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The street has spoken: “We refuse to back down”
As the “leaders” claim their slices of the trash pile, the people refuse the primary protestors’ call to delay the protest to next saturday. The landscape in the protest zone was terrifying. Walls, armed vehicles on every corner, and last nights leftovers.
I passed by briefly in the afternoon and realized my work attire was not fit for combat (cause the crackdown looked ready). As I returned home to change. I emotionally broke down. I felt defeated, ravished, tired and weak. I even wrote a lengthy blog post. But retracted from publishing it, it was still 11pm and i was negotiating with myself cowardly to go to the protest. I didn’t.
I missed it.
But as the media and still-brainwashed populace bashed yesterday’s riots. I was praying for a slither of hope to confirm my late night sentiments [last nights post].
We as a country are as weak as the weakest citizen that lives amongst us.
And like a miracle it did.
If we unite, they will fear us even more and try separate us even more.
They will aggressively hate us. and we should aggressively love each other!
P.S. this guy rocks! ❤
Tomorrow, 6pm. We’ll be back.
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.
I have not been to a protest in a very long time, since the last #AntiSectarian one in Saida put a nail in the secular movement’s coffin.
Historically the secular movement has been badly organized, shattered and distracted. It still is. It is not united under “a leader” nor a “black room”. It is not united under “a God” or a manifesto that no one reads (like all political parties in Lebanon).
Because simply, it is a movement of national passion, of love, of determination, of people from across all walks of life, religions, social statuses, ages, education levels, careers and lack of them.
Two days ago, a few protestors went down to Riad Al Solh, the trash situation was being shelved (again). The protestor where attacked, beaten and arrested! I boiled as I sat in my chair at home, I stirred, I cried. I got dressed, but they released the protestors and the crowd dispersed before i got out.
Today I woke up with a pounding heart and pride that I haven’t felt in a long time. I brewed my passion all day, as the time ticked away slowly to 6pm. I passed through downtown twice earlier today and each time the scene looked even more horrific.
Army with Batons? the Army … facing civilians?! Is this Lebanon! I prayed that today would be safe. But It seems there were many praying against it.
I was proud of every child, mother, elderly, suit, man and scuba diving gear i saw greeting the way! We danced, drummed and chanted. There was no other flag but the red, white and cedar proudly reaching for the skies. We got beaten, battered, sprayed and gassed.
Never in the past 5 years has this violence been used against armed militias in Lebanon, let alone unarmed civilians. Never has anything like this happened before.
What did we do wrong this time? Who did we piss off? Is trash collection really such a goldmine of corruption, robbery and below-the-table-contracts, that you are willing to kill civilians for it!
I don’t want a revolution in the streets. I want a revolution at the ballots! There are citizens among us that have far more integrity than every minister and MP occupying the government and those they report to!
I would rather have a fresh grad be president than the “options” at hand (a dinosaur & a murderer)
I would rather quit my job and run for elections than hear, but there are no alternatives!
When I was 5, I wanted to join the army and fight to defend my country. Every-time i see a soldier my heart swells with pride. Today I’m confused beyond possibilities. How could the my favorite people in the world stab us.
We invited them to join us, they tried to kill us. This is what the Lebanese army has bullets for; civilians not ISIS.
I can never pass by a soldier with pride every again. I will not protect you from angry protestors ever again. You are cowards!
To add to all this the Interior Minister had the nerve to say “The people in the straight do NOT represent public opinion, they are just a bunch of angry of people” “I will resign if i find it appropriate, but i will not do it to please my political opponents” “they (other MPs) are accountable as well, so stop blaming only me” << the NERVE!
We demand his resignation. Sign the petition
Why i’m protesting tomorrow.
I’m sick of being a citizen whose basic human rights (electricity, water, trash collection & treatment, civil rights) are not a priority to the parliament’s agenda… if not this… then what?!
The excuse that a electricity generator broke down that’s why we have shortages has been disgustingly overused!
The excuse that recycling and trash treatment is not a national priority in “Green Lebanon” IS NOT ACCEPTABLE!
The fact that a parliament member is 82 and in seat since 50 years is NOT ACCEPTABLE! More so, since the rate of unemployed youth exceeds 20% in Lebanon
The extended parliament that has not regard to the population is being paid through our hard earned tax money, from which we barely see any benefits!
It is not acceptable to watch militia’s roam the streets in utter freedom while unarmed civil protestors get beaten with batons, watwr sprayed and arrested! This is not why we pay taxes! This is not why we vote!
I would like to wake up one day in my life and not have the same nauseating raping my country’s resources with nothing to show!
I don’t want to die from a stray bullet during the speech of some war-lords’ useless speech
I don’t want to die from a car swerving because a newly discovered grotto (pothole the size of a car) on an unlit mountain highway.
I would like to visit Tripoli without checking the news to confirm that it’s safe.
I would like to visit my Baalbeck without doing the same!
I want to walk in downtown Beirut and not cringe thinking how disgustingly empty and none-Lebanese-welcoming Nejmeh square is
I would like to reclaim my right to swim in the sea, a resource that embraces my beloved country
I want to be able to explain my addiction (why i left dubai to live here) to this country to people without… err-s
I’m going down because there’s no place like home!
*Disclaimer: this post was typed, drafted and published on a mobile phone, in a super emotional (aka Lebanon Loving) spurr.
Summer is the season of life in Lebanon. A staple of Music festivals, dazzling art shows and performances, food, sun, sand, beach, mountain and pure awakening of senses.
Yet, we crave for more to fill our narrow alleys and wide hearts with colors.
“is a performing arts company comprised of artists from different backgrounds that are engaged in the artistic scene in Lebanon. Our network of actors, writers, film and stage directors, photographers, puppeteers and dancers has progressively formed around the shared needs to exchange tools and art practices, to meet the audience, and to continue questioning the world in which we grow”
… is planning a concert 28-30 August on the Vendome Stairs in Mar Mikhael. You have the chance to make this happen here: