There have been questions overseas about our Lebanese law-enforcement in the streets of Lebanon during these days of uprise. Many are even feeling sorry for us because of the news out there speaking of "police brutality" and of "army cracking down on protesters," and showing just the same few images of the very few incidents. They don't want to show you the heartwarming reality occurring in our streets with our law-enforcement. If you are not on Instagram, that's all that you see on google search.
So, here, we are going to do it for you so all the world gets to know the truth. Know this: Unlike all protests that usually occur in other countries, ours have been different in three main aspects: We're doing it peacefully and cheerfully, we are united in masses as One, and our relationship with the law-enforcement has remained respectful, loving, and empathetic, from both sides.
That's the aspect we want to show our readers from overseas today because both the people and the army believe that we are all in this together. They and their families have been enduring like everybody the harsh economic crisis. So, let's take a look at what has been really happening on our streets with the Lebanese army and civil defense officers.
1. They love the citizens for protesting against corruption
"Our hearts are with you," this officer says here, "but we can't do a thing." Truth is, they are doing a lot already by not using violence and leaving the protesters to protest peacefully. Not only that, they have rushed to their rescue just yesterday when gangs of political parties tried to mess up with them.
2. They are showing that they care
This photo has been going around on Instagram with a statement that translates into "When the tragedy is on everybody, the watan (the army man) adheres with the citizen."
3. The army is showing support
Have you ever seen passionate protesters hoarded in front of the headquarter of a country's #1 ruler and being offered water to drink and refresh themselves? I guess not. Only in Lebanon.
This video was recorded by a protestor in front of the Palace of the Lebanese Republic where Lebanon's President dwells. Instead of being brutalized and pushed away, the army guards distributed bottles of water to them.
4. They are cheered and included
This video was also recorded by a protester as his peers chanted patriotic songs to the army officers, cheering to them, and bringing one of them on their shoulders, chorusing what translates into: "You are the brave... You are the brave..."
5. They step in to protect the protesters
When government guards got carried away against protesters at the start of the protest, Lebanese Army officers stepped in between them to protect the citizens, urging the guards to calm down.
6. They express heartwarming empathy
The facial expressions of this officer of the law say it all: Empathy, understanding, affection... By the time she was finishing her passionate lecture about how we are all in this together, and how the officers are as affected as the civilians, the officer had tears in his eyes. "Go wear a civilian outfit and come down [to the protest], together with us!" She urged them all.
7. Our love is mutual
Humanly compassionate they are towards the civilians protesting. That barricade that wouldn't open to any took an expression of innocent love from a toddler to open it up...
8. The protestors support them and acknowledge them
From the people and with the people... A child wearing an army uniform is a strong statement from his family that their demands concern also the army officers, and that they are doing it also for them since they can't.
9. They are made to feel welcomed and loved
With cheerful taghrid and flowers, this is how the Lebanese Army, sent on the protesters, were welcomed by them in Zgharta (North Lebanon). For those who are unaware of that cultural gesture of ours, the taghrid is done on special occasions in our villages to greet those we celebrate, including at weddings.
10. One of the most heartwarming and revealing interactions we've seen so far:
It all started with the officer shouting at the old man to push him away, "Come on, you're [a senior] like my father!" And the man to confirm it, and remind him that we are all in this together, that the politicians have been making him as well suffer hunger. Being poked right at the painful truth, the officer went speechless and subdued for moments to then utter respectfully, "I'm at your order." Which earned him a warm paternal kiss from the senior.
11. Protesters acknowledge them with kindness
No occasion is missed for the Lebanese people to show their appreciation and respect to our army, even and maybe mostly in situations like this one when they are protesting against the ruling body. There have been numerous such instances where protestors have shown up with a bunch of flowers and distribute them to the officers with a "thank you," and ya3teek el a3fyeh (God gives you strength).
12. They feel the pain and eagerness of the protesters
You see them here getting emotional by the civilian protests for a better Lebanon, for they know all these efforts include them as well. The message here written by a civilian warns his peers to abstain from attacking them, "Do not raise your hand or throw a stone [at him]. He didn't vote [for the current politicians]. You did."
13. Civilians of all ages support them
Lebanese of all walks of life and all ages are showing support for the Lebanese army while protesting against corruption. Wearing an army uniform during the protest says it all.
14. They would certainly love to join in
This has been going around on social media, speaking on their behalf, "They cannot shout. Shout on their behalf, for their sake and ours."
15. They proclaim to the protestors that we are One and the same
The officer makes his voice heard loud and clear, "You and I are One> You are from me and I am from you!" Which earns him a loud cheer from the protesters.
16. Protesters sing to them
For those abroad who don't know, we Lebanese address a person of our army with the high honorable designation of Watan, which means homeland, for this is what they personify in our hearts and minds, and we love them and respect them for that. Here you see the protestors singing to them, "God be with you, O Watan."
During these times of uncertainty and chaos, our army people have proven once again that they are the Watan. They have been behaving highly consciously towards the civilians who count on them to protect them, and that despite some incidents at the start of the protests that had caused casualties among them.
And they've been protecting the protesters and respecting the One flag they are carrying, that of our homeland. Remember, people of Lebanon, at all times: Koulouna lil watan, ya3neh Koulouna lil watan. All of us for the homeland!
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