Monday, March 31, 2014

عنصريّة إلكترونيّة لبنانيّة ضد اللاجئين السوريّين


 فقد عمد البعض إلى تسخير وسائل التّواصل الاجتماعي، أو حتّى المواقع الإلكترونيّة، لتوجيه الإهانات للاجئين.
افتتح حملة العنصريّة هذه عدد من السّياسيين اللبنانيين الذين برّروا الأمر بأحاديث عن الدّيموغرافيا وتأثيرها على الحصص السياسيّة في لبنان، فيما برّره البعض الآخر بالحرب على "الإرهاب" والتّطرّف.
شارك الإعلام اللبنانيّ في الحملة. تارةً نجدُ تقريراً يصوّر السّوريين جميعاً على أنّهم متسوّلين، وطوراً نقرأ تحقيقاً يحدّثنا كيف تسبّب اللاجئون السّوريّون بارتفاع الأسعار وغلاء المعيشة، أو حتّى ارتفاع معدّل "العنوسة"! لكنّ وسائل الإعلام ليست الواجهة الوحيدة للعنصريين. ففي أيلول الماضي، كتب الملحّن والموسيقي اللبناني ميشال ألفتريادس، على حساباته على مواقع التّواصل الاجتماعي: "أنتَ لاجئ في بلادي، خفّف كزردة على الطّريق، عم تعمل عجقة سير". تسبّب هذا الأمر بدوّامة لا متناهية من الثّناء والاستنكارات في وقت واحد.
لا يمكن اختصار الممارسات العنصريّة اللبنانيّة بما كتبه ألفتريادس بالطّبع، لكنّ كلماته شكّلت وقتها صدمةً بالنّسبة للنّاشطين في مجال حقوق الإنسان. فأعدّت حملة "مكافحة العنصريّة في لبنان" شريط فيديو يتحدّث عن المشكلات التي يعاني منها لبنان، والتي تسبّبت بها ممارسات الدّولة اللبنانيّة وليس الوجود السّوريّ. وتختم صبيّة لبنانيّة الفيديو (1:54 د) قائلةً: "إذا كانت دولتي لا تستطيع القيام بواجبها، فمسؤوليّة ذلك تقع على عاتق سعادته ومعاليه وفخامته، فلا ترمي تقصير دولة على اللاجئين. عيب"، لتظهر في آخر الشّاشة جملة "المشكلة ليست في اللاجئين، المشكلة فينا".
وخلال الأسبوع الماضي، عاد الحديث عن العنصريّة إلى الواجهة، بعدما ظهرت صفحة على "فيسبوك" تحت عنوان: "النازيّون الجدد في لبنان لرفض الوجود السّوري". وكتبت الصّفحة، والتي لم يتخطّ عدد المعجبين بها على الموقع الأزرق المئة وخمسين شخصاً، شتائم بحقّ الشّعب السّوريّ بأكمله. "نحن نازيّون وعنصريّون مع الشّعب اللبنانيّ فقط. هم لا يهمّهم الفقراء في لبنان، ولا يكترثون لأجلهم"، كتب القيّمون على الصّفحة. وسألوا: "إلى متى سوف يبقى المواطن اللبناني ضحية الإجرام السوري وإجرام الدولة اللبنانية وإجرام الأحزاب المستفيدة من الوجود السوري؟ إلى متى سوف نبقى في عار الانتظار إلى ما نهاية؟ ألم يحن الوقت أن ينتفض شعبنا اللبناني على كل مَن حوله من مجرمين وقتلة؟ إن الوجود السوري في لبنان يهدد لبنان شعباً وكياناً، فإلى متى سنبقى نلوذ صمتاً؟".
ودعت الصّفحة أرباب العمل في لبنان الى عدم استقبال العمال من التابعية السورية، وطالبت الأهالي بعدم السماح لهم بفتح محالّ تجارية. ووصفت السوريات جميعاً بالعاهرات. وبعد الحملات الداعية الى حجب الصفحة، أعيد فتحها تحت اسم: "الحملة الوطنية الشعبية ضد الوجود السوري في لبنان". كما تمّ إقفال حساب "تويتر" التّابع للصفحة نفسها.
الرّد على ذلك جاء من صفحة "ضد العنصرية في لبنان"، والتي اشتهرت بمحاربة العنصرية بحق العمال الأجانب، حيث كتبت: "أعزاءنا السوريين، نتمنى لكم إقامة طيبة في لبنان. ونعتذر عما بدر من بعض السياسيين والمواطنين العنصريين. كلامهم لا يمثلنا". كما قام عدد من النّاشطين اللبنانيين بالتقاط مجموعة من الصّور حاملين لافتاتٍ كُتبت عليها عبارات مناهضة للعنصرية،
فيما تعتمد مواقع التّواصل، كـ"فيسبوك" و"تويتر" و"يوتيوب"، معايير تعتبر من خلالها العنصريّة جريمة. تحصل كلّ هذه الجرائم الإلكترونيّة في لبنان بينما مكتب مكافحة جرائم المعلوماتيّة منهمكٌ بالتّحقيق مع ناشطين في مجال حقوق الإنسان وحمايته من الإهانة

Modern day slavery still present in Lebanon


It should not be “ordinary” that a migrant domestic worker is beaten, humiliated, and then raped, supposedly to discipline her, without much outrage. But this is exactly what happened a few days ago when an Ethiopian woman working in Lebanon as a domestic worker was beaten and violated.
We are still living in the era of slavery. Forget all the treaties, conventions, constitutions, laws, and all other principles that prohibit and criminalize slavery. The issue, first and foremost, is one of mentality, attitudes, and inherited beliefs that we do not seem to have truly cast away. Herein lies the crux of the matter.
Indeed, should it be normal for a migrant worker to be assaulted and raped by a man working at the employment agency that recruited her – to discipline her, as it has been said – without any outcry by all those concerned? Shouldn’t this be seen as an assault on everybody’s human dignity, and not just the Ethiopian woman’s violated body?
The incident in question took place in the town of Kousba in the North Lebanon district of Koura a few days ago. Some will say, as usual, that this case is “small change” compared to the killings taking place in and around Lebanon, so why should it be reason for much an uproar? But absent from their minds perhaps is the fact that what has happened in Lebanon and nearby countries was all motivated by freedom and dignity.
In other words, do those who care little for the dignity of vulnerable people in their care, such as migrant workers, deserve to demand and champion dignity elsewhere? If not, then how credible are their intentions when advocating any other cause?
The secretary outside heard the whole thing and did nothing, as though what was happening was the “norm.”
The Public Relations Division of the Internal Security Forces could have not carried the news in a dedicated statement, and kept it instead under wraps like many daily incidents. But Lieutenant Joseph Msallem decided otherwise, and circulated the story to the media.
“Because this is no ordinary incident, publicizing the story is a message to all those thinking about abusing domestic workers. For this reason, we asked every domestic worker or those who can help them in similar situations to contact us on our hotline,” Msallem explained.
Al-Akhbar managed to obtain more details regarding the incident that were left out of the ISF’s statement. This is while bearing in mind that the investigation is still ongoing, and more details are expected to come to light soon.
The incident began when a woman, who is in her seventies, lodged a complaint concerning her Ethiopian maid identified as B.A. (33 years old) with the employment agency that recruited her. The agency’s office is located in the northern town of Kousba, and is run by a Lebanese woman, who is a lawyer.
Apparently, the owner was not present at the office, so the elderly woman lodged her complaint with the secretary there, identified as L.S. (24 years old), in what appeared to be a routine procedure.
In truth, if the mentality of some Lebanese had not been skewed in the first place, the whole issue would not have been more than an ordinary dispute between an employer and an employee. But we are talking about a migrant worker here; a “slave” for all intents and purposes, given the attitudes towards them in Lebanon. The difference with traditional slavery, however, is that this is all regulated, effectively making it a legalized “slave market.”
The secretary insulted and verbally abused the domestic worker, saying things like “why do you not understand, animal,” and “I will show you, cow.” And true to her word, she “showed” her. L.S. called in another employee in the agency, who principally works as a driver, but it seems he also has another job: He “disciplines” migrant workers at the office.
The man came into the office, and took over abusing her from the secretary, before he took her to another room in the office. She started screaming as he battered her. The secretary outside could hear everything, but did not intervene, as though it was all part of the routine procedure.
He used his belt to beat her. How reminiscent of the whip that slaves throughout history were beaten with, as though some people refuse to let go of that horrid past.
A forensic doctor subsequently examined the migrant worker, and found bruises on her body, including on her “private parts.” According to sources familiar with the investigation, the man allegedly became sexually aroused while assaulting her, and raped her. She was thus “disciplined,” and asked to “obey her mistress,” and told that if she doesn’t, then her punishment would be repeated.
Interestingly, the domestic worker had the consent of her employer when she filed a report with the judicial police in Tripoli later. This begs the question: how many domestic workers were subjected to the same – if not worse – kind of treatment, without anyone knowing about it, because they could not report it to the law enforcement agencies? How many of these workers know the way to the police station anyway?
Luckily for the victim, Judge Ghassan Bassil was on shift at the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the time. Nearly a year ago, Bassil had ordered the detention of a couple for assaulting a migrant worker.
Upon examining the allegations regarding the rape of the Ethiopian maid in Kousba, he decided the driver and the secretary at the employment agency should be taken into custody, according to Al-Akhbar’s sources.
In her statement to investigators, the domestic worker mentioned certain physical marks belonging to the suspect, to confirm that he had taken off his clothes during the incident, before the forensic doctor’s report was filed. The investigation is ongoing, and will be forwarded to the investigating judge, meaning that there is a possibility the owner of the employment agency could be summoned to establish whether similar incidents had occurred in the past.
Perhaps this incident, in addition to similar ones in the past, will help shed light on the operations of employment agencies that bring in migrant workers to Lebanon. According to experts, there is no direct oversight in place over these agencies’ activities, which necessitates a plan by the Ministry of Labor to regulate and scrutinize their operations. It is not logical, experts say, to wait for domestic workers who are subjected to assault or rape to bring charges with the security forces before taking action.
It is worthwhile here to ask what is the role of the union of these employment agencies in protecting domestic workers, in the presence of a widespread culture of “slavery” that does not seem to be on its way out any time soon in this country.
Finally, it may be necessary to reiterate to all those concerned on some of the guiding principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, specifically the text of the first article: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
It may also be useful to quote the first paragraph of the preamble to the declaration: “Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Understanding racism against Syrian refugees in Lebanon

