Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

In 'divided' Lebanon, youth rise above sectarian politics  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 01/11/2012

No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!


 


(MENAFN - Arab News) The Oct. 19 bombing in Beirut shocked Lebanon and marked yet another chilling episode of tension in the country.

For the country's youth, however, apathy and helplessness was not on the agenda. Although politicians, it seemed to many, stayed focused on next year's elections, civil society took the lead in offering support to those affected by the disaster. Demonstrating solidarity and patriotism, they made a real difference in bringing much-needed relief to those in need.

On the same day as the bombing, while the media reported on the many victims, a blood donation association Donner Sang Compter (whose name means to give blood without expecting anything in return) sent out messages on social media reminding the public that nearby hospitals were in need of blood. The news circulated in a matter of minutes as the call was relayed via Facebook posts and tweets. Not only did this motivate people and succeed in securing much-needed donations, it gave individuals an opportunity to act and make a difference.

Offre Joie (Offer Joy), an apolitical, non-religious NGO was also among the many that decided to take action and are now rebuilding the homes affected by the bombings. Marc Torbey, a member of Offre Joie, explained: "We just couldn't look at what happened and not do anything about it."

Their main focus is offering support to the 51 families affected by the disaster. Young volunteers from all over Lebanon, representing all sects, are working around the clock to rebuild homes. "We're all devoted, enthusiastic, patriots," added Torbey. Offre Joie relies solely on donations and the efforts of volunteers to do its work.

Indeed, the efforts to provide support were not only effective, they were also an inspiration in a country in dire need of hope. The music club at Saint Joseph University in Beirut organized a concert as a fundraiser to help victims; local restaurants provided meals and individuals spontaneously offered to host families who were most affected.

As is now common in such situations, online social networks proved instrumental in organizing these efforts, spreading the word and getting more people to join the cause.

On Twitter, the Ashrafieh for All movement was born. The spontaneous donation campaign started when Tinia Nassif, a young journalist and copywriter, and her friend Mario Goraieb joined forces and decided to take positive action immediately after the car bomb. "We were feeling angry, and through Twitter, we started thinking of what could be done to help people."
With the hashtag #Ashrafieh4all they launched a call for food, clothing, toiletries and other essential items that victims needed. Donations were sent to a caf run by Nasawiya (Feminism), a Lebanese feminist collective who offered their space. "Overnight, so many people came, bringing mountains of donations and asking us what else they can do to help, it was so touching," says Nassif.

People went out to find families who had been affected and were living temporarily in hotels or with relatives, and delivered essentials like food and clothing. The next step will be to help displaced people to find a place to stay while their homes are being restored, and so Ashrafieh for All is creating lists of affordable furnished apartments available for rent to facilitate this process.

Lebanese are sick and tired of violence, and many are disillusioned by the actions of rival political factions. In demonstration of this, on Oct. 26, about 1,000 Lebanese marched in memory of the men, women and children who have been killed in political and confessional violence in the country. Civil society initiatives such as these show that an alternative is indeed possible.

 






  MENA News Headlines


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country
Marketwatch News
UPI News
Comtex News

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help