An article in the Economist brought to my attention the plight of foreign-born domestic workers in some Middle Eastern countries, particularly Lebanon. It is a litany of terrors. Workers are routinely beaten, their freedom of movement and employment are tightly restricted, and they are often not paid for months at a time. It is estimated that one domestic worker dies every week, often as a result of suicide. What is it about Middle Eastern culture that has resulted in such a horrible situation?
I realize that women are treated as second class citizens in many Middle Eastern countries, but I was not aware that there was such a high level of xenophobia toward Africans and Asians, the dominant contributors of domestic workers. It’s a depressing situation indeed.