Two Lebanese online “activists” called Ali Fakhri and Khodr Salameh were arrested yesterday night while drawing graffiti at the Bechara el Khoury avenue.
The reaction to their arrest? Free Khodr and Free Ali online campaigns. Some are calling them the heroes of free speech. Others are calling their arrest a violation of freedoms.
Let’s get a few things straight.
It’s become very easy in Lebanon to confuse freedom with what is legal and illegal. In this case, drawing a graffiti is illegal. Other people do it? Other people don’t get caught as well. It doesn’t make it acceptable and it doesn’t make it allowed.
Ali Fakhri and Khodr Salami are honorable men, I’m sure. But we need to not get up in a fit every time someone is arrested and make online campaigns for their release and bash Lebanon left and right for persecuting people.
Just for comparison’s sake, the USA, a country we believe is the epitome of freedom in the world, considers graffiti as a punishable felony. I’m just saying.
If drawing on public property is your idea for activism, then be my guest. But you’ll have to suffer the consequences. Calling for a state of law cannot but begin with applying the law.
Graffiti is not a crime? We’d say anything to prove a point, don’t we?