Friday, July 16, 2010

don't be racist towards Lebanon

First I should mention that this post is a work in progress, so feel free to suggest how I can better support it, or make it clearer.

The abused abuses, the colonized berates. Colonization, by a series of empires, left scars in our culture that we're still recovering from. general Aoun did mention, that we discourage each other the way other foreign over bearing countries discourage us. While we were colonized, independent countries were free to discover their flaws and grow out of them, like Europe did two centuries ago regarding social justice. In the meanwhile, colonizers tried to develop self-doubt is us, and probably triggered excessive snobbism as a response. Just as free countries did before we were free, we are entitled to have flaws, correct them, and never be berated in the process.

I've heard Lebanese people debate who their favorite abuser is: the European colonizers or the Ottomans. I've seen some shameless praise to Ottoman heritage expressed in the Lebanese press today, as well as some berating of the Lebanese identity, on our own soil. Some claim Lebanon was never meant to be, while they wouldn't dare to face a Turkish or French or British person with the same claims about their countries. These 3 countries, like many others, were built on brutal take overs and arranged marriages over the centuries. The difference between their identity and that of Lebanon? According to the human right charts, none. All countries have a right to autonomy: a nation and its values are defined by its people. Racism and even self-hatred against Lebanon however makes some people believe that they are not obliged to respect Lebanon as they do other countries. All a group of people need to do, in order to have a real identity is decide it is so. An identity is simply a collective decision, not subject to the views of ex-colonizers, fans of ex-colonizers, or people who otherwise see Lebanon as a property to exploit.

Racism is also defined as judging the group based on the actions of some of its members. This judgement is sometime used as an excuse to dismiss Lebanon as a nation. Racism against Lebanon is when generalizations are made such as "Lebanese are shallow, women are focused on appearances, Lebanese are snobs, Lebanese are prejudices against other ethnicities, Lebanese are ignorant of environmental issues, Lebanese are sectarians, Lebanese women as well as men are oblivious to women's rights". Individuals in our country might have these issues, but that's not an excuse to psychologically beat down all Lebanese with racist remarks. The civilized response to these flaws is for the enlightened Lebanese to educate the rest of the population.

Racism even takes the form of "don't teach Lebanese people something new (such as being humane to animals), that would be implying you're better than them. This is quite a twisted form of respect towards Lebanon, to say that learning is an unnatural experience to us. That's a streak left behind by past colonizers, they discouraged learning as well, and dealt a serious blow to common sense as did colonization everywhere in the world. Teaching the Lebanese something new is how we give back to our country, after it has invested in educating us.

Self-hatred, a known side-effect of colonization, is when Lebanese are racists against their own. Regardless of whether you feel part of Lebanon or not, you have no right to morally abuse its people with racist comments, and claims that their identity is not a valid one. It is flagrant racism, and a neo-colonial attitude when people who do not dare to question any other country's identity question Lebanon's. We deserve respect for our identity, and the only acceptable reaction to the flaws of some of our fellow Lebanese is educating them, not berating. One day we might chose to expand our identity beyond Lebanon, but I think that will be after we have culturally invaded the middle east, and made it live up to our standards.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Write a comment: