“The events that happened drove people closer.”
Since the beginning of the Lebanese revolution many small communities started to organically take shape within the public squares of the cities. Since Jarak aims to document social interactions and help link people who live next to each other, we felt the necessity to highlight these rare and meaningful relations that have seen the light during the revolution.
We visited Martyrs Square in Beirut city to interview some of the protesters who have been living in tents and/or have spent most of their time in the public square.
We asked them about their experience during the revolution and if new bonds were formed.
From the many asked, Ali, a social activist and former student at the Lebanese university, pointed out that protesting in the streets encouraged protesters to interact and get to know each other. “the events that happened drove people closer.” According to Ali, before the revolution, people had built social, territorial and sectorial boundaries, but the revolution tore down all these boundaries and gave people a very much needed hope.
Siba Succariah, a journalist and social activist, noted the change that happened in her village, “for example, the residents didn’t interact with each other before the revolution, but now the people are communicating despite their differences and organizing protests together.”
Siba’s friend Rafif Souny, also a journalist and social activist, shared her own experience about her friends that she met in the square, how they protect and care about each other. “these gestures made the relationships between the protesters stronger to a point that they even shared their meals, laughter and songs, and this gave them hope for a better tomorrow.”
In one of the tents located in Riad Al Soloh street, we met Wassim Yassine, Kevin Faouz and Fayez Ayach, young activists who came from different Lebanese areas and became good friends during the revolution and decided to live together under one tent. For them what differentiates the young generation of today is its ability to discuss and share opinions.
These interviews showed us that despite the difficulties that they are facing, the protesters were able to create strong and diverse communities with new neighbors to lean on.