Sunday, August 23, 2015

What happened in Beirut today? signs of divisions already

Comrade Raed Charaf who was there explains: "I was there today between 6 and 9 pm. I saw indeed organized groups of young boys in their teens coming together, walking in rows while holding each bottles of water in their hands tied together in a weird fashion. There were certainly 300 of them, and some random people were already calling them "khandaq el ghamik" boys among the crowd at about 8h00 and calling them "mendassin". I must say that there were groups who openly chanted (with drums) that they were coming from Hayy El Selloum, the crowd was loving those (the drum is always awesome and they had decent lyrics for their age), but a larger crowd as I said came with plastic bottles and they did look agressive, forcing their way between assembled people. But frankly, they weren't mean, they just seemed their age. I came to one of them who was masking his face with a "anonymous mask" and asked him "who are you boys? you seem to be an organized group". He replied "were lebanese citizens, why would you consider us something else". I told him, yes but beyond that. He pretended not hearing me and left. He wasnt totally frank, but he also wasnt mean or agressively defensive... All of this to say that from what I saw, khandak el ghamik or not, those organized groups (they were organized for sure) didnt have any hatred or grudge towards the demonstrators, and were especially angry at security forces. it did look though like they had unfinished business with the security forces, since they were finding their way to reach the front line only. These boys came for a fight, that is for sure. If Nabih Berri is organizing a play of the sort, he is very competent... in what he does. Which he is usually, by the way. These boys could be Amal or whatever, but frankly, I think their attitude is genuine, regardless of whether it's being instrumentalized. And I repeat, I didnt witness in them any grudge towards the other demonstrators. They were not bullying the women and other people present... unless they got excited at other points of where I was standing... I dont know, it was too big today and very uncentralized, contrary to yesterday's demo. So I couldnt keep track of most of what was happening.
I heard that they presented a problem since the morning, and I know that the tol3et ri7etkoun bunch consider them as sabotagers, but I think anyway that the whole movement is now beyond the initial NGO organizers.
I dont know what happened with the security forces, I left at 9 and apparently, something was already happening in the other end of the demo which we didnt feel where we stood. Lets face it, in France for example, in Paris, you have bands of boys like these called "casseurs" who participate in demos and start braking into shops and burning cars. It is not political, it just happens when you have boys in poor neighborhood not having a decent taste of what the gentrified city has to offer. I think that in order to have a clear answer, someone has to sit with them tomorrow, during the day, before the climax point, and chat decently with them. if they sustain their defensive mechanism, it means that they are "encouraged", otherwise, let's face it, this was to happen one day or another in lebanonesia.
Today's demo by the way, more than yesterdays, had a lot of elements of lower middle class and popular ones, which is a sign of success in my opinion. The number of participants could be around 10 thousand people in my estimate."