Young volunteers have set up tents to provide free food in the heart of Beirut in solidarity with the ongoing Lebanese protests.
Thousands upon thousands of people have been on the streets of Beirut and all across Lebanon for over a month in daily protests that have brought together the country’s fractured population to oppose the political and social status quo. Volunteers and civil society groups have played key roles in fostering communal feelings over the course of the protests.
The volunteers in this video report have used the medium of food to bring people together. They are providing free meals to demonstrators in central Beirut as a show of solidarity with them in a initiative that they have called “The Country’s Kitchen”.
“Chef Wael Lazzkani started the initiative and we are a group of his friends. Wael was preparing a meal or two every day then our group got bigger, and now, about 10-15 people come to the kitchen every day from 4 am to 8 pm. Before that, we used to come earlier to prepare lunch and help the demonstrators”, stated one of the volunteers working at the tent.
Such initiatives have been organised in the spirit of cooperation and in defiance of the sectarianism that has blighted Lebanon for decades, especially since the civil war in the 70s and 80s.
“It is beautiful because the new Lebanon needs this cooperation among its people. We must be united and forget about sectarianism. We are humans and everyone needs their brother”, expressed another volunteer.
The protests in Lebanon have all in all been peaceful in nature. One particular highlight is the human chain that was formed all across the country from the north to the south in a show of national, cross-sectarian cooperation.
The battered economy in Lebanon has been of particular salience in the anti-corruption messages conveyed by the protesters. Initiatives such as the food tents are alleviating the economic pressures felt by low-income Lebanese residents.