Again, it's good to re-share this every once in a while to put things in perspective for some.
On Daleel Madani

***

A Syrian refugee, when asked how Lebanon was treating him, lamented and said:

“How is it treating me? It isn't treating me, it treats my money. Because of the nature of my job (veterinarian) I'm dealing with middle upper class Lebanese who only make their judgments based on money. They see that I'm here spending, and they see that I too come from the middle classes so they don't show as much bigotry as it is normally the sentiment against us (Syrians) in Lebanon”.

The end of Lebanon’s civil war was marked by a more direct hegemonic role of the Syrian regime over the country’s political and economic spheres, with a high level of complicity from the Lebanese rulers with the Syrian regime. This status quo allowed the Syrian regime, on one hand, to escape the economic stagnation the country faced,[1] through the open borders policy, allowing scores of Syrian workers to come to Lebanon in search of jobs. On the other hand, it gave the Lebanese ruling class and its contractors access to cheap labor, without providing them with any rights, in the large reconstruction projects that were initiated by the government in the early 1990’s, after 15 years of civil war.

Resentment against the Syrian regime’s control over Lebanon grew in the post-civil war years, yet this discontent was easily channeled through the dominant discourses into an unchallenged (neither by the Syrian or Lebanese State, nor by the majority of civil society organizations and political parties in Lebanon) xenophobic and racist sentiments against Syrian workers. They became stereotyped and stigmatized as “ignorant” and “menial” workers. Although it was exactly this Syrian labor force that rebuilt Lebanon in the post-war era.

The ongoing popular uprising that started in Syria in early 2011 especially after the oppressive response by the regime, has now turned into an all-out war across the country. As a result, a high number of Syrian citizens fled their country into Lebanon. Yet, and in contrast to the previous composition of the Syrian community that was present in Lebanon before 2011, this new influx introduced new and different segments of the Syrian population into Lebanon, such as the Syrian upper and lower middle classes. These newcomers found striking similarities with the Lebanese middle classes. However, the majority of refugees is still composed of Syrian workers and the urban and rural poor.

The multi-class composition of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has challenged pre-existing xenophobic sentiments and stigmas, as the starting quote mentions: “They see that I'm here spending, and they see that I too come from the middle classes so they don't show as much bigotry as it is normally the sentiment against us (Syrians) in Lebanon”. However, it only does so on a class basis. The Syrian middle classes are able, in effect, albeit to a small extent, to escape the stigmatization, which is becoming more and more focused and concentrated on poor and working class Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

At the same time, the influx of Syrian refugees is also shaping contradictory sentiments among the wider populace in Lebanon. On one side there is an element of basic sympathy, which can be identified through a diverse scope of activities such as Lebanese families hosting refugees in their homes or property, as well as basic support like clothing and food in different regions and locations in cities and villages. As a 50 year old woman comments, contemplating that issue of basic sympathy: “It is unethical to blame the refugees for the problems we are facing, they had no choice in coming here, they are running from war, like we ran before them from the [Lebanese] civil war”.

On the other side, there are the dominant discourses propagated by leading political forces and elites, along with their affiliated media stations. They have been actively scapegoating Syrian refugees and blaming them for economic, social and security failures in the country. These discourses are then replicated through the daily politics of individuals and groups, forging a xenophobic and racist popular culture against Syrian refugees.

MP Michel Aoun recently stated that the “Syrian refugees are a serious danger”, while Samir Geagea, the main figure in Lebanon’s Lebanese Forces, stressed on the 30th of August 2013, about “Lebanon’s inability to handle [The Syrian refugee crisis] more, and that a viable solution needs to be put in place, and the only solution is to establish safe zones within Syria’s borders under international protection.” Moreover, Marwan Charbel, Lebanon’s internal security ministerdeclared on February 28th 2013 that the “Syrian refugees are threatening the security situation in Lebanon”. Other major political forces in Lebanon, like Hizbullah, Amal, Jumblatt's PSP (Progressive Socialist Party), and Hariri’s Future Current mostly stressed the Humanitarian aspect of the “Syrian refugees Crisis” in Lebanon, but have refrained from countering any of the racist and xenophobic discourses, in the political and media spheres and even among their base of supporters and cadres.

The scapegoating discourse does not spur out of a natural inclination towards racism. Rather, it signals a deep crisis that the Lebanese state and its ruling elite have been facing since 2005.[2] More recently, it became galvanized by the crisis faced by the Syrian regime and the consequent influx of refugees, which has uncovered Lebanon’s ruling elite’s inability to manage the rising needs within society and the calls for reform.

Social dismay in Lebanon also started to accumulate around 2011, exacerbated by a history of corruption and conflicts, in the absence of any real and concrete plans of economic and social development and reform. The past two years witnessed a short-lived social mobilization against sectarianism and a prolonged mobilization and strike movement by the Trade Union Coordination Committee, in addition to localized protests, such as the electricity workers’ open strike. Added to that was the rising pressure from civil society forces for equal rights for women and other social issues. This led the Lebanese State and major political forces in the country to actively try to escape that pressure by attempting to channel existing popular resentment against the State towards a xenophobic and racist victimization of poor Syrian refugees.

To simply say that the Lebanese are naturally racist is shortsighted. This over-simplification tends to overlook factors that concentrate and divert people’s frustration against their own regime, towards scapegoating and discrimination against Syrian refugees. In order to discern this process of diversion or deflection, the role of Lebanon’s media institutions needs to be interpreted and the manner in which they shape people’s general understanding and consciousness of the world around them and its contradictions.

