Lebanese Intellectuals and Academics Issue Statement Against Anti-Syrian Racism

Activists in Lebanon have spoken out about the racism and injustices that Syrian refugees living in Lebanon have faced writes The Syrian Observer.

A group of Lebanese intellectuals, academics, journalists and civil society activists issued a statement condemning the, “racist hysteria led by the son-in-law of the Lebanese president, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil,” against Syrians in Lebanon.

The statement said that the signatories declared, “our total condemnation of the campaign to which Syrian men and women are being subjected to in our country and our frank disgust at the racist hysteria led by the son-in-law of the Lebanese president, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, against isolated individuals expelled from their country by a murderous regime, assisted by a Lebanese party participating today, and for years, in our country’s government.”

The statement said that this campaign, “poisoned the entire internal atmosphere … painting our country as a place of oppression and slavery … and thrusting our civil peace, with all its fragility, into the face of the violent possibilities which have previously cost our country so much.”

The statement added that the campaign against Syrians was accompanied by, “political, administrative and security measures carried out by Lebanese state institutions, which cannot be described as anything but intentional abuse and humiliation, in order to turn the residency of refugees in Lebanon into an unbearable hell.”

The Lebanese intellectuals condemned the, “burning or destruction of tents, the arrests of refugees and transfer of them to the Syrian regime,” considering this to be, “additional evidence of the systematic and escalatory policy that could feed into “collective expulsions” in a continuation of the policy of “demographic cleansing” in Syria.

The statement closed by saying that, “we condemn the carrying out of this campaign in our name as Lebanese, and in the name of defending our alleged interests. We can only warn of the danger of it opening a very ugly phase in Lebanon’s modern history, and in Lebanese-Syrian future relations—and above all in our own humanity. This leads us to call for resistance through all available, legitimate civil means, including filing lawsuits in the courts, and encouraging lawyers and human rights officials to mobilize to stop the campaigns which are targeting Syrians in Lebanon, stressing the need to abide by the laws which criminalize racism. These values that we claim to pronounce and express are themselves threatened, as well as our credibility in claiming them. This is worth us fighting for.”

The statement was signed by about two hundred journalists, academics, and civil society and human rights activists. The signatories included Elias Khoury, Badia Fahas, Marwan Harb, Dalal al-Barzi, Bashara Charbel, Lokman Saleem, Hazem al-Ameen, Dania Muqalad, Hoda Barakat, Ziad Majed, Joseph Bahout, Hazem Saghiyeh, and Hossam Aitani.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Syrian Observer.

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