Aie Serve: Uniting Youth Through Service

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The bellow article is featured on Youth Action Net Website
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What began in Tunisia in December 2010 led to the mass demonstrations in Egypt starting on January 25, and now the rest of the Arab world is following. Lebanon is no exception. On February 27th, many Lebanese youth activists gathered for a demonstration against the sectarian system in Lebanon, demanding changes in both the constitution and the way daily governmental business is carried out.

This rising consciousness and refusal to succumb to the status quo is rooted in the same spirit that prompted myself and a group of friends to launch Aie Serve four years ago. Instead of staying silent, we decided to take positive action.  Aie Serve is a youth-based, youth-managed, and youth-funded organization dedicated to promoting a culture of volunteerism in Lebanon. Translated from Japanese, aie (pronounced “I”) means love.

The idea for Aie Serve came during the aftermath of the 2006 July War on Lebanon and resulted from the sharp polarization of Lebanese youth along sectarian, political, and religious lines. We started brainstorming ways of tackling this issue and agreed that three basic values were missing in Lebanon: Love, Tolerance, and Respect. We espouse love for others based on who they are and not which political background or sect they are from, while promoting tolerance and respect of others’ point of views and beliefs.

Over time, we started gathering more ideas and people, organizing ourselves while focusing on serving our community and society at-large. Aie Serve evolved from a group of friends, to a group of community-service minded youth, to a team and an organization. Examples of Aie Serve volunteer activities include book and clothing donation drives, reforestation and recycling projects, and assistance to orphans and the elderly.

In the last four years, we’ve experienced exceptional growth in the number of projects we do, our members, and our outreach. The impact we see on the ground is both fulfilling and inspirational. We find volunteerism is now contagious wherever we go. What’s more – in keeping with our mission – we find that caring for others is a universal value that brings people together and bridges divides.

Those around me know quite well that I am an optimist and a hard worker and so I believe that with a vision, hard work, and true commitment a small, dedicated group can achieve great things… and the biggest proof is where Aie Serve stands to day!

Afif Tabsh is Co-founder and voluntary President of Aie Serve. In 2011, he was named one of ten finalists selected for the King Abdullah II Award for Youth Innovation and Achievement.

Arab Nations Are Awakening


Mohamed Bouazizi, a name that made it into history on December 17th 2010. From Tunisia, a man self-immolated himself to defend his dignity, his poverty, his own values and principles. This was enough to ignite an already suppressed, angry and dignified nation.

Tunisia, lead by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, a dictator for 23 years with full support from the US, France and the so called “International Society”, has been liberated by the people on the 15th of January 2011.

Days after, the light of dignity and sense of empowerment of grassroots revolution reached Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Algeria.

Egypt’s “Day of Anger”, on the 25th of January 2011, started a wave of protests and demonstrations in the various Egyptian cities asking for the dictator Husni Mubarak to step down. Until this day, the dictator didn’t leave and the protests have not stopped and are infact growing in numbers and power in spite of all the government’s cheap moves.
Husni Mubarak, a dictator that asked his police and secret service to wear civilian clothes and cause chaos, made the police in most cities leave their positions and let the cities be populated with looters and chaos makers to reek havoc in the streets, houses and important historic sites. The government shut down internet and phone connections, turned its back on the jails to let the detained flee to cause more chaos in the streets in an attempt to make the righteous demands and civilized demonstrations of the Egyptians seem more like a war zone. All the attempts to make the people seem like they are thieves and killers, instead of the dignified nation they are demanding for their rights, for democracy, for a government that represents them and their thinking, a nation asking for a leader that works for them and not a corrupt dictator that is failing his country.

Sooner or later, Husni Mubarak will leave, because the Arab Nation is awakening and what started in Tunisia will not end in Egypt.

It is about time that the Arabs shed that old worn-out cloth of humiliation, division, discrimination, dictatorship and so called “leaders” who are puppets in the hands of the US, Europe and Israel.

The sense of dignity, faith in values, and belief in principles will rise again. That once visible and lately invisible line that has always been connecting all Arabs wherever they are on the globe will come back strong and proud.
I am not a fortune teller and definitely not a political analyst. I am a proud Arab, a thinker and an activist that has always been wondering when will this phase of shame in the Arab world depart, and now that flag of dignity, pride and magnanimity is rising… slowly but surely!

May all free men, all the thinkers, all believers in democracy, all supporters of grassroots, all human rights activists stand side by side with the Arab Nations as they stand up and demand for their rights…a new sun is rising!

Time alone will tell…

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