Norwegian women happy to date Syrians unlike Lebanese counterparts
Syrian refugees make the treacherous journey across Europe (Wikipedia)
Norwegian women are very happy to date Syrian refugees, according to a new video shared on social media. This follows a report that went viral earlier this month in which Lebanese women are seen turning their noses up at Syrian men, citing cultural differences.
The original video was created as an exercise for students at Alba University to “discuss the hidden racism that [...] exists in the Lebanese society and that is more pronounced by the fact of the massive presence of refugees”. It received a powerful backlash from Syrians and elements of Lebanese society for the negative attitudes expressed towards Syrian men.
The latest interviews were conducted by a Syrian living in Norway, Mahmoud Abu Muhammad al-Hamsi. In a video posted on Facebook, and his Youtube channel “syrian in norway”, al-Hamsi places side-by-side clips of the apparent intolerance of Lebanese students and the smiling welcome of Norwegian women on the streets of Oslo.
Al-Hamsi asks Norwegian women: “Would you accept to be girlfriend or colleague of a Syrian?” to which the answer is unfalteringly “yes”. When asked what she would like to say to the Syrian people, one young woman replies “you are very welcome if you would like to live here.”
In his Facebook post, al-Hamsi writes “[a] surprising response from the beauty queens of #Norway to the rubbish girls of Lebanon #Alba University who insulted Syrian men”. The content has received 17,000 likes and nearly half-a-million views, with many offering opinions on the video:
Hehehehe God bless you... The purest, most wholesome, loveliest and noblest people are Syrians... may the Lord protect you wherever you are, and make you proud.
First, if people have wronged the Syrian people, that doesn't mean that all the Lebanese are like that. Secondly, isn't it the case that there are dirty Syrians? Well there are dirty Lebanese and there are people who are all goodness [as well]. In every country there are cultured and educated people and there are ignorant people. [...]
It is perhaps not surprising that the Norwegians have a somewhat more positive attitude to Syrian refugees than the Lebanese: Norway is currently playing host to just 200,000 refugees from 169 countries, while Lebanon is home to 1.5 million refugees from Syria alone. Added to that is the fact that Syria only withdrew its troops from Lebanon a decade ago. So, it is perhaps unfair to compare attitudes between the two.
Nonetheless, Syrian refugees in Lebanon currently face a multitude of issues finding work, and integrating into society. Women in particular are at risk of exploitation. A video was shared earlier this month showing a Syrian refugee being humiliated and forced to strip naked on a Lebanese hidden camera TV show in country, which received widespread condemnation.