Beirut lives its revolts as one fiesta. On the back of a van equipped with speakers, a whole vindictive musical repertoire celebrate the first anniversary of the october revolution. “We will not let them burn us alive,” he defends between shouts of protest. Lina Noueiti, “Now we are one, you see? The world looks at us, I have esperanza“In the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades and two months after the explosion that swept through half the capital, the people of Lebanon celebrate that a year ago they took to its streets.
The approval of a tax on WhatsApp calls was the fuse that lit the revolution. Although the economic crisis, corruption and the paralysis of institutions due to political divisions had been fueling the popular anger. “He has lost some momentum, but the level of despair and misery they can only rekindle the feeling of revolt “, he opines Lidia Helou, 24 years old. “It has become a more desperate movement, even more violent, but it is still there; this revolution is the only hope that we have left “.
This October 17 the Martyrs square Beirut, the epicenter of the movement, has rapidly emptied. Lebanese youth, jaded and combative, has chosen to walk all its capital to protest in front of the Central Bank, in front of Parliament and finish its protest day in front of a ruined port at sunset. With torches in hand, young and old have parked their rage in front of the image that still inspires crying. “¡All are all! “, they demanded the fall of the leaders of the 18 religious communities that order the country at the end of the minute of silence for the almost 200 souls that the explosion of August 4 took away.
“A year later, support for the revolution is controlling; instead, the authorities have not changed, they have only become more aggressive, “says 52-year-old Lina Noueiti.” People no longer look the other way; It’s not about who is on the street, it’s about what we say we are the voice of the people“, she concludes proudly. The streets of Beirut are filled with women’s voices magnified by microphones and megaphones. Their chants still lead the zaura, revolution in Arabic. “Zaura feminist, zaura nonsectarian, “they squeal on the hood of a van young people with veil and without it.
But not only the inability to to transform this popular impetus in a alternative real has made that on this first anniversary the protests were not massive. The economic crisis and the trauma experienced by the explosion in the port have also forced many Lebanese to emigrate outside their country. In addition, the absence of government could be solved next week with the return of Saad Hariri, prime minister who deposed the movement a year ago.
“I feel like no one would have listened to us“Helou acknowledges,” anger and frustration make me lose hope that any structural change come from the political class. “Noueiti recognizes that this appointment would not affect the revolution in this gulf between politics and society. “We need judges to enforce the laws and jail criminals; without justice We will not be able to rebuild Lebanon, “explains this 52-year-old from Beirut.”We will burn the country with our politicians inside to be able to rebuild“.