomplices?
If you don’t get angry now, when will you be ?

Ali Fakhry
The Anti-Racism Movement

كان اسمها آلِم آشِسا


 ظهرت آلِم أشِسا أول مرة على شاشة التلفزيون مطروحة على الأرض تتعرض للركل قرب سفارة بلادها. أمس، ماتت هنا، لا في إثيوبيا. انتحرت في مستشفى دير الصليب، بعدما «أؤتمنت» الدولة عليها، لكن، لا داعي للقلق: «التحقيقات مستمرة»

أحمد محسن

استسلمت آلِم آشِسا. هناك في دير الصليب قتلت نفسها. استسلمت تماماً لما يُراد أن يكون «قدر» العاملات هنا. الأمل في نجاتها كان مبالغاً فيه. كانت «الجديّة» التي طرحت فيها قصتها خاوية من الاستدراك الفعلي. خلال شهرين في لبنان، تلقت من الإهانات ما قد يتلقاه آخرون في أعوامٍ طويلة. قالوا إنها مجنونة لأنها لم تألف بيئة البلد العنصري. سحلوها على قارعة الطريق، وكان ممكناً للمشاهد أن يسمع أنين عظامها على الشاشة. وبعد الفيديو المشين، أخذوها إلى مستشفى الأمراض العقليّة، في خطوةٍ بدت للكثيرين أنها بداية «التنصّل» من مساءلة الفاعلين.

يقول صاحب مكتب الاستقدام، شادي محفوظ، إن ثمة تقريراً طبياً يؤكد وجود «كهرباء في رأسها». يقول أيضاً إن الأمن العام رفض سفرها، وإن الدرك رفضوا تسلّمها. حتى السفارة الإثيوبيّة أعلنت أن لا علاقة لها بالموضوع. أوصدوا كل الأبواب في وجهها، وسجنوها في دير الصليب حيث قتلت نفسها. لم تعلن موتها بصخب، وعلى الأرجح، ستكتفي بصمت القتلة المجهولين.
في المرة الأولى أعادوها من المطار. تذكرة سفرها ما زالت صالحة للاستعمال لكن آلِم نفسها انتهت. وبعد «جهد جهيد» قبِل الأمن العام بتسلّمها، مشترطاً على المكتب «تحمل تكاليف علاجها كاملة». لو لم يقبل المكتب، لكانت العاملة الضعيفة استسلمت قبل أمس بكثير. انتقالها إلى الأمن العام لم ينجِّها ولم يكن الأخير على مستوى «الأمانة»، إذ سلّمها إلى مؤسسة «كاريتاس»، التي نقلتها إلى دير الصليب. يؤكد وزير العدل، شكيب قرطباوي، أن النيّابة العامة أرسلت «وفداً للتحقيق هناك في دير الصليب، وأنه عاينها منذ 3 أيام، ووضع تقريراً عن حالتها». يستفيض الوزير، شارحاً أنهم في الوزارة أحضروا «دبلوماسيّاً من القنصليّة ليدّعي على أحد ما في قضية الفيديو، لأن الحق العام لا يتحرّك في مثل هذه الأمور». لكن مسرحيّة الادعاء انتهت هذا الصباح. فعلى ذمة الوزير، حين كان المدعي يهمّ بادعائه في مخفر أنطلياس، جاء خبر موتها إلى المخفر «فغادر المدعي فوراً إلى المستشفى». لا أحد يعرف بعد كيف فاته أن يدّعي، وكيف وصل الخبر بهذه السرعة القياسيّة إلى هذا المخفر بالذات. حتى الوزير نفسه لا يعرف. يعرف أنه «ليس هناك حق عام ويجب أن يكون هناك ادعاء». لكن، فليصدّق الشعب: «ستتابع التحقيقات». في أية حال، يخالفه وزير العمل، سليم جريصاتي. أهم ما يتبنّاه الوزير، والمتابع القانوني، أن «الحق العام تحرّك ولا يمكن إغفاله». وهذا يناقض «نظرية» قرطباوي تماماً، ويطرح سؤالاً جديّاً آخر، عن جدوى قدوم الدبلوماسي «الشبح» إلى المخفر، ورحيله بسرعة من دون ادعاء. واستطراداً، يستلزم التناقض بين رجلي القانون سؤالاً آخر: أين التنسيق؟ «التنسيق موجود»، يجزم جريصاتي.
على الشعب أن يصدّق «دولة» أؤتمنت على عاملة، فماتت هذه بعد أيام. ليس من حلّ آخر الآن. الشعب والدولة متورطان بسمعتيهما. ماتت آلِم أشِسا عن 34 عاماً، بعد شهرين على وجودها في لبنان فقط. في نهاية المطاف، توزيع المسؤوليات من صلاحيّة القضاء، على أمل أن تكمل النيابة العامة تحركها، قبل أن تستسلم بقية العاملات لهذا الجحيم. وفي هذا الإطار، تقذف زميلة لآلِم غضبها في وجه الجميع: الأمن العام مسؤول لأنه لم يتابع تفاصيل حياتها في منفى دير الصليب. قوى الأمن الداخلي مسؤولة لأنها لم تحمها من الضرب على قارعة الطريق. وزارة العمل مسؤولة لأن تحرّكها كان فارغاً من مضمون الحماية، واقتصر على تأليف البكائيات. وزارة العدل مسؤولة عن البطء. المؤسسة الإعلاميّة التي بثت التقرير «غير إنسانيّة»، كما أنها مسؤولة لأنها أجلت التقرير 13 يوماً، لتبثّه بمناسبة «يوم المرأة العالمي». أرادته بمثابة «سكوب». لكن «السكوب» الحقيقي حدث أمس. اكتشف اللبنانيون سمعتهم مجدداً. لا مسؤول واحداً يُسأل ماذا فعل بالعاملة. رغم وجود قتيلة يجب أن تتغير حياة المسؤولين عن موتها. يجب ألا تعود حياتهم كما كانت. لقد قتلوا عاملة.

