Thursday, November 12, 2009

Modern Slavery Rampant in Lebanon

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Imagine what 26-year-old Zeditu Kebede Matente thought when she traveled from her homeland of Ethopia to Lebanon in search of a better life. If you have any sense of empathy, you can probably feel the hope that she most likely felt as she packed her things. A future could have been in her sights, one in which she did not have to face the tragedy of poverty that she may have faced in her own country.

Alas, there was no future for Zeditu. She hung herself last month.

The list of names grows:

Ram Embwe
Kassaye Atsegenet
Saneet Mariam
Tezeta Yalmiya
Sarada Phuyal

Just a sample of names, so many more names. Real people. Too many.

Where is the Lebanese civil society activism regarding this tragic issue? It seems that journalists are driving the awareness campaign, as they are a great part of civil society. Aljazeera, LA Times, Guardian, and Lebanon's own Daily Star have covered this issue recently. International NGO's like Human Rights Watch and Migrant Rights have called attention to the matter.

A Lebanese blogger is writing about this issue at Ethiopian Suicides. (We have added this to our blogroll in the sidebar.) I highly recommend a trip over there.

If you know of an organization in Lebanon that is working towards ending this horrific treatment of human beings, please let us know. Safadi Foundation USA is looking to raise the profile of these NGOs and to raise awareness about the plight of these women in an effort to stop the abuse.

Isn't it time that Lebanon takes a stand against slavery within its borders?

UPDATE: Today, Anget R. from Madagascar took her life. She was 20 years old.

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