On Thursday evening, a large group of people gathered in central Beirut to stand up for peace as a way of breaking the political paralysis hitting their country. Under the banner of The White March, they walked from Martyr’s Square to Sassine Square in Ashrafieh.
”We invite you to the ’White demonstration’ in memory of Georgette Sarkisian and Jana Kamal El Din and all women, men and children have been killed because of confessional and political conflicts in Beirut, Tripoli and throughout Lebanon,” read a statement on the organisers’ Facebook page.
But some voices raised concerns regarding the virtue of such a demonstration.
”If you refuse to take any political stance from anything, what would that political alternative be?
Let’s not go to the streets in a futile way again. Saying No to something without saying Yes to something else is pointless,” commented one member of the group.
The organisers’ sought to find an alternative to the March 8 and 14 movements that currently dominate Lebanon’s political scene. People on Twitter also joined in and supported the initiative.
Several hundreds came together for The White March, possibly up to 1.000, and it’s clear that if the movement seeks to fundamentally challenge the status-quo and the March 8 and 14 coalitions, more needs to be done. Yet, some would say this is a start, and whatever it turns out to be in the end, it’s still a promising sign that Lebanon’s young care deeply about the future of their nation.
”We will walk silent to say loudly that all the voices we have been hearing in the streets and via the media recently strengthen our will to work for realistic alternatives and means to do politics beyond confessional belongings, seeking justice and social solidarity,” the organisers stated on the Facebook group.