Results for Tag: Lebanon
Power-sharing institutions need not be as narrowly prescribed as they currently are in Lebanon. These protests are a critical moment for the start of a national conversation on how to expand the basis of inclusion in Lebanese political life. So far, protesters have joined up across sect, class and gender in a way previously considered impossible. It is this solidarity that may yet serve as the pathway towards a post-sectarian future, with or without power-sharing.
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.