Saturday, February 4, 2012

Activists to MTV: Racism is not funny

Angie Nassar from Now Lebanon on the reactions to MTV's Ktir Salbe racism scandal


“I can’t think of anything lower than this. I don’t know where we are going,” said Farah Salka, who works with the Anti-Racist Movement in Lebanon, in response to the Ktir Salbe video. “The main problem is that people don’t see these workers as human beings, and this is the best example: they’re making fun of them dying.”

“There is a very thin line between being stupid and being funny and MTV just doesn’t get the difference,” said Wissam al-Saliby from the Ethiopian Suicides blog. “And
we’re not just talking about abuse anymore, the problem has expanded. Now we’re talking about slavery, trafficking and sometimes sexual enslavement.”

“So some people are calling for shutting down MTV, which is unacceptable, said Saliby. “But what is equally unacceptable is not sanctioning this or finding a way to prevent this from happening in the future.”

Human Rights Watch's senior researcher for Lebanon and Syria, Nadim Houry, warns that some viewers might not even understand the supposed humor implied in the sketch: “There are people who will watch it, will identify with it and not get the point. So you are actually reinforcing the idea that this is ok… It’s disgusting when it’s what people actually say.”

I was able to reach the director of Katir Salbe, Hani Khafsheh, who said that critics “don’t understand the video.”


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