BEIRUT: Lebanese students Lail Al-Durzi, 29, Firas Harb, 23, and Ghiwa Nasr, 22, insist they will not quit the protests that have paralyzed Beirut despite spending more than 11 days on the streets of the capital.
Al-Durzi, from Beirut, graduated from the Lebanese University and worked in media before leaving his job because he had not been paid for three months.
“I joined the revolution because the government was unable to extinguish a fire. How can we entrust it with our lives and future?” he told Arab News.
Al-Durzi said that he is still unable to pay rent for the house he shares with his mother.
“My father died and my brothers work for the Internal Security Forces and have been serving for 10 days. They do not know I am protesting and my mother opposed my participation at first, but then she changed her mind and supported me because politicians were noticing us,” he said.
He is active on social media along with his unemployed friends. “We shed light on unenforced rights in Lebanon, theft cases, taxes, social cases, and violence against women.”
Al-Durzi fears the revolution will fail. “The activists who spend the night in tents are being assaulted by people who insult us and steal from us without the intervention of the security forces,” he said.
“People we do not even know come to us with simple sandwiches to eat. But we have not given our full trust to anyone. We need time to establish a reference to the revolution.”
Harb, who has a master’s degree in architecture from the Lebanese University, has been jobless for a year. “It hurts to see the youth’s culture expand while we cannot invest our knowledge anywhere, not even in our homes,” he said.
His father owns a shop that sells vegetables, while his mother is unemployed, and his brother and sister are still in school.
“My mother opposed my participation in the protest, but last night she texted in support,” he said. “Many reasons forced us to take to the streets. We might not be a generation of war, but we are fighting an emotional war.
“The 10 days I have spent so far in Martyrs Square brought waves of optimism and others of pessimism that made us think of leaving. Nonetheless, we meet people that encouraged us to stay through their belief in righteousness of their cause.
“We are being hurt by people who do not like our protests. People here have different backgrounds and we do not know the objectives of everyone in the square,” Harb told Arab News.
Nasr, who specialized in biology and English literature at the Lebanese University, is staying in a bigger tent for protection.
“Our parents are children of war and were affected by it. I took to the street because we had a gasoline and bread shortage, which forced my elderly grandmother to bake for us. The Whatsapp tax came after and sparked the revolution,” she said.
“Politicians do not understand that we want to sack the entire political class. We do not prefer one leader over another.
“This revolution is not organized like the others. People are different and we have to accept that for it to succeed.
“The youth will not give up. It is our duty to carry on. If this revolution fails, politicians need to know that the people will never remain silent anymore and they will be watching them,” she added.