Thursday, March 14, 2019

14th of March - the day I blocked from my memory

Photo - Tarek Chemaly
(taken during the March 14th 2005manifestations)
Recently a friend said "my birthday is on the 14th of March! How can any Lebanese forget that date?" - my reply was "why? what happened". He side-glanced me quizzically and my reply was "OK I will look it up on google".
Flashback to 2005, on the 14th of March when Alexis and myself were heading to downtown Beirut to participate in those mega-manifestations we were so early so much that the Kataeb were still somewhere near Dora roundabout still parking their busses in the wait for their supporters to show up.
And when I left Martyrs' square, I think someone said "turn off the light on your way out" so much I was stayed late.
So it is quite telling that I ended up forgetting that date - or better yet, blocked it from my memory. The policitcal ramifications of that day were disastrous, I actually wrote a poetic prose about that day called "back when we believed" (it was part of my book "Getting The News from Poems" published in 2009), I am sharing it below. In retrospect it was a sad day, because hope it deceitful above all else.

Back when we believed
By Tarek Joseph Chemaly

Back when we believed,
And I can't believe,
That we don't believe anymore.

What shall we do with the slogans now?
What shall we do with the pins?
Or the wristbands, or the T-shirts or the scarves?

So many flags waved,
So many fears braved,
How do we get rid of them?
Where do we bury them?
And what if we need them once more?
In case we go back to believing.

Back when we believed,
We chanted and shouted,
And talked to strangers,
And mocked the dangers,
With luster in our eyes,
We claimed that we believed.

And now, we believe no more,
And wonder how come we once did,
Back when we believed,
And I can't believe,
That we don't believe anymore.

Mondays for manifestations,
And Tuesdays for sit-ins,
Wednesdays for night shifts,
Thursdays and Fridays for anticipation,
And then the weekend begins.

I think we eventually got sold,
I just hope they got a good price,
But well, for a time at least, it was nice,
Just to think that we actually believed.