Crisis in Lebanon, towards a revolution ?

EN - Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Since 17 October, demonstrations have broken out all over the country. This huge popular movement is a reminder of the "Cedar Revolution" in 2005, when the Lebanese were calling for the departure of Syrian troops.

This is the first time that demonstrations of this scale last this long: millions of people are on the street;

This is the first time the protest occurred throughout the territory;

This is the first time that all leaders, of all confessions are booed. Shiites criticize the Shiites leaders like Hassan Nasrallah and Nabih Berri, of the maronite Samir Geagea, Gebran Basil and Michel Aoun, Sunnis Saad Hariri... the flag of Lebanon proudly waved, those of the political parties are almost invisible.

What has pushed so many Lebanese to go down the streets, all over the territory?

In this post-civil war Lebanon, Lebanese are struggling to recognize themselves in the leaders. Most of them, whether they are Druze, Christians, Sunnis or Shiites, are often from clans, in power for decades, many are former aging war militiamen. Today, all Lebanese wish for a change, some hope for the resignation of ministers, deputies, others from the president of the republic or the prime minister.

For the past twelve days, people have been in the streets, from Beirut, Tyr, Saida, Tripoli, Nabatieh... messages are repeated many times:we want to clear Bassil, Berri and all the others, we have enough of these politicians we hear names for forty years!” a lot heard in the mouth of protesters: “we now want a government composed of technocrats, real professionals.”

Paul, a Lebanese restaurateur living and working in Nice (France), is on vacation for a few weeks in his country. He remembers other demonstrations that took place in the past: "before, it was always the same thing, people went down the street, protest, then they chased away by Nervis bought by political parties and everything stopped. This time there were blows, violence, attempts to make everything stop but the protesters held! And they hold, it's historic!”

“We're tired of the parties, clan leaders. Find any Lebanese, ask him, “if violent people attack you, who do you call? The Police? Your clan?” All will answer you that they will appeal to their “gang”, the state is powerless, we have enough...”

The demonstrations don't stop. After twelve days, we even notice that everything is planned to last: tents are now installed in the streets. Logistics is well thought, water supplies, food are continuous.

SOS Chrétiens d’Orient continues its help to Lebanese poor families. We invite you to pray for Lebanon to regain peace.

François-Marie, head of mission in Lebanon.