Céline Dibo, 19 ans:
On the 4th of August 2020, my home collapsed. When it happened, I was far away and wishing I could be there to try and save what I once took for granted.
The following morning, I walked on shattered glass, my heart breaking more with every loud step. I looked through debris, looking for souvenirs of my childhood that I carried into adulthood. Tears of joy would come every time an object I loved was saved, even partially. With the support of my loved ones, this nightmarish experience was bearable and the help my family received was simply incredible.
My story is one of many. I wish we were the exception but destruction was the rule. Thousands of families saw their lives’ work shattered whether it was homes or businesses.
This is unacceptable.
There is still so much to do and the aftermath will be decisive.
I do not forgive and I will never forget.
I demand change.
I want the people responsible to pay for their hateful crimes. I want the truth. No more lies and conspiracies. Independent investigations must be conducted. I do not trust local forces to do the job because divisions are everywhere and cannot be objective.
The international response has been incredible but donations stop and so does media coverage. If we want to stay alive, we cannot merely count on outside help. We must start thinking about backup plans, about supporting local businesses and making regions outside of Beirut more efficient and productive.
Most importantly, change comes from within.
Are you ready to give up privileges for meritocracy?
Are you ready to stop blindly following criminal political parties?
Past generations made the mistake of giving power to warlords who only knew blood and war. Learn and adapt. We need new leaders who come from knowledge, not lies.
We need international advice because Lebanon has not been a sane country for a long time.
Do you think this is the end of our sacrifices? It is only the beginning. We stand before a crossroad. Which way will we go?
One option is to continue downhill. Those who can afford it will leave with eternal tears for their homeland. The rest will live in constant fear and only aim to survive.
The other option will require giving up everything we know to start on a new base. This road is difficult and it starts by realizing that the society is as flawed as its government. Stop looking at religion as a division. It should be a strength to have so much variety. Help as much as you can. A lot of people need support and compassion. Start thinking about long-term plans to save a country so many people love, despite every hardship.
This is our last chance to rewrite a story that has been engraved with blood and tears.
Take your pens and start.