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Popular Mobility vs Chaos: Lebanon’s Revolution on Hold

Lebanon is facing a major challenge this week. How it fares depends on a multitude of factors and forces, all pushing up against each other at once – anyone of which could help make or break the country’s near-term future.

Protests in Beirut, Lebanon, 2019 (Image Source: Wikicommons)

By Marwa Osman

BEIRUT – Hezbollah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s speech turned the tables politically and popularly in Lebanon on the eve of October 25th. With his announcement of a new position of “concern” regarding the status of the popular protests at this stage, and calling on his supporters to leave the demonstration squares, the debate of rightful demands moved to a new level.

Popularly, the demonstrators did not react positively to the speech. Some came out of the streets at night, but that does not mean that people will not take to the streets again on Saturday and Sunday.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said yesterday that he was advancing his position on the three rebuttals he launched on Saturday Oct.19. He stuck to the first two rebuttals, which were a refusal to overthrow President Michel Aoun’s term and a refusal to end the mandate of the House of Representatives. The third rebuttal was downgraded from refusing to remove the current government from power to announcing that he does not support the resignation of the government, after he was strictly against it at the beginning of the demonstrations.

Sayed Nasrallah, along with the President, the Prime minister and the Parliament Speaker all look cautiously at the possibility of a resignation in the current government, as well as any possible amendment, under the conditions put forward by the protesters and under the pressure of the street. The expected reaction to this cautiousness in the popular protests is a continuous stress on its demands, the first of which is a government resignation, which means that the chances of dialogue between the two sides are almost non-existent.

The party’s secretary-general said that disturbing features were being felt within the protests, coupled with information and names. In such a way, without generalizing his point of view, Sayed Nasrallah vilified a part of the popular movement as being influenced by foreign and local political interventions. His next reaction was to call on his supporters to leave the protests after he confirmed that the resistance knows how to defend itself.

This new position opened a lot of new debate doors. However, only those who have the luxury of open debate, most of them who are lavish elites, couldn’t care less about creating chaos in Lebanon. Not because they are short-sighted about the harm they will suffer, like all other people. But, just, because in all the protests, uprisings and revolutions, they act as they are the constant designated spokespeople, but what they want is to reach the paradise of power, nothing more.

This may be their right. It is also the right of political forces to exploit every political or popular development to improve their position. However, they absolutely have no right to drag people into confrontations and goals, which have nothing to do with the essence of what is being demanded by the people on the streets in most of Lebanon. Individuals, groups, or political forces have no right to drag the street to places that do not match the people’s main concerns of sweeping the army of corrupt politicians and elite.

This army is not limited to those who the media in Lebanon insist on confining them to a list of politicians. As if the rest, from economists, merchants, businessmen, clerics, media professionals, experts and activists of foreign-funded organizations are not members of this army that is ravaging the system of Lebanon.

Today, it is clear how dangerous the movement is. The danger, here, is not from the people of the movement and the real street protests. But from the efforts of this army’s staff to move the confrontation elsewhere, and to revive the false slogans about the coexistence of sects and sectarianism. This army wants to focus on the political role of this party or that group, about Lebanon’s foreign relations; as if the oppressed people who are unemployed and destitute, and are not even confident that they can provide health care and education for their children, are not the real owners of the current popular demands.

Therefore, it is imperative to warn everyone of the dangers of chaos that threatens everything from the protests to the remaining stability in Lebanon. The chaos that rekindles tensions, which quickly takes on regional, sectarian and regional dimensions, and soon enough calls for funding, support, armaments and political cover. The chaos that calls for provocative mechanisms seeking a powerful strike and then a response to that strike. The chaos that calls for the unemployed youth and forces them to become a new generation of armies to protect the heirs of all the members of the corrupt elite and the oligarchy.

Amid this atmosphere, the movement seems to be in the face of pervasive entitlements. There is no good and unified leadership of the demonstrations, the forces of certain political elites who tend to keep “modifying” the popular demands are ongoing to divert from holding the corrupt to account. They want to only hold Michel Aoun and Hezbollah accountable. As if Geagea, Gemayel, Jumblatt and others, have been living on another planet since the 90s.

Lebanon today stands on the verge of a very critical moment. The authorities cannot turn a blind eye to a popular majority that rejects the continuation of existing policies and is not confident with the majority of the ruling class. Thus, it is now a necessary to convince the street that there are those who want to deal with the situation differently.

As for the people in the streets, they have no choice but to push for the initial slogans that were demanded on the first two days of the protests, keep vital roads open, and raise the level of responsibility in approaching these slogans in order to attract those loyal to their parties rather than provoke them.

It is a process that requires maturity, wisdom and patience by the most influential people. As for the media, especially the broadcasting ones, they are moving closer to the limits of their own overthrow by the people for their blatant support of the Oligarchy in the face of popular demands to oust the corrupt elite rather than oust the government itself.

Lebanon today is at a crossroads. The chaos that threatens popular mobility will bring shame to all who know but keep quiet, to those who insist that they are the most knowledgeable, and to anyone who practices moral superiority over others.

Dr. Marwa Osman is a political analyst, university lecturer and TV presenter, based in Beirut, Lebanon. Her work centers on Middle East issues and has appeared in numerous international and regional media outlets.

This article was originally published at Alahed News

READ MORE LEBANON NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Lebanon Files




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