Tear gas, water cannons, live ammo.
This is the situation tonight in Riad Al Solh and Martyr Square. Because people have finally taken to the streets to say what we all have been saying: the country is drowning in corruption. And we cannot live like this anymore.
What kind of country has no electricity, no water, no proper trash management, corrupt healthcare, no president, basic security?
Tonight, over 10,000 people took the streets of the Beirut capital to protest for our very basic rights, triggered by the trash crisis. This was meant to be a peaceful protest, one where sect and political affiliations were not the ones that matter for a change.
For the first time, a grassroots movement, طلعت ريحتكم, stood up to the government and everything those politicians stand for. And yet, how were they met?
Doused with water, thrown rocks at, injured, tackled, arrested.
Tonight, it is hard not to cheer for every single person that joined the You Stink movement in Downtown Beirut and put themselves on the line. They’re the only ones in the country speaking the truth while everyone else has failed to find even a glimmer of a solution.
As someone who was born after the Civil War ended, I have never lived through worse times, even when we had assassinations and explosions every week.
I’ve loved this country and stood by it through everything that we have encountered.
But this? This brutal savagery on display, an attack of civilians who were carrying no weapons, these are truly the darkest times and it is truly hard to think that we might even have a future here. I am heartbroken.
Lebanon, why does it have to be this hard? Why does it have to be so hard to live here? Why does it have to be a constant struggle?
We just want jobs that match our qualifications, salaries that reflect our hard work, proper waste disposal and water management to ensure our health, proper insurance to take care of us when we get sick. Something in return for our taxes.
But most importantly? Security and safety.
So mothers don’t have to be worried sick when their children go out.
So people can think of having a future here and establishing their own families.
Tonight, these brave men and women are overcoming everything that is thrown in their way to fight for what we so deserve. They should not be treated like criminals or enemies of the state because they want to make a change that has long since been coming.
This just goes to show that those in power are scared of us tonight and what our voices and actions can do. Because we are finally saying no to sectarianism and to flat-out stealing from the public.
To everyone who took to the streets tonight, you are our only hope. Raise your voices higher, we will be heard. A change will be made.
Barricades can’t block our way, don’t punish me with brutality.