On August 6th, 2013, a news article published by An-Nahar newspaper, a Arabic Lebanese political daily, mentions that:

“The worker and craftsman from Akkar already suffers from a tough economic hardship and shrinking job opportunities. They are being forced between the hammer of a human feeling, sympathy with the displaced Syrians, and the anvil of the reality of living difficulties. The Syrian seasonal workers have become today's workers and permanent residents working in various business available in Akkar”

The author in this paragraph summarizes the problematic of this article. First, he manages to establish an unquestionable status quo in Akkar by saying it “already suffers from a tough economic hardship and shrinking job opportunities.” He then suggests that what is galvanizing these hardships is also another unquestionable fact, which is the taking over of jobs by the Syrian refugees, who are “already registered as refugees and are benefiting from international, Arab and local aid”.

The author fails to mention the reasons of economic stagnation in Akkar, North of Lebanon, which has been witnessing a serious lack of attention from the Lebanese State especially in terms of socio-economic development. A study conducted by Mada Association in 2008 notices the following about the area:

“In 1998, Akkar accounted for 12.5 percent of the total number of deprived individuals in Lebanon, with 63.3 percent of the families in the region living in poverty and 23.3 percent of them in extreme poverty. Preliminary results of the 2004 mapping using the same living conditions index show that Akkar continues to have the highest share of poor households in Lebanon.”

From another side, the author also fails to mention the reasons why Syrian refugees, who are “receiving aid,” as he states, are in dire need of finding jobs. He also fails to ask whether the provided aid is actually enough to sustain the Syrian refugees, who did not flee to Lebanon by choice, but were rather forced to do so due to the ongoing violence in Syria.

Oxfam, an international humanitarian organization, carried out a Fair Share Analysis of Donations to the UN Syria Crisis Appeal, September 2013 and deduced the following:

“Research carried out by international aid agency Oxfam reveals that many donor countries are failing to provide their share of the urgently-needed funding for the humanitarian response to the Syria crisis. While the need for a political solution to the crisis is as urgent as ever, Oxfam says donors including France, Qatar and Russia, must also prioritise funding the UN’s $5 billion appeals.”

By omitting these facts, the author, on one hand, leaves the reader with the conclusion that people in Akkar are communities who, in order to make a living, need to fend for themselves, without showing the shortcomings and responsibilities of the State or the region’s elected MPs. On the other hand, he suggests that Akkar’s residents, although living a tough reality, they were generally doing ok, until the Syrian refugees arrived to the region.

This method of diversion is prevalent in Lebanese media reporting. In an article published by Assafir newspaper on September 4th, 2013, which could be read as a feel-good story about the refugees. However, the story’s conclusionfocuses on the negative sentiments that sum up refugees as a nuisance and alien to the “Lebanese way of life.”

“The large number of motorcycles, though making life easier for Syrian refugees, has become an ample curse for the local population in the villages. The movements of dozens of motorbikes in villages have annoyed their residents, who in turn complained about the annoying sounds in narrow streets and alleys, in addition to the smoke that is emitted from each motorbike. This urged local authorities and security forces to control their movement, by setting specific limited hours for their movement.”

Although the author mentions the reasons why Syrian refugees use motorbikes, as it has a low cost compared to the high costs of local transportation systems in Lebanon, he misses the fact that the use of motorbikes is also a prevalent means of transportation, for the same reasons mentioned above, for many Lebanese from working class or poor backgrounds. Instead of tackling the question of transportation, facing both poor Lebanese and poor Syrian refugees alike, which is by all means the responsibility of the Lebanese State and ruling elites, the issue is thus diverted into an unresolvable dilemma presented in the concluding comparison, portraying quaint Lebanese villages versus the noise and nuisance that is caused by Syrian refugees on motorbikes.

Another example of this method of reporting can be found in an article published on April 19th, 2013 by Al-Akhbar newspaper, another Arabic, Lebanese political daily. The author seems to have just discovered or is re-discovering Souk Al-Ahad (The Sunday Market). The author observes, based on the present businesses and the crowds in the Sunday Market, that the Syrian refugees are now:

“changing landmarks in Beirut and its daily routine and Sunday market has had the lion's share from this change”.

Yet this market has been historically one of the most visited places by poor working class Lebanese and Syrian and other migrant workers alike. But the author neglects that fact by saying that, before the Syrians came, it was a “quiet” shopping area. When one of the stall owners mentions the real problem of the continuous rising of stalls’ rent prices by the market’s Lebanese management:

“Mohamad denies the increasing number of stalls in the market is a result of the influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, and explains it on the basis that the price of a stall in Souk Al-Ahad is U.S. $175 per week, with raising prices permanently put up by the market management.”

The author fails to pursue this issue, but continues to generally describe the Lebanese stall owners’ reaction to Syrian customers and vice versa.

The article overlooks the effects of rising rent prices and the reasons behind the hike in product prices, which many of the author’s interviewees mentioned in the article. One woman is reportedly saying: “Are Lebanese used to pay such prices or where they hiked just to welcome the Syrian visitor?” The author simply focuses on the antagonism that exists between Lebanese and Syrians, inadvertently contributing to the portrayal of an embedded racism, without showing who are the ones responsible or pulling the strings and fueling such racism.

The use of the word “Lebanese prestige” at the beginning of the article, to describe an assumed slow or quiet movement in the market before the influx of Syrian refugees, hints at a certain assumed bourgeois character of Lebanese citizens. It is then re-established by describing the “Lebanese corner” of the market, as being similar in shape to the bourgeois streets of downtown Beirut, compared to the popular character of the other stalls (where the author does not really say whether they are Lebanese or Syrian).

The missing facts and questions for understanding the antagonism rising within the politics of this market are many. Who is the Lebanese management? Why did it hike the rent prices?,What were the reasons behind the rent hike? How did that impact the prices of goods sold in the market? Who was affected? How did that play in fueling or driving antagonistic sentiments between Syrian and Lebanese shoppers and stall operators?

Falling into the same problematic of media reporting in Lebanon when dealing with the question of racism against Syrian refugees is the continued focus on reporting “racist behavior,” whether in support or in condemnation. Either way, it is being enforced as the media fails to look into what drives it, what encourages it, and what are the conditions that are nourishing its propagation within society.

All in all, those responsible for economic policies in Lebanon, the establishment of working and accessible transportation systems, the management of markets, such as Souk Al-Ahad, are all outside the picture the media reports when tackling questions related to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The reader is left with two conclusions; either the Lebanese are inherently racist, as a unchanging fact, or Syrian refugees are greedy workers who steal jobs from poor Lebanese citizens.

The examples of media reporting on Syrian refugees in Lebanon are many and most follow these two stereotypes in one way or another. On rare occasions, articles point to the structural causes and the political environment that effortlessly manage to divert existing genuine resentment against the harsh conditions people face in Lebanon, through scapegoating “foreign elements.”

This culture of diversion, if it may be called as such, is not new. It has been a longstanding accompanying discourse of Lebanon’s ruling elite, in building their own political hegemony and preserving their rule. The ills of Lebanon are always relegated to being the result of interference of “stranger” and/or “foreign” elements. This is exceptionally true in the dominant discourses interpreting the causes of the long civil war that destroyed the country between 1975 and 1989, following which the ruling elite declared a general amnesty and resorted to explain the civil war as a result of the interference of “Palestinians” or “Syrians” in local Lebanese affairs. It was enough to divert attention from the real causes of the war, the State’s sectarianism being one of the major causes.

Yet this scapegoating is never done on the level of interfering governments or rich Arab and foreign interventionists. Quite the contrary, it has always been directed against migrant workers, refugees, workers, and the poor. It is exactly this economic or class element of this culture that is worrying. The opening quote of this article mentions that “it [Lebanon] treats my money”, making Lebanon a safe haven for the rich and, at the same time, a punitive establishment for the poor. The punishments is incited through sectarianism and racist and xenophobic strife and conflict.

In an environment of economic scarcity, hardship, and poverty, questions about who is more poor and more needy, among the poor, is directly and indirectly attempting to hide a more important and more crucial question, which is why do Syrian and Lebanese, whether in Lebanon or in Syria, have to live in poverty and hardship? In the mean time, projects for constructing billion-dollar shopping malls and sky-high expensive resorts and buildings are ongoing in different places around the country. It is that culture of not questioning poverty and scarcity,that allows and drives the development of racism, sectarianism, and xenophobia.

