Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lebanon: Discrimination against blacks and maids in Swimming pools

Earlier today, I was shocked by a disturbing report about discrimination against blacks and maids in swimming pools in Lebanon. Lebanon is reportedly on the fringes and at times at the heart of the Middle East conflict and it's one of the most complex and divided countries in the region. News reports about the conflict surrounding the creation of Israel and the volatile situation in the region have completely eclipsed untold human rights violations, including discrimination and racism, suffered by minorities in Lebanon. Discrimination and racism against blacks and maids is rampant in Lebanon.

While the international community focuses on how to foster peace and stability in Lebanon and the Middle East, minority groups such as blacks and Asians and other under privileged individuals such as maids (mostly from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia) battle discrimination, oppression and abuse in Lebanon.

Following numerous complaints about growing discrimination against blacks and maids in swimming pools and beaches in Lebanon, two activists, armed with a hidden video camera, staged a visit to a beach (Sporting Beach Club) in the capital of Lebanon - Beirut - to uncover alleged blatant discrimination against blacks and maids in the facility. The video footage of their visit is shocking and shames us all. WATCH...

It is hard to believe that this happened in July 2010; not 1950!

People should not be excluded from swimming pools because of race, skin color, social class, gender or social status.

It is disturbing that maids and people of African descent are not allowed to access recreational facilities. But even more disturbing is the fact that some facilities have signs that are reminiscent of the apartheid era in South Africa and the hostile environment against blacks in the U.S. in the 1950s. The signs expressly state who/what is not allowed in the facility. A sign posted in a Beirut swimming pool for instance prohibits radios, cameras, MAIDS, etc.

The impunity with which these swimming facilities operate is alarming.

Racism, segregation and class stratification has no place in modern society. The unity government of President Michel Suleiman should make a move in the right direction and restore the dignity of the many blacks and maids who face discrimination in swimming pools in Lebanon.

Join the Anti-Racism Movement in Lebanon on Facebook and take a firm stand against racism and discrimination.

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