Pyromaniacs

October 17, 2020, protests in downtown Beirut, marking one year since the thawra. Photo by Greg Demarque.
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The discourse of the reformist groups has changed after the massive August 4 explosion. The depth of hatred, spite, corruption and incompetence we are dealing with, embodied by our so-called political establishment, is beyond the most horrific, dystopian imagination.

Never have I come across so many frightened eyes as since the Beirut blast. Eyes that were hopeful before. Eyes that had left jobs and lives abroad to try and rebuild Lebanon, the Lebanon that they had heard their parents’ parents talk about. Look at what it has become.

Little did we know that we are dealing with pyromaniacs at the helm of this country, absorbed by ego and self-interest. They are sailing this boat into one sea of fire after another. Against all odds, we are soldiering on. Regardless of the repeated destruction of our lives and livelihoods, we will keep shoulders tightly together until we finally build the country we deserve.

On October 17, 2019, the revolt, the thawra, successfully made its voice heard. It isolated our political class, and demonstrated how irrelevant they have become, how distant, and how oblivious they are to Lebanese aspirations. In a normal world, they should have all resigned. Predictably, they did not. They chose to cling to sectarian and geopolitical manipulation to remain in power. Both excuses do not resonate anymore, their grand theft and negligence is unforgivable.

A year ago the first steps of the march for change started. Today, every free citizen, though tired, is willing to bite their wounds and continue on the journey of sacrifice, despite financial, socioeconomic, and health concerns, increasingly pushing the Lebanese psyche to the brink. With little left to lose,  the chance to reclaim Lebanon depends on this last burst of hope that remains. 

Today, we see family, friends, and neighbors grab first flights out of Beirut, wrenched from the ambition they had allowed themselves to feel; wrenched from their fight for the possibility of a better tomorrow despite the pain of today.

The tears at airports are different this time, as our loved ones look back at us knowing they have left us in a hell waiting to implode, knowing the chances of their return are as vaporous as post-bomb dust.

Those of us who stay, drive back grateful that loved ones are safe wherever they escape to. Now we have to take our revenge, to fight for the Lebanon we deserve, hoping one day these fires will turn into suns, and our children will return to us.

Whatever these pyromaniacs cook among themselves is doomed to fail, as every recipe of theirs has failed over and over – yielding bread that does not rise and does not nourish its people. It’s impossible for them to regain our trust, let alone the trust of the international community. 

It’s no longer about trust, we must hold these criminals accountable.

The march goes on. 

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