17 October has become a big day for the Lebanese people, in Lebanon as well as abroad. It is a day that brought hope that was thought lost, a unity that was thought impossible, a strength that was stolen from them by those in power, and the revival of their ambition for a better tomorrow that was thought improbable.
Most importantly, it gave a voice to the people.
October 17th of 2019 was the first day of the Lebanese revolution. And now, exactly one year later, this same day proved that the Lebanese people are not quitters.
They celebrated the revolution’s first anniversary amid the worse of circumstances… deprivation, scarcity, unemployment, economic decay, despair, explosion, and death.
The Lebanese revolution had many ups and downs during this past year, but people are still holding on. They still hold on to their faith in a bright future and a life with dignity.
Not one that will come on its own while they stand idle but by their own collective efforts while their revolutionary journey continues.
To celebrate this great day, and remind everybody, especially those in power that they won’t stop until their demands are met, the revolutionaries had special things planned.
They all gathered at the Martyrs’ Square in downtown Beirut, a historic place that has become home for the people of the revolution, and they marched all the way to the Port of Beirut where the blast took place on August 4th.
They stopped at the Ring Bridge, another site they came to call it home, and also at the Central Bank and the Ministry of Interior; all places that witnessed countless protests in the past year.
People were many, and their number grew bigger by the minute. They raised a banner on the Ring Bridge in Beirut that claimed it theirs: “The 17 October Bridge.”
At their final destination, the Port of Beirut, a monument of the torch of the revolution awaited them for a special ceremony in memory of the martyrs of the revolution and the victims of the explosion.
At exactly six o’clock and seven minutes, the time of the explosion that took so many lives and destroyed so many homes, the torch was lit at the onset of the national anthem and surrounded by activists and revolutionaries holding torches.
The ceremony was followed by chants of the revolution, as the crowd celebrated the one-year anniversary.
Some brought along the statue of the Lady of the Revolution from the Martyrs’ Square to the Port of Beirut, noting that this statue was also affected by the Beirut explosion.
People gathered in other areas across the country as well, such as Tripoli, Sidon, El-Zouk, and Jal El-Dib.
And of course, in Lebanon, there were some clashes between some people and the riot police in downtown Beirut, where rocks, fireworks, and tear gas were thrown.
But in the meantime, peaceful protesters made it a point to stay near the site of the explosion, because tyranny, repression, negligence, corruption, and crime, which that blast represents, are the real causes behind their revolution.
In Paris, Geneva, and Zurich, the Lebanese also held solidarity protests, raising the Lebanese flag and celebrating alongside their friends and families in Lebanon.
These events marked a celebration of the day the Lebanese people decided collectively that enough is enough.