From Lebanon with Hope: Reflecting on the Last 6 Months

By: Sandrine Sader

Photo by Myriam Boulous

The 4th of August, a day no Lebanese will ever forget. From getting injured, to losing your house, your friends and family, losing everything, everyone was affected. I was not in Beirut at the moment of the explosion, I didn’t witness it, and yet it broke me. I know people who lost their families, people whose homes shattered. 

I remember the 8th of August, it was one hell of a day. The people were angry, angrier than usual, and the blast that broke our heart ignited within us a rage, but also hope. The Lebanese “Thawra” (revolution) was back, and as strong as it was in the period of the 17th of October 2019, from Tripoli to Sour, people were rallying more than ever. The Revolution wasn’t represented by any religion, any ethnicity. Nothing divided us as we were screaming for our rights. We were all united by the power of hope. I was there, I remember it. Our own government was against us, throwing tear-gas bombs at us, even where there were no riots. Where did all of this even take us? 

Six months later, and still no justice. They still say the explosion was “an accident”. Six months later, and every young talent is fleeing the country. Six months later, and the political leaders are still sitting at their places, unmoved. What will they say to my friend who lost her mother? What will they say to the parents who spend days searching for their children beneath the ruins? What will they say to the people who are now living on the streets? And to have the audacity to call it “an accident”.

The people who fought for their rights after the 17th of October, the ones who were angry, still are. No justice has been found and gotten and the Lebanese people are losing hope, and that’s terrifying. There is nothing scarier than thinking you failed, because that’s when you stop fighting to succeed. 

In addition to the economic collapse Lebanon has been encountering since 2019, and the political crisis which started the Thawra in the first place, the Coronavirus cases are increasing, making Lebanon the 42nd country with the most Covid-19 cases in the world. Our corrupt political leaders stole our money, killed us, single handedly led us to hell, why would we ever think they would be able to manage a country during a pandemic? It’s not the people’s fault, it’s the government’s. It always was and it always will be if no real change is made. In Lebanon, everything is political, everything is religious, even people’s health. 

People’s lives are at stake, we should stop being selfish and give everyone the care they deserve; health isn’t political, and the virus sees no religion.

What happens when you add up the economic crisis, with the deaths and mourning, the humanitarian issues and the pandemic? A desperate people. And our anger is driven by our hope for better days. What would Hope be without desperation? Hope without despair is like a car without fuel; it’s nice but it won’t get us anywhere. We – the Lebanese people – may be tired today, but we would never give up, not until we get justice, not until we grab our rights – our freedom – back, and certainly not until they’re all gone. We so swore, and we will deliver, one day.

With hope,

Sandrine

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