You may have noticed a change to the iconic "Stop Solidere" sign which has hung above the Saint Georges Hotel in Ain el-Mreisseh for nearly a decade. The owner of the yacht club and marina, Fadi Khoury, added the words "and discrimination" to the sign. This comes after the Anti-Racism Movement of Lebanon filed a lawsuit on behalf of an Ethopian woman, identified only as Rahel, who was kicked out of the pool by St. Georges staff last year.
The matter was settled outside of court within the last month.
Antoine Dagher, a representative for the Saint Georges hotel, told Beirut.com “we've never had any problem with allowing foreign workers to use our pool, but the problem that was reported last year with someone made us clarify it with a sign."
According to Dagher, the sign has been up for more than three weeks.
“This banner represents a moral compensation for the discrimination that Rahel went through last year, and is a symbolic victory for all people who have been discriminated against in this way, and for the struggle of migrant workers in general to be treated as human beings in Lebanon," Rana Boukarim, a spokesperson for the Anti-Racism Movement, told Beirut.com.
"It is also a great example of coordination and cooperation to stop such actions in beach resorts in general," she added.
In 2012, the Anti-Racism Movement produced a series of undercover videos showing domestic migrant workers trying to enter various beach clubs in Lebanon. The Saint Georges yacht club was one of the pools that refused a female migrant worker to swim there.
The video series ended up going viral and prompted the Ministry of Tourism to issue a decree banning resorts from discriminating on the basis of race, nationality or disability.
"We think that this is a very positive step, and that the process must go on, not only for St George, but for all beaches and almost all tourist resorts that tend to discriminate based on nationality or class. Slowly, things are starting to change in Lebanon. And when the rules and norms change, people's perceptions and attitudes will tend to change much more quickly," said Boukarim.
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