|Lebanese Abed Shaheen - anti-racism crusader|
Yesterday on the 6th of October I was at gate 11 with a friend of mine waiting to board the Air Arabia flight at 20:25.
While waiting to board there was a group of foreign workers sitting with the rest of the passengers waiting for their turn. They were behaving normally as any other group of passengers would.
Then sadly, the lady (looking at her uniform she apparently works for MEA Ground Services and not Air Arabia) at the gate announced on loud speaker (over the whole system covering the airport) the following: “Filipino people stop talking” ; then she started giggling about it with the macho gentleman who was with her at the gate.
They continued their racist behavior by announcing again “Filipino Nepal people talking not allowed here” and on and on.
Shocked, I obviously became furious and approached them and explained that this racist and discriminatory behavior is not acceptable, impolite and does not at the least reflect what employees at Beirut Airport should stand for (not to imply it’s acceptance in any other situation of course).
This unfortunately sounded like a joke to them and they went on to say “we do whatever we want and we don’t care about what you are saying”, then “management doesn’t even want this kind of people on the flight” and “even if you complain this will be thrown away and we dare you to do anything about it”.
When I asked her “how would you feel if you ever wanted to travel to Europe and while queuing for your visa they told you the same thing?”, she replied “these people are different”; The macho gentleman seeing that his female friend, whom he was trying so hard to impress with his imitating giggles, was cornered with her twisted racist logic even went further to ask me to back off the counter and threatening to make a problem and to void my ticket!! When I asked for the complaint form they answered (While still laughing of course) “take it from the flight attendants and good luck sitting next to such people on the flight”
I did file an official complaint with Air Arabia and their staff was very helpful and promised to reach the message out to their management.
However Air Arabia is paying MEAG for such services and they need to use their power to do greater efforts too to ensure that the people behind this are held accountable. I also sent an email today to Mr. Richard Mujais from MEAG, explaining what happened and asked him to further discuss this with me and to show us that these employees were held accountable for such racist behavior.
Until then, and as a friend suggested that they also need to be exposed please help me exposing such intolerable behavior…
Source : http://www.twitlonger.com/show/jifguk
Filipinos are grateful to this kind-hearted gentleman for defending our overseas workers from the discrimination and racial slur they were treated with, but it was just incidental that Filipino and Nepali nationals were involved in the incident. I think Mr. Shaheen would have done the same if other nationalities were involved. But Mr. Shaheen did so because he was extremely shocked and furious on what a fellow Lebanese did : broadcasting her bigotry and racism in a public paging system, at an international airport at that, with probably hundreds of foreign nationals listening. He personally pursued the issue on the racist and discriminatory behavior of the Lebanese national airline (MEA) employees thru the social media.
Blogging and tweeting his story, it created an uproar and a backlash against the national airline, prompting the airline company to make a public apology and fire one of its employees. This has also brought a moral issue among the Lebanese people, some even admitting that racism and discrimination are quite prevalent in the Lebanese society and these need to be eliminated.
Two thumbs up for Mr. Abed Shaheen! A modern day hero and anti-racism crusader! May his tribe increase!
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