Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I am a 24/7er are you?

I have just received the final version of the call to action for the 24/7 Campaign, which is a campaign to demand better working conditions for migrant domestic workers in Lebanon. I leave you the pleasure of reading the details in the call to action itself.

You can already see that I added the 24/7 badge to my blog, so I am a 24/7er, Yalla join us! ;)

It is with great pleasure that we reach out to ask for your collaboration and help on the 24/7 campaign for migrant rights.

In brief, 24/7 is a campaign created by coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations and independent activists. One aspect of the campaign is the Twog Week initiated by Simba Russeau of Taste Culture and Nadine Moawad of Nasawiya.

Our aim is to expose the poor working conditions under which migrant workers and refugees have to work in Lebanon. We also want to put pressure on the government to uphold their commitments towards migrant workers. And finally we want to bring people’s attention to the mistreatment migrant workers and all those who “look different” endure on the street and in their everyday life.

Why 24/7?

The Lebanese Government approved last year a unified contract for all migrant domestic workers in Lebanon, in addition, several Human Rights agreements, which are signed by Lebanon, and the Lebanese constitution supposedly protect human being in Lebanon from slavery and slavery like conditions. So far this has not prevented employers of migrant domestic workers from treating their employees as slaves.

Perhaps the most significant example would be the fact that these employees work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are given a few hours of sleep, but even then they are on stand-by as employers reserve the right to wake them at any moment of the night for any reason imaginable.

So, what you want from me?

First of all, we ask you to treat migrant workers, refugees, and other people who are “different”, with respect.

But in the course of this event we ask you to:
  • Take a minute and think about what you just read, whether you are Lebanese or not, living in Lebanon or not, what do you think? What do you feel?
  • If you are sad, outraged, angered, or moved. Contact us (contact info below)
  • If you have a platform to post (notably a blog or a twitter account), send us your link so we add you to our database of participants
  • Add the 24/7 badge to your blog
  • Then starting the 24th of April, and until the 30th, we want you to write, draw, shoot, and sing your opinion of racism, modern-day slavery, labor rights, the universality of human rights, in Arabic and English. Send a link to simbarusseau@gmail.com so that we can publicize your posts on Facebook and social networks.  We will also be aggregating all blogs for the week.
  • Check out the other activities organized in the 24/7 campaign
  • Spread the word, send it to all those whom you think would be interested in participating.
Also, here are some ideas Nadine had for blog posts, so that we make sure that they are not all the same:
  • Interview a migrant worker. Ask him/her about their journey here and their work here.
  • Interview a migrant worker on camera. Post his/her interview on YouTube.
  • Analyze the problem with migrant labor from a political or social perspective. Focus on either the gender aspect, the class struggle, or our inherent racism, to cite a few examples.
  • Talk about the situation in your country in particular.. what is it like for Sudanese workers in Egypt? Egyptian workers in Lebanon? Sri Lankan women in Dubai? Nepalese women in Jordan?
  • Propose solutions. Write up brainstorming posts where you think of campaigns, projects, events, programs, organizations that can work on ending the injustice.
  • Elaborate on the feminist analysis of migrant worker rights: household work as unpaid work, gender dynamics in the household, violence from women against other women, domestic violence & violence against domestic workers, sexual assault on migrant women, trafficking of migrant women, violence against women within the migrant communities, and other examples.
  • Celebrate the culture of a non-Arab country from which many migrate to Arab states. I can think of Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Philippines (but that might be just from a Lebanese experience). Post a tribute  by raising your friends and followers’ awareness about the richness of these cultures, histories, languages, and music.

For more information, please follow the 24/7 Blog
http://twenty-four-7.org, its twitter account http://twitter.com/Twenty_Four_7. You can also contact us by email: simbarusseau@gmail.com.

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