Thursday, August 18, 2005

Sushar Rosky--lest she dies namelessly--is a Sri Lankan maid who killed herslf by hanging early morning yesterday in Sidon in Lebanon.
The Ugly (real) Face of Lebanon: This is the real Lebanon: the real Lebanon is a place of hate, sectarian animosities, and blatant racism deeply rooted in delusions about non-existent grandeur. The real Lebanon is a country where people shamelessly oppress the poor and the destitute, and then have the temerity to brag about an imaginary Lebanese “civilization.” This a country where people shamelessly express contempt for those who work for them, especially if they are darker in skin, and then have the chutzpah to think that Lebanese are superior to other Arabs. This is a victim that will not be mentioned in Lebanese news bulletin, and her death will go unnoticed. Not even an investigation is warranted because the victim is a poor maid from Sri Lanka: her name for the record is Sushal Rosky (b. 1987), and she killed herself by hanging early morning yesterday. The lousy Hariri rag (Al-Mustaqbal) even mocked her death: they said that her love of her country has killed her. Her death must have looked hilarious to Hariri followers for some reason. But then again, I never understand them, and they never understand me. Nobody knows what her employers have done to her, to lead her to this. This is not an isolated incident: this is part of a long pattern of Lebanese “excellence” in the abuse of maids, especially those dark-skinned workers from Sri Lanka who come to Lebanon with no rights, and have their passports confiscated. Whenever you see images of the right-wing opposition, and whenever you see the images of “telegenic” Lebanese who so impressed Western reporters even at left-wing publications—don’t get me started here—remember that those same people who can converse with western reporters in their western languages, and who are keen on emulating the latest in Western fashion before they even see it in their silly fashion magazines, those same people go home to subject their Sri Lankan maids to unspeakable abuse, harassment, and mistreatment. This is the Lebanon that no Lebanese flag, and no silly Rahbani songs can hide. This is the Lebanon that can really explain the longevity of the Lebanese civil war: place boiling with hate and with deep-seated complexes that are responsible for the most self-deluded "culture" that I know. The body of this maid will be flown back to her country—I hope—and the Lebanese state will not conduct an investigation of her death. Why would they? The employers told the press and the police that, oh, she was simply homesick and that is why she killed herself, BY HANGING, using pieces of clothes in the early hours of the morning. The afore-mentioned Hariri rag thought that this was very funny. Hariri followers will probably be exchanging jokes about her, and Lebanese Forces chat rooms will now circulate their own “humorous” versions of her death. Jubran Khalil Jubran once commented about that society observing that inside the mouth of that “nation” are “rotten teeth.” Don’t expect the US State Department to comment on her death, the freedom loving president of yours will not call for an investigation, and Kofi Annan, who had no clue about the massacres in Rawanda and about the corruption of his own son, will not call for a special meeting of the Security Council. This foreign domestic worker was not a billionaire, and her death will go unnoticed. When the billionaire Hariri was killed, the silly organization known as the Socialist International (what would Marx, Bakunin, and Proudon think of that outfit, one wonders) sent a special delegation to mourn Hariri. They will not be mourning her. The Nation magazine which could not get a hold of itself when Hariri-An-Nahar journalist, Samir Qasir, was assassinated will not publish special tributes to her. No western government will express alarm about her plight. This will be a death that will be added to the many deaths that go on regularly in Lebanon without any fanfare or press releases: these are the deaths of people who have no lobbies behind them, and no powerful government. Her death will be added to the deaths of scores of poor Syrian workers who were victims of a movement that shouted slogans about “freedom” and “democracy” and “independence”—Bush’s version of that, to be sure. No songs will be composed to mourn Sushar Rosky, and Lebanese and Arab singers will not rush to sing her praises the way they do when Hariri or King Fahd died. Arab satellite stations will not send a team to interview her family in Sri Lanka, and no Lebanese newspaper (I hope that Doha Shams of As-Safir will be the exception—I know that she will) will send a team to investigate the circumstances behind her death. This death in a just world would, and should, open the file of the horrendous abuse of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon. Let us face it: slavery has been banned in Arab countries, but forms of slavery exist in every single Arab country. I once asked an Asian worker in Qatar whether the treatment of Asian workers in Gulf countries was akin to slavery. “Semi-slavery” he corrected me. Western human rights organizations which scrutinize even the utterances of the Palestinian people will not utter a word in her memory. Life will go on, and the Lebanonese nationalist people will go on bragging about hey they are better than everybody else around them, how they are superior in their very genetic makeup. If they only know; if they only know how pathetic they sound, and how clueless they are about their very existence. I will not post nice pictures, poetry, or art today. I will not post anything today. Let this picture stands as a testimony to the cruelty of people, and to the injustice in the world that goes on every single day, with little if any press attention. This image will stay with me. And if US media are not busy covering the “anguish” of Israeli occupation soldiers and the “suffering” of Israeli colonial settlers, will they find the time to cover her death?