Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dog Day Afternoon (at the Beirut protest)

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Among all the pictures taken at yesterday’s protest, the one that stroke me most was of this dog on a leash, wearing the Lebanese flag and looking utterly miserable.

Why did this beautiful Golden Retriever look so sad? Was it because there were barely 2,000 protesters, a quarter of the people present on August 22 – the day the popular movement was actually born? Or because most of them were from Ashrafieh and its surroundings, and only a tiny minority came in support of YouStink while the others joined to cry out their desperation, despite their dislike of the activist group?

Was it because, after reaching Riad el-Solh, many left as soon as speeches started? And merely a third was still there when they ended? Or perhaps this lovely canine realized that the Lebanese government’ solution was nothing more than a 4-years postponement of the crisis? Unless it was because of the delusional arrogance of YouStink that unilaterally declared a general strike as if it was ever going to be followed by anyone besides themselves and their shrinking audience.

Who knows what goes through a dog’s mind? But I’m sure this intelligent and sensitive animal understands more about us than we can imagine. He must see how divided Lebanese are, how ungovernable the country is under its current sectarian system, how incompetent and irrelevant our government and political parties are, and how ridiculously incoherent Lebanon has become.

This dog wept for us and I don’t even know his name or whom he belongs to. But yesterday, I felt he was the only one truly representing me.

© Claude El Khal, 2016

Photo: Lama Mattar 

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