Alem Deseisa today is the victim of your mute devils


This is the english translation of the below response by Ali from ARM.
*****

It's been always really hard to explain how a girl, a migrant domestic worker ends up committing suicide. And what makes it harder is when this girl is killed and then claimed that she had committed suicide in order to protect the Lebanese employer from legal prosecution.

In the Anti-Racism Movement, we have been trying hard to follow up these kind of incidents, and each time we end up hearing the same news: "An alien domestic worker had committed suicide by jumping out of a balcony, or burned herself or hanged herself in Mahala al-Jadeedah.

In the Anti-Racism Movement we always try to verify the news and get to the bottom of it and try to search for the answer in the building where the incident took place, then we ask the neighbors and the surrounding shops on whether they have spotted the "suicided", then we head to the police where answers should be provided. But the answers are not given, and we go back to the employer to try to know the answer why she had committed suicide.

Each time we do this. Sometimes where we get lucky to get answers from the employer or obtain the standarized police report, the result would always be the same:

"An incidence of suicide had been reported to the police, where the police had attended to verify the incident with the presence of the coroner who submitted a medical report that he had found no signs of violence, rape nor struggle so he concludes that it's a suicide incident." And what's so strange that none of the lifeless bodies are examined for toxicity, unless it's asked from the doctor by someone who would pay the $200 cost of this test, but not the state of Lebanon. And so the case is closed after this amazing report and the embassy or the consulate is requested to permit the transfer the deceased body back to her homeland.

Three years and we had been exposed to the same situation and same report. Three years and not a single thing has changed. Only one new thing has been done: once in the Police report: "… a body of a Nepali domestic worker from Africa…"!

No change in the media, its coverage of this situation or its amount of attention regarding this same issue. No change in police actions and its professional investigation that it carries out in each of the cases. No change in embassy or the consulate in protecting their right in staying alive. And No one changes anything.

Today another domestic worker died. But today the sorrow in me is not only because another lost innocent soul, but also because you all knew who she was, and witnessed her death. And with your silence you have participated in her murder. You murdered her when you didn’t demand a law to protect her, when you didn’t object for the resignation of a Minister who fought to cancel her slavery legal system called Kafala.

You murdered her when you saw how she was dragged by the hair and beaten in the middle of the street, and only found it enough to share the video on Facebook and object while setting in your comfortable houses on your fancy computers. You murdered her when you were racist to her sisters, when you forbade them from swimming in your pools, from shopping in you markets and from eating on your tables. You refused a weekly day off, you refused to eat their own food, you refused them practicing their normal life without affecting their duties towards you. You murdered her when you confiscated her passport and called her by her nationality not by her name. You murdered her when you didn’t pay her her salary, when you raped her and when your courts didn’t give her justice, when you made her sit behind for being ashamed of her sitting beside you. You killed her when you preferred sitting still in your relaxed house rather than doing action and demonstrating for her protection and when you didn’t support the law that guarantee her rights as a human being. You killed her when you dealt with the legal trafficking office that buys and sell the slaves. You killed her when you didn’t ask why she had committed this action to her soul.

