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Monday, March 29, 2010

Walid Harfouch Dismisses Bio Questions as ‘Racist’

According to Wikipedia, Walid and his brother, Omar, were born in Tripoli, Lebanon (not to be confused with Tripoli, Libya).

A successful, well-connected and controversial entrepreneur, Walid became a citizen of Ukraine in 2005. He speaks fluent Russian but not Ukrainian.

In late 2004, he led Robert Ménard of Reporters Without Borders on a Ukrainian tour meant to legitimize freedom of the press à la Yanukovych. (A few months earlier, an article in Libration had linked Ménard to Omar Harfouch and Muammar al-Gaddafi.)

After the Orange Revolution, Walid chased Yushchenko’s son-about-town in his Paparazzi magazine and suffered a burned Bentley. In the last presidential campaign, he coached Hanna Herman, Yanukovych’s right-hand woman.

For this longstanding service, they appointed him vice chairman of the National Television Company of Ukraine (NTCU). Just imagine a vice president of France Télévisions or RFI who doesn't speak French.

Asked about his vision for the company considering his “непроста біографія” (“tricky/checkered biography”), he dismissed the whole question as “racist.”

Attempts to reason with Walid failed. He called host Roman Skrypin “racist” and refused to answer the question. Roman called it a day.

Why overreact to a legitimate question aimed at filling in the gaps?

Should a public employee use his membership in an anti-racist organization as a defense against bona fide inquiries into his qualifications?

Speaking of qualifications, NTCU (read: taxpayer) has already been fined for missing the deadline on submitting Ukraine’s Eurovision entry, marred by a plagiarism scandal.

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Ropi said...

Well, it seems that foreign people can make a "nice" career in Ukraine. In Hungary foreign people couldn't get int such a high position in my opinion.

Taras said...

Unfortunately, Ukraine offers citizenship to people who identify with Ukraine financially, not culturally.

Some of them don’t even speak Ukrainian but end up running a company that should promote our culture and language.