Lebanon Up-in-Arms After Racist Tweets of Foreign Minister

Published June 11th, 2019 - 06:46 GMT
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has tweeted again blaming the country's poorly-peforming economy on migrant workers and Syrian refugees. (AFP/File Photo)
Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has tweeted again blaming the country's poorly-peforming economy on migrant workers and Syrian refugees. (AFP/File Photo)
Highlights
Gebran Bassil tweet promoted backlash, as many took to Twitter to demand his sacking using the Arabic hashtag #demand_FM_resignation.

Lebanon's Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil courted controversy again this week, after again blaming the country's poorly-peforming economy on migrant workers and Syrian refugees.

Bassil took to Twitter on Saturday to urge his country to "defend Lebanese labour in the face of any other labour, be it Syrian, Palestinian, French, Saudi, Iranian or American".

His tweet promoted backlash, as many took to Twitter to demand his sacking using the Arabic hashtag #demand_FM_resignation.

Bassil, the Christian-dominated Free Patriotic Movement leader, previously courted controversy when he said Syrian refugees are "demanding the acceleration of their return [to Syria]" and that he would fight any policies of resettling refugees inside Lebanon. 

Bassil is part of a pro-Damascus wing of Lebanese politics led by Hizballah - which sympathises with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and Iran.


Many politicians have spoken out against the mostly Sunni Syrian refugees who fled to Lebanon following intense regime bombing since 2011, and urged them to return to "safe" areas of the war-torn country.

Around 1.1 million Syrian refugees live in Lebanon, although Beirut puts the number at 1.5 million and said it is unable afford hosting the population.

A strong anti-refugee backlash has also gripped some sections of Lebanese society and there has been pressure on Syrian refugees to leave Lebanon.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

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