SIDON, Lebanon: Sidon residents took to the streets Sunday to commemorate the 43rd anniversary of the death of the Popular Nasserite Organization founder, the late Sidon MP Maarouf Saad.
"Maarouf, the voice of the people, Maarouf, the voice of the truth," people chanted, waving Lebanese and Palestinian flags and posters of Saad.
Saad was assassinated on Feb. 26, 1975, and his death is considered a defining moment that contributed to the 1975-1990 Civil War.
"We say no to wars that divide, no to the efforts of the colonial powers and regional states to impose their control over the Arab countries, no to extremist terrorist groups, no to the series of massacres against unarmed civilians," the former MP's son Osama Saad told the crowd, noting that dialogue is the optimal approach towards conflict.
He talked about Palestinian rights, an issue Maarouf staunchly supported, paying tribute to 17-year-old Palestinian prisoner Ahed Tamimi and other Palestinian children fighting the Israeli occupation. "The steps of Judaization are accelerating in Jerusalem and the West Bank, while the majority of Arab countries are staying silent."
Saad, who was also a supporter of Sidon's fishermen, was murdered while leading one of their protests.
His assassins have never been identified, and Osama criticized the government for not solving his father's murder, 40 years on.
"The moldy sectarian system continues to spread the poison of division and discord among the Lebanese people," he said. “And change is the only solution."
He called for a comprehensive national change at the political, economic and social levels. "To build a civil democratic state, we need a popular movement and have young people take the lead."
The march ended with a visit to Maarouf Saads' tomb.
Representatives from Hezbollah, the Amal Movement, Future Movement and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party also attended the march.