Why should everyone join the Anti-Racist protest today?

Today, July 18th 2016, in Lebanon, Beirut, an anti-racist march will begin at 6:30PM at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Achrafieh and will end at the Ministry of Interior in Sanayeh.

 

Why should everyone join the Anti-Racist protest today?

Refugees and migrants face racism in Lebanon. They are the scapegoat of our problems that are present since before the Syrian civil war.

Electricity? The Syrians.
Water? The Syrians.
Garbage? The Syrians.
Security? The Syrians of course.

Syrians and Palestinians and many other nationalities fled war and death, just to face state racism in Lebanon. Migrants face an open-air prison with the Kafala system, where the employer effectively “own” the employee.

Join this protest if you don’t believe that every town and neighborhood should have a watch against “strangers”. Join this protest if you believe that the nationality of a terrorist doesn’t determine how the totality of a population should be treated. Do some people really believe that a curfew will ameliorate Lebanon security? Do some people really believe that terrorist groups will run away to their homes at 8pm and that will stop their attacks against Lebanon?

I hate to speak in this manner, but in 9/11, four planes were hijacked, two planes infamously crushed against the twin towers in New York, one plane against the Pentagon, and the fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, it was brought down after the resistance of passengers. The hijacker and pilot of the fourth plane was a Lebanese national: Ziad Jarrah. Does it matter? Not really, but bigots and racists need to ask themselves: would you be pleased to have all the Lebanese in USA under a curfew, because it happened that a Lebanese was lunatic enough to join AL Qaeda? Would you find it just? Fair? If the answer is yes, then you have other serious issues of self-blame.

That I need to use this fact as an example is problematic in itself, what if all of them were Saudis? Would you accept the bigotry? What if Steve Jobs wasn’t partly Syrian? Who would have Banksy drawn on the walls of the Jungle, the infamous refugee camp in France?

Can’t we see that racism, bigotry, and stupid bigoted generalizations have led us to a civil war in the past? Today it is the Syrian, tomorrow, it might be (or it is already) the Palestinian, the Sunni, the Christian, the Shia, the Druze, the Jew, the Maronite, the homosexual, the black, the Arab, the handicapped ..
The other.

The other is only the other if we want to make it so.

Today, it is important to join to show the refugees and migrants, that some people in Lebanon will stand by them, and help them to lead by themselves the struggle against state racism and racism in our streets.

This year, enjoy the Baalbek festival with a curfew against Syrian refugees.

Yesterday, Monday 11th of July 2016, the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that the governor of the Baalbek-Hermel governorate, Bashir Khodor, will enforce a new strengthened curfew for Syrians in the district, from 6PM to 6AM, instead of 8PM to 6AM. The governor said the curfew was to be strengthened during the Baalbek Festival, an annual and renowned festival held in the town. Few hours later, the governor denied it and said that the curfew will remain as it is. No official statement or paper show the reversal of the decision.

Racism in Lebanon isn’t a new story. For decades the Lebanese state institutional racism has limited and restricted the rights of Palestinian refugees, and it is now scapegoating the totality of Syrian refugees in Lebanon for so-called security. The curfew imposed on Syrians in Lebanon isn’t new, dozens of municipalities, as Aley, enforced it since 2013. But it is the first time that an entire muhafaza, or governorate, imposes a curfew.

The curfew was imposed after many suicide attacks targeted the small town of Qaa, which is close to the Syrian border. The police found out that the bombers of Syrian nationalities all came from Syria.

The restriction on movement is inhumane and unjustified, and it is reminiscent on the Zionist regime restriction on the movement of Palestinians. Artists who are performing this year in the festival must boycott the festival until an official statement from the governor lifts the tightening of the curfew.

Sign the following petition by clicking here.

Petition in full.

On Monday, July 11th, 2016, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that the Baalbek-Hermel governorate will impose a curfew for Syrian refugees from 6 PM to 6 AM during the upcoming annual Baalbek International Festival, which takes place from Friday, July 22, 2016 until August, 28, 2016.

While Governor Bashir Khoder verbally denied extending the existing refugee curfew, no official statements have been passed by the Baalbek-Hermel governorate indicating that the NNA reported false news.

Many areas in East Lebanon have already imposed tight curfews on Syrian refugees, and more have been imposed after the recent attacks in the village of Al-Qaa, where 7 suicide attacks took place in late June, murdering 5 and wounding 28 others. While Governor Khoder and the Baalbek-Hermel governorate may consider the massacre in Al Qaa and recent threats around the country to be reference points, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces confirmed that the attackers were not refugees or among them; in fact, they came through the Lebanese-Syrian border.

