Adonis Diaries

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Participating In a Protest, sit -in, marches…?   A few Ways to Protect Yourself

Comparing Beirut’s You Stink protest to Kiev’s Orange Protests is quite alarming.

If history has taught us anything is that peaceful protests soon turn violent on both ends.

The Security Forces will not back down, and will be escalating into fatal assaults on the demonstration since the usual Arab strategy of divide and conquer has not worked yet.

Egypt’s spring has proved that warlords that have ruled for decades sometimes lose their grip on reality, and tend to muscle their way using old techniques.

Ferguson’s protest also turned violent overnight and gained international media attention, although to this day it has lacked any significant changes in the way minorities are policed.

Occupy Wall street are still without a clear victory.

There will be more bloodshed before the end.

While the ISF (Lebanon internal security forces) has been the source of much corruption, the army has been the only thing to hold this country together.

The bloody conflicts in Nahr El Bared, Arsal, and other instances have shown that the Army is the least sectarian entity. Not without their vices, I remember distinctly being beaten senselessly by the army on more than one occasion during the 2008 university “incidents”.

I came through those times solely on instinct and pure luck. A lot of my friends had the misfortune of being arrested and getting the ass-whooping of their lives.

Our only target back then was surviving the snipers from the rooftops and protecting our own, as the ISF and army were powerless to protect any civilian at the time, and took their frustration and anger out on the helpless and unarmed.

To this day I have never held a weapon in the face of any military man in uniform, Lebanese or otherwise, and I do not ever intend to.

Despite my martial arts lifestyle, I am a pacifist at heart and dedicate most of my free time to making sure people can negotiate confrontations in a non-violent manner.

In all further demonstrations, civilians are urged to bring gas masks, home made shields, wet cloths, milk, and water proof phones to document everything live.

Do NOT depend solely on Touch and Alfa communications as they have been known before to shut off 3G and 4G networks to provide cover to the corrupt governing entities. Bring alternate internet devices with you.

I believe that it is not yet time for civil disobedience, as the Lebanese people are not yet united. They do not have a cause yet. There are no martyrs yet.

This, unfortunately, will soon change. Give it a few days, and if the political parties do not tear the You Stink campaign to shreds, the ISF will. I can’t say how many martyrs will be necessary for Machnouk to give more than a statement from his vacation abroad, or how deep the rivers of blood will run for the international media to understand that this is more than a fight for garbage collection but rather a fight for control of the country.

With several political countries backed by international powers, I would not expect any change to come easily.

The last internal victory Lebanon had as a country was in 2005, but that was backed by certain political powers uniting against their common enemy at the time.

Since then, a long list of arrests, beatings, assassinations, and targeted political bankruptcy have been methodically used to target enemies of these governing entities.

I do not condone violence, neither through street protests nor open revolutions.

Nonviolent confrontations have succeeded in the past and will do so  in the future. MLK’s I Have A Dream VS the Black Panthers has proved this ideology.

You have the power of Google (if you have internet and electricity lol), use it to research self protection in these times. Gas masks are expensive, but there are home made products and methods that can me used safely and legally. Remember, safety first, both digitally and on the field.

  1. To the protest organizers: DO NOT USE THE FACEBOOK PAGE as a single point of communication with the masses. Facebook is not your friend, and a page can easily be taken down blocked or seized through legal and illegal methods.
  2. Have a united list of demands. It’s ridiculous how a garbage cleanup and demands for a minister resigning can quickly turn into an unplanned demand for cabinet resignation into a void, or even complete revolution. Stay focused. Baby steps. Bad media will jump on the chance to show divided lines.
  3. Using a website hosted in a non friendly country will retain it’s uptime to 99%.
  4. Using a domain name should have a hidden credit card, with a private domain name registration in order to avoid hacking and legal seizure of digital assets.
  5. Using emails should not be through Gmail or Hotmail. They are the easiest to track back to their source.
  6. Do not use home internet connections to upload sensitive data. Non government entities can also track them back to the source. Saving phone contacts under “Ryan Hamze – YouReek” makes it easier for ISF to track down others in case of arrest (and illegal phone searches).
  7. If you cannot physically take part of a movement, support them online. Do NOT criticize anyone during major incidents as tensions are high. Leave the constructive  criticism for later and talk with community leaders.
  8. Always give credit to photo or video takers. During the chaos people tend to forget the ethics that govern social media. It is a weed that I’ve been trying to get rid of for 5 years, and others have joined this fight too like “السلطة الخامسة “, Blog Baladi, and Lebanese Blogs. The rest think it’s just a side issue, but at this point, I digress. I’ve been trying to track down the original taker of this epic shot, but come up short. This may well represent the image of the movement/revolution/ideology in the future, so it would be nice (and ethical) not to piggy pack on an anonymous tweep.Update: photographer wishes to remain anonymous
    1. If you are a protest organizer, do not be a media hog. They will target you and arrest you while you sleep a week later. Be anonymous.
    2. If you are a protest organizer, do not use your personal email or home internet connection. You are already being monitored and documented, so your plans will be used against you when you set them inn action.
    3. Steel trays will not be of much use against bullets, but a properly modified Sobia Tray would be of use against the riot police. Straps should be tested before hand.
    4. Do not park near the main event. Assume things will turn nasty and roads will be blocked and people pursued en masse.
    5. Have an emergency point of assembly every hour on the hour. Once cell coverage is blocked (or the infrastructure breaks thank you Botrous Harb)  you will be acting blind and people who are afraid and lost tend to do stupid things.
    6. For those who have gas masks, I suggest they train on how to sling small objects (like gas grenades) back at the source since they will be in the front line of fire.
    7. Do not bring knives or guns to the protest, it will deem the protest violent instead of a peaceful one. Hell will be unleashed. This is a method used methodically by Shabiha and secret police, who run with the crowd and trick the mass psychi into violence or entrapment.
    8. If you see secret police or Shabiha or overzealous demonstrators doing something against the common good, do not be afraid to call them out. Others will still see sense through the red haze of anger and help control the situation.
    9. Containers of milk should be on standby with makeshift bases for the Lebanese Red Cross.
    10. Bring Spray paint with different colors. Marking the ground for crowd control, marking a shabiha among you, and a bunch of other legal and safe uses. Do NOT spray the police riot shields, this will hinder their vision and render you a threat.
    11. Everyone should have Superglue (Altico) with them. It might save a life once the bullets start flying.
    12. Make sure the flags do NOT have strong wooden sticks that can be used for violence in case of trouble. Also, nobody wants to see that flag on the ground so be smart.
    13. Waterproof your phones and provide shock proof casings.
    14. Don’t forget to clean up after the demonstration. Bad media can rip a cause to shreds.
    15. Try not to get arrested. It’s not a smart thing to play martyr, especially since you may get beaten up and raped by parliament security and ISF.
    16. Never take the offensive when ISF and Army are involved. They are trained men and have Shabiha among them, they will not hesitate to kill you. Defensive tactics are your only friend.
    17. Children, and the elderly should be made aware to step back in case of violence. Let the stronger individuals cover a retreat. Obviously in this case I cannot say “Women” should stay back, because honestly I’ve seen a more than a few hard headed Lebanese women take on the ISF before. Do you remember “The Tomato Revolution”?
    18. For front runners, always wear a mask or kuffyye. Even if you escape the events taking place, your family may not be so safe.
    19. Safety in numbers. Stay close to large groups, ISF will more likely pick off anyone claiming they’re Press or injured.
    20. Always run to the edge of any mass confrontation.
    21. If you are cornered, DO NOT FIGHT BACK. These men are trained their entire lives to subdue people like you. Put your arms over your head and curl into the fetal position. If you raise your arms above your heads like in Hollywood movies, you will get your head bashed in as per the Lebanese code of ethics.
    1. Self Defense only in case you are being beaten senselessly and fear for your life:
    2. Assess your assailant. Look at their hands. If they were about to attack with their hands, they would have their hands out. However, if they are concealing a weapon, they will have them hidden or at their side. If Batons are shaking then they are revving up for a coordinated assault, do NOT take head on, use defensive tactics and trays. In case of gunfire in the air, stay united in a single line. In case of gunfire directly into your ranks, do NOT run, you will only trample the people behind you, go to the sides and lay down on the floor until you are able to run freely to safety and escape arrest.
    • Go for the eyes and nose. If you have to end the fight as quickly as possible by striking first, strike hard, and strike as many times as you can, then run for help
    • Kick or grab the groin of a male attacker. Bringing a knee sharply into the groin of an attacker or grabbing the groin with your hand and twisting is an instantly effective move that will take your attacker down.
    • Go for the kneecaps. If, for example, you are being choked, or your assailant has their hands up in your face, attacking their legs will give you the opportunity to open him up to more attacks, or allow you to escape. This is especially effective on larger attackers and easy to do from your guarded position.
  9. Comparing Beirut’s You Stink protest to Kiev’s Orange Protests is quite alarming. If history has taught us anything, is that peaceful protests soon turn violent on both ends.
    The Security Forces will not back down, and will be escalating into fatal…




December 2022

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