The growing hostility towards the Syrian refugees in Lebanon continue to be met with widespread rejection and events being held to denounce the hate speech being promoted by pro-Assad parties, especially Hezbollah and Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil.
Lebanese rights activists and academics on Friday gathered in central Beirut to denounce Bassil’s latest inflammatory anti-refugees remarks, stressing that the Lebanese people are not racist and that they are themselves victims of discrimination in their country. They also stressed that such statements do not represent all the Lebanese people.
Organizers of the protest held signs that read ‘fascism has never built a proper country,’ and ‘we denounce hate speech,’ in a response to the racist statements by some Lebanese officials inciting hatred against the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
The Lebanese researcher Mona Fayyad, who participated in the demonstration, said hate speech is frightening and risks dividing the country. She stressed that those who are promoting anti-refugee sentiments think of themselves only as they are being surrounded by a bunch of fanatics and racists.
Nasser Yassin, a professor at the American University of Beirut, said that progress cannot be achieved in any country unless the officials depend on facts, information and figures, not on lies and disinformation. He noted that lies and disinformation can earn the politician some popularity, but may lead to the destruction of the country.
Participants in the sit-in protest also stressed that racist speech was based on lies and disinformation and being expressed in an unjustifiably disdainful language. They underscored that addressing the issue of refugees should never entail creating divisions among the people.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition, Badr Jamous, on Friday said that some Lebanese parties’ showing of hostility towards the Syrian refugees is aimed at forcing them to return to their country in risky conditions.
Jamous cited the recent demolition and burning of Syrian refugee camps and the increasing attacks on Syrian refugees in Lebanon, which reached the level of murder in different parts of the country.
“Whoever is forcing the Syrian refugees to return home will bear direct responsibility before international courts,” Jamous said, adding that the Syrian Coalition will resort to those courts in accordance with international norms and laws on the protection of refugees. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)