Pre-revolution Lebanon was a country diseased with religious sectarian divisions nurtured by political leaders to probably validate their governmental positions, further their political, personal, and business agenda, and control the people.
Then, the revolution was born in an explosion that shatters these long cemented walls. The suffering and frustration brought the people together, and so did their eagerness for a new and healthy Lebanon.
United in the same pain and same dream, they’ve been holding on to their new-found unity.
All faith communities became only Lebanese, standing against corruption, the dysfunctional government, the broken political system, the financial insecurity, and the oppression against their civil rights.
Many clergies have also joined in, some on the front lines of the protests, and some from their positions in mosques and churches, calling for the state to heed the demands of the people.
On the ground with the revolution, some clergies have taken it upon themselves to actively help. Jesuit priest Gabriel Khairallah is one of them.
“I am against corruption and seeking social justice and the same goes for the doctors,” he said during his participation in the protest of the health sector.
Earlier than that, in the first weeks of the protests, priest Khairallah initiated a low-cost, volunteer-run medical clinic next to St. Joseph Church in Beirut to provide medical assistance to the people.
The clinic is run mostly by volunteers with more than 30 doctors rotating during the week. Several pharmacies have joined in to help as well by donating needed medicine. The cost of a visit is around $5 and free for those who cannot afford it.
Costs for such centers are not cheap at all. However, the Lebanese people are benevolent and have been more so during this revolution. Khairallah is henceforth managing to keep it going to serve the people.”We are collecting from every person of goodwill,” he said.
The economic situation in Lebanon and the absence of a functional state have made places of assistance by the people for the people an absolute necessity.
This clinic, for instance, has become a lifeline for many protesters and families who have dropped below the poverty line.
While the officials concentrate on their internal political battles and deals, and the country suffers to grasp some air as it sinks deeper with every passing day, the people of Lebanon are holding fiercely onto each other and onto their faith in the country that they want to achieve.