Our selection in English

Power to the People

Just when we started wondering where the Lebanese population went, and just when we started believing that we had given up, that quitting was stronger than our desire for freedom, that they had gotten the best of us, that we were a "worthless population", amorphous and selfish, unable to fight for our most vital rights, that we were unworthy of our country, that we had cowardly abandoned it, that the powers that be have kidnapped Lebanon, sweeping everything in their path, including our honor; to have thought that, despite the crisis, our pains and fears, our exiles, fires, failures, bankruptcies, layoffs, the collapse of the written press and hunger that has gotten close to most Lebanese, we will not lift a finger.

And suddenly, the miracle. Like the rain that has helped to extinguish the fires that ravaged more than 1,500 hectares of forest. The miracle. In an unprecedented popular outpouring, the streets of the entire country have swelled with people. Spontaneously, the Lebanese finally took to the streets demanding the fall of the government and the resignation of the MP’s. They expressed their anger, their despair, their weariness of this gangrenous political system that has been in power for decades; their disgust at seeing the same politicians robbing us, treating us like idiots, forcing us to bail out the government’s coffers that they have looted before our own eyes.

The people did nothing more than follow their instinct. They did not abide by a political party, a zaim (leader), or any political organization. The people decided that it was time for them to take power. And that the anarchy into which the country could sink could not be any worse than the chaos into which it has been drowning for years. The people have mobilized in unity. They are waving the same flag, uniting under one color. They have abandoned their allegiances and will not bend over backwards again. Now they want the government to bend down; the government which has once again believed that it could buy our silence by reversing its plan to tax Internet communications.

It's not a WhatsApp Revolution. This is a rebellion that is born from the cores and the guts of people; a rebellion that absolutely needs to become a revolution; a revolution that should not stop; a revolution that should make the voice of the streets grow louder and louder; a revolution that should finally bring down all the corrupted politicians who have sucked our blood dry; a revolution that should erase our shame; the shame of not having done a single thing for years; the shame of not having protested against the innumerable laws that allowed all of them to steal from us over and over again.

This time should be the one. Most importantly, we should not give in; not allow any political party to attempt any kind of recouping. We must make them understand that these drops that are pouring over them are not raindrops, but our spit. Civil disobedience is a must. We must take back their property and replenish the coffers. We must not let them dangle the fear of a constitutional void in front of us. We should forbid them from making the slightest decision or passing any law. We should not allow them to divide us with their threats of sectarian pretexts. We should not set them free. We should take over the Parliament the same way they took over the Bastille. We should reclaim our institutions. We should take back this country that does not belong to them. We should not let their children take over. We should not let them frighten us with the possible devaluation of the Lebanese pound.

They have to understand that it's over; that their time is over; that their hostage-taking will no longer breed Stockholm syndrome; that if we go to the polls, we will no longer vote for them. And they'd better not seek re-election.

We do not have the right to concede or the right to run out of steam; not the right to break, to give up, or to back down. We do not have the right to capitulate. Even if they throw thugs or hooligans at us with the aim of intimidating us. We will not stop because we have nothing left to lose. We have everything to gain, especially (re)winning this country that is ours; us, the Chaeb Lebnane el-aazim (The amazing people of Lebanon).

(This article was originally published in French in L'Orient-Le Jour on the 18th of October)

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