Posted by: sean | July 14, 2010

No blacks in the pool

Last year, I wrote a piece about discrimination in Lebanon against domestic workers in particular, and Africans and Asians more generally, which is acutely illustrated at the swimming pool.  Around half of the pools at beach clubs and resorts in Lebanon wouldn’t allow Africans or South and East Asians to swim in their pools.

This summer, the same problem is being raised again by IndyAct’s anti-racism movement, which has put out this video (sorry: I can’t seem to embed it) documenting the refusal of Sporting Club in Beirut to allow a black woman to swim in their pool (which is shitty and ridiculously overpriced to boot).

More from IndyAct:

July 12, 2010- A group of independent activists organized a direct action on a number of touristic resorts that adopt racist policies towards migrant workers in Lebanon on the basis of color, race, and class. Some of these resorts had put up signs asking its customers not to bring radio, food and maids to the resort.

After conducting several field researches and verifying the rules and procedures of the resorts, activists went to the resorts identified as the most racist accompanied by an activist of the Madagascari citizenship. The woman was denied entry by the administration of the resort and no valid reasons were provided.

“We have monitored more than 15 resorts that follow the same traditions and practices of racism against non-whites in Lebanon, reminiscent of the era of apartheid in South Africa, blatant racism in the United States,” said the campaign’s spokesperson at IndyACT, Aimee Razanjay. “The action today is the beginning of a series similar actions to monitor and document such practices and to inform the Lebanese society of the extent of their contribution to perpetuating the racist system in Lebanon,” added Aimee.

Incidents of this sort have recently been exacerbated where customers are prevented from entering because of skin color or prejudice and definitely because of the weakness and/or indifference of civil society actors in dealing with these phenomena and the absence of a criminalizing and binding law that affects these racist practices in Lebanon.

“The Lebanese government should take the initiative to fine those resorts that are engaged with such policies going against the UN Charter of human rights, in particular the item relating to equality,” said Ali Fakhry, Communication Officer of the Anti Racism Movement in IndyACT. “This move is an explicit notification to the rest of the resorts that there are activists not willing to stay silent anymore, “said Fakhry.

The Anti Racism Movement is preparing for several events and actions advertised in a timely manner designed to support, advocate and empower migrant domestic workers in Lebanon.

For more information, please contact:
Ali Fakhry, Communication Officer, tel. – fax: +961-1-447192, mobile: +961-71-421593, e-mail:



  1. Ok, so my friends which were refused entry at Beirut pool yesterday because they had no girls is also considered racism?

    I do not want to defend these clubs but is not there a thin line between pursuing a policy of exclusivity-luxury (or targeting a certain class of people) and blatant racism?

    The point, in my view, is not that the bathing clubs managers are more racists than other (lebanese) but that they are pursuing their selfish interest in wanting satisfied regular clients who wish to be surrounded by others like them.

    I am not sure forcing clubs owners to accept “others” will solve the issue foremost of all because the new comers will feel uncomfortable in such homogeneous places. the problem is there a deeper social one which needs to tackled explicitly at the political-institutional level.

  2. Excellent article in Executive.
    Actually heard about it today, was looking for it when I ended up here.

    rm: The issue is not with “others”, since club owners would be more than happy to accept foreign tourists, as long as they dont come from the same countries as where people usually get their “help”. It’s blatant racism, and yes they should be forced to allow any paying customer in. Otherwise it’s racism, and that should be punishable by law.

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