A year ago, September 2018, a post detailing the current uprise in Lebanon appeared on Facebook, written by the Lebanese sports journalist Riad Turk. We might all feel skeptic about it, and how couldn’t we? We have been bombarded these days by conspiracy theories around the Revolution, and some even believe one or two of them; maybe all.
Our people these past decades have come to lose faith in their own capabilities and historical legacy to rise up against oppression, or even think and decide on their own. And yet, our long history bespoke, and is doing so now again as it writes its new chapter.
The detailed post of Riad Turk reflects no conspiracy. He dreamt it in a vision-like, as we understood, and the impression on him was as such that he felt the urge to write it down and post it on his FB page to share it with his friends and fans.
No spoiler-alert intended, friends: The post, which we are about to show you is a detailed narrative of the onset of a Lebanese uprising so closely similar to the reality of the current one: A sudden, unplanned, decentralized, and non-secular revolution that paralyzes the country and is considered civil disobedience.
Turk wrote as an introduction, “It’s 6:00 am in the morning. Cars came to a halt all of a sudden in Downtown Beirut, and young men and women got out of their cars and closed down the roads from both sides. A school bus driver witnessed the scene and decided to join the youth by asking his students to get out of the bus and participate in closing the roads. Some people parked their cars aside and decided to join, and this is how the story began.”
Turk went on describing how people all over Lebanon heard of that civil disobedience and decided to close their own roads in Aley, Nehmeh, and Khaldeh, and participate in the protest that was occurring in Riad El-Solh near the Grand Serial. The schools were on a closedown and university councils urged their students to participate in the protest via their online platforms. (P.S. Have you seen on Instagram the AUB headmaster doing so recently?)
Turk even mentioned security forces trying to reopen roads by force and said that the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA) reported 1.5 million protesters in the streets, and stated that using violence against protestors is not an option as it will cause disaster. The post ended, stating the following:
“This is a scenario of civil disobedience. It is a scenario that won’t happen today and won’t happen even in a hundred years. But it is a nice scenario that I have lived in for a few minutes and that you will live in for a few minutes too. A scenario for civil disobedience without using tires or weapons or anything.”
“A civil disobedience that traps all governmental departments. A civil disobedience that is as powerful as a slap to people in power. A civil disobedience that stays a dream. A civil disobedience against everything that is happening in the country. This civil disobedience might happen one day and might not, but it is very important that the idea of a revolution stays alive always.”
That dream of Lebanon freeing itself from oppression all at once did not manifest in 2018. It was just a vivid dream (more of a Lucid Dream, maybe?) of a citizen aching for national relief and dreaming big, dreaming the impossible for his country. But that ache inside all our people has been real, without hope though.
Riad Turk’s dream was real, goosebump inciting with its details that we see today on the ground, a little more than a year later. He saw it happening despite that no one had even hoped for it.
On that post back then, it was evident in the comment section. One person commented, “This makes a good successful movie.” Another even teased him, “Riad, stop dreaming.” And someone wrote, “This plan doesn’t work in a nation with people as sectarian and politically affiliated!” How wrong our nation today proved him to be! For it did happen, it is happening!
The dream that the Lebanese people have dreamt of for years, and that Turk described in words have happened, defying everyone’s doubts, and what seemed like impossible became possible. The remarkable thing about this revolution is that it was unexpected to the revolutionaries themselves.
Nothing as spontaneous can possibly produce such astonishing unity-above-all across Lebanon, that stout determination to maintain their protests peaceful whatever the aggressions, these heartwarming acts of human support and care towards each other, and that honorable stance of our Army and security forces adamant to protect the people.
What we have been witnessing on the ground is, simply put, a fascinating phenomenon by the people for the people. Don’t you know the Lebanese people and their thousands of years of legacy? They can very well think on their own and act upon it from their own will to live with dignity.
We can’t possibly underestimate their resilience, their intelligence, their capabilities, their passion to go beyond the status of survival, and their eagerness to recover their democracy.
On Saturday, October 26th, Turk posted a new FB status with a message to his friends and network that says: “This revolution is ours, the revolution of the honest and the good and clean hearts. We do not want anyone stealing it, or “surfing” our wave, or exploiting us in any way. We are the honest ones, and we do not want anyone with us because we have God and that is enough.”