Jul 16, 2012

Free Hugs 2: The Sequel

Group photo, courtesy of Nath Halawani

"Our Hugs from the heart.. Made last night a "night to remember".. You guys & gurls were AMAZING"...

So much joy was gathered on that Hamra-scented corner, where several joyful human beings came holding the most powerful weapon of all, a relaxing smile it was. I must admit I came ill and tired, but the thrill of our last flashmob 2 weeks ago was enough to make the pain vanish on that same corner. Amazingly they all came at the time we already set earlier, and to a much more astonishment, numbers of newcomers began to rapidly rise. Last time they came alone, each by himself, which made them heroes as I once called them. But this time was completely different since the groups that came were, each by themselves, the main essence of such a flashmob.
Tribute to her lover
.."It was really awesome. Thanks for brightening up our lives!"..

Hug me and touch my hair
for free
Rules were explained and spread out for the newcomers, signs were handed out and designed with the felt pens to customize their carboards each as they desired. One of the attendees who stood out among the group actually wrote "Hug me and touch my hair for free", and he obviously had the thickest and cutest pile of hair I've ever seen. One of the female huggers also had a caption that got mine and all of the others' attention when looking at her sign. She decided she would only hug girls even though she wasn't veiled nor was she of strict religious beliefs. When asked, she said the following: "I can only hold respect for my amazing lover who unfortunately couldn't come today because of his exams, I walk alone although he's right here with  me all the way", which actually touched us all each in our way..

.."yesterday was AMAZING !!! there was so much passion everywhere :) many many people were spreadin love..Hamra street was celebrating the joy of a true decent hug ♥ ♥ "..

The walk began very shy at the beginning since the greatest majority was newcomers who had no clue what to do or say. This is when the organizer kicks in with his loudest voice, to both make some noise to the bypassers, and take out that screaming itch out of the attendees, to make some noise in Hamra while holding that sign. People soon noticed our very big number and some of the strangers tried in a shy manner to physically approach us by crossing roads or switching lanes with their cars, not for the sake of having a hug most of the time, but to simply have a feeling of taking part and witnessing how love is shared.

.."kento bet3a22do , khallina bi hal hemmeh , m rly 7ebbaytkon :)"..

People can't just go by without snapping some photos with the free huggers :)
There were no instant whatsoever that I ever saw or felt someone was disturbed or out of ease. I tried to stay with the younger ones since they came alone. If it weren't for the sweetest girls we had with us, we would have failed the first five minutes. Females are and will always be the pure essence of any activity that tends toward uncovering that hard solid shell we keep ourselves inside thinking that we can get by without exposing our inner child and showing how affectionate a huge bald guy can be. This is for Sandy, Dana, Samia, Youmna, Yara, you rocked girls!

The boys were amazingly self-driven and kind of lead the flashmob further into the street with all the jumping, shouts, calls and clown-ish yet distinguished gestures, which actually broke more ice with the common bypassers and helped them hand out a hug much more smoothly. In the end it's all a matter of drawing that smile, isn't it? :)

.."It was an awesome day....Lots of love and positive energy...hope everyone can join next time...."..

You ask me now what I like most about our tiny flashmob, well my answer is simply that we're having a genuine testimony of pure Lebanese people at their best. No hatred was there, no calling names or standing at the edge of religion, sect or location. No discrimination of any kind, no negativity at all, no feeling like a stranger whatsoever. Whether you were young, old, girl or boy, compassionate in nature or not so affectionate, you will eventually hand us the child in you and simply connect you to all those souls wandering right before your eyes.

.."Yesterday I had two free hugs, but plz hire more guys cz I don't feel right hugging girls"..

In my opinion, this photo deserves the title of the flashmob's best hug. Just look at them..
It was thrilling to see all my friends drown in their own sweat :D Well I admit it for certain, mother nature couldn't have chosen a harder way to tell us she's suffering other than this day. Humidity simply break its records more than any other time. Nevertheless, no humidity or any other obstacle could've stopped us from spreading the joy and transferring some of the magic happy dust we all had in our pockets.

.."I hugged a guy that hates people. No seriously, he had a tattoo on his arm that said I HATE PEOPLE."..

more bypassers wanted to take photos as a souvenir
Before wrapping up my post, I would love to point out one issue we seem to face a lot during our flashmobs. Is it a necessity these days to be supporting a party or another whether they were HIV patients or whether it was world famine? What's so wrong in simply deciding my country is so uptight with their emotions that we, as a group, eventually decided to provide help our own way? What's even more amazing is that "sometimes" and in too few cases, we were looked at as empty foolish people with no certain goal to achieve. So sad to still have such mentalities that, and I'm certain of what I say, all of those who criticize or can't find anything positive to praise us with, are the people who need a hug and a pat on the back the MOST, they simply don't realize it.

.."YAY!! I can't believe I hugged Michel Azzi and he replied with the famous ELAK"..

In the end, what more words could describe the state of mind I'm still living in more than 24 hours later? A truly unforgettable activity that brought together the elite of the elite in our tiny Lebanon to the center of the capital, my sweet Beirut, and helped revive the sentiment of compassion and unity among us. My 1st salute goes to Bilal for his brilliant idea and effort put. My 2nd salute goes to ALL the new heroes we met today. I invite you to stay tuned to our modest Free Huggers Page for all further flashmobs. Until next time :-)

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