Think Of That: February 2005

Think Of That

Some things to think about

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Location: Lebanon

Monday, February 28, 2005

The Lebanese People have spoken

At around 7:00 PM today, after 2 weeks of protests against the Syrian presence in Lebanon, pro-Syrian Prime Minister Omar Karami resigned along with his entire cabinet… but before that and defying the government ban on demonstrations, people marched to the Martyr’s Square, next to the Parliament where the vote of confidence was taking place.

At 9:30 AM we decided to go from Sin El Fil to the Martyr’s Square on foot as roadblocks were creating some traffic and keeping the demonstrators away from Downtown Beirut. Groups of flags-waving protesters were taking the bridge leading to Ashrafieh so we joined them and marched all the way across Bourj Hammoud, passing through a roadblock set up by the army. The protesters were cheerful, chanting "Syria out!" and "Freedom, sovereignty, independence", despite the light rain and the exhausting walk. When we reached Tabaris, we were forced by the army soldiers to turn right towards Gemayze to get to Martyr’s Square from the sea-side entrance where we were again stopped by another troop of soldiers who let people pass in small groups. I guess they were given the orders to act as if they were stopping the demonstrators but in fact were not doing so, fortunately for us. In the square, the sight was astonishing: It was full of young people in a sea of waving red and white Lebanese flags and we could hear the patriotic songs of Majida el Roumi being played through speakers…I can go on and on describing the scene but since a picture is worth a thousand words, here’s a few shots I managed to take using my trusty camera-phone. Enjoy.

Monday, February 21, 2005

A ray of hope

A protest was organized in downtown Beirut today. Tens of thousands of Lebanese marched from the site where Ex-Prime Minister Hariri was assassinated one week ago to the Martyr’s square, unified by one cause: Lebanon’s independence through the withdrawal of the Syrian army. “Liberty, Sovereignty and Independence” was their motto. For the first time since the war started, I witnessed Lebanese from all religions and sects shouting the same slogans. Christians, Muslims and Druze came together to protest against Syria’s tutelage, calling for One Free Independent country for ALL.

Is it a dream coming true?

Have they finally realized, after 15 years of war and 15 years of occupation that they should be joining hands not fighting each other?

Lebanon has a history of dreams being shattered through assassinations, invasions…etc. Will this one survive?

Only the future will tell but I have a strong feeling it will. It’s our last hope, a hope of an entire generation born during the war and longing for peace.

I took these very expressive photos of the protestors with my mobile phone (click to enlarge).

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Politics and a storm

It’s been some time since I last posted anything on my Blog. The fact is, I didn’t really have anything interesting to write about and, to tell you the truth, I felt a bit lazy. I hope it was a transitory state of mind, not to be repeated in the future.

Two significant events caught my attention these last couple of weeks: the first one is political and concerned the commotion that was caused by the exiled General Aoun concerning his return to Lebanon and the conflicting attitudes of numerous government officials: some were welcoming him back while others threatening him and menacing of lawsuits. What’s really funny about it is that the same officials that were proclaiming him an enemy of the state and a threat to national security a few years back are greeting him nowadays warmheartedly. Ahh the hypocrisy of politics!!!

The second noticeable episode was the storm that started last week and ended yesterday night. Heavy rains, hail and even snow hit Beirut. The weather was freezing and roads were transformed, as usual, to war fields, a real treat to 4X4 drivers and off-road fans. I took these two snapshots using my mobile phone while going to work yesterday (Click to display actual size).

Photos of the snow in Beirut can be found here.