As a result, it is the poor and the refugees who pay the price and they learn to replicate the same discourse within their own interpretations of reality:

“We have covered larger sections of Lebanon and we have become too many to the extent that the Lebanese cannot tolerate us any longer. They have also increased their authority and control over us at work. Even some of them have stopped paying us our salaries. The hard living conditions are not the only reasons that make Syrian refugees line up at the doors of UNHCR, but also because in Lebanon they don’t feel that they are outside the Syrian crisis. Everyone in Lebanon wants to know where we are from, who we belong to. or who we support. This way, the Lebanese choose to deal with us based on our backgrounds”. Nasser fled with two generations from his family, all wanting to reach the West. It doesn’t matter which country they go to, what only matters is to get out of here. Nasser tells al-Akhbar newspaper on October 16th, 2012.

Stories and news reports about Syrian refugees in Lebanon are abundant in Lebanese media. Stories covering the refugees seem to cover almost all aspects of being a Syrian refugee in Lebanon. However, they are always portrayed in majority as having a “turbulent” effect on Lebanese society, without actually looking to the already existing turbulent conditions in the country. The fact that Syrian refugees are being coerced towards a refugee status is similar to that which many Lebanese faced during the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon or the Civil War. But it is mostly neglected or only used to justify support for the regime or segments of the opposition in Syria. It does not purport to show the striking similarities in hardships, oppression, and exploitation that both Syrian and Lebanese face, while living under the existing ruling orders; the continuous state of stagnation of reforms that both the Syrian and Lebanese regimes are facing; or the effects this stagnation has in terms of exacerbating social and civil injustices.

The media commands how people understand and interpret reality to a large extent. Thus, if the space is left for a shortsighted or deflected explanation of reality, this contributes, in one way or the other, to diverting people’s focus away from the real problems. Thus, it creates a culture of misinformation, which contradicts the democratic culture that the media presumably contributes to developing.

In conclusion, civil society organizations in Lebanon cannot continue treating Syrian refugees in Lebanon through a strictly humanitarian lens. They must be mindful of the prevailing discourses that shape people’s opinions about refugees. They should also systematically counter that discourse by putting pressure on media institutions, in addition to the State, and by developing alternative discourses. This could win people outside the racist and sectarian discourses and lead to a focus on real issues that people face and the shared experience both Lebanese and Syrians are facing and have faced in the past, in their struggle against exploitation and survival under oppression, exploitation, wars, and social injustices.

Friday, March 28, 2014

حياة العاملات الأجنبيات في لبنان: اضطهاد واغتصاب.. وانتحار

وتضيف "عملنا هذا وكفاحنا من أجل رفع الظلم والحيف بحق العمال الأجانب لم يدفعنا له إلا حرصنا كلبنانيين على تحسين صورة لبنان والسعي للقضاء على هذه الظاهرة الخطيرة حتى يظل لبنان بلد الانفتاح والتسامح والحضارة".

Full link

The Qatar World Cup Is a Total Disaster

Slate


130203061-arab-men-sit-at-a-shoemakers-stall-with-a-replica-of
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is slated to be played in Qatar.
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
This post originally appeared in Business Insider.
A report from the International Trade Union Confederation says 1,200 migrant workers from India and Nepal have died in Qatar since the country was awarded the 2022 World Cup.
The ITUC estimates that 4,000 migrant workers will die by the time the first game is played in 2022. The report is in line with recent death numbers from the embassies of the two countries.
The Nepalese embassy in Qatar reported last month that 400 Nepalese workers had died working on World Cup projects since 2010. The Indian embassy reported that 500 Indian workers had died in Qatar since 2012. There are 1.4 million migrant workers in Qatar, the ITUC reports, many of whom are now tasked with building the infrastructure necessary to host a World Cup from scratch.
From the ITUC report:
Whether the cause of death is labelled a work accidents, heart attack (brought on by the life threatening effects of heat stress) or diseases from squalid living conditions, the root cause is the same–working conditions.
A Qatari World Cup organizing committee strongly denied the validity of the mortality numbers reported by the ITUC. The committee told the WSJ in a statement:
The International Trade Union Confederation’s statement that our standards have no credible enforcement mechanism is hence both incorrect and misleading. We know that there are issues. While this process of change is not something that can be achieved overnight, we have the will and the commitment to see it through.
Workers at the Lusail City construction site told the Guardian that their bosses have withheld pay, forced them to work in 122-degree heat with no rest for food, and confiscated their passports to make sure they don't leave the country. Combine those complaints with squalid living conditions, and some are calling the situation in Qatar"modern day slavery."
In February, the Qatar World Cup committee released a new charter outlining increased standards for pay and labor conditions for workers. FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger said in a statement that the organization will look into the claims:
As the organiser of the FIFA World Cup, FIFA acknowledges its responsibility to look into human rights issues in the host countries of its flagship event. We will continue to look into this matter and work with all stakeholders so that feasible and sustainable solutions are found.
The Qatar World Cup committee is facing criticism about everything from the heat to the legitimacy of the vote that award them the event.
FIFA will vote in 2015 on whether or not the tournament will be moved to winter to avoid the oppressive summer heat—a decision that would have far-reaching implications for professional leagues and TV contracts. Qatar initially promised to hold the event in summer by using space-age cooling systems but quickly abandoned that stance.
More importantly, there's a new report from the Telegraph that says ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner is being investigated by the FBI for taking a $2 million payment from a Qatari company shortly after the 2022 World Cup vote. The company in question is owned by a man who was given a lifetime ban from FIFA after being found guilty of bribery charges.
FIFA's decision to hold the World Cup in Qatar was criticized from the beginning. In the three years since they won the right to host the event, Qatar has done little to change that widespread skepticism.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Interview on discrimination and its forms

«الجلّاد» يؤدّب «العاملة الأجنبية»... باغتصابها

ليس «عادياً» أن تُغتصب عاملة أجنبية، بعد ضربها وإذلالها، بحجّة تأديبها، ثم لا ينتفض كل من يعنيه الأمر. حصل ذلك قبل أيام، حيث هُتكت روح عاملة إثيوبية، وديست كرامتها الإنسانية
محمد نزال
ما زلنا نعيش زمن الرقّ. دعكم من كل المعاهدات والاتفاقيات، كل الدساتير والقوانين، كل النواميس التي تحظر العبودية وتعاقب عليها. المسألة في الرأس أولاً، في الذهنية والعقلية، في الموروث المتأصل، الذي لا يبدو أننا غادرناه بعد... هنا المسألة قبل أي مكان آخر. هل من «العادي» أن يمرّ خبر اغتصاب عاملة أجنبية، بعد ضربها وإذلالها، على يد «رجل» يعمل في المكتب الذي «استقدمها» من الخارج، بهدف «تأديبها» كما قيل، ثم لا يضج المعنيون بالخبر؟
ألا يمسّ هذا الكرامة الإنسانية، للجميع، قبل أن يمسّ جسد تلك العاملة الإثيوبية المدمّى؟ حصل ذلك في بلدة كوسبا - الكورة (الشمال) قبل أيام. سيخرج من يقول، وهذا بالمناسبة يخرج باستمرار، إن هذه القضية «بسيطة» مقارنة بكل ما نراه من جرائم قتل في لبنان، وخارج لبنان، وبالتالي لماذا نتوقف عندها؟! يغيب، ربما، عن بال هؤلاء أن ما حصل، وما يحصل، في لبنان ومحيطه، إنما هو من أجل «الحرية» أو «الكرامة» (وفق مختلف الأيديولوجيات). فبالتالي، هل من لا يخشى على كرامة إنسان ضعيف عنده، كعاملة أجنبية، تراه يكون مستحقاً لهذه الكرامة في مكان آخر؟ وعندها أي قيمة يبقى لـ«نضاله» في أي قضية أخرى؟


