Monday, February 1, 2010

Feminist Collective's Domestic Migrant Workers Position Paper

The Feminist Collective is a Lebanon based group of young feminists who are working together to recreate a world free from sexism, and all other forms of exploitations and discrimination that collaborate with it: classism, heterosexism, racism, capitalism, etc.

They published a position paper on migrant domestic workers which can be found here.

Migrant women are stereotyped as submissive and stupid, as well as cunning. They are infantilized, addressed as “bint” (immature/ little girl). Often, they are looked at as private property, where “if she happens to have any health or other problem, she may be ‘returned’ to the employment agency, who will ensure that she is quickly ‘replaced.’” A Migrant worker is also seen as alien and inferior to “us”, so that her employers give themselves the right to “teach” (i.e. abuse) her. The lives of workers and their presence in our lives are also often erased from our literature, TV shows, and all other media.

While in his article in Arabic in Al-Akhbar newspaper "Victimhood and skin color: The Ethiopian [female workers] on the crashed plane", As'ad Abu Khalil asks "Can we imaging that the Future Movement and Hezbollah will issue one day a statement on the situation of migrant domestic workers in Lebanon?"

He adds, in Arabic:

لو أن أجسادهنّ يتولين الرواية ماذا كن قلن؟ قصص متكرّرة من الضرب ومن الجلد ومن القصاص. قصص من الاغتصاب والتحرّش الجنسي. قصص عن تجاهل رسمي لتكرار «حوادث» سقوط العاملات الإثيوبيّات والسريلانكيّات من الشرفات. تتعامل الشرطة اللبنانيّة مع تلك الحوادث كما تتعامل مع «حوادث» سقوط الثمار اليانعة عن الغصون. انتحارات بالجملة في وطن ثورة (حراس) الأرز. لا نسمع مرّة واحدة عن تحقيق رسمي. هل هناك من يسأل ومن يحقّق في انتحارات عاملات المنازل؟ هل سيق مخدوم واحد للتحقيق؟ هل خضعت أجساد المُنتحرات للفحص على يد الطبيب الشرعي للتحقق من خلوّهن من آثار ضرب أو اغتصاب أو الاثنين معاً؟ أليس هناك من يطالب بفتح تحقيق في ظروف وفاة العاملات الأجنبيّات في لبنان أو انتحارهن؟

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