Situate yourself in the following scenario: you are waiting to board a plane. There are people of every nationality you could think of there. And the hostess decides to single you out. Only because your nationality is not something she likes.
This happened to Filipino and Nepali workers who were waiting to board an Air Arabia flight, which was managed by MEA. This is the story in detail (link):
Yesterday on the 6th of October I was at gate 11 with a friend of mine waiting to board the Air Arabia flight at 20:25.
While waiting to board there was a group of foreign workers sitting with the rest of the passengers waiting for their turn. They were behaving normally as any other group of passengers would.
Then sadly, the lady (looking at her uniform she apparently works for MEA Ground Services and not Air Arabia) at the gate announced on loud speaker (over the whole system covering the airport) the following: “Filipino people stop talking” ; then she started giggling about it with the macho gentleman who was with her at the gate.
They continued their racist behavior by announcing again “Filipino Nepal people talking not allowed here” and on and on.
Shocked, I obviously became furious and approached them and explained that this racist and discriminatory behavior is not acceptable, impolite and does not at the least reflect what employees at Beirut Airport should stand for (not to imply it’s acceptance in any other situation of course).
This unfortunately sounded like a joke to them and they went on to say “we do whatever we want and we don’t care about what you are saying”, then “management doesn’t even want this kind of people on the flight” and “even if you complain this will be thrown away and we dare you to do anything about it”.
When I asked her “how would you feel if you ever wanted to travel to Europe and while queuing for your visa they told you the same thing?”, she replied “these people are different”; The macho gentleman seeing that his female friend, whom he was trying so hard to impress with his imitating giggles, was cornered with her twisted racist logic even went further to ask me to back off the counter and threatening to make a problem and to void my ticket!! When I asked for the complaint form they answered (While still laughing of course) “take it from the flight attendants and good luck sitting next to such people on the flight”
I did file an official complaint with Air Arabia and their staff was very helpful and promised to reach the message out to their management.
However Air Arabia is paying MEAG for such services and they need to use their power to do greater efforts too to ensure that the people behind this are held accountable. I also sent an email today to Mr. Richard Mujais from MEAG, explaining what happened and asked him to further discuss this with me and to show us that these employees were held accountable for such racist behavior.
Until then, and as a friend suggested that they also need to be exposed please help me exposing such intolerable behavior…
It’s very easy for MEA to know who was working during the flight in question. They only need to look through their database. And there’s honestly only one acceptable solution in this situation.
Fire them. No severance package. No goodbye gesture. Just get them out of your company and let them try to find a job with their narrow mindedness and backward mentality elsewhere.
It is beyond unacceptable for a person working at a flight company, which naturally means dealing with people from all across the world, to have a hateful attitude towards people just because of the color of their skin, their language or their passport. Perhaps MEA should start doing a better job at choosing people that would represent it to the world especially that it is the first thing that people see of Lebanon before they get here and the last thing they see before they leave.
Shame on MEA for hiring unqualified people to do jobs. Shame on them not even having a complaint system that would get their employees to panic and shame on those employees for being downright nauseating.