Racism directed at black and Asian domestic staff is common in Lebanon
. In an attempt to change people’s attitudes, our Observer broadcasts short, funny and offbeat amateur films dealing with racism on the internet.
The scene shows an ordinary moment in the life of a middle-class Lebanese family: the lady of the house is sitting in front of the television being served coffee by her maid. Raising her voice, she shouts at her maid to return to the kitchen. Nothing exceptional except for one detail: the mistress is Sri-Lankan and the maid is Lebanese!
It was by inverting these two roles that Wissam Al-Saliby, director of the short film "Sirlankiyti lebnaniyeh" ("My Sri-Lankan is Lebanese") chose to tackle the problem of racism in Lebanon. A Blogger
and activist in the fight against racism, Wissam made this film two months ago as part of a workshop organized by Shankaboot, an interactive website that broadcasts amateur short films and videos made in Lebanon. The film was broadcast on Shankaboot
and the blog of the "Anti-Racism Movement
Lebanon is home to more than 200,000 foreign workers
, most of whom are Sri-Lankan, Philippino and Ethiopian. Nevertheless, a number of associations have been rallying against this influx through campaigns and online petitions.