Editor’s note: When we originally started work on this piece, we hadn’t envisioned that it would turn violent. We sincerely hope everyone pictured below is uninjured and thank them for their participation.

Thousands of people rallied on August 22nd at 6pm at Riad El Solh square, peacefully chanting their collective anger, frustration, and overall dissatisfaction regarding the government’s month-long incapacity to resolve the suffocating problem of waste disposal. After weeks of being buried in garbage as a result of the government’s apathy, Lebanese citizens from all political and religious affiliations united their voices, and expressed their concerns, protests, and demands. We asked a few of them why they were there, and this is what they said:

“Ana hon la battel kharouf.”
I am here to stop being a sheep.

“Ana hon la yeje nhar 7ess 7ale proud to be Lebanese.”
I am here for the day when I’d feel proud to be Lebanese.

“Jeyin la ne2deh 3al 7oukoumeh w nsa2eta, 3ashen 7tallo el balad, w 7akamouna bi esem el ta2ifiyye, w kermel hal wled, la y3isho bi 2amen bel mousta2bal w yerja3o 3a bledon.”
We’re here to oust the government and to take it down, because they’ve invaded the country, and ruled us in the name of sectarianism, and we’re here for these kids, so they can live in safety and security, and come back to their homeland someday.

“Ana hone kermel ntaleb bi 72ou2na, a2al el 72ou2, netlob men el 3alam li ma fiya tet7ammal mas2ouliyye belwizara, tetla3 men el wizara, w 3am ntaleb bi 2enna testa2il.”
I’m here so that we can ask for our rights; they’re the least of our rights, to ask people who cannot take on responsibilities in the parliament, to vacate their positions. We ask them to resign.

“Khalas, el balad zbele.”
Enough, the country is garbage.

“La2anno el 7ale ma ba2 ma7moule, badna balad jdid.”
Because the situation has become unbearable, and we want a new country.

“La2anno tel3et ri7etna, w ma ba2a ne2dar nnem, ra7 ysir ma3na cancer, mesh 3amne2dar nnem bi byoutna.”
Because we stink, and we can’t sleep anymore, we’re going to develop cancers, we can’t even sleep in our own homes.

“Ana hon kermel bass ne2dar nghayyer shway bi Lebnen, kermel el ajyel el mousta2baliyyeh.”
I’m here just so we can make a change in Lebanon, for the coming generations.

“Ne7na hon la2an sarla shaher el zbele 3al tari2, w ba3ed ma 7ada 7ass 7alo pressured enno yetsarraf aw enno ya3mel shi.
We’re here because the garbage has been in the streets for a month, and no one has felt pressured to act or do anything.

“Bikelme we7de: 2refna. Jeyin menshen Lebnen. Fuck the system.”
In one phrase: we’re disgusted. We’re here for Lebanon. Fuck the system.

“La2anno el 7ale ma ba2a tenta2, eza ma ballashna lyom nshedd 7alna w nenzal w ntaleb bi 72ou2na, hayda el balad ma 3endo amal.”
Because the situation is no longer bearable, if we don’t start to pull ourselves together and come and demand our rights, this country has no hope.

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