Today, a former colleague of mine witnessed a disgusting and unfathomable incident while on her way to work. Below, I included her eye-witness account and my own observation of not just this incident, but similar incidents that go unreported.
“This morning while I was on my way to work, a man was hysterically yelling at a Sukleen worker on the side of the road in Dekwene (Slaf) demanding him to kneel. The Sukleen worker was around 20 years his senior. The man (animal) had his hand on the worker’s shoulder forcing him to the ground, shouting: ‘kneel, kneel’ and verbally insulting him in the worst ways. He grabbed a pocket knife and slit the old worker’s cheek. Someone had to do something other than spectate. When I got out of the car to try and stop this brutality, a woman watching from the balcony looked down at me and said: “leave him, these foreigners are all over our country, and they deserve it.” The swallowed tears in this old man’s eyes just stab right in the heart.I am still sick to my stomach, disgusted by the injustice of it all, knowing that this incident will go no further than a Facebook post.”- Source, Anastacia Al-Hajj, witness.
This isn’t first and won’t be the last an incident liked this happens. In the year that I’ve lived in this country, I’ve seen discrimination towards the migrant worker sweeping a local store front to the young Syrian almost getting hit on purpose by a Lebanese plated car.
To the woman who yelled from the balcony to say ““leave him, these foreigners are all over our country, and they deserve it,” how dare you! Would you pick up the plastic water bottle and rotting bag of garbage that was rotting in the sun? Would you spend over 10 hours on top of a construction building without any safety ropes in the blazing sun to get paid a meager 20,000 LL? I don’t think so habibi.
Even before the Syrian war, Syrians and other foreigners picked up the odd, low paying jobs that many Lebanese and others wouldn’t dare to do for half a day. It is similar to the same view that some Americans have towards Mexicans. Wouldn’t you try to leave a country of corruption and no opportunity for a country that may promise a better life for you and your family. I would in a second.
To the animal who forced this man down on his knees, shame on you. This could be your father or uncle. He was probably picking up the trash that you just dumped out of your Mercedes car. Individuals like you are creating tensions and fueling violence in this country and throughout the rest of the world. The incident today doesn’t just stay here in Lebanon. It happens in every city around the world. Every day.
One thing I want to point out is the collaborative effort and immediate response made by every person. Your efforts to share and speak out against this incident is what makes Lebanon beautiful in my eyes.