Why would a woman who left her family thousands of miles away, leaving behind her house, her homeland, her friends, her kids and maybe her first love, borrowing thousands of dollars to come to Lebanon through many airports of Dubai, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria and then Jordan end up in Beirut airport? Sleeping on naked floors of airports, trapped in small unwelcoming waiting rooms only to get to Beirut, to be led and delivered as a goat. Brought to the trafficking office to be sold to the family that pays most and consider her as its own property.

Why did she commit suicide after going through all of these hardships to only work hard for couple of hundreds of dollars to be sent to her old mother and father or to her son and daughter to be able to have a decent life and education, or to her husband to establish a work that can elevate them from the hardships of the poverty or to her brother so that he won't go beg in the street, or to save enough money so that she would go back to her country to continue education?

Have you ever considered that she might have missed her family and never was she allowed to contact them?

Have you ever considered that she works 17 hours on daily bases with no rest?

Have you ever considered that she had not been paid her salary for two years where her father might be homeless her mother might be dead or her whole family might be strayed?

Or maybe raped?

Or beaten?

Or was forbidden from practicing her religion, tradition and culture?

Or had worked in three houses at one time ?

Never given the chance to visit her homeland through the three years of her work

Never been given food to eat more than once a day?

Slept on the naked floor in the balcony?

Aren't all of these enough reasons to commit suicide?

Haven't they killed her when they did all of this to her?

Does the Lebanese investigator need Sherlock Holmes to help him in finding the obvious?

Hasn't your indifference killed when you saw what happened to her and stood still as if nothing had happened?

You killed her three times, when you didn’t do her justice to her sisters, when you didn’t move a finger for her and when she died and you didn’t mention her name.

My grandmother had always told me: "those who are silent when there's injustice are mute devils."

Alim Deseisa today is the victim of your mute devils.

When will you decide that you will stop being accomplices?

If you don’t get angry now, when will you be ?

ARM Statement on Alem's Death


The tragic murder of Alem today should be a call to action. While her death is being called a "suicide" in the press, the conditions that led to it mark it as homicide. Alem is only the latest in a long line of migrant workers who travel across thousands of miles in search of a livelihood that will support their families. That same desire is what propels thousands of Lebanese to migrate to Europe or North America each year. Just as we do not condone the racism that Lebanese people experience abroad, racism that often leads to vicious attacks, imprisonment, and sometimes torture, we do not condone that behavior here.

By labeling Alem's death a "suicide" we remove our culpability in her murder. Everyone who stands by watching her brutally beaten and attacked by her sponsor is an accomplice in this murder. To call it "suicide" or to let Ali Mahfouz off the hook, the man seen in LBCI's video footage, for beating her in front of the Ethiopian embassy is to be complicit in her murder. The conditions that brought her to this point do not make Alem's case an anomaly. The fact that one migrant domestic worker dies every week in Lebanon illustrates that this is a pattern. It is a pattern based on racism, exploitation, and oppression. It is a system in which Lebanese people know that they can get away with these crimes against people who are darker than them, who they believe are inferior to them. 

In an interview with LBCI TV, Mahfouz rationalized his savage beating of Alem by stating she was "mentally ill," citing a previous suicide attempt as evidence. He further justified his brutal attack by stating she refused deportation (http://www.lbcgroup.tv/news/23390/lbci-identifies-the-man-who-abused-the-ethiopian-d). The International Labor Organization (ILO) cites several factors that contribute to identifying domestic work as forced labor, including: debt bondage, confiscation of identity papers, non-payment of wages to worker; physical confinement; threat of denunciation or deportation; lack of freedom to change employers; and deception and false promises concerning conditions of work (http://www.kafa.org.lb/StudiesPublicationPDF/PRpdf37.pdf). These conditions would be enough to make any one of us mentally unstable or suicidal. While we do not yet know the specific conditions to which Alem was subjected to, we do know that the fact that there is a system of abuse of migrant workers and a refusal to abide by treaties Lebanon is a party to such as the UN Trafficking Protocol. 

