By October 9, 2012 1 Comments

Welcome To My Country: Foreign Bastards!

Recently in the news in Lebanon is an uproar against some members of staff from Middle East Airlines (MEA) who at the airport mocked Filipino and Nepalese migrant workers, asking them to ‘shut up’ over the p.a system.  The announcement resonated throughout the airport and was repeated with other derogatory remarks and further abuse.

A Lebanese passenger approached the female staff member who made the announcements and expressed his dissatisfaction with her attitude and rather than diffuse the situation, she, along with other colleagues counter attacked him.  They made it brutally obvious and vocal and in no uncertain terms that ‘these people’ are not welcome on board the flight anyway.

Unfortunately for MEA we live in the age of social media and technology and so the news spread like wildfire.  At the same time, other stories have now started to emerge from the woodwork and Lebanon finds itself in the limelight yet again, but sadly for the wrong reasons.

This is a blow to Lebanon because the Lebanese by nature are very proud of their heritage and culture and the appearance of a ‘perfect’ Lebanon unscathed and above all nations and cultures is paramount.  Now, an ugly side has reared its head and caused major embarrassment and as the waves ripple far and beyond, the Lebanese are finding themselves in an awkward position.

Racism is commonplace in all societies and cultures.  Racism has no colour, nationality or religion.  It is a ‘defect’ in the making of all humans, part ignorance, part fear and part plain stupid.  As we evolve, ignorance stands out like a sour thumb as well as those who harbour it, eventually feature on the internet such as the case of the MEA employee.

Why would any migrant worker leave their paradise, their family and loved ones and come to Lebanon?  It is poverty that brings them to Lebanon.  They clean our streets, they cook, they tend to our children and our homes… Many of them have learnt our language, our culture and some of them cook our dishes far better than we do.   They pray with us, mourn with us and they share our joys and tears.  They are our brothers and sisters, God’s creation.  We are no better than them any more than they are lesser than us.  They too hurt when beaten, they too hurt when raped and they too hurt when abused.  They hurt just like we did throughout the 27 years of war.

I do not believe the racist employee at MEA should be sacked.

I believe a more fitting punishment would be for her to be sent to any of the migrant workers’ countries where she is made to do volunteer work for their community for a year.  Not only to learn to serve those who had once served her but also to observe and learn humility.

She may even discover the exceptional beauty that countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Ethiopia, Philippine, etc.. have to offer.  Maybe then, she will understand the desperation that leads the migrant workers to leave their countries, their families and cultures and why they come to our countries for work.

It is not embarrassing to be poor or even desperate but the lack of compassion and humility certainly is.

Sri Lanka













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1 Comment on "Welcome To My Country: Foreign Bastards!"

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  1. Love Crete says:

    Garo, This is so well thought out! It could be said about any of our nations! The reality is that when our comfort zones shrink, as in our world in this recession, our minds seem to close, too, or “shrink”. And as minds are like parachutes, they work best when they are open. 🙂 THANK YOU!

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