I wrote about my brief arbitrary arrest in Beirut on June 17, 2016 on Beirut Syndrome. Read the full piece here. Below is an excerpt:
Despite writing articles on Lebanese politics (as an “unlicensed journalist” for an “unlicensed platform”), attending and documenting events at many protests, it looks like the one time the police were going to apprehend and arrest me was when I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time; how ironic.
Actually it wasn’t an arrest. It was a kidnapping. I wasn’t told what I was being arrested for. I was kidnapped.
Even though the man whose phone wasn’t confiscated wasn’t getting arrested, he got punched in the stomach after constantly asking for the police to return his friend’s phone. Steel handcuffs came out; he was handcuffed to Neamat. The other bystander and I were surrounded by police officers ushering us to a police truck. The officer handling Neamat and the man was rough; he pushed her off the sidewalk, narrowly avoiding getting hit by a car.
Fortunately, I saw a classmate walking by, and immediately gave him a phone number of a family member to call to let them know that I’m going to be taken to Burj police station; alas, their cellphone was off.
Art by Ali Rafei