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Selim, 50, spends 10 hours a day driving a taxi in Beirut's mad traffic, before returning to Imelda, 46, his Filipina wife, and their three children.Imelda came to Beirut to work as a domestic worker, system that Lebanon shares with the Gulf countries, under which they are directly sponsored by their employers and lack protection under the country's labour laws.Reports of employers withholding wages, administering beatings or effectively holding maids hostage - as well as frequent suicides of maids driven to despair “I don’t like to say that my mum is Filipina,” Rita, 15, Selim and Imelda’s middle child confessed.“They tell me I am ‘not Lebanese,’ but I don’t tell them.He now does various collaborations with his band Zeid and the Wings or with leading Egyptian singer-songwriters Maryam Saleh and Maii Waleed.Zeid’s fascination with African culture stems from six of his formative years spent in Paris.
“Our horoscopes don’t fit, I’m a Sagittarius and Imelda is a Capricorn,” he said, Imelda imitating an archer and giggling.His exercise routine consists of “only 10 push-ups,” he said. Like many mixed individuals, he dreams of leaving Lebanon. Unlike his sister, when he is quizzed about his distinctive looks or ethnic identity, he says his mother "is not from Lebanon, she is from the Philippines".“In the US there are no power cuts like the daily three-hour cuts here. “In the new school so far only three pupils have asked but I am sometimes bothered,” Francisco admitted.While Lebanon is famed for its hospitality, food and culture, it is also notorious for its commonplace racial prejudice.With no anti-discrimination law in place to protect people of African, Asian or mixed race descent, this issue is not going away.