كان بإمكان شعبة العلاقات العامة في قوى الأمن الداخلي أن لا تورد الخبر، في بيان مستقل، وأن تبقي عليه طيّ الكتمان ككثير من أخبار الحوادث اليومية. ولكن كان للمقدم جوزف مسلّم رأي آخر. فعلها ونشر الخبر، معمماً إياه على وسائل الإعلام، لأن «القضية ليست عادية، وبالتالي هذه رسالة إلى كل من يفكر أن يستضعف فئة العاملات، ولهذا طلبنا من كل عاملة أو من باستطاعته مساعدتها في الحالات المماثلة، أن تتصل أو يتصل بنا على رقم الطوارئ لمتابعة الأمر». خيراً فعل مسلّم.
ثمّة ما لم يرد في بيان قوى الأمن، لكن علمته «الأخبار» لاحقاً، وإليكم الرواية كما حصلت، علماً أن التحقيقات لم تنته بعد، وبالتالي يُنتظر أن تظهر معلومات إضافية بعد. بدأت القصة عندما تذمرت سيدة سبعينية، من عاملتها الإثيوبية ب.ا. (33 عاماً). اصطحبتها إلى المكتب الذي استقدمتها منه، الكائن في بلدة كوسبا الشمالية، وتديره سيدة لبنانية، وهي محامية. يُقال إن الأخيرة لم تكن في المكتب، فشكت السيدة العجوز عاملتها إلى السكرتيرة، وهي ل.س. (24 عاماً)، في طريقة بدت اعتيادية. ليس مهماً، هنا، الخلاف بين السيدة العجوز والعاملة لديها؛ فهذا بالأصل، لو كانت الذهنية سليمة إنسانياً، فإنه ما كان ليخرج عن إطار خلاف عادي بين موظف وصاحب عمله. لكن الحديث هنا عن «عاملة أجنبية»، أي تلك «العبدة» المكرّسة كذلك، بمفعول رجعي، نتيجة أعراف بالية معمول بها في لبنان. إنه «نظام الكفالة» وتوابعه، الذي يجعل من تلك العاملة «عبدة» أو «أمَة»، ولكن هذه المرة ـ وبأفظع مما جاء في أنظمة الرق القديمة ـ تُسبغ عليه الشرعية لنصبح أمام «سوق نخاسة» تحت ظل القانون!
أهانت تلك السكرتيرة العاملة. قرّعتها بكلامات قاسية. طبيعي هنا أن نسمع عبارات من قبيل «ليش مش عم تفهمي يا حيوانة»، أو «أنا بفرجيكي يا بقرة». وبالفعل، لقد «فرجتها». اتصلت بأحد العاملين في المكتب المذكور، ووظيفته بالأصل سائق خصوصي، ولكن يبدو أن لديه وظيفة أخرى. ما هي يا تُرى؟ إنه الذي «يُربّي» العاملات الأجنبيات في المكتب. إنه الشخص الذي يأخذ دور «المطاوع» هنا. حضر على وجه السرعة، وراح «يبهدل» العاملة ويهينها، قبل أن يدخلها إلى غرفة منفردة في المكتب. راحت تصرخ، وهو يضرب، تصرخ أكثر فيضرب أكثر، والسكرتيرة في الخارج تسمع كل شيء، وكأن هذا هو «العادي» هناك. استخدم حزام وسطه في ضربها. كأنه ذاك السوط، الذي لطالما جُلد فيه العبيد على مر التاريخ، في صورة نمطية يأبى البعض جعلها من الماضي. عُرضت لاحقاً العاملة على طبيب شرعي، فأثبت وجود كدمات على جسدها، واللافت وجود كدمات في «المناطق الحساسة». لقد ضربها على أعضائها الجنسية. الكارثي في الأمر، بحسب المتابعين، أن ذاك «المتوحش» أعجب بجسد العاملة أثناء ضربها، اهتاج من عنفه على جسدها، فقرر اغتصابها، وهذا ما كان. لقد تم «تأديبها» أخيراً. طُلب منها أن «تسمع كلمة معلمتها»، وإلا فستنال العقاب ذاته كل مرّة. تُرى، أي روح بقيت في تلك العاملة؟ إن فعلت، غداً، ما يُخالف القانون، فهل من سيلومها؟ تحديداً إن لم ينصفها القانون، في معاقبة الفاعلين، فهل هناك من يمكنه أن يضع عينه في عينها إن فعلت ما لا يُرضي القانون؟
كان لافتاً أن العاملة هي التي ادّعت لاحقاً بما حصل معها، أمام مفرزة طرابلس القضائية في وحدة الشرطة القضائية، بمعرفة السيدة التي تعمل لديها. هذا يطرح سؤال: كم عاملة حصل معها الأمر نفسه، وربما بما هو أفظع، ولم يعلم بأمرها أحد؛ لأنها لم تدّع أمام القوى الأمنية؟ هل يُتصور أن هؤلاء العاملات يعرفن طريق المخافر؟ من حُسن الحظ أن القضية حصلت بالتزامن مع مناوبة القاضي غسان باسيل في النيابة العامة. باسيل، الذي كان أوقف قبل نحو سنة رجلاً وامرأة، بتهمة ضرب عاملة أجنبية، وجد أن ضرب العاملة في كوسبا بالطريقة المذكورة، فضلاً عن اغتصابها، يستدعي بكل راحة ضمير أن يوقف الموظف في المكتب (الجلاد) والسكرتيرة أيضاً. هذا ما نقلته إلى «الأخبار» مصادر حقوقية متابعة للقضية. في إفادتها أمام المحققين، ذكرت العاملة علامات فارقة في جسد الذي اعتدى عليها، لتأكيد أنه نزع ثيابه في تلك الأثناء، قبل أن يأتي تقرير الطبيب الشرعي ويشير إلى الأمر. التحقيق مفتوح الآن، وسيُحال على قاضي التحقيق، بما يعنيه ذلك من احتمال استدعاء صاحبة المكتب، لمعرفة إن كان ما حصل «عادة ثابتة» أو حادثة. ربما شكلت الحادثة التي حصلت، فضلاً عمّا سبق من حوادث مشابهة، مناسبة لإعادة النظر في طبيعة عمل تلك المكاتب المُستثمرة في «استقدام العاملات الأجنبيات». الخبراء في هذا المجال يؤكدون أن لا رقابة مستمرة على تلك المكاتب، ولا على آليات عملها بنحو مباشر، ما يستدعي وضع خطة من قبل وزارة العمل للتفتيش باستمرار؛ إذ لا يمكن انتظار كل عاملة مغتصبة، أو معتدى عليها، حتى تدّعي بنفسها أمام القوى الأمنية. ومن المفيد السؤال هنا عن دور نقابة هذه المكاتب المذكورة، وأي دور لها في حماية العاملات، في ظل ثقافة «استعباد» لا يبدو أنها في طريقها إلى الاندثار في هذه البلاد البائسة.
ربما بات لزاماً، هذه الأيام، أن يُردد على مسامع من يعنيهم الأمر مبادئ الإعلان العالمي لحقوق الإنسان، تحديداً نص المادة الأولى منه: «يولد جميع الناس أحراراً متساوين في الكرامة والحقوق، وقد وهبوا عقلاً وضميراً، وعليهم أن يعامل بعضهم بعضاً بروح الإخاء». كذلك سيكون من المفيد التذكير بالفقرة الأولى من ديباجة الإعلان المذكور: «الاعتراف بالكرامة المتأصلة في جميع أعضاء الأسرة البشرية، وبحقوقهم المتساوية الثابتة، هو أساس الحرية والعدل والسلام في العالم».

And in english on the Daily Star.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lebanon’s Domestic Workers Committee commemorates both Women’s and Mother’s days by demanding better working conditions

Migrant domestic workers in Lebanon call on the government to grant them their rights in line with international standards during a celebration of both Women’s and Mother’s days.

(ILO)

BEIRUT (ILO News) – The Domestic Workers Committee (DWC) at the National Federation of Employees and Workers in Lebanon (FENASOL) commemorated International Woman’s Day and Mothers’ Day by demanding better working and living conditions for migrant domestic workers (MDWs) on Sunday (March 23) at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon. The DWC is the first milestone reached towards the goal of collective migrant domestic workers’ organisation in Lebanon and the Middle East.

