Lebanon: modern slavery and racism.
Yesterday while sipping my coffee at café’ Younis Hamra, I turned around looking to see if any of my friends were hanging out, only to see Ali Mahfouz the man that appeared in a video beating Alem Dechasa-Desisa, an Ethiopian domestic worker. A few days later, after the release of the video, we learned that Alem Dechasa-Desisa had killed herself.
Ali Mahfouz, as I saw him briefly yesterday, seemed happy enjoying himself. While he was talking to his friends, who were sitting next to me, I was recovering from the shock: seeing the killer who drove Alem Dechasa-Desisa, by his humiliation, to her death as an escape from Lebanese (his) slavery. Once I had recovered from the shock I wanted to say something to him, anything, to express my anger but he quickly left. As a result a horrible picture was composed in my head: in Lebanon you can enslave another human, drive her to death, not worry about it and then go out party and enjoy life as if this is the norm.
Later last night the Daily Star reported: Beirut’s general prosecutor has charged Ali Mahfouz with contributing to and causing the suicide of Alem Dechasa-Desisa, the Ethiopian domestic worker who committed suicide after a widely publicized beating outsider her consulate.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that Mahfouz was charged Thursday, adding that he is not currently in custody.
Sure, a criminal on the loose. He was dressed in the latest fashion walking around smiling and shaking hands, confident enough that this too will be settled the Lebanese way: paying whoever is necessary or using his wasta and activating his connections.
Everything has a price in Lebanon.
According to Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should adopt long overdue protections to end rampant abuses against domestic workers and bring down their death toll in the country.”
“The Lebanese authorities only opened an investigation because they found themselves in the media spotlight,” said Houry. “The government urgently needs to address the root causes that are driving so many migrant domestic workers to despair.”
Further maddening reality: In 2008, Human Rights Watch documented deaths of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and found that there had been an average of one death a week from unnatural causes, including suicide and falls from tall buildings.
This scientific study proves that it’s impossible to cope with the Lebanese mentality of degrading human beings.
-The full Human Rights Watch report on the case of Alem Dechasa-Desisa.
-A must read article soon after Alem Dechasa-Desisa committed suicide with the video of Ali Mahfouz beating her: I call it murder
-Facebook profile of Ali Mahfouz
–Ethiopia seeks full investigation into suicide of maid beaten in Beirut with the video included.