Well, I’m sure you have heard about the Lebanese protest today:
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators chanted “Freedom, sovereignty, independence,” and waved a sea of Lebanese flags in Beirut on Monday, the biggest anti-Syrian protest yet in the opposition’s duel of street rallies with supporters of the Damascus-backed government.
Crowds of Druse, Christians and Sunni Muslims flooded Martyrs’ Square and spilled over into nearby streets ? responding to an opposition call to turn out for the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.
“We are coming to liberate our country. We are coming to demand the truth,” said Fatma Trad, a veiled Sunni Muslim woman who traveled from the remote region of Dinniyeh in northern Lebanon to take part.
Some reports are saying it might be a million protestors
Independent estimates placed the number of the opposition demonstration at well over 1.3 million, half an hour before the sit-in was scheduled to begin at mid-afternoon.
Rampurple over at The Lebanese Blogger has this to report:
I am watching the masses of people in Lebanon on their way to the Martyr’s Square. There must already be over a million people at the square already. The square is full, and the masses have reach Riad Al Solh Square.
People are still on their way to the square and are having difficulty getting there because of the traffic of people heading towards the square. It just took my brother 2 hours to get from nahr il kalb until the forum (he really hasn’t even reached the forum). Usually this path does not even take 10 minutes. I have been calling him every hour to get updates from him and to notify him of what I am seeing on TV. Last time I shut the phone I had tears in my eyes…. I really want to be there. I want to be a part of this event.
Today’s event is to mark 4 weeks since the death of former PM Hariri along with 16 other people. The truth of the explosion has not been covered yet. No one knows how the explosion took place and who created the explosion. We need our answers, and we won’t let go this time. It’s time assassinations stop being part of our society and daily lives.
I am tingling all over…
You deserve democracy as all human beings do….hopefully your tingling will continue for a long time to come.
Matthew over at Matthew In Beirut has some great pictures:
My favorite picture so far is this one:
THROUGHOUT the debate that preceded the liberation of Iraq two years ago, supporters of Saddam Hussein claimed that any attempt at removing him from power by force would trigger an explosion in “the Arab street”. As it turned out, the explosion they had predicted did take place, but only in Western streets, where anti-Americans of all denominations, their numbers inflated by the usual “useful idiots”, marched to keep the Baathist butcher in power.
More than two years later, however, the Arab street seems to be heading for an explosion. From North Africa to the Persian Gulf and passing by the Levant, people have been coming together in various “Arab streets” to make their feelings and opinions known. These demonstrations, some big, some small, have several features in common.
Over the past two weeks several Western capitals, including London and Paris, have witnessed feverish activity by more than two dozen groups organising meetings and marches to mark the second anniversary of the liberation of Iraq. The aim is not to celebrate the event and express solidarity with the emerging Iraqi democracy, but to vilify George W. Bush and Tony Blair, thus lamenting the demise of Saddam Hussein.
I spent part of last week ringing up the organisers of the anti-war events with a couple of questions. The first: Would they allow anyone from the newly elected Iraqi parliament to address the gatherings? The second: Would the marches include expressions of support for the democracy movements in Arab and other Muslim countries, notably Iraq, Lebanon and Syria?
In both cases the answer was a categorical no, accompanied by a torrent of abuse about “all those who try to justify American aggression against Iraq”.
But was it not possible to condemn “American aggression” and then express support for the democratic movement in Iraq and the rest of the Arab world? In most cases we were not even allowed to ask the question. In one or two cases we received mini-lectures on how democracy cannot be imposed by force. The answer to that, of course, is that in Iraq no one tried to impose democracy by force. In Iraq force was used to remove the enemies of democracy from power so as to allow its friends to come to the fore.
That remnants of the totalitarian Left and various brands of fascism should march to condemn the liberation of Iraq is no surprise. What is surprising is that some mainstream groups, such as the British Liberal-Democrat Party and even some former members of Tony Blair’s Labour Government, should join these marches of shame.
Why are so many Westerners, living in mature democracies, ready to march against the toppling of a despot in Iraq but unwilling to take to the streets in support of the democratic movement in the Middle East?
Is it because many of those who will be marching in support of Saddam Hussein this month are the remnants of totalitarian groups in the West plus a variety of misinformed idealists and others blinded by anti-Americanism? Or is it because they secretly believe that the Arabs do not deserve anything better than Saddam Hussein?
Good question. My feelings are that in Europe it is plain ole Anti-Americanism. In the United States it is plain ole Anti-Bush. Either way, they would rather see people ruled under a dictator rather then living free so that Bush will go down as a tyrant in their eyes. Disgusting.