The Lebanese Help: New TV Hosts Ali Mahfouz – The Man Who Beat Up The Ethiopian Maid

The “Lil Nashr” TV show, hosted by Tony Khalife, had Ali Mahfouz as one of its main guests for its Saturday March 17th episode. Mafhouz is the man that beat up the Ethiopian maid in front of her embassy. The maid has since committed suicide.

Using the platform of the TV show, Mafhouz tried to come off as an affectionate man who deeply cared for the girl and was trying to sort out her affairs. He even went further than that and said he would never beat her up and that moment outside the embassy was unlike him.

The rest of this post will be assuming that Mr. Mafhouz was, indeed, acting outside of his character – although I have to say that modern psychiatry and psychology would assert that this violent behavior is, in fact, within his character, whether he wants to admit it or not.

Now, Mr. Mafhouz goes even further and argues that the maid, whose name is Alem Dechasa, was mentally ill and an unstable presence for him and the people she knew. He even cites a coroner’s report that she was having auditory hallucinations while still alive to “prove his point.”

The end result of the episode, which I was able to touch from both my parents, is that many individuals have lost their compassion to the maid and are now seeing her as an insane person, which clears Mr. Mahfouz. He is not in the wrong anymore.

Let’s get a few things straight.

1) A coroner’s job is to examine a dead body for a cause of death, among other factors. There is no way that a coroner (or medical examiner) can tell if the deceased person they’re examining was having psychotic episodes while they were still alive. It is beyond their scope. It is impossible to tell if a dead person was mentally ill via an autopsy and more importantly, there’s no way a coroner would have the authority to write a report containing such information.

2) I am very dismissive when it comes to Lebanese media for many reasons. But I never expected a TV show to host a man like Ali Mahfouz without advocating the victim’s side. This is not how proper journalism works, especially if it’s a TV station that supposedly respects itself. For the entire duration of the show, the arguments of the Ali Mahfouz camp were so front loaded that any attempt to speak on behalf of Alem Dechasa were rendered meaningless. This leads me to point 3.

3) The purpose of the episode, which I’m sure Tony Khalife is very proud of, was not to showcase the Alem Dechasa abuse in an objective manner. It was simply to help clear Ali Mahfouz’s reputation and to convert him from the man who led an innocent woman to her death to a man who was simply escaping the ramblings of a lunatic. Judging by the reactions I got from my parents, which I’m sure echo many other households that decided to tune in, their goal was achieved. New TV must be very happy with themselves.

It is a sad day when a victim’s reputation is tarnished just so an influential Lebanese man can escape the consequences of his actions. A few days from now, the whole affair will be forgotten. It has already started. Those who had thought Alem Dechassa was innocent are now believing the contrary. The rationalization of the Lebanese ego that a Lebanese can never behave this way is starting to work full throttle. The government will soon follow suit, especially as the wheels of Mr. Mahfouz’s “wasta” start spinning.

Alem Dechassa was killed three times. Once when her body was violated in front of her embassy and dragged into Ali Mahfouz’s car. The second time was when she got so desperate and took her own life. The third time was with the Lel Nashr episode that portrayed her as insane. The end result is simple: the victim becomes the abuser and the abuser becomes the victim. Well done New TV. Well done.

24 thoughts on “The Lebanese Help: New TV Hosts Ali Mahfouz – The Man Who Beat Up The Ethiopian Maid

  1. This TV show is so annoying, I can’t watch it for 5 minutes, let alone believe anything they say. Journalists have become so blinded with trying to get the “In scoop” that they’ve completely disregarded the proper way of reporting and what it actually means to be a journalist!
    I agree with all the points you brought up, great post :)

    Reply
    • Exactly what I was thinking. They wanted the ratings and to get on top of the controversial issue that they didn’t bother with how they should have dealt with it.
      Alem has only been dead for a few days and they’re already disrespecting her memory, on national TV no less, using less than credible arguments and hosting the man who led her to suicide to explain his point of view, without a counter argument. I can get Hitler on TV and he can explain the Holocaust without a counter argument and people would believe him. Doesn’t make it true or correct. It means I’m a bad reporter.

