Tag Archives: democracy

March 14 and the Myth of the Cedar Revolution (By Marina Chamma)

14 Mar

March 14 and the Myth of the Cedar Revolution

If March 14 2005 would happen again, I would be exactly where I was – in the middle of the chanting and exuberant crowds in Martyrs’ Square – when it all happened.  It was history and I was part of it, along with thousands of others who gathered there. The excitement of screaming Ya Bashar, ya *******, Tal’le Jayshak min Beirut (Oh Bashar, Oh [expletive], Get Your Army out of Beirut) straight into the face of a Lebanese soldier without the fear of arrest. The indescribable feeling of dignity restored, standing in an ocean of Lebanese flags singing along to Julia Boutros’ Ana Bitnaf’as Houriye (I Breathe Freedom). The emotion of seeing the sheer crowds gathered on one day, in one place, for some sort of hope for a better future, which few, if any, knew what would look like. At the same time, it was the implicit awareness, even in the midst of the protest, that such a sight of unity and the seeds of a possible revolution that may come with it wouldn’t survive.


But was it really unity? It is true that March 14, 2005 was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, demonstrations in contemporary Lebanese history, with an anti-Syria common denominator. However, people also had other reasons for being there. Some where there to mourn Rafik El Hariri and avenge his death, while others were there as part of their ongoing opposition to the Syrian regime (it being the prime suspect behind the Hariri assassination at the time). Others were there because they opposed the gathering of March 8 (the day in which pro-Syrian Lebanese gathered to “Thank Syria” for all it has done, a show of solidarity while it was being accused to killing Hariri). Others were there to call for an end to Syria’s occupation of Lebanon, while others called for a drastic change to the political system and its leaders, which until then, was nurtured and protected by Syria itself.

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