• Edward Zeinoun

Lebanon Revolts: Lebanese People Reject Sectarianism and Ruling Political Class

Since the 18th of October, protesters across Lebanon have taken to the streets to demand economic and political reforms and have brought the country to a near standstill. Lebanon is not unfamiliar with occasional unrest, but the current events are different in nature: they bring out the nation’s non-sectarian movement and unite the Lebanese from all regions, classes, and beliefs. The Lebanese system is based on the Taif agreement, which brought an end to the civil war in 1989. With this tricky and delicate balance of power, the country regularly finds itself at a deadlock in decision-making because all 18 different sects must be represented in parliament. Further complicating matters is that this system helped the solidification of a sectarian grip on the highest posts of politics: the president must always be Maronite Christian, the prime minister Sunni, and the speaker of parliament Shia. Managing such a web of differing aspirations frequently turns out impossible, and the country has been falling back in terms of public services, employment levels, economic growth, and stability in all levels from the environment to medicine. In an attempt to decrease the country’s budget deficit, the government announced a new tax on VoIP calling such as Whatsapp and Messenger, and this became the catalyst that drove hundreds of thousands of people to the streets. The movement, called Lebanon Revolts, has grappled the country for nearly 2 months now.

Why are people protesting?