I didn’t go to Martyrs Square till later in the afternoon. I decided to go to Ashrafieh to see what happened to the people who were affected by the explosion. I did not expect to find them in Martyrs Square and I was right.
They were angry. They know that they are not going to be compensated for what they lost. The Lebanese law gives 25 million pounds (around 17 000 $) to the family of a victim. Less money to the wounded. I remember that from the interviews I did last year with Nadine Elali with families of victims of other assassinations in Lebanon. The rest of it, the grief, the emotional distress, the nightmares -they are all forgotten. There is no therapy, no help. They deal with it however they can.
I met a woman today. She had tears in her eyes and her words I will never forget. She was angry. “We should put all these politicians together, tied them up together and then throw them in the sea. They are all dogs. No, they are the dogs of the dogs,”she screamed.
“Haram Lebanon! It was beautiful once,”an old woman who sat on the stairs in front of OGERO said, her eyes watery.
There was no hope in those people’s eyes, as they cleaned their buildings of shattered glass.
In Beirut’s Martyrs Square young people were carrying party flags. You could barely see Lebanon’s flag. I saw old militia flags with the skull and the crossed bones of the old Phalanges, I saw the Future Movement blue flag black Salafist flags, and the Syrian revolution flags. All displayed on the statue in the Martyrs Square. And I saw people leaving, disappointed.
Then the protests started in front of the Serail, Roads were closed again by burning tires. And the words of an old woman in Sassine echoed in my mind: “Haram Lebanon! It was beautiful once!”