A Hard Truth Enrages Lebanese: A Bitter Pill to Swallow

خدمة كاملة
A recent storm took to social media, after a statement made by the wife of Prime Minister Hassan Diab encouraging Lebanese men and women to take on jobs, such as domestic work for women and gas station attendance for men, that have been historically held by foreign workers.

First of all, it is no secret that some of the comments within the storm of criticism was politically motivated; some of it was rushed and instinctive, and a lot more was piling on by people repeating what has already been said.

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The common accusation amongst all the violent responses was: “This woman wants our sons and daughter who hold university degrees to work as help for the rich who plundered the country!” Naturally, she did not say that. Rather, she meant to address the young men and women who do not have university degrees and do not possess any professional experience or qualifications that allow them to hold higher positions.

She told them: “Your political leaders whom you worship, have been lying to you and stealing from you for decades. It is now time for you to pay the heavy price for your blind allegiance to them.”

The fact is that the cascade of responses to Mrs. Diab only reestablished incorrect concepts commonly held by the Lebanese people that some Jobs are lesser than others.

The truth is Lebanese do not consider the jobs as lesser. However, they do not want to work jobs that are dominated by foreign workers whose competition has driven down the conditions to extreme lows. Lebanese people have been immigrating for centuries and taking on any job they can find. They understand that value of work and its importance.

If Lebanese were offered a position in a job in legal conditions alongside Lebanese coworkers, they would gladly work in a gas station and wash cars on minimum wage plus tips.  The same applies to any other profession, be it construction, agriculture, cleaning, and other manual labor jobs. When Lebanese no longer have to compete with foreign workers, how societies view these jobs will completely change along with their conditions.

At least $1.5 billion dollars are being sent annually by foreign workers to their home countries. On the other hand, money being sent to Lebanon by expats is dwindling by the day due to world economic downturn. As the dollar price continues to soar along with its scarcity, there is no future for foreign workers in Lebanon. Many Lebanese households and businesses can no longer afford to pay their foreign workers’ salaries in dollars. As a result, and due to the devaluation of the lira by at least 150%, the majority of foreign workers will be forced to return to their home countries leaving a huge employment gap that must be filled.

As foreign workers leave Lebanon, grim economic conditions would undoubtably push Lebanese to turn to jobs that were once seen lesser to such an extent that unemployment was an acceptable alternative. The Lebanese worker would become accepting of many of these jobs, as others will naturally follow suit. The racist-like pride that one day prevented them from work will no longer be an issue. Everyone who came to Lebanon seeking foreign currency will be deterred, and every Lebanese job will only be available for those who accept the Lira as their currency, and Lebanon as their home.

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