Malcolm X on Lebanese women and on his lecture at AUB.

Malcolm X was a man that fiercely advocated for human rights of the African Americans who were badly segregated in the south of the USA and badly discriminated against in the North.

In 1964, after his iconic hajj pilgrim, he visited Beirut to give a speech in AUB. He took a walk in the streets of Beirut from the Palm Beach Hotel. In the streets, his “attention was struck by the mannerisms and attire of the Lebanese women.”

He then compares the Arabian Women of Saudi Arabia (he had just made his pilgrim) to the Lebanese woman.

“In the Holy Land, there had been the very modest, very feminine Arabian women-and there was this sudden contrast of the half-French, half-Arab Lebanese women who projected in their dress and street manners more liberty, more boldness. I saw clearly the obvious European influence upon the Lebanese culture.”

In the 60’s, the French mandate influence was still strong, the French language, I believe, must have been spoken much more than today. Malcolm X is right, Lebanon culture has clearly an European influence. His views were though restrained because he had only visited Beirut. The capital must have had much more European influence than all the other provinces of Lebanon.

He then continues with thoughts on moral strength.

“It showed me how any country’s moral strength, or its moral weakness, is quickly measurable by the street attire and attitude of its women-especially its oung women. Wherever the spiritual values have been submerged, if not destroyed, by an emphasis upon the material things, invariably, the women reflect it.” He then makes an analogy with America’s women. ” Witness the women, both young and old, in America-where scarily any moral values are left. There seems in most countries to be either one extreme or the other. Truly a paradise could exist wherever material progress and spiritual values could be properly balanced.”

Malcolm X might have judged fast Lebanon’s moral strength by only its women. These are his thoughts, and one can even argue with Malcolm X, a great man. He was certainly right about “the boldness” of the Lebanese women of Beirut compared to other Arab countries. I’m a bit disappointed about how he remembered Beirut, (but that’s just because I’m Lebanese.)

Malcolm X on Lebanese woman and his speech at AUB.

Though how he remembered AUB comforted me.

He recalled very well his speech at AUB for two reasons. First, he heard later “with astonishment” that the American press accused his speech of causing a riot in Beirut.

“What kind of a riot” he asked rhetorically, “I don’t know how any reporter, in good conscience, could have cabled that across the ocean. The Beirut Daily Star front-page report of my speech mentioned no “riot”-because there was none.” (Thank you the Daily Star for truthful reporting).

The second reason is that he was touched by the reactions of students of African heritage. “When I was done, the African students all but besieged me for autographs; some of them even hugged me. Never have even American Negro audiences accepted me as I have been accepted time and again by the less inhibited, more down-to-earth Africans. ”

Malcolm X was murdered in 1965 by three members of the Nation of Islam, his old religious movement. He was excommunicated from it.

The Policing tendency of some Lebanese citizens.

I wrote that us, Lebanese citizens, were too much blaming each others for misconducts or our “uncivilized” tendencies, for example some will blame the people that won’t respect laws. In my point of view, this tendency to blame the “uncivilized” other should be redirected on the government’s lack of control in the country. With control, the incivilities would shrink and eventually stop.

This lack of control is dangerous because it also leads to policing each others ; in other words, everybody becomes everybody’s police because there is a clear lack of authority and appliances of existing laws. We begin to point out our fingers on some incivilities, shaming some in public thinking it would help to improve the society.

This is clearly visible on Twitter regarding the violation of driving laws, the dangerous of some vehicles and the illegality of some license plates. Some may tweet an image to the Traffic Control, and they will retweet you. I also did that, thinking it was enough. But it’s not. Let’s look at some of these revealing tweets.

https://twitter.com/AngRy961/status/535096775854788608

This brings us to another result. We police each others and report it to the formal authority, consequently, the formal authority will “reshame it”, pointing out a finger on the citizen, omitting that it is their lack of control that is the base of this situation. Let’s stop with taking pictures of entire families on tiny motorcycles and be surprised about it. Some families may have not the money to buy good cars, and some may find that getting on those tiny motorcycles is better than using the public transport. In some areas of Lebanon, the public transport is rare, sometimes nonexistent. Those people know that they risk their lives, we mustn’t me surprised every time we see these “backward” people, we must go to the origins, the lack of the control, the lack of basic transport. If the police were effective, we wouldn’t see them much, and if the government were effective, it wouldn’t exist.

