“The Lebanon I want is a secular country full of justice and humanity.”
Khodor Eido is an activist and a Hospitality Management student.
“I want a nation cleansed from the corruption and political parties that ruined the whole Lebanese population. I want a country, not a zoo.”
He became a social activist in 2015, when the garbage crisis started in Lebanon and tonnes of garbage amassed in the streets of Beirut due to the government’s neglect and inability to overcome political differences.
People from all walks of life joined in protest, asking for the resignation of the ruling political class and the abolishment of the sectarian system. Since then, Khodor has participated in many protests and has become more and more vocal, in particular against the corruption of the political class.
But political action is a dangerous profession and Khodor did not pass unnoticed: he was threatened several times for standing against political parties, his car was vandalised by the army, and he was even detained for speaking up. But this did not stop him from fighting to build the country he wants.
One thing is certain, as he says: “nothing can stop me from raising my voice.”
Yet, as of today, 30 of Khodor’s fellow activists are being detained by the government and accused of terrorism: he is working with a heavy heart to spread the news and attract international pressure, in the hope that his friends will be released.
Next to his actions against corruption, in the past year Khodor has used his chef skills to cook and distribute hot meals and food boxes across Lebanon. In 2021 he plans to focus on building connections with Lebanese diasporas abroad, and to raise awareness on the importance of voting in preparation for the elections in 2022.
He stands to preserve Lebanon as a model of freedom and democracy. The Hague X Beirut, he says, “will serve as my megaphone to raise my voice louder on the streets.”
Activism is not a choice for Khodor: he believes strongly in each individual’s responsibility to create a culture “where we all have the right to feel valued, but also the duty to add value to ourselves and our communities.”
“This is missing in Lebanon , and activism is our only choice to create greater wellbeing and fairness for everyone.”
Even though activism is not a choice for Khodor, it is a privilege and a choice for wealthy and stable societies such as ours. And while we can afford to volunteer our time for the sake of our communal future, for many, volunteering and activism come at a huge cost: threats, detention, and financial struggles are just some of the most common symptoms of activism worldwide.
This is why we created The Hague X Beirut and joined forces with Lebanese, Dutch and international initiatives to provide for the basic needs of human rights defenders: housing, healthcare, education, and food.
We believe that if activists are able to have food on the table, their work will be far more productive; if they receive mental or physical healthcare, they will be better equipped to withstand the fight; if they are supported and protected, their voices will be louder and their a actions ill reach further.
Together we can get Khodor the security and the tools that he needs, and we can get Lebanon the peace that it deserves.
Together, we can give Khodor a future and support peace in Lebanon.
You can also support this project through Lebanese art!