In 2005, we took to the streets in millions. We learned what it means to have a voice, to exercise a democratic right, to speak freely and without fear. But when we started asking for more than just the withdrawal of Syrian troops, for secularism, for rights, for change – the political elite hijacked our movement – and we let them. We want some form of a political agenda – anything that showed promise, so we let them.
Ten years later, we grew up. We understood that real change will only ever happen if we let them go, and if we start demanding concrete change. We started to care more about laws, about domestic issues, about the army. We got louder. We got angrier.
Now, the beautiful harmony that’s got us all mobilizing is set to be destroyed. There are plenty of ways for certain political forces to see this as an opportunity. They are going to hijack this. It’s inevitable.
We should have first acted when they extended their parliamentary duties. They elected themselves and we did nothing about it. It’s important to lament that, firstly because it was a gross theft of your basic rights, and secondarily because we know that constitutionally, only by having a president can we affect parliamentary change. But if we let the current politicians and decision makers choose a president, they will choose someone who will obstruct all our plans for reform. Where do we go from here?
Well, we start small. We show up in massive numbers on Saturday. We continue to express anger, discontent, and a need and desire for change. We drown out Aoun, Berri, the LF, Hezbollah, and anyone else who would LOVE for the government to be toppled. We find anyway to DROWN THEM OUT. They start learning that they’re losing all political legitimacy. Their supporters feel braver in our presence. They’ll feel comforted that an alternative exists, and it is living and breathing in your capital.
Slowly but surely, our brothers and sisters will come to our side. But in order to get them, we have to be smart. On Saturday, we should demand (on the short term)
- An immediate, long term solution to the garbage crisis.
- That the armed forces be held accountable for their violence towards protestors / The resignation of both Mashnouks Ministers.
On the long term, we should demand:
- A president. One that we want. One that will protect us.
- Immediate parliamentary elections through an amended electoral law.
We can impose the law we want and the president we want on them, through the street. The street is our channel. It’s our protector. The street is our voice.
And then we get to work. President. Parliament. Constitutional overhaul. You want change? Find solutions. Draft proposals. Network. Build slow, small incremental change. Think of potential MPS. Think of ways to sway the Lebanese man or woman who’ll vote for 500$. It won’t happen in this electoral round. It will take decade after decade, one parliament after the other but it starts somewhere. Remember, you’re fixing the country for the generations to come, not for right now. Change takes time.
See you Saturday, Martyr’s Square. 6 pm. Drown the political elite out. Stifle their voices like they have stifled yours for so long. Let their voices suffocate as ours grows louder, louder, louder.
Power to you, you beautiful people.