Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Friday, June 27, 2014

Syrian Refugees and Who Is Really Racist?

Back in March or April, the BBC Arabic did a call-in show about how Lebanon was treating Syrian refugees.

At the time of the program, there were 1 million refugees in Syria and they comprise 25% of Lebanon's population.

And they need help now! say refugee activists.

Some of the refugees, like this little lady, comment: the Lebanese care about us a lot.

Whereas this lady asks: why are we living in the gutters?? Why do we have to be back home before 7 pm?? (The Lebanese government has put a 7 pm curfew on Syrian refugees.)

An Lebanese activist who works on behalf of Syrians and against racism called in to say: there is no logic at all at decreeing that all refugees must be home before 7 pm.

And the BBC Arabic moderator of the program, Samir Farah, said the complaints went beyond a curfew. He said that there was anti-Syrian graffiti being scrawled all over Lebanon, in such vulgar language that he can't repeat it on the air.

And the other thing making people mad is that a minister in Lebanon's government has suggested that instead of letting Syrian refugees flow over the border in Lebanon, he would rather create an isolated camp inside of Syria itself to host everyone.

But this lady says: it's good here in Lebanon. If we'd stayed in Syria it would be much worse for us.

And this Syrian man says: I would like to thank Lebanon a lot for taking us in and helping us.

But this next Syrian man is having none of it. He says that no one is more racist than the Lebanese!

That's a nice sentiment. And I can add some of my own. In 2008, I heard an Iraqi refugee in Syria proclaim that Syrians are - not the most racist people in the world - but just the worst people in the world.

Next, an indignant Syrian living in Greece called into the program to say: We opened up our hearts and our lives for the Lebanese when they were in trouble without any international help, without even the UN's help [maybe he is talking about Lebanon's civil war in the 1970s? maybe lots of Lebanese refugees fled to Syria at that point.]

Then all of a sudden, the Syrian man in Greece started yelling into the phone: What's the reason now that the government in Lebanon and Hizbollah refuse to support us Syrians!!!????

Samir Farah, the BBC Arabic moderator, said: maybe it's because the numbers of Lebanese refugees in Syria never reached such an overwhelming point as Lebanon is experiencing now.

A person from Lebanon called in to offer their views: we actually have opened up our doors to the Syrians, and we really don't understand their attitudes!

They showed clips of UNHCR people registering refugees:

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