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Lebanese Launch Campaign in Support of Syrians Facing Racism

The Campaign in Support of Syrians facing Racism (Arabic: الحملة الداعمة للسوريين بوجه العنصريّة) was launched on the 21st of March, 2014, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, “in rejection of all violence towards Syrians [in Lebanon], racist political rhetoric and the associated media hype.” In other words, it aims to tackle what is perceived as growing discrimination against Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. Lebanese politicians are being accused by activists of using rising tensions between Syrians refugees and Lebanese inhabitants of some areas of Lebanon for politically-motivated purposes.

After the “I am not a Martyr” campaign in honor of Mohammad Chaar and the “I am not naked” campaign first in support of Olympic skier Jackie Chamoun and then against Domestic Violence, the anti-racism campaign is using the same (and now-familiar) method of online protest featuring average citizens posting selfies and carrying a message.

Speaking to leading French language Lebanese newspaper “L'Orient-le Jour”, one of the activists participating in the campaign said:

Les politiciens n'arrivent même pas à résoudre le problème de l'approvisionnement en électricité, des transports en commun, des violences à Tripoli, dans le Hermel, de la violence conjugale, de la cherté des télécommunications… Ces problèmes existaient avant l'arrivée des réfugiés syriens, et nos politiciens ne les ont pas résolus. Ils ne veulent rien résoudre, ils ne l'ont jamais voulu

Politicians can't even solve basic problems such as of providing us electricity and public transportation, stopping violence in Tripoli and Hermel, domestic violence, expensive telecommunication… These problems existed before the arrival of Syrian refugees and our politicians did not solve them. They never want to solve anything, they never did.

Here are a few examples of those participating:

"And our house is your house if you're willing to accept us parents to parents, brothers to brothers

“And our house is your house if you're willing to accept us parents to parents, brothers to brothers

I once met a Syrian who made us both proud

I once met a Syrian who made us both proud

Above: The Humanist. Below: The Racist

Above: The Humanist. Below: The Racist

He didn't escape death [in his country] to die of humiliation [in your country]

He didn't escape death [in his country] to die of humiliation [in your country]

Not every Syrian is a criminal and not every Lebanese is innocent

Not every Syrian is a criminal and not every Lebanese is innocent

The Syrian refugee is like us: he can't live. Direct your anger towards the corrupt ruling class.

The Syrian refugee is like us: he can't live. Direct your anger towards the corrupt ruling class.

I'm a human before being a Syrian.

I'm a human before being a Syrian.

Say no to racism. Lebanon is a small country, but with a big heart.

Say no to racism. Lebanon is a small country, but with a big heart.

90% of our houses are built by Syrians. Stay a racist and leave your house.

90% of our houses are built by Syrians. Stay a racist and leave your house.

Some even went further to criticize colonial legacy.

Whoever divided these grounds for 'immigrants' to cross borders to another country... I won't say 'welcome' because this is not just my country.

Whoever divided these grounds for ‘immigrants’ to cross borders to another country… I won't say ‘welcome’ because this is not just my country.

And they even hanged a sign over a highway:

Dear Syrian, welcome! welcome to Lebanon

Dear Syrian, Welcome! Welcome to the heart of Lebanon

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