"From disasters I create smiles. Always see the good in things," tweeted Farah Merhi in the aftermath of her car burning down. More specifically, after violent political party enthusiasts set her car ablaze.
She did not go on a rant, she did not wallow in sadness, she did not lose hope. Living in a country like Lebanon teaches you to have hope in the midst of hopelessness. Despite being ruled by pretty much the same rulers for decades, Lebanese citizens went down to the streets on Oct. 17, hopeful they would be able to break the divisive system. They have witnessed small victories here and there but still persist with their fight after 43 days.
On Sunday, supporters of political parties Hezbollah and Amal Movement lashed out after the Ring Bridge was closed by a group of protesters. They revolted against peace with violence. They destroyed and burned several cars, bashed windows and vandalized walls with threats. Merhi's car was a victim of violent rage, but she took it all in with one big ear-to-ear smile. Her name is the Arabic word for "joy," so did you expect any less?
"You burnt my car but you will never burn my smile"
The 30-year-old, who has been taking part in the revolution since day one, didn't actually know her car was set on fire, though she had a feeling it was going to happen, until the morning after. In a statement to StepFeed, Merhi explained how the incident unfolded, saying that when things began to escalate on that night, she attempted to get to her car - which was parked opposite of the famous Egg - but couldn't actually reach it. So she decided to leave it behind and get home safely.
The woman's photo and positive energy in the midst of chaos prompted the start of a crowdfunding campaign. Titled "Help Farah Get A New Car," the GoFundMe campaign aimed to raise over $10,800 to help the woman get a new car. In less than 48 hours, the campaign raised more than the set target. At the time of writing, $10,895 have been donated in support of Merhi from over 228 donors.
The success of the campaign, which was started by Merhi's cousin, was uncalled for. The accountant-by-day, yoga-meditator-by-night was overwhelmed by the outpouring support she received from people. "I did not expect this at all," she told StepFeed.
When her cousin contacted her to tell her about the idea, she urged her to not open the account in Lebanon because (surprise, surprise) she won't be able to actually withdraw the money amid the country's current economic crisis.
"The love of people made up for my loss!"
"Words cannot express my feelings," Merhi added, explaining that she did not expect her tweet to go viral, let alone the crowdfunding campaign.
Merhi also added that her insurance company did not agree to cover the damages as their policy prevents them from covering damages caused by "riot and terrorism acts." However, this issue has yet to be resolved, she explained.
The political supporters burnt Merhi's car twice but that didn't burn her positive energy. Merhi has garnered enormous support from people both online and offline regarding her approach when confronted with the violent destruction of a personal asset.
"My car got burned and I didn't cry but seeing all the support and Love from all the amazing people around whether it's on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram made me cry!" she tweeted.
Merhi wishes everyone "peace and love" and believes that "once we know that we are all one," the violence will come to an end.