Day 2 [English] #طلعت_ريحتكم #YouStink – Aug23
The crowds were excited, children, families, elderly, people across religions, from across Lebanon, all gathered. The numbers were bigger than yesterday even. I teared as my heart loathed a police officer on a traffic light with conflicting emotions between hating them all for betraying us yesterday or remembering that these are the proud men and women that keep us together.
Emotions of love, passion and freedom shone on every face. Almost. 2 minutes walking into the protest we spotted a group of young men sitting on stairs nearby, none of them looked peaceful, hopeful or civil. Topless, inked (I have tattoos, this is not a criticism of tattooed people), hazy eyes, and the ugliness of their intentions oozing out of every physical facet. I became wary and nervous. I took pictures of them as they joined the ranks of protestors, shoving, pushing and rioting from the start.
They had sect specific tattoos on their bodies and were carrying an Amal movement flag. It was trouble. I tweeted that Nabih berri needs to remove his hooligans from the protest. Until i met two young men who were as annoyed as everyone else from these men’s ugly behavior who approached me and said: We are Amal movement supporters and these guys don’t represent us, so please stop saying that. I was ashamed by these young men’s respectful and passionate behavior. I was wrong.
This will be the first time i mention this. I am a Shiite by registry and always feel i need to criticize my “identity”‘s sect harsher than i should others (that’s the way i am with myself anyway, my own harshest critic). I even contemplated scratching my sect from my status record, but never did. I have long disowned religion and therefore don’t believe that a scratch of ink on paper represents me. However looking around me I know many Shiites that worship this country, that are holding on and building it’s every corner. Scratching the sect would be letting the sectarian regime win! I will not be judged by ink on paper.
For every hooligan with shiite tattoo there are a hundred who disown this behavior. For every Tarik al jdeede gangster there 100 who disown this behavior. For every sectarian “Phoenician” (not arab) on TV there are hundreds of disown this behavior. People cannot be judged by their birth granted sects, colors, race or genders.
When the hooligans started getting into fights with the police, and the protest organizers asked people to step away from Riad Alsolh to Martyr’s Square, we decided it’s time for a short break while people regrouped. We stepped into a nearby alley that I’m familiar with. As we sat down and gathered our energy we hard bombs, and ambulances go crazy. within 30minutes we were back. But this was no longer the same protest we left.
Motorcycles zooming in and out of every alleyway, gas bombs, gun shots, sirens everywhere, people screaming and running, windows breaking. It was a demotivating, angry and ugly. Organizers had ordered people to leave as hooligans escalated their clashes and called off the protest. But he 100s that were marching in and out of Riad Alsolh, chanting and screaming were going nowhere. Some were too young to be there, some were fainting as they run, some were being hospitalized. Sirens, screams, chants, bombs, Sirens, screams, chants, bombs, Sirens, screams, chants, bombs. It was devastating.
I look back to yesterday’s protest and think; we were almost run over by foot and batons with riot police with barely much to provoke them. Today they seem disperse, less iron-fisted, their numbers are dramatically less. But the gas bombs were plenty at hand (of-course since they are a donation from France ;)) and rubber bullets hitting many more. The mob was getting out of control trashing public property everywhere. The mob was angrier with every injury.
I look at them and think… who has raised these people to have no respect for human life, their own life. What has made them stoop this low. And I shed a tear for how low we have come as people; made ignorant by poverty and fed trash politics by those that steal from our government to “pretend feed-us”.
I cannot blame many people for being affiliated with political parties. Amal and Hizbullah has built so much of south Lebanon out or looted government money. Hariri has fed, medicated and educated many from looted government money. And they all continue to do. We may be aware of this catch 22 situation, but where will it lead us? How long until we can break the cycle?
And then what i feared happened. 14 march supporters and media hooligans took over to break and assert that this is an 8 march movement and that they are “better” than them. Ignoring Khaled Al Daher’s call to attack the army, their covering of Ahmad Al Asseer’s militias, Nadim Koteich’s call to attack the Serial (or that whole day, were the protestors turned out to be not Lebanese even).
By the time chaos broke, there were people of many sects, and political parties joining the rights, angry men, fed up, tired, and raging! Some i knew by face, name and others had different sectarian symbols and body marks identifying them. I could not take pictures without a flash and did not want to provoke people. We were running and giving aid to who ever we can, passing onion and tissues, finding red cross and bringing them to injure. But people didn’t want to leave.
Neither did the government.
I lay down with tears in my eyes. at the youth that have been deprived from their potentials and driven to madness with drugs, ignorance and hate, the men of a country i take pride in calling my home. at their lives that mean nothing to the bastards that shrine in the serail as people suffocate from smoke, and ache of bullets. As we die from pollution and trash. As we suffer from shortages in all basic rights. As we linger on a tourist and remittances. As we pray to and not break. These bastards stay in their ivory towers claiming salvation!
There’s a special place in hell for every one of your decaying carcasses. When you rot, we will not pray for you. We should not even allow you a ceremony. You should be thrown and battered, just like you have shattered and raped our lives.
Every soldier is Lebanese further and foremost, Every protestor is Lebanese further and foremost and every Hooligan is a sub product of the system. Let us not forget we are not down to hurt each other. We are protesting against the insensitive devils hijacking our country!
Tomorrow, 6pm. We’ll be back.