There are approximately 250,000 migrant workers in Lebanon at present, half of whom are undocumented. How many more of them will have to suffer the brutality of modern slavery before we do something? How many videos will we watch on Facebook or Youtube before we say enough? How long will it be before we challenge the racism that leads to the exploitation of those we hire to do the jobs that we are unwilling to do? How much blood are we willing to have on our hands as we sit by and watch yet another laborer's murder get labeled a "suicide"?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

RIP Alem Desisa متى تغضبون

لطالما واجهت صعوبة في شرح الأسباب التي تؤدي بعاملة وافدة إلى لبنان للعمل في الخدمة المنزلية للموت إنتحارا
والصعوبة الأكبر التي كنت أواجهاها هي عندما كانت الفتاة " تنتحر " أي تقتل و يلفق لها بعد مماتها أنها إنتحرت لحماية الموظف/ة اللبناني/ة من الملاحقة

دئبنا في حركة مناهضة العنصرية على رصد حالات الإنتحار بين الوافدات إلى لبنان وفي كل مرة يصلنا خبر موت إحداهن يكون معنون : "إنتحرت العاملة الأجنبية من التابعية الفلانية شنقا أو قفزا أو حرقا أو … في محلة الجديدة
تتحرك المجموعة في الحركة لتقصي الخبر وتبحث في المنطقة المذكورة عن المبنى التي توفيت فيه العاملة ومن ثم يتم محاولة سؤال الجيران والمحلات المحيطة عن مشاهاداتهم عن ال"منتحرة" من ثم نتوجه لمخفر الشرطة لطلب معلومات التي لا يعطونا إيها ومن ثم نرجع لنقرع باب الموظف لنسأله كيف ولماذا إنتحرت

وفي كل المرات التي كنا نفعل فيها ذلك وحتى عندما كنا نوفق في الحصول على تقرير الشرطة ومقابلة الموظف كان التقرير كما يقولون بالعامية: ستاندر 

يعني٫ يذكر التقرير أنه تم الإبلاغ عن حادثة إنتحار فحضرت القوى الأمنية وكشفت على الجثة بحضور الطبيب الشرعيالذي أعطى تقرير أنه لم يجد أي علامات عنف أو إغتصاب أو مقاومة مما يعني أنها إنتحرت

والمضحك أن أغلب الجثث لا تفحص لمعرفة إن كانت تحتوي على مخدر إلا إذا طلب من الطبيب ذلك وبكلفة تصل إلى مئتين دولار تدفعها الجهة التي طلبت ذلك لا الدولة اللبنانية.. ويغلق الملف بعد التحقيق الستاندر وتطلب من السفارة أو القنصلية منح الأذن لتسفير الجثة

ثلاثة سنين ونحن نطلع على هذه التقارير وفي ثلاثة سنين لم يتغير شيىء إلا إذا ذكرنا أن في واحد من التقارير الشرطة كتب : وقد وجدت جثة العاملة النيبالية من التابعية الأفريقية … 

..لا الإعلام تغير في طريقته في الإبلاغ عن الموضوع 
لا الشرطة حركت ساكنا للتحقيق بشكل مهني 
لا سفارات بلادهن أنصفتهن . ولا أحد حرك ساكنا … 

اليوم تموت عاملة أخرى 
لكن اليوم حزني هو على غير عادة 
لأنكم اليوم تعرفون من هي وشاهدتموها تموت 

اليوم كلكم بلا إستثناء قتلتموها 
..قتلتموها حين سكتم عن قانون لا يحميها.. قتلتموها حين لم تحركوا ساكنا عندما إستقال وزير كان يقاتل لإلغاء نظام إستعبادها القانوني المسمى كفالة.. قتلتموها حين هزئتم حين رئيتوها تسحل في الشارع وتضرب... قتلتموها حين إكتفيتم بالشير على الفايسبوك والإستنكار من وراء شاشات حواسيبكم.. قتلتموها حين عاملتم أخواتها بعنصرية.. حين منعتوهن من السباحة في مسابحكم... من التسوق في محلاتكم...  من الأكل على مائدتكم 
رفضتم إعطائهن يوم راحة أسبوعي.. رفضتم أن يأكلن طعامهن أن يمارسن حياتهن الطبيعية مع عدم التقصير في واجباتهن تجاهكم 

