Saturday, June 6, 2020

I have more pressing problems than George Floyd.

It has emerged that worldwide, there are murals celebrating George Floyd. Including one in Idlib, Syria.
I mean I applaud the effort, truly. A war torn country where the economy is almost non-existent, is standing up to racism. That's truly commendable.
Naturally, problems related to human dignity should be on top of our list. Or should they?
Hmmm, two days ago my bank chose to break our agreement we had together and whose maturity ends in one year (2021). My financial consultant did all the necessary contacts and it turned out that yes, legally, the bank can break the arrangement at the end of every year. No, I did not know it could do so.
My consultant swiftly advised me about a new strategy and now I am waiting for the bank to answer the email I sent them to fine tune the strategy in question.
Meanwhile, prices of goods are soaring, the IMF is knocking on our doors (plural, as there are too many doors behind which lie contrasting numbers), the social unrest is rampant (again, the figures are scary but the reality one could palpably see is too striking), the post-feudal political order is still going strong, oh and there's the Coronavirus leaving the country in a lockdown limbo (not sure if we are in lockdown or not, it is all too confusing).
Now about that racism problem, here's what someone posted yesterday on Facebook:
"If anyone has an Ethiopian worker he does not want anymore, I will take her. Please DM privately."
I am trying to translate verbatim. When I was working as a consultant at a very reputable university in the mid aughts, a professor was walking by the main door. Then a woman of dark skin followed him. The security stopped her, to which the professor turned and told them "hayde ele" (she's mine/she's my property) not "hayde ma3e" (she accompanies me).
Up until a few years ago, one could still purchase a product called "ras el abed" (abed means slave - and ras el abed means head of a slave). The product was rebranded into "tarboosh" (fez) but guess what people still call it? And at the supermarket, one could still purchase a product called "sif el abed" whose name in English is "Negro" (they are cleaning utility pads if you want to know).
I do understand saying that I have more pressing problems than George Floyd might seem being racist or xenophobic - but try living in Lebanon today. The daily pressure is unbearable before we get to the problem that the Ethiopian embassy closed its doors in the face of girls wanting to be repatriated and not affording it (as they need to shell 770 Dollars to pay for their two-week quarantine as soon as they land in Ethiopia as they need to be stationed in hotels because the government owned spaces are now at full capacity).
As I cheer on Aziz Asmr and Anis Hamdoun, the two Syrian artists behind the Idlib mural, I wish either one of them could answer the email I sent to the bank (because the bank still did not yet!) - yes, racism is a major problem in Lebanon, but there are more pressing daily problems that need to be tackled.
The George Floyd issue needs to wait in line.