Who among you, precious readers, has made a “Homsi” joke?
No, don’t be ashamed to raise your hand. If you’re not raising it then you are lying. We’ve all done it. We’ve all said it. We all have a connotation in our head that homsi is equal with stupid. Even when Steve Jobs died, some statuses were: “A Homsi just changed the world….”
The Homsis are also the ones getting hammered by Assad’s forces now in their revolution.
Then why don’t we all get into a fit of “OMG OMG *hyperventilates* RACISM” when everyone does the Homsi jokes?
Yes, you guessed it. No one sees it as racism. But it is. It flagrantly is.
The recent? The leading Lebanese TV station MTV featured on one of its comedy shows “Ktir Salbe” a comedy skit about migrant workers in Lebanon that many perceived as racist. BeirutSpring was even speculating about boycotting MTV as a whole, starting with deleting their app.
1) I have no idea if people in Lebanon actually think our society is NOT racist, but apparently this is the case. Why else would everyone get angry because of a comedy skit that showcases what most people do with the maids they get?
2) For those criticizing the comedy skit, I ask. How many of you watch American comedy shows such as SouthPark or Family Guy? Are you offended by the racist “slurs” those shows make? Better yet, in case “cartoons” are too childish for you, what’s your opinion on shows like The Colbert Report and other political satire shows that also make fun of racist issues? You laugh at those, right? Is your idea of “deranged comedy” only applicable when it’s done by a Lebanese?
3) Regardless of how you look at it, the Ktir Salbe skit is racist. But it’s not racist because they, as actors and personnel and TV station, are racist. The skit is as such because the show is, at the end of the day, a satire on Lebanese society. Just for reference, those same characters have had a very similar skit where they were parents at their children’s school, asking the headmistress every unimaginable thing you can come up with – including making their child sectarian. Why didn’t anyone get angry then?
4) MTV is possibly the only Lebanese TV station actually highlighting humanitarian issues in Lebanon. They even have a show “Tahkik” used exclusively for such purposes. Even the news report about foreigners in Bourj Hammoud was highlighting a social issue that many Lebanese societies have. Whether that news report was well done or not is a totally different matter. And yet, everyone had to feel involved with it. Question. Are you from Bourj Hammoud? If so, were you offended by that news report and the subsequent decision by your municipality to regulate foreign workers? If you’re from Bourj Hammoud and you were offended, then you know how to vote next elections. If you’re not from Bourj Hammoud, then you do have a right for free speech, obviously. But how do you know that the crime rates have not gone up because of an uncontrolled influx of foreign workers?
I blogged about this before with regards to the Myriam Achkar murder – foreign workers in Lebanon need to be regulated, whether you think it’s racist or not.
5) For all matters and purposes, MTV is the best Lebanese TV station. It is revolutionary in every way possible for the Lebanese scene: they have a great iOS app, they are very apt at handling social media, they use state of the art technology, etc…. Regardless of the political content of its news, so you don’t say I’m politically biased, every single show MTV airs is done with the care for details and with great execution. Their comedy shows can be lame sometimes, as is the case with every Lebanese comedy show, but it still doesn’t mean we need to bash them for the comedy they do because, at the end of the day, they are doing “comedy.”
For those who want to boycott MTV, have you tried contacting the TV station first to see what it has to say about this? A TV show does not summarize a whole TV station.
As for the rest, I quote: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”