Confronting impunity is our only way forward
On 10 December 2019, “The Hub” - a tent erected in downtown Beirut in the first days of the October Revolution - was the target of a systematic attack, to disrupt a discussion entitled “Neutrality as a Strategic Concept for the Return of Prosperity to Lebanon.”
Besieged by supporters of Hezbollah and their henchmen, Lokman Slim and his companions rushed to support the peaceful activists inside the tent. The tent was burned by the attackers and later removed by the complicit Lebanese government. This brave standoff was the beginning of a malicious attack on all factions of the revolution. The following two nights Lokman and his family received direct death threats, as the slogan "Glory to the gun silencer" was pinned on the walls of his ancestorial home in the southern suburbs of Beirut. In response, Lokman publicly accused and held responsible Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah and the speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri for any harm that might befall him or his family.
This brave stance was not novel to Lokman who never held back when expressing his point of view or defending the principles of democracy and liberal values, ideals he defended until his last breath when he was assassinated in the heart of the Lebanese south a year later on 3 February 2021. Lokman was killed while he was fully immersed and dedicated in his life quest to preserve these values.
We have decided that for the second anniversary of Lokman’s assassination to bring back The Hub as the Lokman Tent under the slogan “Justice Even If The Heavens Fall.” After a commemoration ceremony at the Villa Slim in Haret Hreik on 3 February, over the span of three days from 3-5 February 2023 we will meet in the Lokman Tent to continue our constructive dialogue to build an inclusive and free Lebanon and to demand justice and the end of impunity for all political crimes, for the victims of the Beirut port blast, the disappeared of the civil war, and all those who died unjustly as a result of absence of the rule of law.
On 3 February, we will meet at Villa Slim in Haret Hreik to celebrate the life of Lokman, his vision, and his courage, and to emphasize the urgent need to end impunity. At 3:00 PM we will hear speeches from Rasha Al-Ameer, Lokman’s sister, writer, and publisher; Salma Mirshak Slim, his mother and writer; Monika Borgmann, his wife and co-founder of UMAM D&R; and from several dignitaries. This will be followed by an awards ceremony for the Lokman Slim Laurels, prizes that are conferred to individuals who put the quest for truth and memory at the heart of their work.
An open house will follow to allow visits to Lokman’s institutional legacy of UMAM D&R, Dar Al-Jadeed, and THE HANGAR. Visitors can learn about archives that the late intellectual had been collecting, documenting, and exploring over the last two decades. It is an archive that houses voluminous chapters on Lebanon's history, culture, memory, community practices, as well as documents and other belongings, some of which date back to the era of the Administrative Council, the Mutasarrifiyya, in 1860. It is difficult to sum up this rich archive that is constantly evolving and expanding: it is a living trace and witness to the history of this country with all its ambiguities.
Later in the evening, at 7:00 PM, the Lokman Tent will open facing the port by resuming the past discussion "Neutrality as a Strategic Concept for the Return of Lebanon's Prosperity" that was originally sabotaged by the enemies of free speech. Freedom of expression and liberty will remain our only moral compass.
On 4 February at 7:00 PM, we gather at the Lokman Tent around our unified demand for “Justice and Ending Impunity” with families of the victims of the Beirut port blast. Justice is indivisible and our cause is one. Just as Lokman was assassinated on 3 February 2021, an entire city had been slayed six months earlier on 4 August 2020.
On 5 February at 4:00 PM, again at the Lokman Tent we will discuss the recent regional developments and their impact on the Lebanese situation under the title “Lebanon in the Eye of The Storm.” This roundtable will be followed by a meeting of the Lebanese Democratic Coalition at 6:00 PM, during which there will be a discussion and an issuance of a declaration, followed by a musical concert and beverages to conclude the series of events and days.