I remember May 25th 2000, 12 years ago, when I came back home all giddy with them letting us off from school early. We had heard whispers at school: “The Israelis have left…. the South is ours again.”
I felt happy. I felt proud of my country. Even though I had never been to the South, I felt liberated.
So today, I salute all the readers of my blog who come from South Lebanon, however few they may be. Blame it on my political stance that drastically differs from theirs. I salute all those who fought for Lebanon’s freedom from Israel before that fight started being used for political gains here and there. I salute all the martyrs that died in the process of trying to take back every inch of Lebanese land.
But today, 12 years later, I can honestly say Liberation Day has lost some of its flavor to me. Not because of current political reasons, not because I utterly hate the political party which led to that day but because it reminds me that my own occupation is nowhere near to be acknowledged.
April 26th…. That day I saw the Syrian army trucks leaving my land, hopefully to no return. That day I saw my mom shed a tear as she drew a sigh of relief – the horror has gone. That day I saw my grandfather smile like a child as he breathed for the first time in his Syrian army-free hometown.
When will Lebanon truly admit that Israel and the South weren’t the only entities in the country occupied for years? When will we admit that Northerners and people from Mount Lebanon struggled almost as much as people in the South?
When will we admit that your “brother” becoming your enemy is much more dangerous than a stranger enemy with whom you barely have anything in common?
Today, May 25th is another day that reminds me of Lebanese hypocrisy, of how the deaths of those that fought to get the Syrian army off my land, prior to the Rafic Hariri assassination era, are all looked down upon: a bunch of traitors who aren’t worthy of being acknowledged.
And it makes me sad, really, that on a day where I should be happy for my country’s sake I can’t but feel sadness for the memory of those who fought for liberation and don’t have a day to remember their struggles.
You can’t understand liberation unless you’ve been under occupation.
May 25th, I’d salute you when you salute April 26th.