Gemma Justo, a founding member of the DWC from the Philippines, demanded the Government of Lebanon grant domestic workers their rights in accordance with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “We can be the key to changing perceptions about migrant domestic work in the whole region. We can also be the voice that speaks to our governments to implement programmes for migrant domestic workers before they leave their countries of origin,” said Justo who also advocated for domestic workers to be granted the right to organise and join unions in Lebanon.

With the support of the ILO, the event was organised by the DWC in order to empower the Committee to develop its capacity and eventually operate as an independent syndicate under FENASOL. The ILO also expressed its willingness to continue its efforts to protect the rights of domestic workers in Lebanon with the support of the Lebanon’s Ministry of Labour, and NGO’s as well as workers and employers.

“We will continue to work with our tripartite partners to improve the situation of migrant domestic workers and lobby for a regulatory environment that guarantees and promotes their rights,” said Frank Hagemann, the ILO’s Deputy Regional Director for the Arab States. “We hope that this support will soon contribute to the Domestic Workers Committee becoming a formal syndicate recognised by the Lebanese authorities.”

“I would like to salute every [female] migrant domestic worker residing in Lebanon working for a Lebanese family," said Mounir Al Deek, speaking on behalf Sejaan Azzi, Lebanon's Minister of Labour. "I have a major role to ensure her rights and protect her from any violation, which is why I will address the issues [raised] with officials at the Ministry of Labour,” said Al Deek.

Castro Abdullah, the Director of FENASOL, also called out for equal treatment of domestic workers in Lebanon emphasising their right to organise within trade unions.

ILO support for the DWC falls within the framework of “Promoting the Rights of Women Domestic Workers in Lebanon (PROWD),” a project funded by the European Union.

Lebanon has yet to ratify the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and the ILO Freedom of Association and Protection of the Rights to Organize Convention, 1948 (No. 87).

البحث في جنس الملائكة: السوري لاجئ أم نازح أم ضيف؟


رأى بعض المشاركين أن «الدولة اللبنانية» تصرّ على إعطاء السوريين صفة «النازحين» تهرباً من المسؤوليات القانونية التي ترتّبها صفة «اللجوء» عليها. وقالت القاضية رنا عاكوم في المؤتمر إن «السوريين يمارسون اللجوء، إنما لا يتمتعون بصفة اللاجئ الفلسطيني». قاطعها أحد المشاركين بالقول «إن اللاجئ هو كل شخص عبر حدوداً دولية، وهو معرض لخطر الاضطهاد والموت في بلده، وبناءً عليه إن السوريين لاجئون شاء من شاء وأبى من أبى». وعند احتدام النقاش طرح أحد الحاضرين فكرة الاقتداء بالمثل التركي ووصف السوريين بالـ«ضيوف».
وقال الأمين العام للمركز اللبناني لحقوق الإنسان وديع الأسمر، إن الهدف من المؤتمر يتركز على إيجاد إطار قانوني واضح لحماية اللاجئين السوريين. وأوضح لـ«الأخبار» أن عدم توقيع الدولة اللبنانية على اتفاقية عام 1951 الخاصة بأوضاع اللاجئين، أتاح التعامل مع اللاجئين السوريين على أساس الصيغة التي تعاملت بها الدولة مع موجة لجوء العراقيين إلى لبنان عامي 2003 و2004. ورأى أن ما يزيد وضع السوريين تعقيداً هو تفاقم الأزمة في سوريا وتضاعف أعداد اللاجئين إلى لبنان وانقسام مكونات الدولة اللبنانية. لذلك «نجد وزيراً يريد إنشاء مخيمات خاصة للاجئين، ووزيراً يرفض».

Envoy: Bangladesh more than migrant workers

There is more to Bangladesh than its migrant worker community, its newly appointed Ambassador AFM Gousal Azam Sarker said.

ثقافة العنصرية

عمر قدور

لعلنا لا نبالغ أخيراً إن طالبنا باستغلال هذه المناسبة للتركيز على تجريم العنصرية قانونياً، وهو مطلب لا يخص لبنان وحده بل يجب تعميمه في المنطقة كلها لأن انتظار المبادرة والوعي الذاتيين لا يكفيان لمحو آثار ثقافة عامة غير بريئة أصلاً من شبهة العنصرية.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Domestic Work, Labour and Art

An event bringing together artists, activists, academics and domestic workers to discuss the value and visibility of domestic work, the situation of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and intersections of art and cultural and domestic work.

Contributors include:

Houda Kassatly - photographer, anthropologist, activist and associate researcher at the interdisciplinary research unit on memory (UIR memoire) at the Saint Joseph University.

Ray Jureidini - Associate Professor of Sociology at the Institute for Migration Studies at the Lebanese American University.

Rana Boukarim - Program Director at Anti-Racism Movement and Migrant Community Centre.

Snacks and coffee will be served.

The event is free but booking is essential:
alicja.rogalska@gmail.com

Plein Air is a series of discussion-based events taking place in various locations initiated and organised by artist Alicja Rogalska.

Event picture credit: dismagazine.com

Thursday, March 27 at 6 pm at MCC

Event link

Sunday, March 23, 2014

أصوات سورية ضد مهرجي التلفزيونات


 "هل برأيكم أن عملاً يتناول اللاجئين اللبنانيين العام 2006 أو العدوان الإسرائيلي على لبنان كان سيعدّ عملاً فكاهياً او مثيراً للضحك؟" سؤال وجهته "رابطة الصحافيين السوريين" الى قناة "أل بي سي"، إحتجاجاً على السخرية من مآسي النازحين في برامج "كتير سلبي شو" الكوميدي. مستوى النقد في رسالة "الرابطة"، المخفف الى أدنى مستوياته، لا يقارب هول ما تقدمه البرامج الكوميدية اللبنانية من سخرية وتهكم وإهانة للنازحين. وعلى اي حال، هي لغة لبنانية سائدة، شرعت لها تصريحات السياسيين التي يقارب بعضها العنصرية في محاكاة واقع السوريين. 
كان "الإستكش" الذي سخر من زيارة أنجيلينا جولي الى مخيمات النازحين في البقاع اللبناني، القشة التي قسمت ظهر البعير. إيحاءاته الجنسية، لا يمكن حصرها في السخرية. هي إهانة للممثلة العالمية، وللسوريين بحد ذاتهم. مرّ السكتش مرور الكرام على الشاشة. وشاهده على "يوتيوب" ما يقارب الـ6 آلاف شخص. ضحكوا وسخروا أيضاً. وحُمّل تأييداً من الجمهور بما يتخطى أي اعتراض أو تململ. اللبنانيون هذه الأيام، ينقسمون الى ثلاثة حول النازحين السوريين: مؤيدون لحق السوري في اللجوء، وآخرون يعارضون اللجوء بوصفه "عبئاً إقتصادياً وإجتماعياً وأمنياً على اللبنانيين". أما الفئة الثالثة، فهي فئة العنصريين. 
وليس التهكم ضد السوريين، مقتصرأ على اللاجئين، ولو أن منسوب السخرية إرتفع بشكل كبير بعد بدء موجة النزوح الى لبنان. هذه النقطة غابت عن بال "رابطة الصحافيين السوريين". التهكم على السوري، نازحاً  كان أم عسكرياً، نظامياً أم معارضاً، هي ثقافة موروثة عند شريحة لبنانية تتعاطى بفوقية مع السوريين، منذ الوجود العسكري السوري في لبنان. كلنا يتذكر إسكتشات "الكعك"، وأخرى تناولتالمخبرين السوريين.. وصولاً إلى طبقة الفقراء والبسطاء والمزارعين. تنامت الظاهرة إلى حد كبير، بفعل تأييد سياسيين لبنانيين كانوا يعارضون دمشق في وقت سابق. وتكرست بتعزيز فكرة التعاطي مع النازح، بنظرة دونية. 
ولم يكن النازحون، في بداية الأزمة السورية، مادة دسمة للتهكم. إقتصرت السخرية في برامج كوميدية لبنانية، على الفعل الثوري، وعلى مقاربة النظام للأزمة. البرامج  والمسرحيات الكوميدية، تعاطت مع الأمر بوصفه امتداداً للنقد السوري الذي طال دمشق بعد خروجها من لبنان. بقيت السخرية في أطرها المقبولة. أثارت ضحك المشاهدين. عُرضت على "المستقبل"، و"أم تي في" و"أل بي سي". تمّت مقاربة التهكم، من زاوية شبيهة للمقاربة التهكمية للواقع السياسي اللبناني. كلاهما في الخانة نفسها. لكنه لم يسخر من النازح السوري كإنسان مضطهد، هرب من بلاده بحثاً عن مأوى. 
هذا الواقع تبدّل مع ارتفاع منسوب الحديث عن الأزمات اللبنانية نتيجة لأزمة ازدياد عدد اللاجئين السوريين الى لبنان. شرّع السياسيون اللبنانيون مرة جديدة مادة تطاول على جراحات إنسانية، بوصف اللجوء عبئاً. شخصيات سياسية من تكتل "التغيير والإصلاح"، وشخصيات من حزب "الكتائب"، كانت رأس الحربة في دق ناقوس الخطر. النقيضان، فتحا الباب أمام نقيضين إعلاميين للسخرية. وكما ترد الإسكتشات على "أو تي في" البرتقالية، فإن اسكتشات موازية تبث على "أم تي فيو"أل بي سي". توازن السخرية، تحوّل الى حفلات مزايدة، بهدف حصد أكبر شريحة من المشاهدين. 
وطالت السخرية زيارة أنجيلينا جولي الى لبنان، في برنامج "كتير سلبي شو". وبعد بث "الإسكتش" في حلقة 27 فبراير/شباط الماضي، بعثت "رابطة الصحافيين السوريين" برسالة إلى إدارة قناة "ال بي سي" تحتج فيها على صورة السوريين كما تظهر في برنامجها "كتير سلبي Show . إعتبرت أنها تسخر من عذاباتهم والمأساة التي يتعرضون لها، وتسخر حتى ممن يساندهم من رموز عالمية، كما في احدى الفقرات التي تجعل من مهمة زيارة نجمة هوليوود أنجلينا جولي للمخيمات اللبنانية "زيارة عهر"، علماً أنها سفيرة النوايا الحسنة للمفوضية السامية للأمم المتحدة لشؤون اللاجئين.

