As a Lebanese slightly updated about the news of your homeland, you are probably aware of the bombing that took place in Starco hotel area in Beirut on December 27, 2013. The victims of the estimated 40-kg explosive were directly identified as the ex-minister Mohammad Shatih, his bodyguard and other civilians. A plethora of public statements by politicians and political parties hijacked the TV stations, radio broadcasts, news websites and other social media, all of the condemning the assassination, refusing the horrendous act, promising to fight back and all the typical jargon. Late Mohamad Shatih was described a martyr and a innocent victim, a huge public funeral will probably be held tomorrow for his soul and thousands of loyal partisans and supporters will join in respect.
The true innocent victim of the STARCO car bombing is Mohammad Chaar, the 16-yr old who was part of a selfie together with 3 of his friends when the Honda CRV car parked behind them exploded, leaving Mohammad Chaar in a coma, soon to pass away in the hospital.
When politicians are targeted, it makes sense, they are the pawns of the game and they are very well aware of the dangers of their profession. The true martyrs and innocent victims of these bloody acts are the bystanders, the civilians who have not taken part in creating this tension and polarization in the country.
Tomorrow as the nation is summoned to mourn late Dr. Mohammad Shatih, the other Mohammad, the 16-yr old Mohammad Chaar will be collateral damage. As the lenses of the TV stations, journalists, reporters and international media gather around the public funeral, a few journalists will visit the family of Chaar and try to get a journalistic scoop. The mother of late Mohammad Chaar, the Lebanese mother symbolizing the agony of this country and the continuous assassination of its youth and hope, will be in despair.
She raised her son to be a successful young Lebanese man, to pursue his education and go to college. Mrs and Mr Chaar had big hopes of their son, the son who was loved by his classmates and friends, the son who was physically active and civically engaged. The son who loved Lebanon and life, who roamed the streets proud to be Lebanese.
The parents of Mohamad Chaar, just like hundreds of thousands of Lebanese families, believed in Lebanon despite surviving the civil war, and never enjoying a year of peace and rest. They believed in Lebanon as their one and only country, they raised their children in Lebanon and taught them to love Lebanon, despite all the negative clouds that keep looming in its skies.
Mohammad Chaar, now dead at the age of 16 due to a selfie thathappened to take place at the wrong place at the wrong time, will not be in the bed that his mother carefully made for him the morning of December 27th. Mohammad Chaar will not experience the joy of graduating from high school with a Lebanese Baccalaureate. He will not get to live Beirut’s nightlife on the streets of Uruguay, Hamra, Bliss and Monot. He will not taste the elation of falling in love and the sorrow of having his heart broken. He will not get to drive on the crowded streets of Lebanon, make the decision whether to cross a red light or abide by the traffic laws. Mohammad Chaar will not get the opportunity to get drunk on Almaza beer, ski in Faraya, enjoy a beach party in Cyan or Edde Sands. Mohammad Chaar will not get to face the decision of which university to attend and what major to choose. He will not be able to run along the Ain El Mreyseh Corniche next to the Mediterranean, or even participate one more time in the Beirut Marathon. The smile that seems to always be carved on Mohammad’s face will no longer brighten the day of his mother, motivate his father or even bring humor to his friends’ lives. Mohammad Chaar’s smile was assassinated, it was stolen away from those who hate this country, who constantly fail to protect Mohammad Chaar and his peers.
As a young Lebanese who spent at least a decade of his life working with young men in Lebanon, I do consider every young Lebanese man/women to be a lost jewel in this country, a daily victim despite not dying. Mohammad Chaar is a symbol of the constant failure of the Lebanese state to offer a safe haven for its youth, to support their dreams and invest in their future. Today it is 16-yr old Mohammad Chaar; twenty-four days ago it was the 16-yr old and 13-yr old young men from Tripoli whose names were not even identified by the Minister himself; and with the persistence of political tension, polarization and lack of government and security, tomorrow will bring news of more Lebanese youth losing their lives as collateral damage to the inadequate leadership of this country and the monger for power.
Mohammad Chaar, I never got to know you, but looking at your photographs, I can definitely tell you had a bright future ahead of you. Your charisma and confidence as evident in these photos. You amiable character is discernible in the love and respect that your friends have been offering on the social media. You could have been the Lebanese doctor who would discover a cure for cancer. You could have been the Lebanese basketball player who would bring the glory back to the game. You could have been an international marathon athlete that will collect medals of gold for this country covered with gunpowder. You could have been the famous actor who dewars smiles on the faces of the Lebanese amidst their despair, or a musician who tickles their spirits and souls through the magic work of his fingers. You could have been anything you wanted to be, anything you aspired to achieve, but they stole away your dreams.
I know that you have watched the Ministry of Tourism ad “There is nothing more beautiful than Lebanon – Ma fi Ahla min Lebnen” and it seems that you believed it and lived a life strongly believing that there is no where better than Lebanon. Today, I hope that you do move to a better place, a place that offers you a incubator for your dreams and protects your life and inspirational smile.
My condolences to Chaar family and his traumatized friends.
May your soul rest in peace! May the souls of the friends, family and Lebanese peers taste the meaning of peace!
To all the Lebanese youth, be safe !
You can follow the tributes to Mohammad Chaar via the hashtag #RIPMohammadChaar
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