Thursday, March 17, 2005

They came, Oh how they came


They came. They came by car. They came by bus. They came on trucks, on foot, even by sea. And they came with a vengeance, thousands upon thousands, upon hundred of thousands.

Monday morning, by noon, Martyr’s square was full. Yet the march was not officially started till three. A sea of red and white filled the square.

An unbelievable number of people packed the square to bursting. Even the adjacent roads were slowly filling… people came to make a point, to answer a challenge.

For when Hezbollah organized a large march last Tuesday, numbering around half a million we felt despair. When I saw all those people Hezbollah gathered- in an adjacent square to martyr’s- rage and anger filled my heart.

Why? Why did Nassrallah - the head of Hezbollah - choose to side with Syria. Why didn’t he join us, the opposition, to form for the first time since 1943, since our independence, a true national unity. To prove once and for all, that we Lebanese we are one people, not a patchwork of warring communities

It seems that people everywhere felt this anger, this betrayal and they came. They came to Monday’s march, to prove that Hezbollah was wrong. To show Nassrallah that he made the wrong choice, that he should have chosen Lebanon over Syria and over Hezbollah’s own selfish needs and interests.

People came till both squares were filled. Martyr’s square , where the opposition held most of its protests , and Riyadh el Solh , the adjacent square where Hezbollah held its Tuesday’s half a million march.

I have never seen that many people in one place. The mobile phone network crashed. I couldn’t find the group I came with.

And several times while walking around martyr’s square, trying to find a place to look in on the podium where the opposition leaders delivered their speeches. I was stuck in a sea of bodies.

It felt like being trapped in the currents of a ragging river. Helpless but to move with the mass, driven forward by the press of bodies.

It both suffocating and exhilarating. To see all those people united in protest , united to find out who killed Rafic Hariri, united to see Syria out, and the resignation of the heads of the Lebanese security services.

And hope blossomed inside of me. Hope snuffed out by Hezbollah’s betrayal rekindled. Hope that no matter what they do. No matter how hard they try to divide us, to try to pit us against each other. Our unity shall prevail, and that the specter of war shall never again visit my country.
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