Once upon a time, fifty or more days ago, about a million Lebanese took to the streets. They were protesting about some things. They shouted, they screamed and they camped close to the offices of the prime minister and his cabinet. They ate kaak and aranees of corn near the offices of their elected parliamentarians.
But what was the response?
1– A racist campaign led by ministers and representatives of the nation, accusing the protesters [most of them Lebanese with no other nationality] of adopting a “culture of death” that is incompatible with the superior Lebanese “life loving culture” [forget the fact that some of the accusers were themselves warlords].
2– A campaign of racist–sectarian–fascist insults calling on the low–life–dirty–tfeh–not–like–us to go protest somewhere else, like at the site of their demolished homes in Dahiyeh and the South. What about the others that are not from the Dahiyeh or the South? Well let them go with them too.
3– A campaign calling for the division of Lebanon into cantons because those protesting do not have the genetic makeup to become civilized–cosmopolitan–savvy Lebanese with the ability to go shopping.
4– Myopic, loud statements by some representatives of the government saying: we don’t care, you can stay as long as you want, and we will not even blink an eye.
5– The sect–o–meter* was used to determine the sect–concentration of the protestors. It measured a high concentration of a certain sect proving that they are not worthy of any response. What about the other Lebanese from other sects present? What others!? The sect–o–meter did not measure any other!
6– And so on…
What is the result?
The result is today.
The result is an escalation of the protests into strike, riots and confrontations, reminiscent of the spring of 1975, the year when history was paused (and still is) for Lebanon.
LBC mentioned 5 deaths and more than one hundred injuries during the day. A reporter expressed her dismay because in some places, the opposing parties were Christian Maronites. She even asked them, at one location, for the reason that they were protesting and facing members of their own sect [skin?!] since the sect–o–meter did not measure the presence of Christian Maronite in the sit–in protests during the past fifty or more days.
One comforting difference between today and spring 1975 is that the army is still intact. But what’s new is the criticism, by the “pro–government leaders”, of the army’s performance today.
By the way, Hezbollah is not the only armed party in Lebanon and I believe all Lebanese should be disarmed before it is too late.
*The sect–o–meter is a proud Lebanese invention (like hummus and tabbouli) that can measure the concentration of sects in any crowd. It still needs some fine tuning though.