The memory is bittersweet: A mega assassination prompting historic demonstrations that led to the unimaginable withdrawal of Syrian troops from all of Lebanon. For some of us, this moment was awaited for decades but the dominance of Syria in Lebanon and its tentacles had been so deeply stretched that a defeated Syrian army leaving Lebanon under popular pressure was unfathomable.
What was dubbed the ‘Cedar Revolution’ was only the beginning of the later popular uprising all over the Arab world. Dictatorships and tyrannies had run their course but people were still too depressed to fight or revolt. It took a blunt assassination at the heart of Beirut of a major Lebanese figure to shake the population into action. It was such a significant time that proud Lebanese flags adorned newspapers’ first pages around the world for weeks.
This time, Lebanon was not in the news for its bloody civil war or only because of a former Prime Minister’s assassination. It was leading the news because the Lebanese along with all of Lebanon’s true lovers revolted against Syrian occupation and Syrian meddling in the nation’s internal and external affairs.
In March of 2005, I joined hundreds of reporters and journalists who descended on Beirut thirsty to report on a popular uprising seeking the truth and seeking freedom. The moment afforded us a journalistic nirvana of no equal value. Martyr’s Square became our home too, reporting around the clock trying to convey the energy of the square and the country to a world that has known Lebanon only through tragedy, strife and blood.
Although much has happened since that historic March month a decade ago, and Lebanon has lost a lot in terms of heroes, hope and freedom since, today I insist on remembering those glorious days and the heroes who led them and paid the price of their heroism with their blood and with their lives.
In ten years a lifetime can occur, and a lifetime can be wasted. I choose to honor that pivotal moment in history that remains frozen in our collective memory as the time of possibilities for freedom and for the will of the people to prevail. Through this memory I honor the heroes of the Cedar Revolution. Ten years on, we have not forgotten their sacrifices, we never will!