February 16, 2014

"I could have brought with me my Sirilankiye as well "

Aregu was supposed to partake in the Lebanese Cross-Country Championship in Jamhour this morning.

 
As you may know, or maybe you don’t, Aregu is my housekeeper. She’s from Ethiopia, and she runs like the wind. She loves running, and she happens to be quite good at it. Running is an outlet for her, because housework is not a fun business. It’s a job, but not one she would have chosen had she had the opportunity. She runs with a group of awesome Lebanese, the Inter-Lebanon Road Running & Athletics Club, who see her as the athlete that she is. Her job, her nationality nor her color have ever been an issue for any of them. They pick her up for races, drive her back from training, they got her an Iphone for her birthday, and make her feel part of this society. When she was invited to a pre-marathon dinner at May Khalil – the grand lady of the Beirut Marathon - last November, I called for directions, and checked to make sure they knew they were inviting a housemaid. “What’s that got to do with it?” was the reply. “She’s a runner, isn’t she?” And I was glad she felt like that. She’s a runner, and that’s what counts. But not everyone feels that way.
Aregu this morning, with her teammates (and winners)
Picture taken by Moniqye Chebli
 
This morning was the Lebanese Cross-Country Championship in Jamhour, and she was supposed to partake with her team. Since it is a Lebanese championship, and she is not Lebanese, she was not allowed to run officially. This was understood from the beginning. However, running a race is fun for her, and a good practice for those races where she is allowed to participate, and so her trainer had organized it that she would run the race, but not partake in the medal winning as she was not officially in the race.  Fair enough.
Her trainer called me to make sure she’d pick up her running gear, my son made sure she’s be at the pick-up point in time this morning as I was out of town. And that was that. I thought.
When I got back to town this afternoon, I understood that that was not it at all. The story had gotten a little longer. One of the runners of another team opposed to Aregu even running in the race. As in, physically run with the other athletes. Why? According to her words: "I could have brought with me my Sirilankiye as well."  Yes, I imagine she could have.
Aregu’s female teammates, filled with anger over that remark, swept the field and won 1st, 2nd, 4th and 8th place.

It is an unfortunate remark made by an otherwise talented athlete. I shouldn’t judge; I am a master of putting my foot in my mouth, and frequently say things that do not quite come out the way I meant them. Aregu is smiling, and says it doesn’t matter. She says it isn’t important. But somehow I think it is.  

Her trainer’s account below:
At the Lebanese cross country championship today in Jamhour, our women's team (20y and >) outclassed all other clubs and runners; and by such a margin. Nadine, Saria, Carine and Randa were fuelled by the adrenaline rush that was triggered by the horrendous comment made by a runner from another club regarding the participation of Aregu Abbate, an exceptional person and exceptional Ethiopian runner working and living in Lebanon. E.T. opposed the participation of a foreigner (Aregu) to the race, which is understandable since it is the Lebanese championship. However, despite the fact that she was told that Aregu's result will not be accounted for, she maintained her opposition. So far so good. Aregu was asked not to start with the racers by the federation based on the opposition made by E mainly. Still no problem. It is E's comment made during the vivid exchanges with our runners that most probably gave wings to our runners: She said, quote: "I could have brought with me my Sirilankiye as well" unquote. There is not enough vocabulary to describe such a heinous, humiliating, prejudiced, racist and idiotic comment. Finally thank you E for contributing to the vast victory of our champions; 3 out of 4 were ahead of you and by the way, Aregu is a proud Ethiopian and twice the runner you are.
(Name of opposing athlete withheld by me)

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please publish the person's full name. It's only fair...

Anonymous said...

You do sound like a rather bored housewife and maybe should consider getting a job.

Not really sure why your blog is featured on Lebanese Blogs when it is quite obvious you relish in retaining your foreign status in that country, and believe that gives you a higher moral authority trying to educate Lebanese on nudity and your house maid.

Just how much does your Lebanese husband pay your house maid per month, to provide you with the time you brag about your life in Lebanon on your blog ?

Anonymous said...

Why not include your house maid's email while you're at it?

Am sure that her monthly salary and your morality provides her with a computer for her to post her own comments.



Anonymous said...

People often judge others, but no one likes to be judged, Lebanese are no exception.. I am strong believer in equality and civil human rights for all.

Tanya Dernaika said...

Outclassed is the perfect word to describe how the opposing athlete (?) ought to have felt. In addition to prejudice, I have no doubt it was pure jealousy that provoked the opposition - she undoubtedly felt threatened by Aregu's long limbs, grace and running talent. She was right to feel jealous.

joelle said...

enthe person's name is Elga Trad and everyone already knows it!
disgusting!

Rania Hammoud Life Coach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathalie Habchi Harfouche said...

Shame on you Elga Trad. i hope this serves as a lesson to better teach our children about the barbarity of racist thoughts and actions. she should've been the one to be banned from the race as this kind of attitude misrepresents what sports are all about; healthy competition. As to you Miss Aregu, your presence was a threat to this obnoxious woman. So keep up the good spirit and Keep running :)

N.H. said...

I was personally there running this race, and I didn't hear anything about this "incident", I just knew about it now while reading my newsfeed on facebook... I know E.T. from running and I don't think she has the profile of a racist person, instead she's very polite and educated and I'm sure that whatever she said had nothing to do with racism. I don’t blame you but why don't we listen to her version of the story before spreading false propaganda and misjudgments about her, a well-behaved person. Again, I don’t blame you; I personally would have been outraged if I heard a similar story, but knowing E.T. I really doubt her intentions were based on racism. Thanks

Maher said...

N.H. you can be polite and educated and still be a bigot and racist. They're not mutually exclusive. It's TO WHO you decide to withhold show your politeness and education that makes you vulgar, racist or anything else for that matter.

Anonymous said...

This is very silly! We are all the same and his might have been taken out of context..
Better to forget it ever happened and let her participate fully in a race were she will have equal chances of participating and winning and prove herself that way.

Run Nes said...
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M.M. said...

Very strange... I could never believe E.T said this. I know her well and I can say that she has a noble heart....

Joey Ayoub said...

What a piece of shit.

Anonymous said...

Why wasn't she simply disqualified from the race? I thought racism is against the values of sport.

Anonymous said...

I think Sri Lanka people is much better That lebaneses one.

Runner said...

hahahhaha and what if i told you that the MANIAC roger is lying and and the person who who told him that elga said :"i could bring my srilankie as well" is the biggest liar and pathetic person i have seen in my entire life? I was there guys live from the event and herad everything..this is what Elga said literally:"Well,I could have brought a PACEMAKER as well could be from Germany Thailand..." and not the fuckin sri lankye thing. Guys thats the 100% clear truth.i was there and heard everything..Moreover,number one racists like you Mr.Maniac cannot judge others as racists..enough said.Thank you guys for being the muppets of roger's demagogic scnene

GC said...

Your reply says it all!

And what did she imply by "PACEMAKER", in that case her reply is just plainly stupid!

RAK said...

We are all guilty of racism in this country, whoever "owns" a housemaid that works at least 12 hours a day, who's passport is taken from and who's days off are considered a privilege.. We are all guilty, Elga is only the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see the media presented this well
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJO5dnUXZ0w

Sietske said...

Yes, RAK is right, me included.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.