“Tfeh 3alek” were the words impulsively uttered by Yasmine when she saw the head of the Free Patriotic Movement enjoying his life while the rest of the population suffered the dire crises paralyzing the country.
“It was completely impulsive. Before I even knew it, I was saying it. My mother always told me to think twice before I speak. It never worked,” Yasmine told The961. “I never in a million years would’ve imagined I’d get beaten like this.”
The attack didn’t stop at that. FPM partisans also confronted Yasmine that day in Batroun preventing her from leaving and the attacks followed her home when they began doxing her. She has even received hate messages and threats.
However, she told us that she wasn’t shocked by the ‘delusional’ reaction of the FPM people who even claimed that Bassil was their god. Their hateful acts will backfire on them, she believes.
The incident with Yasmine added to the spark of the now-reawakening Revolution that was dimming amid the pandemic, the use of lethal weapons against protesters by security forces violence and partisan sides, and the consistently worsening crises in Lebanon.
Yasmine herself was among the first to organize protests abroad when the October 17 Revolution started. She led a protest in Cape Town in South Africa and also protested in Beirut when she came back to Lebanon that year.
“I think we (The Thawra) need a strategy much smarter than going back to the streets again,” she told us. Citing the pandemic she said, “The Thawra had to stop by a force of nature. This mafia got lucky…”
In her opinion, and like many, an immediate solution would be to get the Lebanese Army to side with the people of the Revolution. “Get a military regime for a while and fight corruption radically. A little dictatorship helps when it’s fighting for good values. We need some kind of Robin Hoods right now,” she mused.
Reflecting on the future of the Revolution, she suggested points that she believes will help. First, the fact that a bulk of the diaspora that used to invest money in political parties and their campaigns has now been reduced to half what it was, she told us.
Second, she believes young and independent people should be engaged and integrated into the public sector.
“They won’t be doctors, engineers, architects, and businessmen like our beloved parents dreamt for us. They won’t make loads of money. But they will serve their country,” she said, adding that the majority of ministry employees get their jobs through “wasta”.
She hopes that the new generation’s perception of success will change and that the focus would be less on titles and lavish lifestyles but more on civil duty towards building a state focused on public services that served the people.
“It’s not about the name or lifestyle you make for yourself, it’s about how you can build a state [that] will reward you even better in the long run. You’ll have public schools, public gardens, less pollution, potable water, decent roads, trains, retirement plans, etc.”
“It’s ok if you’re not a millionaire and you’re not driving a Porsche, you’ll survive. That’s what I hope every school will teach its students. Focus on intensive civic education, before Arabic and English, and math. Teach them what is a citizen, what is a state, and what is a basic human right,” she said.
Third, Yasmine believes that the way Lebanese are reacting to the news of shortages in money, fuel, etc needs to be changed and unified. In other words, the Lebanese need to stop allowing the regime to control their actions.
“When we heard there were no USD withdrawals, the rush to the banks was crazy. There was no unity on how to handle the situation and what could be the right thing to do.”
“When we heard there was no fuel anymore, we rushed in Disneyland lines to the gas stations. When the rate started rising up, we rushed to the exchanger and asked for USD. That played a part in increasing the rate. It’s a black market rate, which means the market sets it. [This] means that if you stop asking for it, it will eventually lower down.”
“You’re just driving its scarcity by rushing to it. So how about the first thing we do is stay home and let things get the proportions they deserve,” she stated.
Another example she gave was real estate prices. “It’s crazy. You buy a decent 3-bedroom apartment in Achrafieh, which in my opinion is a big ghetto [that] pretends [to be] Manhattan, for no less than what? 800,000 USD? This buys you way better properties in way more prosperous cities in the world.”
“I do not mean to sound condemning, but at the end of the day the only ones benefiting from the high demand on things, are the sulta (the regime). The more you wait in line for fuel, the more the fuel price will rise and the richer those guys get. “
“Of course, this is not the only logic behind those issues, many factors play a part and I’m no financial or political analyst. It can’t be simplified to one theory only. But I’m rather analyzing the social behavior and how it is affecting the situation negatively.”
Finally, Yasmine concluded on a positive note with the hope that the upcoming elections would have a different outcome or at least get the ball rolling towards change. “Our best bet is the next elections. I profoundly hope that we will see change. This is our chance, and it could be a major turning point. We should keep our spirits high until then.”