This is a form of collective punishment and a racist policy to implement on people who are fleeing from such atrocities. We believe that these values do not reflect Baalbek International Festival and their performers.

Therefore, we call on the Baalbek-Hermel Governorate to release an official statement denying the curfews, or to reverse them.

We also call on the this year’s performers to cancel their performances unless these policies are lifted. This year’s performers are the following:

Caracalla Dance Theater – Saturday, July 23

Jean Michel Jarre – Saturday, July 30

Mika – Thursday, August 4

Bob James Quartet – Friday, August 12

Abeer Nehme – Friday, August 19

Lisa Simone – Sunday, August 21

Shereen Abdel Wahab – Friday, August 26

Jose Van Dam Meets Carlos Gardel – Sunday, August 28

We also call on ticket-holders and potential ticket-holders to stand on the side of human rights, justice, and dignity, and boycott Baalbek International Festival 2016 unless these unfair curfews stop taking place.

 

 

Thoughts on Nationalism, Classes, and Racism.

Nationalism is the religion of the state.

One of the first things I remember about going to elementary school was learning how to draw the flag. I remember being told glamorized stories and falsehoods to make it seem as if the cedars were something sacred. Imposition of nationalism is woven into art, literature, it suffuses the mainstream political discourse, not to mention the fact that we are required, from about age five, to eighteen, to pledge fealty to the state by singing the national anthem, every day or Mondays, in most public schools. We are inundated with it, cradle to grave. It’s so ubiquitous, and omnipresent it becomes invisible to most people.
The country gets sold to us our whole lives in a variety of forms forcing us refugees & ‘natives’ to become trapped creatures beginning to love the location where we’re trapped.

Why?

I have to bring up the ideological justification of feudalism= ‘great chain of being’: God gave power to the king, your position in society is divinely ordained & then appeared the idea of ‘nationhood’, that we have common interest according to cultural traits embodied in the state thus your position in society is ordained according to race or culture. The Bourgeoisie created nation states and therefore created a labor force, uniting all the provincial local people into a “national” people with one language, often a shared education that taught uniform skills, used the “What’s good for the nation is good for the people” (to the bourgoise of course that means what’s good for them and their economy). This united different ‘classes’ into a “mass”, created an identity that suggests that a worker or farmer or billionaire from one place/race have more in common than counterpart farmers or workers or bosses in different places. It’s a kind of false universality (that helps the ruling class, obviously which is why it’s promoted and idealized) that isn’t based on interests (like basing your identity on and finding community with Metalheads or Punk Rockers – both of which I fully support people doing as an alternative to patriotism). This notion makes it easier for the people to rally around the idea that those evil immigrants and refugees  are the reason for the economic problems and, if only the country sticks together and kicks them out as it did in those mythical olden days, we can be a strong, proud, and prosperous nation.
And then when we say we want to combat nationalism because it promotes racism, they shut us with: Highlight diversity.  Migrants & refugees may bring from their native countries different languages, religions, cuisines, habits, customs, etc, and it’s a good thing to advocate tolerance of these differences. But we need to go beyond mere tolerance, and argue that these differences aren’t by any means as ‘inherent’ as they may at first appear, and that, moreover, they’re in fact fairly superficial in nature in comparison with the real, objective basis which unites people on an international basis. This is quite in contrast to the petit-bourgeois multiculturalist approach, which of course has no interest whatsoever in unity, and celebrates ethnic differences as though they were an end in themselves. It is important to point out that a discourse which relentlessly highlights ‘cultural diversity’ can only have a detrimental impact on the solidarity of people and their need to develop a rich and common and diverse internationalist culture against their international class enemy.

I really suck at conlusions so to wrap it up:
“There’s no flag big enough to cover up the killing of innocent people”.

Anonymous.

Racist Attacks in Lebanon.

Another day, another Lebanese racist attack and harass Syrians.

Why do some persons act this way ? Is it a kind of revenge following the long occupation of Syrian Army in Lebanon ? Is it just pure and simple racism ? Superiority complex ? Xenophobia ? Disrespect for human rights ? Is it because some Syrians belong to terrorist groups ? (Some Lebanese belong to the same group)

Why is there no government decision or declaration on this matter ? Human Rights Watch came up with a list of recent attacks against Syrians ( Refugees or not ), the harassment has become recurrent.

On Monday November 10th, three Syrians were attacked, a man threw a bucket of paint on them, shaming them in public.. they were barefoot.

Three Syrian men get attacked in Lebanon.

Is it the image we want to give to foreigners ? Arabs and Non-Arabs ?

The government must act and arrest these wrongdoers.

—-

Read the Article of Human Rights Watch : http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/09/30/lebanon-rising-violence-targets-syrian-refugees

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.