A Lebanese political activist has been under fire for a racist comment he made during a live Facebook video, in which he called on his followers to take to the streets in response to the government's latest decisions.
Translation: "Humans have made it all the way to the moon and this guy still says "a black slave..."
As the Lebanese Ministry of Interior decides to ease restrictions on several businesses despite the Coronavirus pandemic, political activist Rabih El-Zein stirred a lot of debate after using a racially charged term, referring to the on-going Black Lives Matter protests in the United States.
In the video, El-Zein called on his followers to protest against the government's latest plans to reopen the country amidst economic pressure, suggesting that they should feel encouraged by the protests in the US.
نسف اللغة و نسف حقوق الانسان ب ١٥ ثانية— Moussa ? (@mimoussaaa) May 31, 2020
Translation: "He's destroyed both the correctness language and human rights values in just 15 seconds"
El-Zein added: "In America, people are revolting because of, excuse me, a black slave..."
Online comments were quick to react to his choice of words saying that he should know better especially that he's calling for social and economic justice in Lebanon.
The Arabic word for slave: Abd, is still used often to refer to people with darker skins in the Arabic-speaking world, and is recognized as a racially offensive one.
مقرف جداً لما واحد محسوب "ناشط" سياسي اسمه ربيع الزين يقول "الاميركان كرمال "عبد" أسود خربوا الدني" بسياق دعوته الناس بلبنان تتحرك..— ديانا مقلد Diana Moukalled (@dianamoukalled) May 31, 2020
مش مبرر إنو بعد في حدا بيستعمل هيك تعبير عنصري مقيت.
اللي عقله بعد ما بيستوعب شو يعني حقوق وشو يعني مساواة ما بيطلعله ينظرّ بالثورات ...
Translation: "It's utterly disgusting that someone who's regarded as a "political activist"; Rabih El-Zein says: "Americans have flipped out for a black salve" so he calls on Lebanese people to take action. There's no justification for anyone using such a racist ugly term. If you're still unable to understand what rights and equality mean you can't just simply lecture others on revolutions."
Ever since protests broke out across American cities in the wake of George Floyd's killing by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the treatment of people with African origins in the Arab world has been an ongoing conversation on Arabic online platforms, including offensive terms used to describe them.
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