No, the above picture is not from the long gone anti-Syrian protests. No, the above picture is not out of a history book, which might never be written.
The above is a picture from a few hours ago, in Downtown Beirut, of Kataeb and Ahrar supporters getting beaten up by Lebanese armed forces, during a protest against the proposed history book, drafted by Lebanon’s unicolor government.
The differences between then and now are striking. The ultimate scene, however, is quite the same: Lebanese protesting flagrant violations of their rights and armed personnel beating them up for speaking up. The difference? The order to beat up the protesters was Syrian back then. This time, however, it’s Lebanese – or as “Lebanese” as it can get.
The Lebanese army was present. It did not interfere. After all, what’s the Lebanese army doing these days except sitting on the sidelines setting up checkpoints in irrelevant places, doing nothing to protect the people it should be working hard to keep safe?
The students were stopped by the armed forces on their way to the Grand Serail. As a result, 14 of the students were injured and transferred to nearby hospitals.
In a country with no victors, how could the current government expect people to forget about their history, their struggles, their own revolutions and be subdued to its version of a history which glorifies events that shouldn’t be glorified and forgets about other incidents that should never be forgotten?
In a country with no victors, how could the Lebanese armed forces take a side against the protesters in such a way, when if the other “team” protested, the only thing they’d be doing is cower away in their barracks eating tawouk? For our armed forces, a bunch of university students protesting a book is far more dangerous than hundreds of men dressed in black shirts roaming the streets of Beirut in obvious display of tactical power. Where were the armed forces then? Or do they only know to stand against those that are “weak” in Lebanese society?
In a country with no victors, what warrants a select group of unqualified people to write a book where they highlight the struggles of people from “down under,” while neglecting the struggles of every single other portion of Lebanese society?
I am sick and tired of being treated as subclass citizen by the state of Lebanon because:
1) I did not live under Israeli occupation.
2) I do not support a political party which flaunts its weapons.
3) I am not of a certain sect, which is protected by some “un”holy parties.
I am sick and tired of not being able to trust any of Lebanon’s armed forces and them not doing anything in any way whatsoever to bridge the gap of bias they have created across Lebanon.
I am sick and tired of loving a country so much when with each passing moment they make me feel like I have no place here – even when it comes to talking about a history book.
But I’m sorry to break it to them – students and real activists who were not deterred by the brutality of the Syrian regime will not fear a government whose only reason of existing is the “un”holy backbone it has. And a history book, which is as biased as the one currently written, will never pass.
After all, if a history book was irrelevant, why were those students beaten up?