I recently began producing and presenting a TV show called “Evening” which discusses Women’s Rights issues on AL Etejah News Channel. This blog is what inspired the show and it has truly made me believe that every single individual can inspire change whether its through a blog post, an article, a speech or even the way we treat those who work in our household. I look forward to your feedback and ideas for the show are always welcome.
This episode is dedicated to all the men and women who leave their countries and loved ones in search of a better a life. To the mothers who stay away from their own children for years in order to raise children that are not theirs , to the hardworking men and women who work 14 hours a day for salaries that are below minimum wage, to all of the domestic workers that have been abused both physically and emotionally, I dedicate this episode in hope that it will shed light on this serious issue.
Yesterday I was vising a friend’s house with my baby girl. The visit was supposed to be a girl’s night out and a chance to meetup with good friends and have a good time. However having a 9 month old with me transformed the evening into an exercise session and I ended up chasing after her the entire evening. My night out had turned upside down and to make things worse Fatima started getting sleepy and I knew it was time to go home even before I had a chance to sit for 5 straight minutes .
While visiting a friend in Beirut for the first time I struggled to find her name on the 26 doorbells that were on the entrance of the building. ” Dr., Engineer, Sales Executive and most importantly the Manager” where the titles of most of the residents in the building. I had a second look at the building to make sure I wasn’t at some 15 story skyscraper and believe me it wasn’t, it was just a normal building in a normal neighborhood. Eventually I found my friends place but I couldn’t stop thinking about all the ” labels” that I saw that day and I asked my self why was it so important to label the simplest things with what we do or what we have achieved. This phenomena of ” Doorbell Labeling” was not a one time thing and the more people I visited the more I realized that this was a common practice.
In that same month I met the Chief of Staff of a prestigious hospital in the United Sates, when we first met he introduced himself as “Dave” not Dr. Dave or “Chief of Staff” Dave, simply Dave and I am pretty sure that his doorbell does not have ” Chief of Staff Dave”. His modesty made me wonder about all those labels I had seen and made me question the actions of our society.
If I was living in a building with managers and doctors it is only normal that I too would like to prove my presence and put a label over my doorbell, but why should I be forced to feel that in the first place? Sometimes we feel pressured to present ourselves in a certain way but the truth is we shouldn’t.
Changes in our society and in our attitude towards one another begin with and are affected by the smallest things such as simply introducing ourselves as who we really are not by what we do.
What do you think?
My first job was as a sales woman here in Beirut . I was so excited , I had been looking for a job for quite a while and I was ready to start a new adventure . My employer was an Armenian and was a very social outgoing and interesting person . This was the first time I had met someone who was Armenian and I really wanted to learn about their culture, food , their beliefs but at the same time I wanted to stay professional and not ask too many questions . During my job interview with him we better understood each others cultures , since it was a sales job this was necessary in order for him to know what is acceptable for me and what was not .
I enjoyed working in this company and part of the job was driving to new places in Lebanon which was something I loved . My employer predicted that I would focus on areas I was familiar with ” my area” instead I went to ” his area ” I went to Asharfieh , Borj Hammoud , Sin il Fil , and started to sign contracts. It was such a wonderful cultural experience .
Sometimes we are taught to stay with our own people , work with those who are like you – but is that how we grow as human beings , is that how we truly become part of society . In the one year I worked in this company , I learned about different areas in Lebanon , I felt that that I was exposed to a totally new culture and I was sad that it had took me so long .
Put yourself in situations that you are not familiar with , explore the unknown . Get in your car and get lost in Beirut you never know where it might take you . I was once lost in Ashrafieh and stopped to ask an old man where to go , I pulled over and said ” 3afwan Haj ” then I fixed it up and said ” Pardon ” . He laughed and said ” It seems you are not from around here ”
Explore the unknown and you will explore yourself !