1898004_685540221510319_1021116182_n.jpg

وقالت الرابطة إن الرسالة أرسلت إلى إدارة "أل بي سي" قبل أسبوعين، لكنها لم تتلقَ جواباً. هذا الأمر إستدعى نشرها في حسابها في "فايسبوك". ورأى الرابطة أن الفقرة "تتخذ من النازحين السوريين مادة للسخرية والتهكم، وحولت مكان نزوحهم إلى مكان لا أخلاقي، وذلك من خلال مشهد يتعرض للممثلة العالمية إنجلينا جولي على أنها تمارس الرذيلة في بيوت النازحين، كون هذه الممثلة قامت بواجب إنساني لم يقم به الكثير من الفنانيين الذين يحملون لقب "سفراء النوايا الحسنة". 
واعتبرت الرابطة أن المحطة "لم تراع جراحات النازحين وعذاباتهم، ولا ظروفهم القسرية التي وجدوا أنفسهم فيها مكرهين ومشردين عن عوائلهم وبيوتهم الكريمة التي كانوا يقيمون فيها بأمان"، علماً أنها ليست المرة الأولى التي يتطرق فيها هذا البرنامج بالسخرية من الشعب السوري، فقد سبق وتهكم أيضاً في حلقات سابقة على الشهداء السوريين، من خلال حلقة جاءت بعنوان "النشرة الجوية السورية". 
وقالت الرابطة: "تناولت حلقات هذا البرنامج مآسي الناس وانكساراتهم وأحزانهم وجعلتها مادة للسخرية والتندر لإضحاك المشاهدين، بينما الجرح السوري ينزف بألم من أفواه الأطفال والنساء وكبار السن والرجال والشباب. فلم يميز الدمار بين الأعمار ولا بين التوجهات السياسية. وسألت: "هل برأيكم أن عملا يتناول اللاجئين اللبنانيين عام 2006 أو العدوان الإسرائيلي على لبنان كان سيعدّ عملاً فكاهياً أو مثيرا للضحك؟"
ورأت الرابطة "أن الظروف التي تمر بها سوريا اليوم، تتطلب من الإعلام وقفة إنسانية"، آملة "أن تكون وسائل الإعلام العريقة هي منبر هؤلاء الضعفاء، توصل أصواتهم للعالم، لا أن تغرز نصلها في جراحاتهم لتعمقها"، معربة عن خشيتها من أن "يعمل الإعلام على توريث الكراهية والحقد للأجيال المقبلة في دول الجوار، في حال استمرت هذه الممارسات". وطالبت "أل بي سي" بوقف هذه الفقرات "التي تتهكم على الشعب السوري بنازحيه وشهدائه ومشرديه".

وكان ناشطون سوريون، بينهم عدنان فرزات، طالبوا "أل بي سي" بالإعتذار، و"عدم إعادة بث هذه الفقرة ولا أي فقرة من هذا القبيل في المستقبل"، متوعداً بالتصعيد "إعلامياً وإنسانياً". وقال: "نحن صوت الخيام وساكنيها ضد مهرجي الإستديوهات".

Friday, March 21, 2014

I, too, am Oxford.

We love beautiful initiatives like this one:)














<3

الحملة الداعمة للسوريين بوجه العنصريّة

وبوجه الفاشية ومشتقاتها...

من يقف بوجه "الإستعباد" في لبنان؟




"بدّي وِحْدِة ما تتوقحن وتطلب تضهر الأحد، وإقدر خللي جواز سفرها معي". هذه الشروط الأهم التي يضعها مقدّمو طلبات استقدام الخادمات من المكاتب. أما الجواب فيكون "إذا استرجت تعذّبكن بتردولنا ياها دغري".

هذه هي العقلية السائدة في لبنان تجاه العاملات الأجنبيات، فهُنّ خادمات أقرب ما يكُنّ إلى العبودية. ومن هذا المُنطلق قال المُجتمع المدني كلمته بتأسيس جمعيات وقيادة تحركات مناهضة للعنصرية وللإجحاف الحاصل بحق العاملات الأجنبيات.

وتزامناً مع اليوم العالمي لمكافحة التمييز العنصري اليوم الجمعة 21 آذار، ظهرت إلى الواجهة قضيّة "استعباد" ست أفريقيات (توغوليتان، غانيتان، وعاملتان من بوركينا فاسو) في النبطية من قبل صاحب مكتب استقدام العاملات، أقدم على ضربهن واحتجازهن.

وتمكنّت عاملتان منهما من الاتصال بالموقع الأفريقي Koaci، الذي أورد تقريراً مفصلاً عن وضع العاملات الأفريقيات بعد محاولتهن مغادرة منازل مستخدميهن.

وممّا جاء في التقرير أن المدعو صافي كمال، صاحب مكتب لاستقدام الخادمات، احتجز العاملات وأبرحهن ضرباً، لأنهنّ لم يُعجبن مستخدميهن، ووصف الموقع لبنان بالبلد الذي "يعتبر ذوي البشرة السوداء "درجة ثانية" من البشر".

وقالت إحداهن للموقع المذكور: "نحمل شهادات، وقيل لنا إننا سنجد فرص عمل في لبنان وها نحن نتحول إلى عبيد".

وفي هذا الصدد كان لموقع NOW حديث مع الناشطة في جمعية Anti Racism Movement فرح سلكا، التي أعلنت أن هناك اجتماعات ستُعقد ابتداءً من يوم الاثنين المقبل للبحث في ملف هؤلاء العاملات.

ولتسليط الضوء أكثر على ملف العاملات الأجنبيات، ودور المجتمع المدني الذي يقف وحيداً بوجه هذه الممارسات التي تُشوّه صورة بلدٍ بأكمله، في نشر التوعية ضد النظرة العنصرية تجاه هذا "الآخر"، شرحت سلكا أهداف التجمّع قائلةً: "هو تحرّك أنشأه نشطاء من المجتمع المدني، بالتعاون مع قيادات فاعلة من مجموعات العمال الأجانب، نعمل على التوثيق والتحقيق، وفضح الممارسات العنصرية في لبنان ومحاربتها من خلال مبادرات مختلفة تستهدف وقف ممارسات التمييز والاستغلالية ضد العمال الأجانب تحديداً".

