Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani, apparently whom carries the ever so eligible title of ‘top Mufti of Lebanon’ and ally of the former March 14th government, went on a rampage a few days ago in a conference he held in Beirut.
This wasn’t a random old person rampage, the kind where your grandpa goes nuts when you hide his slippers or put crazy glue in his dentures (no seriously, don’t try that), but a racist uncalled for outburst against the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Which I guess is technically an old person random outburst.
Now, to break this down: there are 400,000 Palestinian refugees scattered across 12 main camps in Lebanon. Not only are they confined to the smallest, most poorly built areas and live in similar conditions to those in besieged Gaza (see for yourself: http://tinyurl.com/33hlene) , but they are also subjected to the worst kind of racism. Whether it be by the average Joe the plumbers (or ‘Mohammed the najjar’, whatever floats your boat) in Lebanon to apparently the top ‘mufti’ of whom I barely found out we had on Thursday, Palestinian refugees are made out to be the ‘scum’ of Lebanon. When, in my opinion, Lebanese people are perfectly capable of being scum themselves and don’t really need to hand that title to anyone else but that’s a whole other story.
Sheikh Qabbani stupidly lashed out blatant remarks in a pit of Palestinians (PLO members to be specific) saying, “You are trash. You [Palestinians] will never be victorious nor will your cause. I’m no longer afraid of your weapons.” Now I don’t know about you, but that’s sorta like saying the “n” word in Compton. Who does that!?
As an avid Palestinian activist in Lebanon, I of course took offense to these remarks. Seeing the dismay amongst fellow Palestinians on social networking sites made me disappointed. This is the image being created for us. I dedicated my life to this cause just for it to be overshadowed by some idiot who forgot to take his medication that night.
This man, who’s on a higher pedestal than I because he was lucky to be born in some wasta-filled family that secured his political position, will inevitably always have a louder voice than us Palestinian activists. What I say won’t make tomorrow’s headline and will most likely be lost in the shuffle. Therefore, the love that does exist for Palestinians is overshadowed by asswipes who claim to represent my country. Well, in a sense he does really represent half of my country on terms of Palestinian acceptance but we just won’t go there…..
Anyway, this ain’t about me. In such a crucial time for the Palestinian people, who have been working hard for the ‘Right of Return’ this year(most recently on May 15, see my blog post: http://tinyurl.com/6kmx5kt). The unprecedented events, such as May 15, have suddenly become a ‘threat’ to Lebanon’s security and stability. Because clearly, we are the most stable country in the world. I firmly believe that Mr. Qabbani is trying to cause a disunity (or a larger one at least) between the Lebanese people and the Palestinians in order to let them continue suffering, at the will of Israel. Because really, who else benefits from the racism and imprisonment of Palestinians other than Israel? And sadly, we as Lebanese probably will fall for it. Just as we have today, just as we have 60 years ago.
Yet, thankfully for the interwebz…us little voices can be heard. So if I may show my condemnation for this man, after having cleaned up my language: Sir, YOU’RE TRASH. I don’t have room for racists in my country so kindly escort yourself off my land and make more room for my Palestinian brothers and sisters.