As the fire of revolution ignited all over Lebanon from the south to the north, its flames sparked all over the world. Over 1.5M Lebanese are demanding the downfall of the current sectarian political regime, and hundreds of thousands of Lebanese in the diaspora are standing in solidarity.
The Lebanese Diaspora stood in solidarity with their fellow citizens in Lebanon by arranging demonstrations showing their support.
A call circulating online from the Lebanese diaspora has announced the return to Lebanon of many for Independence Day, which Lebanon celebrates on November 22nd. Their slogan states, “We’re flying back to give Independence a new meaning!”
Lebanese Diaspora is expected to meet on the 22nd of November 2019 at Beirut International Airport and proceed with “The March of the Diaspora” to downtown Beirut, meeting their fellow protesters in Lebanon at Martyr’s Square.
Many have already booked their flights, and we can’t wait for it.
This wonderful solidarity amongst all Lebanese people has stricken fear in those who have been benefiting from the regime for years. It has broken down barriers between Lebanese people, which were put up by years of sectarian teachings and political partisanship’s influence.
In that context, we cite the famous trial attorney and arbitrator, Kilroy J. Oldster, who said, “Acts of brutality committed by the ruling elite and systematic oppression of the weak stain every era of civilization.”
Such oppression has been practiced on the Lebanese people in attempts to silence them and it has been ongoing for over a year, even before the revolution.
Lebanese online users have gotten arrested with charges of “slandering” or “defaming” the government or any politician. Vocal influencers against the system or corruption have had their shares of threats and pressures and even arrests and imprisonment.
Criminal defamation, detention, and imprisonment have been used even before this revolution, and little has been spoken about it publicly for fear of more retribution.
Now, with the revolution having liberated the Lebanese people from that fear, little has been left unspoken and unexpressed publicly.
The aura of political immunity has shattered and people want their democracy back. But the authorities continue to implement that law dating back to the Ottoman period.
This leads to the warning this article is conveying. We want to urge all our Lebanese in the diaspora, who have been vocal with their support of the revolution, and who intend to return to Lebanon these days to check if their names are listed at the airport with any such charges. A lawyer could do that for you.
A Lebanese priest in Canada recently had to cancel his flight to Lebanon due to the fact that he is an outspoken supporter of the revolution. He posted his video message on Facebook for the public to know.
According to him, his sources in Lebanon had confirmed to him that his name was listed at the airport with an order of arrest.
This is not a random incident as The961 founder, Anthony Kantara, can tell you from his own experience in the matter.
Two years ago, an article published by a contributor on The961 listed the estimated wealth of several Lebanese politicians, according to several online media sources. The list included the president, Michel Aoun.
This summer, in August, Anthony was detained at Beirut airport upon his arrival and arrested with the alleged charges of “slandering” the president because of that article.
He was questioned, investigated, and detained for six days at different “facilities” across Beirut and Tripoli until he was released free of all charges, 6 days later.
We ask all our fellow Lebanese in the diaspora flying back home to take the necessary action before you take your flights. We want to see you among us and we are waiting for you on November 22nd. Be there and be many!
Recently released: Human Rights Watch: Defamation Laws Being Used to Silence Critics in Lebanon.