On 17 October, the announcement of new taxes provoked demonstrations in Beirut. From Riad Al-Solh, the stronghold of the protest movement that is now igniting the whole country, Christina Haddad, a 20-year-old student, testifies to her anger against political corruption.
"I was in the Bekaa Valley, about sixty kilometers from Beirut, when the protest began in the capital on the evening of October 17th. I watched on television the images of the small crowd in the downtown streets, shouting his anger. I was boiling, I wanted to be. Impossible. The roads to Beirut were closed by protesters. The next day, I went to the Riad Al-Solh square, in the heart of the demonstrations, in front of the government headquarters. Since the 18th of October, I am in the morning in the middle of the night.
Everything is jostled in my life. Usually, I share my time between Beirut and Bekaa, between my studies in psychomotility and my job as a waitress. At this moment, I have no course: the direction of the Lebanese University, a public institution, had announced the reopening a few days after the start of the dispute, but students and teachers refused. I also suspended my work at the restaurant in Deir Al-Ghazal, Bekaa.
"We, the youth, do not have many prospects. Unlike others, I never thought of emigrating. I want to live in Lebanon. "
I do not see my mother, a teacher, until she comes to gatherings; my younger brother is showing up too. My father, an engineer, is an expatriate in Jordan, but he supports us with all his heart. I am lucky to have idealistic parents. I belong to a generation that did not experience civil war (1975-1990). I do not argue with this "software", I dream of new blood in politics, that those who stole this country are thrown out of power. Only a change in governance can affect the economy. We, the youth, do not have many prospects. Unlike others, I never thought of emigrating. I want to live in Lebanon.
I meet wonderful people in the Riad Al-Solh square, people from different backgrounds that I would not have had the chance to know otherwise. It hurts me when I see all the young people who have not had the chance to study. I attend many organized discussions. I regret that some are locked in their way of thinking, but various points of view are expressed. There is a lot of solidarity: moms cook for us. In the Riad Al-Solh square, I participate in a cordon of women, to separate police officers from young men who demonstrate. I want our movement to remain peaceful. Violence leads to nothing.
When she's home, my mother is stuck on TV, and whenever there's a little tension here, she calls me. In our neighborhood, in Sad El-Bauchrieh, a suburb north of Beirut, people criticize the paralysis of the country, the blocking of roads, the strike … They say they want to continue working. But no one has reproached me. I swing between disappointment, sometimes, and energy and optimism, most often. "