Jokes and murders

Posted on March 16, 2012


Early Wednesday morning, Alem Dechasa, an Ethiopian domestic worker in Lebanon, used her bed sheets to hang herself in her room in the hospital where she was taken 3 weeks ago, after her boss had beaten her in public.

The Ethiopian embassy has filed a lawsuit against Ali Maafouz, the asshole who led this woman to take such extreme measures.

As this was taking place, I was preparing my follow-up post to my Open Letter to MTV Lebanon. The TV station has decided to ignore my letter, brushing it off as unimportant and with the underlying message that I should learn to take a joke.

While my letter was focused mostly on a skit that was homophobic, it was actually the result of numerous videos that bully, mock, and insult minorities. One such skit from the show has a couple joking about the suicide of their domestic worker.

I wonder when it stops being funny to them.

I doubt that Ali Mahfouz will be punished for his crimes, but I don’t think he bears the full responsibility here.

He is part of an entire system that encourages the mistreatment of anyone who is different, who is weak, who is helpless.

As a leading TV station in Lebanon, MTV’s irresponsible approach to “comedy” is very much to blame for his behavior. It plays a key part in spreading the racism and misogyny that lead to the abuse of domestic workers (among other minorities) in Lebanon.

Alem’s death will most probably be dismissed as a suicide.

But it wasn’t a suicide at all.

It was a cold-hearted brutal murder by someone who treated a human being like an animal, encouraged by a society that neglects the basic rights of minorities, or even worse, that mocks them.

MTV Lebanon, through your blatant racism, homophobia, and sexism, you are guilty of being an accomplice to abuse, torture, and murder. By deciding to ignore the pleas of people asking you to stop the abuse, you are a criminal organization.

Don’t tell me I can’t take a joke. Don’t tell Alem she can’t take a joke.

It has never been funny, and now it has become murderous.