Lebanese comedy sketch mocks Palestinian refugees and some were confused as to why it's racist

Lebanese comedy sketch mocks Palestinian refugees and some were confused as to why it's racist
3 min read
17 June, 2017
Some were incapable of understanding why the concept of being disgusted at the thought of dating a Palestinian man is racist.
Racist comedy sketch sparked a debate in Lebanon [Facebook]

A Lebanese comedy sketch, which featured three sisters discussing a romantic affair, has caused outrage because of its racist remarks against Palestinians.

Maria, the character who is in a relationship with a Palestinian man called Ghadi was visibly distressed as she described him to her sisters.

“Ghadi is tidy and educated and he understands. He respects me a lot and he loves me,” she explained as her sisters were trying to figure out what it was about her new lover that was causing her such high levels of anxiety.

“But Ghadi is…”

“Muslim?” her sister Julia asked as she jumped with her first assumption, while her other sister reassured Maria that no one cares about religion in 2017.

When she admitted to him not being Lebanese, she was met with the same reassurance; until she told her sisters that her boyfriend is Palestinian.

Dramatic music was immediately cued with Maria and her sisters staring at each other, then into space in shock and horror.

“Palestinian? Palestinian with a ‘P’? Palestinian, Palestinian? I just need to make sure I haven’t misheard you.”

“Are you sure he isn’t adopted? Are you sure his parents didn’t find him on the streets? Or maybe he was kidnapped?” her sisters began to ask as they scrambled for a loop-hole out of the possibility of Ghadi being Palestinian.

Maria simply hung her head in shame.

The sketch was allegedly made to raise awareness for the racism Palestinians endure in Lebanon, but has received mix reactions on social media, with anger being one of the most prominent.

“We need to stop addressing the issue of racism like this. If anything, Palestinians don’t need anyone to highlight their struggles. This is not awareness, this is a joke and it is s*** on a plate,” one person commented.

“Solidarity to the Palestinians who will return one day and will defeat this racism!”

However, the concept of racist comedy was hard for others to resonate.

“Actually, rather than being outraged about this, I think we should focus on the government,” one comment read.

Another spoke about how the comedy sketch is not racist, because women who marry Palestinian men are put at a social disadvantage, even implying that this sketch is protecting Lebanese women.

“The problem isn't racism at all! It's the fact that Palestinians in Lebanon have no papers and so your kids won't have any... that means no passport or nationality because the mother can't give hers to her kids or husband. They can't even practice most of the careers and most schools won't accept them,” another comment read.

The Palestinian question is one that has been long debated in Lebanon, with over 250,000 Palestinians being denied basic social and economic rights, along with routinely being faced with institutional racism.

For many who are victim to such levels of discrimination, it is hard to believe that such videos that turn such serious matters into comedy are genuine attempts to “raise awareness”, rather than the continuation of normalising such discriminatory sentiments.