Monday, January 11, 2010

Everyday racism in Lebanon - but this time with a happy ending

Yes, this blogpost is dedicated to all those that go around saying: "Euh, ma fi racism bi Libnen"

So Master Pazuzu was on its way to Sassine Square (Ashrafieh) and since I had enough free time, I thought I'd take the bus. I love bus rides, I get to relax and read, leaving the nerve wrecking task of driving in Lebanon to the bus driver. So what if I was recovering from reading Beloved, so I was mentally incapable of reading, I was mainly watching out of the window and reliving Beloved, scene by scene.

All available seats were taken, but the bus driver for sure kept taking more and more passenger. This sometimes bother me, especially in private buses when there is no space for standing passengers. This dude however, was driving a Hariri bus [that's what we call the Lebanese Commuting Company buses], so the bus is basically designed to accommodate people sitting and standing. Plus, whatever, the dude is paid shit and works like a mule, he needs full rides.

Not everyone seemed to agree with the thoughts springing out of my head. One guy [let's call him Sharshabeel, shall we?] was particularly bothered it seems, he speaking out loud, complaining and complaining, repeating [in Lebanese] things like "This is unacceptable. You should respect the people here. We are not animals. Go call for passengers from their own bathrooms. This is Lebanon, this is not Egypt." Memorize the last part about Egypt and bear with me a bit.

You see, I can tell you for sure that this Sharshabeel wouldn't have munched on these useless sentences if he was in a private bus, maybe he would have made one or two decent comments and shut the fuck up. Not because private buses fit for more people standing up, but because owners of private buses don't put up with shit. They will insult your mother in the best of cases and beat you up in the worst. Hariri bus drivers however, have strict instructions not to respond and to basically suck it up. And because adults are the biggest spoiled brats imaginable, they abuse it.

Now most people were ignoring Sharshabeel, pretending they don't even hear him. But after repeating the "This is not Egypt" idiom, someone just ran out of asshole-tolerance hormones. This someone was actually Egyptian (you can tell from the accent). And responded to the Sharshabeel asking him what he has against Egyptians, "Homma mish Bashar ya3ni?"

And this my friends is the crucial moment in every mistake. Sure we all screw up, and sometimes the mistake is not a regular mistake, it's a racist slur, like Sharshabeel's statement. But no matter how horrible your mistake is, the only dignifying way out is just facing the truth and apologizing. Yes it is degrading and it hurts, but trust me that is the best case scenario.

But since Sharshabeel's a spoiled, racist, proud, Lebanese asshole, he can't apologize [akid la2! wl prestige ya3ne?]. So he mumbles something that went along the lines of "I have nothing against them but it's the truth." Kids that's the second worst racist mistake you can do, try to justify your racism as a statement of fact.

The Egyptian dude's reaction was exemplary. He insisted on his line "Homma mish Bashar ya3ni?", always taking back the discussion to the main issue,and without being sucked into a fight. For sure Sharshabeel kept trying to convince the Egyptian dude that he did nothing wrong and that he was stating facts... But after a few futile attempts, some reprimanding looks from fellow Lebanese peeps, and a bruised ego, he finally gave up.

So to all those who insist that Lebanon is racism-free... Maybe you're just not seeing properly, comments like Sharshabeel's, are blunt racism, and they are not uncommon, whereas the Egyptian dude's reaction are unfortunately very very rare.


Anonymous said...
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Let Non Arab - Muslims Live! said...

The twin fascisms that causes most massacres, wars, "conflicts" today:

Arabism is racism (Arab racism)
Millions upon Millions are/became victims of Arabism which is the worst current form of racism in its gigantic proportions, like: Kurds Jews (not just in Israel...) Berbers (the real natives of North Africa), Africans (noty just in the genocide in the Sudan & in Egypt on native Nubians by Arab invaders - till today), Persians, etc.

Islamism is bigotry (Islamofascism)!
The Islamic supremacy that "works" towards its vision of "final Islamic domination on the entire planet", from Middle east to Africa from Asia to Eurabia, from terrorism & massacres in multiple countries (like: Thailand, Phillipines, China, Indonesia, Tunisia, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon India, USA, France, Israel, Russia, UK, etc.) to propaganda,

Let's face it! that entire war on Israel & the Jews since the 1920's by their facsist Mufti Haj Amin Al-Husseini who started the "genocide campaign" [and continues by the children/grand children of Arab immigrants into Israel - Palestine - now convenienently called "palestinians"] in a clear outlined declaration to 'kill all Jews', is nothing but out of pure Arab Muslim bigotry.