After Beirut Blast, Protesters in New York Call Lebanese Consul General ‘Racist,’ ‘Nazi’
A group of protesters outside the Lebanese Consulate General in New York City castigated the consul general as a “Nazi” and a “racist,” and then allegedly conducted an email-bomb effort that shut down the diplomatic facility’s computer system.
According to Newsweek, the demonstration on Monday — attended mostly by Lebanese and Lebanese-American protesters — was partly motivated by the deadly explosion in Beirut last week, but also singled out Consul General Abir Taha Audi for alleged past statements she made on race.
In an interview that she later claimed was not given by her, but rather a fraud concocted by computer hackers, Audi praised Nazism, called herself an “Aryanist” and described New York City as a “soulless urban hell” that was “ruled by Zionism and its backward, dark spirit.”
“Many times I’ve been hacked,” Audi claimed to Newsweek. “And I informed the ministry about that several times, saying I reported this hijacking of my identity to Facebook and Hotmail and restored my true accounts.”
The protesters apparently did not believe her, as they shouted epithets like “Nazi” and “racist,” and carried a banner saying, “Abir Taha Audi is a fascist who promotes Aryan supremacy.”
The demonstrators also cursed the names of top Lebanese politicians, including Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
Sanan Panossian, 27, a protest attendee, was quoted as saying she was “heartbroken” by the Beirut blast, and added, “I don’t live far away from here, and I just wanted to show support for my Lebanese brothers and sisters.”
An unnamed demonstrator said, “It’s very important for us to stand up to this corrupt government that’s caused this failed state to happen.”
In a statement on its website, the Consulate General accused the protesters of engaging in “inexplicable and undeserved insults, ‘ultimatums,’ abusive calls, and abusive signs on the consulate gate.”
It also claimed that the protesters had “called to swamp the consulate inbox with emails, the fact which led to our system breaking down and consequently to the consulate’s incapacity to serve our community in their day-to-day needs and formalities … causing unfair disruption to the interests of tens of thousands of Lebanese and their relatives in Lebanon.”
The statement included a lengthy defense of Audi, saying her resignation would “obviously not solve any of our country’s problems and woes and will not change the course of things.”
The campaign against Audi, said the Consulate General, was “really sad and unfair.”