“Liberators do not exist. The people liberate themselves.”
-Ernesto Che Guevara
I am not one in a position to talk about what is happening right now in Lebanon, as I have only been there for a total amount of 2 months in the last year and a half. However, when someone feels anger and pain inside, no one is in a position to evaluate apart from the person feeling it. We have this saying back home, which roughly translates into the following:
“The burning end of the cigarette only hurts where it touches.”
Yes, as I am writing this article, on a computer provided by the university where I am studying in France, in a city 30 kilometers away from Paris, where “nothing ever happens”, I am angry. I am in pain. I am ashamed. Those words are not enough to describe the fire within me as I follow what is happening back home, as I see how this country which I always describe to my friends as “a piece of Heaven on Earth” getting burned and turned into a Hell hole.
In the last 10 days, the global situation of my beloved country has plummeted down a spiral. This down-hill slope is happening on all levels: economically, socially, financially, environmentally, culturally, historically to just name a few. This has been happening for the last 40 years at least, that is without counting the 15 years of war the country went through from 1975 to 1990.
What is actually even more sickening is the fact that the politicians who caused this war and general instability in the country to break out, along with their respective political parties, are the same politicians who are ruling the country today. If it is not them then their sons have taken over, following in the same footsteps than their fathers.
“Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people.”
Forty years can seem like a huge amount of time for a country to decide to act against its government, but I guess this is related to mankind’s good nature of always hoping that this time will be different. This is also understandable for the people who have lived and fought in the war alongside those ‘leaders’, because it would mean that they have a personal alienation with the ideologies of those ‘leaders’. But when an entire population, all generations included, decides to stand up and protests against the people they elected, it only makes sense to deduce that those politicians, as well as the ones from the same party who came before them, have failed to deliver on their promises.
They have failed the country.
They have failed those who elected them.
They have failed their oath.
The only things they did not fail are their personal bank accounts, most of which are even located in Switzerland in order to avoid paying taxes.
“A revolution is sometimes necessary, but if revolutions become habitual the country is going down-hill.”
Another important topic about the protests which took place last week in Lebanon is the way people are going to the protests. Personally, this is what shocked and ashamed me the most in this entire story.
Following the news on social media, everybody was calling it a national protest against all Lebanese political parties, which would explain why protesters were all told to only bring the Lebanese flag. No political flags. No religious banners. It was correct given that it was an entire country united for one same cause, until I started seeing people sharing posts that through their protesting, they were backing certain political ‘leaders’ within those parties.
The protests did not take place in the name of politicians, nor in the name of the President; they took place in your own name, in the name of your family, in the name of your friends, in the name of Lebanon. Then why are you still taking political and religious sides, when you know that those are the reasons the country has been torn apart for the last 50 years?
On another note, it is important to know that there is nothing wrong with freedom of expression. However, I do have a few questions to some of the protesters:
Does freedom of expression involve the destruction and defamation of public and private properties?
Does freedom of expression involve lighting tires up in flames, adding to the massive pollution caused by the massive fires that took place a few days ago?
Does freedom of expression involve almost beating policemen and soldiers to death because they are doing their duty, even though they are suffering from those political decisions just as much as you are?
A revolution loses its value and becomes pointless when it is made without a vision, without a plan to reconstruct and change things for the better.
“Revolutions start in enthusiasm and end in tears.”
As a conclusion, to the political ‘leaders’ and to the protesters who fit in the description I have given above, here is what we, the Lebanese population living abroad, have to say to you:
We got sick of this country because of you.
We left this country we once called home because of you.
We are sad to see Lebanon in flames and torn apart because of you.
We cry everyday because of you.
We miss our families because of you.
We miss the Lebanon we grew up in because of you.
So we will leave you with this song called Revolution: