Lebanon; Extinguishing Fires and Fears

Looking through a microscopic lens, one cannot but witness the rapid transformation of the supposedly invisible particles. Hopefully, in time as we allow nature to take its course, what is considered invisible transforms the greater entity.

FEAR, once conquered, becomes an opportunity. It defangs the monsters and the risks become more bearable. Once we overcome the terrible and crippling ideas, we gain insight and our brains work as one with our hearts. We become more prepared and therefore we become less likely to trip and fall.

I am big on metaphors so here is my take on the events taking place in Lebanon over this past week and likely into the future. 

Fires raged across the country during the second week of October destroying houses and greenery and pummeling through mountains. Volunteers rushed to the fires extinguishing as much of it as they could until rains finished the job. Pictures of exhausted firefighters spread among people, causing waves of criticism for the political leaders who had mismanaged money and had failed to implement a disaster mitigation strategy.

Little did the governing elite expect what was about to follow.

The government was oblivious with disregard. Their obnoxious and insensitive unresponsiveness to the wild fires catastrophe was swiftly followed by an equally idiotic announcement that they were to increase taxation on citizens.

Perhaps it was the close encounter with environmental catastrophe coupled with the untainted disrespect and negligence of the government that pushed people into instinctual survival mode. The real threats became all the more exposed. People started to speak and then scream out against the injustice and offensiveness of the governing elites; and to their very own surprise their screams all sounded the same. Regardless of gender and socio-economic class people started listening to each other for the first time instead of listening to the leaders. People came to find that they all had the same problems dressed in different slogans and promises. No promises were being issued at the moment along with zero dollars. Who has ever managed to survive off of promises alone without bread and money?

Like wild fires, protests started spreading and growing. Anti government chants and slogans that explored Lebanese unity for the first time without political backing were being sung in the streets. Nobody saw it coming, and that is the beauty of where we are today.

Roaming the streets, we joked that it felt like a merger between Coachella and Egypt’s Tahrir Square, it felt like an alternate universe where hands only carried Lebanese flags and families from different walks of life walked side by side. Young men, some dressed to the nines, and others shirtless sang on top of their lungs. It was a vision, Lebanese people seeking definition in themselves rather than in those they follow.

We get to romanticize this experience because it feels foreign and it plays like a dream. Most people don’t practically understand how the transfer of power could occur and perhaps underplay its immense difficulty; some of us also acknowledge it is shy of impossible. It doesn’t matter however, because the hard part, the almost impossible thing is happening now. People are experiencing a unified identity possibly for the first time since civil war broke in the 1970s. So in a time where impossibility renders itself possible; one can only be hopeful that people’s demands are within reach.

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