LEBANON: THE FIRST SMART-PHONE/MESSAGING APPS TEA PARTY?

KHALED ALSABEEH WRITES— The 2019 Lebanese Revolution has been a series of countrywide protests in response to the government’s failure to deal with the country’s economic crisis.

The protests began 18 October, with a few activists in Riad al-Solh Square, in front of the Grand Serail, the official residence of the Lebanese Prime Minister. 

They quickly spread. Many Lebanese could identify with the trigger to it all:  Plans by the government to introduce new taxes on calls and free messaging apps like WhatsApp.  Since then, Lebanese citizens have united to protest rampant corruption, excessive taxation and economic deterioration. 

In recent years, Lebanon’s economy has stagnated.  The country has one of the world’s highest debts to GDP ratios. Since the protests began, Lebanese from all backgrounds –Muslim, Christian, secular, progressive, and religiously conservative –have united to revolt against the country’s political establishment.

Attempts by the country’s leadership to advance economic reforms, especially by President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri have failed to stop the protests. 

Not all are united, though. Theirs has been described as “a leaderless revolution” aimed at bringing down the government. Since the protests started, most businesses have remained shut and most highways have also been closed down. Failure to find an amicable solution may soon lead to a worse economic crisis, or collapse, and possibly even further violence in the country.

 

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