With the Stench of Garbage comes a Breeze of Hope

“We have been sleepless for years,

We decided to wake up today,

Oh homeland, do not blame us,

We are now beyond the realm of blame.”

                                                      – Anthem of the Revolution,’  (Arabic), Ziad Al Rahbani

You may call the life that has suddenly exploded on the streets of Beirut whatever you like. You may call the energy spreading throughout the veins of its youth – which had started to believe in the sense of defeat inherited from their forefathers as a fact of life – whatever you like too. But we cannot deny that during the past two weeks, as popular protests triggered by a shameful garbage crisis have gained momentum in and around Beirut – from the August 22-23 protests (see Eye on the East’s post “Live from Beirut…“) to the biggest demonstration in Lebanon’s history organized independently of sectarian parties on August 29 – something has broken and something has been revived. Continue reading “With the Stench of Garbage comes a Breeze of Hope”

Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause

If this doesn’t exemplify people power, then I’m not quite sure what does.

Some have called it a second revolution, yet the over 22 million Egyptians who attached their name to the Tamarod (Arabic for rebel) movement by signing their petition for Mohammad Mursi to step down and the overwhelming crowds that keep filling the squares of Egypt, starting from Tahrir Square, are only carrying on with the revolution of January 25, 2011. Revolution doesn’t come easy and on June 30, 2013 it is only its second chapter that has started to be written. Continue reading “Tahrir: Rebelling with a Cause”

الغاضبون هم هنا

“هذه ليست أزمة، إنها خدعة.” “نحن لا نفتقرالى المال. المشكلة ان اللصوص عندنا كثيرون.” “من حقّنا ان نكون غاضبين. “

هذه الشعارات- الصرخات وغيرها تزامنت مع فترة ركود اقتصادي ,تزايد البطالة , سياسة التقشف, مشاعر يأس عميقة، فكان أن خرج الشعب الاسباني الى الشوارع و الساحات: رجالاً ونساء، كباراً و صغاراً ، مثقفين ومكافحين لأجل كسب لقمة العيش ليقولوا لحكوماتهم: كفى. Continue reading “الغاضبون هم هنا”

The Indignants Are Here

“This is not a crisis, this is a fraud.” “We don’t lack money, we just have too many thieves.” “We have the right to be indignant.”

With these and many other slogans, at a time of recession, unemployment, austerity and profound despair, the people of Spain, men and women, young and old, intellectuals with those struggling to make a living, took to the streets and plazas to tell the government: enough. Continue reading “The Indignants Are Here”

Lebanon: History must not repeat itself

One of the images that always comes to mind while recalling the 1975-1990 Lebanese civil war, is that of a group of young and peaceful protesters I once read about who headed to Beirut’s infamous Green Line. Defying snipers and tenuous ceasefires, they held their humble signs and white roses to say no to the conflict that dragged on for too long and no to all those who held on to Lebanon solely as a battlefield for their selfish wars. Continue reading “Lebanon: History must not repeat itself”

Lebanon at the Crossroads: Do We Have the Courage for Change

“Seeing the tears of a wounded child, the fear on the elderly’s face, or the panic of a young adult at the thought of having to go through all this absurdity all over again… Why does it affect me and not the cold-blooded murders that undertake these crimes? We’ve had enough of these targeted assassinations.

But I care more about the innocent citizens that pay the price, the anonymous civilians who will succumb to their wounds, flee the country or live quietly in sadness and despair hereafter. Today, I think about you and pray for you and hope to help you the best way I can. You are priceless. YOU are Lebanon.” Continue reading “Lebanon at the Crossroads: Do We Have the Courage for Change”

Egypt: Waiting for What’s Next

We all know that barely two years after a revolution is rather early to assess its success, but for some Egyptians, the prospects of the post-revolution era are not looking particularly bright already.

In a recent talk in Beirut by Mohammad al-Agaty, head of the Arab Alternative Forum for Studies and member of the Popular Socialist Alliance, and Reem Maged, an Egyptian journalist and ONTV host, both agreed that beyond the surface of a new era in the making, new alleged freedoms and the absence of former regime members, deep down, not a lot of changes have taken place in Egypt. Continue reading “Egypt: Waiting for What’s Next”