Thursday, October 25, 2012

White March

[Originally posted at NOW Lebanon]

My Lebanese friends were in foul moods when I found them at the demonstration in Martyrs Square last Saturday, the first one to take place in the iconic space after Friday’s horror. In the hours immediately following the blast, amid the fright and anguish unleashed, it seemed there was also another, different energy in the air; a sort of quietly rousing exhilaration, as though a moment might have arrived great enough to wake the country out of a dangerous slumber. (It’s interesting to consider the etymological link between the Arabic infijar, “explosion”, and fijr, “dawn”.)

Those hopes had evidently vanished by the following evening, when I found my friends – proud veterans of the 2005 Cedar Revolution – standing on the fringes of the March 14 protest with weary faces. “It’s all party flags,” shouted one into my ear over the crowd’s exuberant chants of za’eem [chieftain] surnames. When I failed to find him and the others half an hour later, I realized they had all gone home.

It must be something similar to this disappointment that has led twenty young activists to organize tonight’s so-called White March from Martyrs Square to Sassine Square in memory of the victims of the bomb and all subsequent violence throughout the country. In the event’s Facebook description, they make a point of rejecting the sectarianism and partisanship of Saturday’s demonstration, asking attendees to wear white and dispense with party flags or slogans:

“We will walk silent to respect the souls of the dead. We will walk silent to say loudly that all the voices we have been hearing in the streets and via the media recently strengthen our will to work for realistic alternatives and means to do politics beyond confessional belongings, seeking justice and social solidarity.”

Sounds pretty reasonable to me. Join us there tonight at 6pm.

No comments:

Post a Comment