Arab Spring has washed the region’s appalling racism out of the news

Robert Fisk writes: How many tracts, books, documentaries, speeches and doctoral theses have been written and produced about Islamophobia? How many denunciations have been made against the Sarkozys and the Le Pens and the Wilders for their anti-immigration (for which, read largely anti-Muslim) policies or – let us go down far darker paths – against the plague of Breivik-style racism?

The problem with all this is that Muslim societies – or shall we whittle this down to Middle Eastern societies? – are allowed to appear squeaky-clean in the face of such trash, and innocent of any racism themselves.

A health warning, therefore, to all Arab readers of this column: you may not like this week’s rant from yours truly. Because I fear very much that the video of Alem Dechasa’s recent torment in Beirut is all too typical of the treatment meted out to foreign domestic workers across the Arab world (there are 200,000 in Lebanon alone).

Many hundreds of thousands have now seen the footage of 33-year-old Ms Dechasa being abused and humiliated and pushed into a taxi by Ali Mahfouz, the Lebanese agent who brought her to Lebanon as a domestic worker. Ms Dechasa was transported to hospital where she was placed in the psychiatric wing and where, on 14 March, she hanged herself. She was a mother of two and could not stand the thought of being deported back to her native Ethiopia. That may not have been the only reason for her mental agony.

Lebanese women protested in the centre of Beirut, the UN protested, everyone protested. Ali Mahfouz has been formally accused of contributing to her death. But that’s it. [Continue reading…]

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1 thought on “Arab Spring has washed the region’s appalling racism out of the news

  1. dickerson3870

    RE: “the video of Alem Dechasa’s recent torment in Beirut is all too typical of the treatment meted out to foreign domestic workers across the Arab world (there are 200,000 in Lebanon alone).” ~ Robert Fisk

    AN ENTIRELY VALID POINT, BUT ALSO SEE: The right to love ~ by Noa Galili, Ynet News, 02/17/11
    Op-ed: Israel only Western country banning migrant workers from engaging in romantic relationships

    (excerpts) The UN committee to abolish discrimination against women has recently published its conclusions. One prominent area of their report was the way Israel treats its migrant workers, and in particular the Ministry of Interior’s controversial regulation – which states that if a foreign worker is caught in a romantic relationship, her work visa will be denied.
    Yes, you read that right. The essence of a migrant worker, their whole existence and purpose is in a simple definition: They are here to work…
    …Israel’s motives, as well as her policies in regards to bringing the migrant workers here to work, don’t stop at philanthropy. The system works like this: The State and manpower companies bring the workers here, and in the process make a fortune. Bringing these laborers here makes a very nice profit for the companies and our country, employing them here and – believe it or not – deporting them, is profitable for the parties involved. The ones who pay the heavy price are solely the women who came here to work.
    Sadly, the right to fall in love isn’t the only privilege denied to foreign workers here in 2011. Israel is the only Western country that forbids migrant workers from engaging in romantic relationships. . .

    ENTIRE OP-ED – http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4030069,00.html

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