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Tue Jun 8, 2021, 05:37 PM

I Will Kill Myself': The Enduring Nightmare of Lebanon's Kafala System


Dodging pulped food and glass shards, I walk the narrow and winding streets of Beirut up a hill in Hamra, one of the city’s main commercial districts, to the Q Hotel, with its crumbling sign and exposed brick façade. I make my way to the third floor, room 304, where, between ancient cupboards and worn carpets, time seems to have stopped in the 1950s. Mariema — her back hunched, her blue shirt sagging, her face hollow — is lying on a bed with its crumpled sheet on the floor.

“Look at me,” she sobs. “I can’t move.

Fatigued arms, dead hands, rigid legs — 12 months in the home of a wealthy Lebanese family have reduced her to this. Not an incapacitating ailment. Just a year’s work as a maid in what was “more than a house, a prison,” with its exertion and pain, coercion and abuse. The days of fear and nights of torment were a literal plague since she ended up with optic neuromyelitis, a disease of the central nervous system. “An illness that takes away your sight, atrophies your muscles, and gives you no respite.”

The orphaned 24-year-old woman had left Sierra Leone in July 2019 on a one-way ticket to Beirut. On arrival at the airport, she met the kafeel — the sponsor who organized the trip. Her passport was confiscated, and a contract was signed: $150 a month for 12 months for a total of $1,800. Though she would only receive $320. She was then confined in an isolation room, “the room where you wait for 12 hours, without food and water, for the Madam to come and pick you up,” she recalls. The hours felt endless. Hours “where you wonder why they took your documents, kept your mobile phone, and then you realize, only a few weeks later, that it is their way of controlling you. They got you, they can blackmail you, you are their merchandise.”

https://newlinesmag.com/reportage/i-will-kill-myself-the-enduring-nightmare-of-lebanons-kafala-system/

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Reply I Will Kill Myself': The Enduring Nightmare of Lebanon's Kafala System (Original post)
Mosby Jun 8 OP
secondwind Jun 8 #1
JustAnotherGen Jun 8 #2

Response to Mosby (Original post)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 06:14 PM

1. Oh, what a brutal and horrendous story, I wish I hadn't read it, how HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!


I hope these poor women are going to be able to get out of this horrible situation!!!!!

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Response to Mosby (Original post)

Tue Jun 8, 2021, 06:36 PM

2. Awful



Slavery exists. Awful.

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