Stripped naked for entertainment: Syrian refugee deliberately humiliated on Lebanese TV
Lebanon is currently home to 1.5 million Syrian refugees (Wikimedia Commons)
A hidden camera program “Calm Your Heart” has caused outrage in Lebanon after it broadcast an extreme prank on a young Syrian man. The episode, which has been described as “racist”, showed a Syrian man, Ahmed, being “arrested” and forced to strip by actors.
The excruciating 23-minute garnered a strong social media backlash after it was shared widely on Friday, with the hashtag “StopCalmYourHeart” trending in the country. The video was produced for OTV channel, which is owned by new Lebanese President Michel Aoun, according to the Huffington Post.
In the clip a young Syrian worker, Ahmed, turns up for work at a go-karting track. He is asked by a supervisor get into a kart and to go to the other side of the track. However, much to the man’s horror and protestation, she presents him with a gun to take with him.
On the other side of the track he is surprised by an armed man asking him for his driving license and identity card. A mock “police car” then pulls up and “arrests” him. The “police officer” - who is really the main actor from the show, Marcel Khadra - proceeds to demand that he undress down to his underwear and run while shouting “we want bread, we want bread”. He is also made to hold a sign saying “stop, barrier” and to put a stick down his shorts during a humiliating and clearly terrifying ordeal.
One Lebanese journalist wrote a piece in al-Akhbar newspaper objecting to the treatment of the young man: “Remarkably, whenever things more and more scraped the bottom of barrel of immorality, the level of Khadra's frenzy increased, he went yelling at the collapsed worker and gave him order after order”
Many took to social media to criticize the mocking of the Syrian victim:
This morning I saw a link sent by a friend of an episode of a silly program on a Lebanese station called "Calm Your Heart" where they sadistically mock a Syrian worker. I have nothing to say except that everyone who participated in this program and who allowed it to be broadcast, and even those viewers who laughed at it are sons of dogs. Of course, before all of that, a curse upon those who instil fear in the hearts of Syrians and made them tolerate such humiliation.
#اوقفوا_هدي_قلبك— #ملك التغريد# (@Maria41126) November 18, 2016
فرق كبير بين أن تضحك الناس
وبين أن تجعل من الناس سخرية
تأكد أيها الأبله بأن الناس سخرت منك وضحكت عليك
قمة الحقارة، تفووو
There is a big difference between making people laugh and making people humiliated. Be clear, you goof, that people mocked you and laughed at you. The height of meanness.
Among those who condemned the broadcast were Lebanese public figures:
Journalist Diana Moukalled
Cheapness and provocation on "official" TV...If that is how we start, where will we end up? #Lebanon
Celebrity personality Rabia Zayyat
ما عم صدّق هذا الكم من العنصرية والسادية تجاه البشر بهدف الضحك !!! وأي ضحك هذا الذي يهين ويحقّر الناس !شو عم بيصير ؟ #أوقفوا_هدي_قلبك— Rabia Zayyat (@rabiazayyat) November 18, 2016
I can't believe this degree of racism and sadism towards human beings in order to laugh!!! And what kind of laughter is it which humiliates and degrades people! What are we becoming?
There are currently approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, where they face problems finding work, and integrating into society. Women in particular are at risk of exploitation.
A video shared over the weekend on Facebook attempted to demonstrate the lack of acceptance of Syrians into Lebanese society. It asked young Lebanese women if they would go out with a Syrian man, to which the reply was consistently no, with many citing “cultural differences”.
As for “Calm Your Heart”, it has been reported that the program, and Marcel Khadra, will apologize for the episode.