Let’s say that the Police will act after the pointing out, great you may think. But is it our role as citizens to help the police solving clear road safety and law issues ? The common citizen may help the police to solve a mystery when it is asked to do so.

The lack of control doesn’t come from the citizen but from the government.
Another outcome of this could lead to expressing short but strong outbursts of Power from the government ; it is clearly shown with the minister of Health Abu Faour iron fists on food and water irregularities. The current government, lacking power over the people on social and sanitary issues, will try to inverse this situation. Abu Faour strikes the restaurants, shaming them and blaming them for their lack of control and their disrespects expiration dates etc. But is it not the origin, the base of all this debate the lack of the government control on food and water ? Abu Faour clearly wants a better country, but is the way of doing it ?

Let’s stop this nonsense, and point our fingers at the correct persons responsible for all the irregularities, the misconducts, the disrespect of laws, the “shocking” pictures you could see on twitter. Let’s point our fingers on the government because it simply can’t do a proper job.

Dear Syrian Refugees, Citizens, Brothers.

I am sincerely sorry if you have felt threatened, badly treated by some Lebanese citizens.

Yes, Racism is present in my country, and it is present in all of the countries of the world. The difference here is that racism may go unpunished by the law, sometimes applauded by watching citizens.

After Arsal incidents and beheading, some lost men released their anger and adrenaline onto you and made some of you fear for their lives, that fear you fled. This illegitimate anger is growing, and it is unfortunately not being stopped by the leaders of our country, and if it is, their voices is not really heard.

The racist behavior is deep down explainable, but will never be accepted by the majority of Lebanese citizens. There are many institutions here to help you and welcome you, to make you feel safe and at home as much as they could.

Many are proud of Lebanon different cultures, religions, origins, many are also proud to receive you.

The number of the Syrian refugees is a problem yes, their accommodations is the question, not expelling them. We don’t have any right to say :” they should return to their country, some towns are at peace”. “They” forget or close their eyes on the fact that the war is killing dozens every day. The moment the civil war is finished, and the moment the refugees that fear for their lives are welcomed back in Syria, they will return. Because no one runs away from his home.

Generalization is dangerous, if some Syrians are from terrorist groups, that doesn’t mean that one should be beaten and ashamed.

If some Lebanese are racists, that doesn’t mean all the Lebanese are racists.

I insist on the fact that this unpunished Racism is very dangerous, it could lead to the resentment of the Syrian refugees towards the Lebanese, again here a generalized response, an explainable one, not a legitimate one.

So, Dear Syrian citizens, don’t play this game, don’t allow yourselves to feel resentment, anger. All of this lead to extremism.

I advise all of us, Lebanese and Syrians, to feel and act responsibly to close this awful door of hate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A conversation with Ashraf Rifi about the IS flag burning.

Conversation with Rifi :

Lebanese Ctizen : “Alo ? Yes, how are you minister, have you heard about the beheading of the Lebanese Soldier ?”

-Rifi : “Oh ? Meh…let’s negotiate with them”

– “I have also found pictures of kids burning “Daesh-IS” flag in Achrafieh”

-Rifi : “WHATT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, HOW DARE THEY”

– “Hey it’s just a flag you know”

-R : “NO NO, THERE IS ALLAH WRITTEN ON THE FLAG, WE MUST FIND THEM AND ARREST THEM “!

– “Wow wow chillax bro…I don’t think they have anything against Islam just Da-”

-R : “all I hear is BLABLABLA”

– “Rifi, would you search for Daesh or Civilians if they Burn Hezbollah Flags ?”

*Tone Sounds*

A day Later.

Citizen : “Hey have you heard about the burning of Crosses in North Lebanon ?”

R :” It’s just a cross you know no need to make a polemic about this”…

Citizen : “Oh…Okay…”