وأضافت سلكا: "يعاني أكثر من 250000 من العمال الأجانب في لبنان من قوانين العمل وممارسات التمييز، مثل نظام الكفالة، و"الاستعباد" خلال العمل المنزلي، لأن قانون العمل اللبناني هو نظام كفالة أو نظام رب العمل، لذا فالعامل المهاجر هو مُلكٌ لربّ عمله".

وتابعت سلكا أنه ومع "اشتداد حدة الصراع في سوريا وتزايد أعداد النازحين، ارتفعت البلاغات عن قضايا التمييز العنصري بحق السوريين، وبات التركيز ينصب اليوم على الانتهاكات والممارسات العنصرية التي يتعرّض لها هؤلاء".

إلا أن العامل عموماً، وبالأخص الأجنبي، يتعرّض للاحتيال من قبل مكاتب الاستخدام في بلاده التي تعطيه معلومات مغلوطة حول شروط العمل في لبنان، وعند وصوله يُسلّم جواز سفره إلى رب العمل الذي غالباً لا يعيده إليه إلا لدى عودته إلى بلده.

وعن كيفية مساعدة هؤلاء العمال والعاملات، توضح سلكا أن الحركة "تعمل على إبراز ومكافحة جميع أشكال العنصرية بغض النظر عن الجنسية، فنحن نولي اهتماماً بالسوريين والفلسطينيين والعمال المهاجرين وعمال المنازل، والسياح، والنساء المحجبات وكل من يشترك في قصة من هذا النوع معنا، ونسعى لإيجاد طريقة لتسوية وضعه اعتمادًا على كمية الأدلة التي نمتلكها عن القضية، إضافة إلى كوننا نعتمد عادة على شهادات من الناس، وهذا يكفينا في هكذا نوع من الانتهاكات".

وتُنظّم الجمعية لقاءات يومية وتعطي دروساً باللغة والكومبيوتر والحِرَف ودروس الدفاع عن النفس.

وقالت سلكا: "مع زيادة التعابير والممارسات العنصرية على البرامج التلفزيونية، والبرامج الحوارية، أو التصريحات السياسية، ارتفع منسوب الوعي ضد العنصرية، وبات رفض هذه الانتهاكات في المجتمع أكبر. وختمت: "كثير منا يرغب في التضامن مع الآخر عندما يكون في أزمة إنسانية وبحاجة للدعم بدلاً من إهانته وإذلاله، نحن بحاجة إلى عدد أكبر من الناس ليُساعدوا في تغيير العقلية العنصرية على المستوى الوطني".

Outcry at Nazi Facebook page vilifying Syrians

DailyStar
BEIRUT: Public outrage over a Facebook page titled “Neo-Nazis against Syrian Refugees,” led dozens to call for its closure Thursday. The Arabic page, which was launched in August 2013, features a profile picture of Adolf Hitler and a swastika, the symbol identified with the German dictator’s Nazi regime.

In inflammatorylanguage, posts demand the “purification”of Lebanon, calling for Syrian refugees to be expelled and lamenting the country’s socio-economic state.

The founder of the page describes the group as a “Nazi movement that is against the presence of strangers on Lebanese lands.”

“Let the vile Syrians leave Lebanon,” reads one post, which continues: “Lebanon is a nation for patriotic and honest Lebanese.”

“We demand the holocaust for the vile Syrians,” reads another.

Another promises “The Lebanese Nazi movement will continue to be a pioneer movement against the Syrian presence in Lebanon.”

Other posts, which included messages such as: “There is a woman whose dog has died, so she decided not to buy another one because the country is filled with dogs residing under bridges,” provoked strong reactions from rights groups.

Lebanon’s rampant unemployment was raised repeatedly in the posts, which attributed it to competition from Syrians. One read: “In Beirut, 330,000 jobs were lost for the Lebanese to Syrians, which is a great injustice. There is no one to protect us or give a damn.”

According to page statistics, users who visited the page were between 25-34 years of age. While the group appears to have peaked with about 141 “likes,” Anti-Racism Movement activist Farah Salka described its content as “very scary.” She is among many calling for its closure.

“What he says is no different from what some politicians say, but more people are doing something about it,” Salka said, referring to comments made by former Telecoms Minister Nicolas Sehnaoui, who said the issue of Syrian refugees was a matter of “preserving our being.”

In the past two days numerous concerned users have reported the site, according to Salka, but it was still running Thursday evening. A Facebook representative did not respond when asked by The Daily Star to comment on the page.

Salka claims to have identified the page’s founder, after he allegedly commented on an article in Al-Modon about discrimination against Syrian refugees. The article featured a photograph of a wall in Sodeco, Beirut, defaced with graffiti that read: “To every vile Syrian, leave.” In the comment, the individual claimed responsibility for the graffiti. When Salka tracked down his Facebook profile, she saw that the page was mentioned on his wall.

“We know there is racism and xenophobia, but this was the first time we saw it packaged in such an [explicit] form,” she said.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Witness: “I’m being held as a slave in Lebanon”

Translated to English by Joey on HummusforThought
(In french)

**

Ivory Coast-based Koaci.com has learned that 6 women are currently held in slavery conditions in Nabatieh, South Lebanon within a “Mafia-like” network. The following is a rough English translation of the original article in French written 3 days ago.

Two Togolese, two Burkinabé and two Ghanaian have been kidnapped for the past week [now 10 days] and have been severely beaten in Nabatieh, South Lebanon, we’ve learned following the testimony of the two who have been able to reach Koaci.com’s Ivory Coast office (The number is +225 08 85 52 93).

Everything started when they attempted to escape their condition after realizing that they were tricked by a recruiting network that works in the African continent to provide cheap domestic workers in a country with a culture that considers blacks like sub-humans as we have noticed in all African countries where these recruiters are located.

“I want to go home. They’ve taken me 3 times at the “Mafia bureau” [her words] to be corporeally punished because I’ve deemed living with ‘Madame’ to be intolerable”, one of them, a Togolese, told us Saturday night over the telephone whose phone was confiscated after her ‘Madam’ found out she called us. “They’ve slapped me severely and have punished me physically numerous times before taking me to an old house with other women, also kidnapped, who wanted, like me, to stop working at their ‘Madam’. She’s 24 years old.

Since then, it has been impossible for us to remain in contact with our contact, who contacted us on this number: 00961 76 527 363. She also told us that on the 12th of March (last week), she met 5 others in the “bureau”, place which apparently serves as base for these operations.

“They’ve sold us in this country” she told us while crying, adding: “we have school and university diplomas and we were told that we were simply going to work here, but they made us slaves.”

When we asked her about the network, the victim had time to give us a name: a certain Safi Kamal who, according to her, is the head of the network. He apparently responds to the following number: 00961 03 764 569 [I confirm that that name is associated with the number via TrueCaller]. When we tried to contact him, he immediately hang up on us as soon as we mentioned the victims.

An hour later, the second Togolese, no doubt motivated by her Koacinaute compatriot, tried to contact us from this number: 00961 76 894 434 [TrueCaller name: Ahmad Saad]. The conversation would last only 45 seconds when we heard men yelling and the woman’s “No! Don’t hit me!” before hanging up.

Here again, it would be impossible to stay in contact with the 2nd victim, aged 25 years old and from Lome.

Her last sentence would be: “I’m sorry. Please do something to let me be with my family in Africa.”

If African slavery in Lebanon which works by promising job opportunities isn’t new, the silence of authorities as well as of Human Rights NGOs is as worrisome as the victims’ pain.

Written by Akissi Kouamé

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

الحركة النازية اللبنانية ضد الوجود السوري في لبنان

عادي الموضوع يعني؟
رداً على مقال نضال أيوب في المدن اليوم، أنت سوري إذن أنت مشبوه.
أوقات كتير، عنجد، فالج لا تعالج.