So, it looks like the Sedd El Bauchrieh area on the northern outskirts of Beirut has joined the many Lebanese municipalities engaging in this very lightly veiled, but despicable act of racism. These illegal and blatantly racist banners and posters have been springing up in several areas where a rise in petty crime has been blamed on the influx of Syrian refugees.
This is unacceptable, and despite the Minister of Interior Affairs and Municipalities indicating municipalities had no right to enforce such a curfew and that it was not within their jurisdictions to enforce one, the authorities have done nothing to remove these posters and discipline those behind them. One Baabda municipality chief even boasted “if we catch one, we’ll lock them up at the police station and send him off the next day”
For those of you who do not read Arabic and wondering what the hell I’m talking about, the above announcement roughly translates as “WARNING. Due to the current security situation, any foreign individual may not go about past 8:00PM”
Having disgruntled bigots and political leaders say these things might be understandble. They’re bigots and politicians and we expect no better from them. However, the municipality speaks on the behalf of its constituents in a more direct fashion, and I am certain that the average Lebanese citizen is not as cruel, inhumane and racist as these posters suggest. For shame.
The Zouk Mikayel municipality hasn’t gone as far in their banners, and instead, posted a banner that translates “For our Syrian brethren residing in Zouk Mikayel, please proceed to the municipality to register your name and place of residence” which is slightly more acceptable, but highly unlikely since many of the refugees are afraid to disclose their locations for fear it could land in the hands of the regime or extremist rebel elements that might want to harm them, and I for one, would not trust Lebanese authorities with my safety and privacy.