Many are holding back tears as they watch their countrymen stand together for change.
Lebanese expatriates in the UAE have been closely watching the recent developments back in their home country. Many are holding back tears as they watch their countrymen stand together for change.
For Nizar, a Lebanese expat, the world stands with the Lebanese people. “It is a real revolution against corruption and decades-long bad performance.”
Even though the nation’s problems have been there for decades, the latest tariff on a free phone application – in addition to a series of strikes by bakeries and fuel stations – was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
“People have been hit by extreme poverty, by terminal diseases because of pollution, and by the lack and deprivation of the minimum and basic rights of health coverage, employment, and education. They don’t even have the basic and essential means of living like utilities and garbage disposal, to name a few,” said the expat, who works for a transportation corporation.
People, who took to the streets, care for their country’s best interest and not for a particular leader, he added.
“What we really need and want to see are new faces. We want an election of new parliament members, appointment of new ministers, ones who are specialists in their fields. We want our Lebanon to rise up again.”
Nizar, who gets very emotional at the sight of the demonstrators and how bad their financial and social circumstances have become, is keeping his fingers crossed for a better tomorrow for his beloved country. “I just wish I could join them in those civilised and peaceful protests.”
Nizar’s twin brother, Firas, who is a banker, said he couldn’t hold back his tears while watching what is going on in his home country.
“I really wish I could be standing there with the demonstrators. Any Lebanese would get emotional watching his fellow countrymen, of all age groups, coming together and standing as one.
“Our people have hit rock-bottom of hardship. It is the first time they all take to the streets, united by their demands, rather than by their political affiliations or any other motivations.
“They are just claiming their freedoms and fundamental rights. We all want our country to stand on its feet again. We want the economic situation to improve.”
Seif Rahhal, an accountant, said that for the first time in his life, he wished to be part of demonstrations. “I am not a political partisan nor am I a fan of any politician there. What makes those protests really special is that they are not politically motivated. This time is totally different.
“Citizens have come from all walks of life, from all over the country, united by their demands for a fair and decent living, to raise their voice against the poverty, the unemployment and other basic issues.”
Rahhal, who is also a talented singer, believes that the resignation of the government is not the solution. “The solution would be to recover all the embezzled funds. That would be the first step to boost the crumbled economy and work on easing up the public debt. It will help deal with the scarcity of the dollar currency. Corrupt officials need to be brought to justice and held accountable.”
Salah, a hairdresser, is hopeful for ‘real change’ that those demonstrations might bring along.
“We really need change; one that will take down the government and have it replaced with another one that could better tackle the needs and demands of the people,” he said.
Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, she worked as an in-house reporter of international affairs at a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for a renowned law academy in the Lebanese capital. Speaks fluently four languages and is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more, and has grown by now a rich ‘criminal’ imagination…
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