حين صادرتم جواز سفرهن... حين ناديتوهن بإسم جنسيتهن لا إسمهن الحقيقي 
حين لم تسمعوا شكواهن في مخافركم.. حين إغتصبن ولم تنصفهن محاكمكم 
حين لم تدفعوا لهن راتبهن أو سكتم... حين أركبتموهن المقعد الخلفي لسيارتكم لأنكم تستحون من جلوسهن بجانبكم 

قتلتوها حين فضلتم الجلوس في بيتكم ومع روتينكم عوضا عن النزول في تظاهرة مطلبية تطالب بحمايتهن 
حين لم تدعموا إقتراح أن ينضمن لقانون العمل 
حين قبلتم أن تأتي إليكم عبر خدمات ما يدعى بمكتب الإستقدام الذي هو مكتب بيع وشراء عبيد يتاجر بهن 

قتلتوها حين لم تسألو ما الذي دفع بها وبغيرها للإنتحار؟ 
ما الذي دفع إمرأة تركت عائلتها على بعد ألاف الآميال وتركت أولادها وبيتها وأرضها وأصدقائها وربما حبها الأول وإستدانت آلاف الدولارات وهربت إلى لبنان عبر مطارات دبي وقطر والسعودية ودمشق وعمان إلى بيروت ونامت على الأرض في المطارات وحشرت في غرف صغيرة في قاعات الإنتظار لتصل إلى بيروت وتساق كالغنم وتسلم ليد مكتب الإستقدام ليبيعها للعائلة التي تدفع آلاف الدولارات وتعتبرها ملكيتها

ما الذي دفع بهذه الإمرأة  للإنتحار وهي التي عانت من كل هذا لتعمل و تستحق المئتين دولار شهريا و ترسلها لأمها و أبها العجوز 
أو إبنها وإبنتها ليحصلو على عيش كريم ويدخلو المدرسة 
أو زوجها ليؤسس عملا يدفع عنهم شبح الفقر 
أو أخيها لكي لا يتسول في الشوارع 
أو لتتابع تعليمها حين تعود لبلدها الأم 

هل فكرتم أنه من الممكن أن تكون قد إشتاقت لأهلها ولم يسمح لها بالإتصال بهم؟ 
هل فكرتم أنها عملت لمدة ١٧ ساعة يوميا بلا هوادة؟ 
لم تقبض راتبها لمدة سنتين فتشرد ولدها أو مات وذل أهلها وضاعت فرص أمامها؟ 
إغتصبت ؟  ضربت؟
لم يسمح لها بممارسة معتقداتها وتقاليدها؟ 
عملت في ثلاثة بيوت؟ 
لم يسمح لها بالخروج مرة واحدة من البيت؟ 
لم يسمح لها بزيارة بلدها في فترة ثلاثة سنين؟ 
لم تأكل إلا مرة يوميا؟ 
نامت على البلكون و على الأرض؟ 

أليست كل هذه أسباب كافية للإنتحار؟ 
ألم يقتلوها عندما مارسوا كل هذا؟ 
أيحتاج الدركي اللبناني إلى شرلوك هولمز ليحقق في هذا كله وهو من البديهيات؟ 
ألم يقتلها عدم تدخلكم حين رأيتم واحد من هذه الأشياء تحصل أمام أعينكم وأكملتم حياتكم كأن شيئا لم يحصل؟ 


وعندما ماتت ألم تقتلوها مرة ثالثة؟ 
المرة الأولى عندما لم تنصفوا أخواتها
المرة الثانية عندما لم تحركوا ساكنا من أجلها
والمرة الثالة عندما ماتت لم تذكروا حتى إسمها؟

تقول لي جدتي الساكت عن الحق شيطان أخرس
عاليم ديسيسا اليوم هي ضحية شيطانكم الأخرس
متى ستقررون أنكم لن تشاركو في الجريمة بعد الآن؟ جريمة الشيطان الأخرس؟
إن لم تغضبوا الآن فمتى تغضبون؟ 

علي فخري- حركة مناهضة العنصرية-


Tragic News


The Ethiopian woman abused in broad daylight by a Lebanese man last week and caught on amateur video has reportedly committed suicide, according to media reports.
Lebanese television network, LBCI, reported the woman, whose identity has not yet been confirmed, killed herself at Deir El Saleeb mental hospital in north Beirut.
The woman was allegedly a domestic worker for the Lebanese man who physically assaulted her in front of the Ethiopian embassy.
The LBCI report claimed the woman had been interned at the mental hospital days after the following video of her assault went viral online.
 *******
Mind you. We still do not know her name.