It has become too evident these days that some are purposely seeking to break the bond between the Lebanese Army and the protesters, which, if they succeed, will break the peaceful revolution, to say the least. So, let’s talk!
Lebanese people, as well as foreigners overseas, have praised this tight bond between revolutionaries and their country’s army troops for the powerful message of unity that it conveys. The message that the Lebanese citizens and soldiers are one and the same; woven together by love and patriotism and inseparable from one another.
Since day one of the revolution, the army has given the protesters support and protection; a much-needed sense of safety in a time during which threats bombard them from every direction, intending to abolish their determination and hopeful uprising.
The army has also furthered the peacefulness of this revolution by enacting a peaceful stance. This revolution has been peaceful because both sides are endeavoring to make it so. It couldn’t have been otherwise, and we all know that.
These soldiers have been a refuge for the distressed civilians who have left behind the comfort of their homes and risked their safety to restore what belongs to them from the pockets of the corrupt. Similarly, the peaceful revolutionists have showered their beloved protectors with uplifting chants, anthems, and other expressions of respect and appreciation.
And indeed such acts were not tolerated, and we have seen first hand the way our soldiers pushed back the vandals and aggressors who tried to infiltrate the demonstrations and ruin them. They also had to face assaults from these aggressors while protecting the protesters.
Regardless of the soldiers’ respectful stance when it comes to the revolution, it does not change the fact that they have also an obligation to follow their orders. And when the orders are to open a blocked road and remove protesters from the middle of the street, they can do nothing but comply. Sometimes this can lead to conflict with the peaceful protesters.
It is clear that political authority figures have seen the way the army has been protecting the revolutionaries since the early days, and it is also clear now that some of them desperately want it to end.
This desire to break the powerful bond between the peaceful demonstrators and the soldiers has manifested in the way some military authorities on the ground have been dealing with the protests recently, likely influenced and ordered by the corrupt.
The unfortunate conflicts that took place on the Cola road and at the Saadnayel-Taalbaya intersection this week are exactly what the anti-revolution agenda has been all about.
When the army opens a blocked road and protesters resort to violence and disrespect towards the soldiers, it serves the opposition of the revolution and those whom the protests are against.
Moreover, when some protesters resorted to throwing stones and various objects at the soldiers in response to the forceful clearance of the road by the army, it affects part our bond and the beautiful image the world had of the Lebanese protests. Furthermore, the seemingly random arrests that the army has been making in some protest areas are not protecting that bond nor that image either.
The revolutionaries who understand the implications behind this are put in a difficult position. On one hand, they cannot cease their revolution and on the other, they cannot antagonize the troops who are only following orders and doing their jobs.
The peacefulness of these protests is what has made them a success, and the mutual respect and regard expressed between the protesters and the soldiers has given the revolutionaries the upper hand in the fight against the corrupt authority.
We have in fact already seen how such intense situations can be dealt with many times in a lot of protest areas around Lebanon. Negotiation has proven time and time again to be an effective tool for both the protesters and the army soldiers. It is a civilized form of conflict de-escalation and preserves the bond between the two parties while keeping the revolution alive.
Violence begets violence, and hatred begets hatred. The moment in which rivalry is born between the protesters and the army is the moment the peaceful revolution breaks down, which is exactly what the corrupt politicians intend to achieve.
The murder of Alaa Abou Fakhr gave some people the false message that the army is working against them, but it is certainly not. The crime was condemned by the army and the criminal handed to jurisdiction to receive the punishment he deserves for his horrible deed.
The actions of one individual do not represent the entire institution, and holding a grudge against the Lebanese Army for the evil-doing of one man or some rogue ones, very likely to have been affiliated with and received orders from a corrupt politician or party leader- is unwise.
People on the scenes are taking photos and videos and tweeting them to the attention of the Lebanese Army. We encourage all to do so, and not to engage. Our bond with the Lebanese army must not be broken. (Check the below on how these rogue elements are being reported.)
After almost one month of protesting, it is extremely important that we be cautious when dealing with the army on the streets so that our efforts don’t go to waste.
It is certainly true that the soldiers are sometimes resorting to unnecessary violence when dealing with the protests, but nevertheless, the troops must not be engaged and peaceful resistance is the only form of resistance to be used with the army.