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In Lebanon, Migrants Make Their Voices Heard on National Radio

A Sudanese migrant (Illustration)

A Sudanese migrant (Illustration)

On Voice of Lebanon’s wave, a popular radio in Lebanon, migrants host a show to present their cultures to Lebanese people. By talking about their roots, as well as the difficulties they face in the country, they aim to improve perception and tolerance of Lebanese toward them.

This is the first radio program entirely produced and hosted by migrants. And the title sets the tone : “Msh gharib”, which means “Not foreign” in Arabic ! This radio show was created by the local NGO Anti Racism Movement in 2017. Through this program, migrants in Lebanon are on air to make people discover their roots, multi-faceted cultures and to earn, in return, social recognition and respect.

Giving a voice to the invisibles

With their various origins, these Sudanese, Ethiopians, Somalis or even Filipinos chose the waves on the independent radio “Voice of Lebanon”, a very popular one in Lebanon, to make their own voices heard. In fact, these workers are very often unskilled and employed in very despised sectors, such as construction, cleaning and domestic work. In addition, they are under de Kafala sponsorship system, which keeps them under the supervision of local guarantors, who are legally responsible for them. Besides, they suffer from racism in their daily life, for example, they are very often turned away from beach resorts or prevented from renting an apartment because of the color of their skins or what they do for a living.

In order to fight against these ambient indifference and disdain, the migrant workers has decided to softly speak up on the air. They therefore share their own stories and cultures through the 15-episode program “Not foreign” broadcast in Arabic.

Promotin tolerance

The migrants, who have already settled in Lebanon for many years, are turning into radio presenter to talk about music, gastronomy, traditions, athletes and even models ! They offer an historic, cultural and social view of their different countries and even brighten their speech up with some stories in their mother tongues.

The other inhabitants of Lebanon don’t hesitate to invite official personalities, such as the Sudanese Ambassador to Lebanon, to tackle more burning issues such as the obstacles they face in their daily life or the rights of migrants.

Through this show, they lay themselves bare and talk without any taboo to show Lebanese that they are an integral part of their society too. Thus, they try to create a dialogue and a mutual understanding to arouse tolerance and respect.