LORI DEMIRJIAN WRITES- Make way for women’s empowerment in Lebanon. Since October 17 they have been on the frontline of the revolutionary movement, keeping the peace between the military and protesters. Such empowerment is a true feat, considering women’s usual underrepresentation in government and politics. What’s more, the female heroines of Lebanon have turned a violent movement into a “velvet,” peaceful one.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon has resigned, thanks to the unified resistance of Lebanese citizens of all religious and ethnic backgrounds. Lebanon has waged a revolution through protests, human chains across the country, musical chants for justice and, most importantly, the activism of women. For decades, the Lebanese have been victimized by a corrupt government, with politicians pocketing money, political sectarianism, a lack of basic universal healthcare, a lack of electricity, environmental pollution, high unemployment rates, lack of funding for education, and poverty (the minimum wage has not risen in over 30 years).
Ironically, Hezbollah, a Shia Islamist political party based in Lebanon, has recently been vocal about supporting the activities of the Lebanese protesters. This is significant, because Hezbollah is considered a terrorist organization by the international community; still, its advocacy for the people of Lebanon is welcome. In fact, the group is backed up and funded by Iran, so Hezbollah is the only political party with heavy weapons that are actually stronger than those of the Lebanese army. Hezbolllah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah has been particularly vocal about the Lebanese government’s corruption.
The battle for Lebanese liberation is not over, though— despite the resignation of the Prime Minister. Now protesters are demanding more reforms. In fact, Pierre Mouzannar, a 21-year old filmmaker, told Al Jazeera in central Beirut that “Hariri is part of the problem but he’s not all of the problem … I don’t think anyone thinks we’re done.” Saba, a 21-year old event planner and protester, said “Step two is to get back the money politicians have stolen from us. Then we will hold everyone accountable, and God is on our side.” With that belief, how can they lose?