      And yeah, that TV show is atrocious. I was walking around the house when I heard it getting played and listened it. Horrible!
      Thanks for reading Aline :)

      Reply
  2. Great article! The time when Lebanese media protect filthy Lebanese men needs to stop. The victim’s voice needs to be heard. We cannot continue to behave like this and expect to get away with it unharmed.

    Reply
    • The rest of the show was basically advocating that what happened to the maid was not “that” bad because many maids have committed acts of horror in Lebanon. Completely non-sensical. Some people need to be banned from the airways.

      Reply
  3. I hope a complaint against Ali Mahfouz has been/will be filed. Even if he doesn’t get the sentence he deserves, at least it will show people that what happened is not right at all and that they’d get in deep trouble for such behavior.
    Does anyone know if an organization has taken action?

    Reply
    • I think a complaint will go nowhere. He’s obviously influential. The point is that some people now sympathise with him, which won’t help any case for the Ethiopian maid.

      I have no idea if any organization has worked towards this.

      Reply
  4. This is a sad, sad truth that many Lebanese with their “superior” birth and their (cosmetically altered) noses held high, believe that the help do not deserve much more than the hell they are objected to.
    What’s even sadder, is that these maids leave everything they love and know behind, with the hope of finding a better life, to support their families… Reality disappoints. Not only are they cheated with their salaries and stripped from their self-worth, they are robbed of the most fundamental human rights.

    Many stories i have heard of maids who hung themselves, or maid who jumped off balconies because they were locked in the house for endless hours, or raped or exposed to verbal and physical abuse…

    Maybe for some people this is justified: “she was crazy” “she was unstable” “she was sleeping with the concierge”
    What leads these poor women to all that? being mistreated to the extent that they lose their minds.

    For one minute, put yourself in their shoes. Feel the humiliation, the hurt and the sadness that these women feel…

    This is an unacceptable truth. But a truth nonetheless.

    I hope this man is brought to justice.

    Thank you Elie for this wonderful article…

    Reply
    • I fully agree with this, Mona. It’s mostly why I decided to come up with the idea for “The Lebanese Help.” We don’t see the effect we have on these maids. We don’t see that most of them have left their children, husbands and families to come become our neo-slaves. We forgot that they are human beings.
      How many Lebanese women would accept to leave their children for months and months to go work for a family they don’t know? I would say none.

      What’s worse is that some TV stations, such as New TV, are actually insecure enough to have a show like Lel Nashr say that we, as people, are not that bad and that they, the maids, have committed some bad crimes in Lebanon. I was outraged.

      I really hope this man is brought to justice. But with TV stations like this one rooting for him, I don’t see how he will.
      Thanks for reading and for the input!

      Reply
  5. I wish the Lebanese government would finally set a law where they’d ban any domestic labor. It shouldn’t be up to the foreign embassies to ban them, it should be up to them. I know it’s cutting a lot of jobs for a lot of people from developing countries…but what the hell. It’s not worth their self-respect.

    I’d love to see the Lebanese reaction. Do shit yourself, or hire someone Lebanese and pay them the amount they deserve. Would they treat them the same way? I doubt.

    Damn it. I couldn’t even play that video.

    Reply
    • I don’t think they should ban domestic labor entirely. But the sector is so archaic and disorganized that a major overhaul is in order. The maids need to have a fixed working time. They need to have access to services that are spread everywhere and can help them in case of abuse. Basically, we should treat the maids as employees not as slaves. In any Lebanese company, employees get perks and whatnot. Why not the maids?

      The government won’t do anything. A previous comment on a related post said the Ethiopian embassy doesn’t get involved in these things. And the cycle keeps turning.

      Also, I don’t think they’d treat a Lebanese this way because they see it as a person who’s like them. The maids are seen as beneath them.

      Reply
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  13. it’s so frustrating to read these incidents it honestly make me not regret leaving Lebanon. it’s so sad that a lot of people think just because this is the way things have happened before it means it’s the right way to keep doing things. Mainstream media in any country is not to be trusted and Lebanon is not an exception.

    Reply

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