Last Saturday, the Lebanese had the opportunity to see on prime time TV (after the 8 o'clock news) a live interview with a Filipino maid working in Lebanon and elected Miss Philippine Lebanon 2009 in an event held in Lebanon. I only succeeded in shooting with my digital camera the last 5 minutes of the program "Lil Nasher" of New TV, but they are enough to send one important message that I had already blogged about: most Lebanese are far from being evil racist people, and that abuse of migrant workers is not as widespread as it appears.
In the short footage that I took, the female employer of the Miss Philippine Lebanon calls live to the show and says that she has a daughter of the age of her maid out of Lebanon and understands the difficulty of living abroad and that she treats her maid like her daughter. Joy (the nickname of the Filipino maid) was working for 4 years at her employer's who was happy to send her for the contest.
The TV program finished by hosting Maria, the Filipino who organized the Miss Philippine Lebanon event. She spoke English.
Ok. I have to add here that the employer does succeed to objectify her maid at first by saying "The agent who sent her to work in my house asked me to try her for a month. He said she was sent back [Arabic term used for a defect product] by a previous employer".
But that was only the unconscious use of discriminatory language and not a sign of racism. The employer also said that she was happy to have a queen at home.