Adonis Diaries

More Than A Million Souls

Posted on: October 24, 2008

More Than A Million Souls Flooding Downtown Beirut (April 2, 2005)

I let a friend of mine read about 8 political articles that I composed between December and March 16.  These articles expressed my opinions on the political and social discussions concerning the Lebanese people before and after the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri.  She expressed her concern that my positions are highly biased and that I did not write a special piece on this mammoth demonstration that Lebanon never experienced before.

            In fact I was very excited the day of the demonstration and was ready to participate with more than a million of my compatriots in this mass rally.  My nieces and nephews who were never interested in politics or ever listened to the news had already caught on these waves of vibrations that were electrifying most Lebanese from most religious sects and from the four corners of the country. People from all ages descended on Downtown Beirut in cars, buses, trucks, Pullmans and every means of transportations, parked their vehicles 10 kilometers away from the location of concentration, walked the way, chanted the eternal slogans of freedom, self determination and independence and waved the only flag.  The gathering was for 3 pm and by 11 am the highways were jammed packed and traffic was stopped in a stand still.  People poured from every route and all directions like rivers over flooding their banks.  In my town I watched students 13 years of age being horded in buses toward the gathering place and mothers loading their children with the Lebanese flag floating on their cars.

This tiny country with 4 million inhabitants were standing side by side and braving years of apathy and plans for immigrating as fast as they could and reclaiming their share of glory under the sun of proud people demanding self determination in their political and social affairs.  I guess Lebanon must go on the Guinness of world records as the country that gathered the highest proportion of its inhabitant to protest for liberty. 

Until a Homer, Horace, Virgil, Dante or Blake take on the task of giving the right dues for this demonstration of unity, my friend has to be contented by that much.

Six days prior to this gathering Hezbollah organized a mass gathering in Downtown Beirut with the explicit purpose of thanking Syria for 15 years of order and stability in Lebanon.  Syria was already withdrawing its troops after the international massive pressures on her to leave Lebanon and after a wave of persecution of Syrian citizens in Lebanon and the slaying of over thirty migrant Syrian workers.  There is no doubt that this counter gathering was intended partly to block Hezbollah from usurping any claim for constituting the majority of the Lebanese.  The secretary general of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasr Allah, insisted that the priority at this junction in the crisis is to start serious dialogue among all the parties with no preconditions.

This counter gathering sent the clear response that any dialogue entails the process of give and take and that hard choices have to be decided.  Many sections in the opposition forces had reached a consensus position that the disarmament of Hezbollah should be a Lebanese decision and all the articles of the Taef agreements need to be fulfilled.  Hezbollah has shown signs that it understand that the political climate has drastically changed and any dialogue should reach a satisfactory and long lasting agreements among most of the important parties. Unfortunately, a few parties in the opposition are already setting preconditions such as that dialogue on Hezbollah disarmament should take place immediately after the election.


These right wing parties are the least credible in their seriousness for any dialogue. I personally was not fooled by what these slogans of freedom, self determination and independence meant for many political parties knowing very well that their practical meanings are at odd with mine but my excitement did not abate.  The speeches of many right wings, sectarian and chauvinistic politicians were the least appealing to my ears, heart and mind but this was not the time for rational thinking.  The moment expressed clearly that everybody needed to let go of his fears, depressive moods and frustrated projects and just fly high and catch the dreams of any free man.

Actually, my friend suggestion for a special article was more concerned that I should act as an impartial reporter whose task is to find a balance among the protagonist attitudes and opinions.  I am not a reporter, not a newspaper writer, not a politician and not even a member of a political party.  I am not under any obligation not to be biased to the truth and positions that I believe and hold as right. My articles were basically targeting my citizens and thus things that may be right to do are not necessary doing the right thing. Never the less, I thank her for prompting me into dedicating an article for this unique and glorious show of unity and brotherhood. 

I have strong political and social positions and would not mind taking stands against chauvinism, sectarianism and petty politics that intend to fool intelligent citizens during highly emotional situations into believing their lies. As a matter of fact I am thrilled that thousands are frequently demonstrating in front of the USA Embassy in Awkar against the US Administration bullying pressures to dictate to us the next steps in our mass movements. Never the US has been even vocal for our freedom and self determination in the last 15 years and now its diplomatic representatives and congressmen have been shaking their butts in and out of Lebanon thinking that we adore their circus and their empty rhetoric about their modern concept of freedom and their lopsided notion of terrorism.  What bug me a great deal is that all these meetings with Satterfield and other US representatives did not explicitly shed any light as to the level of US commitments to the political and economic stability of Lebanon.  The fact that Israel is the junior partner to the USA in the Middle East we have to figure out what are the plans of the USA for Lebanon.

Lebanon has already stamped its mark on history as a free people.  Could Lebanon reap the fruit of its upheaval and direct its energy toward the well being of all its citizens?  The political turmoil of these past weeks is not very encouraging for a bright future and I hope another cry for unity and liberty for all be disseminated and we gather again for the long awaited popular convention and serious dialogue. We have already experienced 4 car bomb attacks on commercial, industrial and tourist centers and the investigations have failed to bring any relief for our anxieties.  No economic reprieve is looming. The wave of freedom and self determination is ebbing but the voices of moderation are not gaining any momentum either. The sad fact is that the new generation is still allowing the traditional politicians to usurp their voices and it seems that the new generation is not going to get any substantial rewards for its zeal and excitement if it does not express, now, clearly and firmly what future for Lebanon it has in mind.

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October 2008

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