Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pan-Arab narrative a myth in Lebanon

An apparently racially motivated attack on Sudanese immigrants in Beirut exposes the subtleties of intra-Arab discrimination

Nesrine Malik, Tuesday 22 June 2010

"Anger towards Lebanon is brewing in Sudan and in Sudanese online forums. According to reports in the Arab media, a fundraising party held by Sudanese immigrants and asylum seekers in Beirut in aid of a child with cancer, was raided by Lebanese security apparently on the hunt for illegal residents.

Eyewitnesses report that although most of those attending produced valid residency cards, this did not spare them from being handcuffed, beaten and racially abused. According to Sudanese and Lebanese newspaper reports (in Arabic), the detainees were referred to as animals who "learned how to wear nice clothes" and "black pieces of coal", and lined up flat on their bellies. Some members of the police, seemingly ignorant of the fact that there are any Arabic-speaking black Arabs, asked some of the Sudanese how they spoke Arabic so fluently. The Sudanese responded that they were Arabs from Sudan. In disbelief, the officers thought that they were being mocked, and another round of beating started....."

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