Thank You For Protesting

It’s the 13th of February, a Saturday night. A perfect chance for couples to express their love with overpriced gifts and fancy dinners in the once-Christian-now-super-commercial holiday.

To avoid the stupid, misguided celebration, I did what was most logical in my case: retreat to the comfort of the Basement. Like their motto, “it’s safer underground”, the Basement atmosphere was pretty far away from the froo-frooness above-ground.

As the night went on and the club got packed, at around 1.30AM I went to pick Lori up from Lavish in gemmayzeh. The most heavenly sound greeted me as I got into the car… The sound of 12 or so dodges driven by our beloved police. Just another infantile show of force, let them have their fun. A couple of hundred meters towards DT, I began seeing gangs of guys, most not even wearing a tshirt or have a maximum of 3-4 front teeth. It hit me: 14 February, again…

The cheesy holiday was now extra cheesy with cheese-stuffed crust. Dozens of tents were erected with yummy beverages and food in refrigerators. Police littered the streets with their flashy cars and annoying sirens. Valets were being given a hard time, buses full of god-knows-what-kind of people were making laps around DT, and of course cars which have not undergone mecanique since 1973 were plastered with pictures of Hariri and co.

I can sympathize with that, we all can. Let us consider that this was a genuine, heart-felt occasion to commemorate those who have been assassinated in these past few years. Let us consider no incentives were offered to those who stood in Martyrs’ Square today, let us pretend there weren’t chairs, well-spaced, spanning the whole of the sqaure from Vrigin Megastore to Saifi Village. Let us consider that there is an ongoing internal conflict in the country which called for this show-of-force, let us consider that there was actually a reason to protest today, let usconsider the speeches actually meant something and were calling for a worthy cause.

Why would I care? Why should you? Don’t get me wrong, the memory of those assassinations is a painful one and each victim was a dear loss to the whole of Lebanon. But, what’s done is done, and we have the Special Tribunal for Lebanon up and running, so theoretically jsutice will eventually take its course. Then what are these protestors doing? I’ll tell you what they’re doing, they’re ruining a perfectly good Saturday night.

As a Lebanese citizen, I don’t really care about stupid, big titles like ‘Sovereignty’ or ‘Insitutions’ or other slogans prostate-cancer-infested politicians parade around with. I care about the following: having electricity to turn the lights on, gas to fill my car, units to send messages and call, an internet connection worthy of the 21st century… I care about going out clubbing on a Saturday night, I care about less traffic jams to protect the ‘safety’ of stupid ministers and whatever, I care about watching some fun local TV programs, not some illiterate babbling with a bunch of old men… I care about a police officer who isn’t out to get me, but instead tries to conduct traffic…

I don’t care about who’s pride is hurt, about who thinks they’re the alpha-male, I don’t care about ‘leaders’ who think people don’t realize they’re full of poop.

Yesternight, I left the Basement to finish my usual ritual and eat a Freddy’s hotdog, only to find the tiny truck replaced by some dirty man with a sajj and a picture of an Arab king behind him. You can imagine my annoyance at this absurd twist of events. When I enquired why Freddy’s was sent away, the familiar phrase of ‘amin’ or security was thrown in my face by a kind police officer. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have a minister blown up to pieces than compromise my daily life for some stupid cockfight.

To make matters worse, on my way back, after I lost count of the food and beverage tents, I saw the flashing lights of more police, yaay! They had closed off the highway towards Beirut from the Forum intersection. That was way too much. Why must people suffer suffocating traffic jams so that four impotent men can get a photo-op with a sea of 2 flags/person?

I’m not taking sides, but when someone messes up your plans for the night, makes you sit in traffic for hours, then to hell with him/them, whoever they may be. A similar incident occured during the run-up to our Independence Day. Did you really have to make me spend 3 hours to get out of Beirut so a bunch of used hummers can drive in a straight line? Really!?

I hope you get why I’m so upset, and I hope you feel the same way too… If I have the basic necessities of life and the freedom to do what I feel like doing, then I don’t care who came to the event today and who skipped it. Unfortunately, my freedom was undermined last night, and has been in the past, for stupid reasons. I’m sure hundreds of couples were bummed to walk out of a posh restaurant or club to find 20 guys wooing them, smoking, spitting and playing with their toes on the sidewalk, unchecked by the police who are supposed to keep order…

My advice to everyone politically involved at these times: Grow up, have some fun, and if you want to portest, protest for a real cause, like the 32,000+ LL for 20 liters of oil…


  1. Shaya says

    Love you GINO!!!!!
    I started laughing hysterically as I was reading this in the Eliot DHall. People thought I was going nuts…

  2. Ali says

    14 Feb is supposed to be a day to remember the people killed in assassinations … but if you watched New TV the funny thing was that it was more of a party gathering then the sad-remembrance day it was supposed to be with all the music+artists (Joseph Atiyeh, Micho SHO?? + other losers)…. really funny way to remember people.

    And talking about independence day … in every respectable country in the world (France, US, Russia …) the people participate in the independence day parade and watch the parade close up on the edges of the streets where the parade is taking place (those countries also have beautiful parades incidentally, unlike us …) But here in Lebanon, they have to close down the entire city and you have to watch that weak procession of broken down trucks and other vehicles from your home on TV because the politicians are too afraid of close contact with the people … really messed up country we have here. Hope it goes up in flames.

  3. freddy says

    gino u know better why i was not there at that time due to road blocking and blabla..
    shaya and gino thanks for ur support
    see u arround(above ground).freddy

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