Sri Lanka is a nationality, not a profession. This should be clear to everyone. However, in Lebanon, the situation is different. A “Sri Lankan,” here, could be from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, or the Philippines. The identity has become a synonym for domestic service workers. In Lebanon, it’s normal to hear someone asking her friend, “Which country is your ‘Sri Lankan’ from?” The question is full of ignorance, even hatred and irrational racism, pointing to a feeling of Lebanese superiority toward the people of Sri Lanka.
Those who ask it are ignorant that there is a full-fledged country called Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon and, in ancient times, Serendipity. It has a civilization which goes further back in time, ages before Christ. Yet the people who live there are reduced by some idiots here to the status of “servant.” Some are unaware that their favorite tea was grown, manufactured, and made famous by that people.
In fact, the issue goes beyond domestic workers. The moniker “Sri Lankan” in Lebanon refers to anything considered “lower.” One often hears Lebanese comparing a woman to a Sri Lankan, as a form of denigration.
Power cuts only occur during emergency malfunctions. Electricity is a given and there is no need to discuss it. In short, electricity in Sri Lanka is not rationed.One of the quickest ways to hear some phrases is when one declares they will be visiting Sri Lanka for tourism. “Are you really going to Sri Lanka?” one would ask, as if one had mentioned an incredible event. But why this disgusting arrogance?
Hmmm… if my memory is not bad… in Saudi Arabia they had different levels of works and wages depending of where was the worker coming from:
1-Americans and Brits
2- Other anglosaxons (australians, Canadians…) and Germans
3- Other Europeans
5- Other Gulfians
6- Other Middle Easterns
7- North Africans
9- Sri lankans-bangladeshis
Most of hard labour workforce are on those lower social classes. Saudis are racists. Not just about religion, arabicity, middle easterness or saudicity…. they can be selective to the level of family names and tribes.
Compared to this… the racism of this italianized version of arabs, that Lebanese are quite often, with that touch of french chauvinism, is almost laughable,… if it was not for the work conditions they impose to those considered to be “lower”.
There’s many things lebanese could have copied from other peoples, even from arabs,… but racism should not be one of them.
Btw, reading the article I liked the idea of living in Sri Lanka.
Really liked it.