After hearing this, Mr. Shaheen confronted the MEA employee about her racist behavior and was completely brushed off. This compelled him to share the incident on Facebook where the story got the media attention needed to bring awareness to this issue. In the BBC Arabia interview below with Abed Shaheen, Public Works Minister Ghazi Al Aridi stated that strict actions will be taken, including termination of the offensive employee.
Terminating that individual is not enough. I sincerely hope the following actions will be taken:
1. The ignorant and racist MEA employee sends a personal apology to each and every Filipino person she offended, then gets fired.
2. The Airlines and MEA Ground Staff should be held accountable and plan a training strategy for all staff members on respect and good customer service, since clearly this concept doesn’t exist in their corporate culture.
3. As a further apology to the humiliation the Filipino travellers endured as a result of the actions of the MEA staff member, the airlines should award all these travellers free First Class tickets to the destination of their choice.
This incident is just the tip of the iceberg of the blatant racism and ignorance towards other people in Lebanon. I am sick and tired of Lebanese people saying, “We are Lebanese, we are superior, we are the best, we are better than them [whoever they may be]” because it is bullshit.
It is time the awareness of people evolves by introducing tolerance and respect training programs in schools, universities and organizations. It is time the laws change to protect migrant workers in Lebanon. It is time we stop saying we are better, and start acting like it.