Racism in Beirut Airport – Lebanese People Stop Talking

I am sure many of you heard about the recent racist incident that took place in Beirut Airport, as witnessed by Abed Shaheen. An employee of the Middle East Airlines ground staff at the gate announced on the airport loud speaker “Filipino people stop talking” directing her ignorant filth at a group of Filipino travellers [full story].

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.

Lebanon Leaves Lady GaGa Speechless

As a Lady GaGa fan, the news that Born This Way Album was banned in Lebanon for being “offensive to Christianity” upset me. As a Lebanese, I am outraged!

Free speech is one of the few basic rights we still have in Lebanon. Once again, the Lebanese government has found a way to throw that out the window too.

Here’s a novel idea: If you don’t like Lady Gaga, DON’T BUY THE ALBUM!

If you don’t want to hear it on the radio, change the channel to something more in line with religious principles, like “Dakhilo Allah Ilsilicon” or the classic “Il3ab il3ab”, or maybe you prefer songs like Rihanna’s “come here rude boy boy is you big enough”, or Enrique Iglesias hit “But Tonight I’m Loving You (original version: But Tonight I’m Fucking You). Oh wait, all these songs, much like most of the TOP 10 songs, promote excessive drinking and promiscuity. How about you turn off all radio stations Lebanon?! Or maybe the radio should just blast Muslim, Christian, and Hindu religious hymns and sermons across all the stations.

As much as I find the Neanderthal Mohamad Iskandar’s song “Joumhouriyet Albi” archaic and offensive, I would never want it to be banned. I can just choose to not hear it, hate it and criticize it.

The double standards in Lebanon have got to stop. Lebanon tries to portray the idea that we have more freedoms than other countries in the Middle East, but clearly we have a long way to go to becoming a civil state. In the meantime, I will enjoy my Lady Gaga album on itunes.

Update: Looks like the album has finally been released in Lebanon. Was it something we said? 🙂

Check out the Daily Star article for more details.