Results for Category: Lebanon
The sectarian system runs deep in Lebanon’s history, but it was enshrined after independence in 1943. Christians and Muslims established a national pact that would be the pillar of a new independent state. This pact relies on three principles: the independence of Lebanon from other Arab states and from the West, equality between all Lebanese and acknowledgement of the country’s Arab identity.
Although no figure has yet emerged to represent their demands, the protesters have demonstrated that crowds can wield power and influence, perhaps as much as individual leaders. Following the first days of the uprising, protesters started forming groups, either physically or on WhatsApp. This helped them coordinate road closures or organize gatherings and demonstrations.
Many never believed it would happen, as the Lebanese fear of another civil war if they let go of their political leaders – who were often warlords during the war and now act as community protectors – has largely kept people from taking to the streets. But on 17 October, large-scale protests erupted after a series of measures and incidents that suggested their government cares little for their wellbeing.
Lebanon’s endemic corruption is one of the root causes of the crisis. The inability of successive governments to agree on a proper sustainable waste management framework has seemingly been the result of leaders negotiating behind the scenes over which company should be granted profitable waste collection contracts. The bids were apparently launched on a geographic or confessional basis and the companies involved were associated with specific political figures and parties.
Some argue that the level of academic experience, techniques and skills that the Syrian artists brought with them was much higher than what had previously existed in Lebanon. For example, the Syrians introduced the concept of the ‘dramaturge’ – a literary editor who liaises with playwrights and researches, edits and interprets scripts.
Jaber concluded, “I think the most important achievement of the Metro was that it gave hope that something good can be done and that real art can be presented, which has brought life back to art in Lebanon and allowed theatres to compete with cinemas. We dreamed of creating an oasis in a city full of problems, exploiting the margins of freedom that the city has. This is in addition to restoring to the art makers their confidence in the audience and allowing them to take chances and produce art based on revenues. This audience will find its way to true art in a scene that is full of many other colours.”