The other day, I wrote about discrimination in Lebanon’s swimming pools, adding some more specifics to the generalities of what I called Jim Crow on the Mediterranean. All of this blog’s posts, and those of many other Lebanese blogs, are syndicated on Beiruter, where the owner of Lazy-B replied in the comments. Since I’m a reasonable man who’s all about fair-play, I”m posting his response:
Dear Mr. Crow,
I’m Georges Boustany, the owner of lazy b. I must tell you that I’m surprised by your statement about lazy b! I don’t know who gave you this information as nannies ALWAYS enter for free at my beach, and they are allowed to swim everywhere provided that they wear a swimsuit. If you visit lazy b, you will often see nannies swimming in the creek. You should also know that we have received no complain whatsoever from our clients as the lazy b spirit is totally different from the snobish attitude you find at other high-end beaches.
As for the freshwater pool by the beach, nannies never go there simply because this is an adult-only area and families bring their nanny with them to help them keep their children so they end up sitting on the sandy beach by the creek.
And believe me, we have never taken a dime from nannies.
First of all, thanks for the comment George. It seems,though, that there has been a misunderstanding, as my name is not actually Jim Crow, the latter being a name used to describe the segregation laws in the US that persisted until the 1960s. Second of all, I don’t know the name of the person whom I spoke to, but I called the cell number you have listed on your website. All I can say is that it was a woman, and if you’ve got a problem with what I’ve posted, then you’ve got a problem with what is being told to your customers.
As a matter of fact, I’ve been to Lazy-B (which is really nice and beautifully decorated) a couple of times, and I’ve never seen a domestic worker swimming in the pool or the sea, which is anecdotal and doesn’t mean anything in and of itself. What is important is what customers are told by your employees. And the problem here is not “taking money from nannies,” since if a domestic worker wants to come to the club, it stands to reason that they would pay admission like anyone else. The point is that I was told by your business that nannies were expressly forbidden from swimming in the pool, since “we want it to be calm.” I repeated my question and asked if a domestic worker could swim in the pool while the children were elsewhere, and I was flatly told no.
If you’d like to make a change in policy, or practice, and go on the record to say that everyone is welcome to enjoy your club, regardless of their race or profession, I would certainly welcome it. An especially nice gesture would be offering free trial passes for a day at the beach to some of my freinds who are domestic workers and would probably be delighted to havea day off from work to go swimming in your pool.
What do you say, George? A week from this Sunday would be great for me.