Elias Khoury: Letter to Samir Kassir
This is a translation by Dr Lina Khatib of Elias Khoury’s article ‘رسالة إلى سمير قصير‘ published on Al Quds Al Araby on the 21st of October, 2019.
From the heart of the Tishreen (October) uprising I write to you, my little brother, I sit next to you in your garden, and I see your picture in the water embracing the youth of Lebanon who have returned to clarity on the streets.
The Lebanese people were born again, one people making a major uprising is the beginning of the revolution we have long dreamed of.
From Tripoli to Tyr, from Zouk and Jbeil to Nabatieh, Baalbek, Akkar and Batroun, and from Beirut to Beirut.
The people rose up against the sects and their leaders, shattered the false sanctities of holiness and chastity, and shouted against the oligarchs and mafias, who looted, humiliated, starved and insulted them.
The image of racist Gibran Bassil and his mute teacher was shattered, and the aura collapsed when Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah declared that he was the covenant and protector of the thieves’ government.
Come Samir Kassir to Martyrs’ Square, and come with me to Riad El Solh.
It is a festival of freedom, come to joy, love, beauty and dignity.
In Tripoli’s al-Nour Square, rap music was played, and in Baalbek, people made the cry of freedom their festival, and in beautiful Tyr, on its golden beach, flames of joy burned.
This is our Lebanon, male and female demonstrators chanting for Palestine and Syria, and regaining the most beautiful moments of the Arab Spring.
Our Damascus is here, and our Palestine is here.
We waited for this moment for a long time, and when it came we went to meet her without fear. Our dream that popular unity would come and sweep the false slogans of national sectarian unity, was today embodied in the streets and squares.
The system of fear, banditry, looting and foreign trustees fell on the street.
Yes, comrade martyr, the regime has fallen.
People are not calling for the overthrow of the regime, they are bringing it down with their own hands.
The moment we wiped out foolish sectarianism, and discovered that the clientelism of the leaders of the sects and mafias led us to hunger and humiliation, the regime fell under the feet of young women and men who surprised themselves with their amazing revolution.
We no longer need to imagine Lebanon’s secular, non-sectarian landscape.
I see it with my own eyes, I see it on the foreheads of young women and men who raise their heads up, and break into the sky of freedom.
I see love born from the rubble of our souls.
You raised your heads to declare love and joy.
This great class struggle of the poor, the marginalized and the children of the middle classes threatened by impoverishment is a battle of truth and human dignity.
As for those fools who rode on our backs since independence and have always been foreign agents, they are the ones who brought Lebanon to its nader.
And from this lowest point we rose.
Nothing is more insolent, nonsensical and despicable than this mafia-like sectarian system that belittles people’s minds and believes it can keep them in horrid sectarian herds.
In the struggle for bread, freedom and social justice, Lebanon has risen to be reborn, young, beautiful and glowing with love
This is the promise that they killed you for, brother and comrade.
The promise is now an engagement.
This covenant and his government must go to hell.
The era of the covenant’s rule is faltering, revealing its truth, and the era of the imprudent racist era must end.
Do you remember comrades how everyone laughed when you raised the slogan of overthrowing the sectarian system?
Do you remember when they terrorized us on the day we cried, “All means all?”
Today, the sectarian oligarchy has declared all its truth, trying to hold together in the face of the cry of the people, looking for a bribe to silence the thundering crowds.
The issue is not just taxes, taxes have revealed the reality of the compound of thieves that controls Lebanon.
The issue has another name.
Those who want to know that name should read the lines written by Samir Kassir and the martyrs of freedom with their blood. There you find the truth triumphing over assassination and intimidation.
We are at the beginning of the battle, and the ruling mafias threaten us with chaos and prepare to drown us in blood.
But we will not be afraid.
Whatever they did, the regime fell.
The system of civil war has fallen, and people in all Lebanese regions have declared that the civil war must end.
The sectarian system fell, with its ideology and masks.
Therefore, the immediate task is to prevent the regime and its thugs from shedding blood, as did their Arab despot peers.
It is a difficult but not impossible task.
The accomplishment of the October uprising in Lebanon is irreversible.
For in the streets a free, independent and democratic homeland was born. This is the homeland for which we live and which we die to defend.
The people rose up against the sects and their leaders, shattered the false sanctities of holiness and chastity, and shouted against the oligarchs and mafias, who looted, humiliated, starved and humiliated them.