After decades of being controlled by corrupted men in power, Lebanese people have finally shattered the walls of desperation and decided to protest against poverty and deprivation, against sectarianism and discrimination, against blind submissiveness and abuse of power. Lebanese people protested against their own once-upon-a-time decisions of a leader. For the first time in the history of Lebanon, Lebanese people choose unity. Here are some reasons why the Lebanese revolution has already achieved so much in such a short time:
#1. New taxes were aborted just an hour after the revolution erupted
On Thursday night, October 17th, people went down to the streets to express their refusal of any new tax, specifically, the tax on WhatsApp calls that flooded the bitter cup. In an hour or so, Minister of Telecommunications Mohammad Choucair issued a statement that the WhatsApp tax proposal is aborted, and any extra tax will be obliterated. It took the people an hour to take down a burden that they would probably have carried for the rest of their lives.
#2. People leaving their secularism on the side
That unity of all Lebanese as one is all too strikingly evident in all areas of Lebanon, from church bells and Azan resounding in unity to Shiites and Sunnis praying in the same mosque, and people breaking off from their dogmatic leaders to claim their identity as primarily Lebanese.
#3. People protested against their own political beliefs
Saying that Lebanese people do not have political affiliation is false, and it was evident in the 2018 elections. That was something very entrenched in us until this past week. For the first time since the onset of the Lebanese Republic, people turned their backs on their political preferers and prioritized Lebanon’s unity.
#4. Politicians are now scared of protesters
Just a week before the revolution started, it was said the governmental budget will include new taxes on Lebanese people as consumers. Three days after the revolution started, Prime Minister Hariri announced in his reform paper that the governmental budget will include zero taxes on Lebanese. Now, they see us!
#5. Hariri’s reform paper came out in 72 hours!
Whether PM Hariri’s reform paper is genuine, credible, and/or feasible, it was the people’s will of power that made the government think of immediate solutions, which, if achieved, would be an actual resurrection from the tremendous hardships the people of Lebanon have been in for too long.
#6. Decentralized revolution
The 17th of October may have begun in Beirut in its first hour, but it actually thrived in Tyre, Tripoli, Jounieh, Nabatieh, Saida, Beqaa, Aley, Jal El Dib, and Zouk. The number of protestors has exceeded expectations, with it only growing by the day.
#7. Four Resignations from Government in less than a week
One of the political parties that have been in power for so long resigned just a day after the Revolution demanded a full governmental resignation.
#8. A first politician made to account for illicit enrichments
Mount Lebanon State Prosecutor Judge Ghada Aoun pressed charges against former prime minister Najib Miqati along with his son and his brother, and Bank Audi for illicit enrichment. For the first time in Lebanon, a politician of such a level is made to account for the acquisition of his enormous wealth (whatever the real reason behind the move).
#9. A new definition of freedom of speech
If your leader is a red line not to cross, your flag is two.
People have been openly expressing themselves in powerful statements and telling their agony caused by the government, and not a few spiced up with humor and dark sarcasm. From recording their own messages and crying in front of TV cameras to being creative in their expressions, the Lebanese people can finally speak up without fear of being locked up like it was happening before the revolution.
#10. People have regained a long-forgotten hope!
Two weeks before the revolution, amid a dollar crisis, a garbage crisis, an impossible economic crisis, wildfires, an absence of fuel and flour in markets, a lack of basic amenities like 24/24h electricity and water, people were on the verge of breaking down but didn’t think they have another choice. They actually lost all hope.
They would spend hours waiting to fuel their cars in gas stations, would take out what’s left of their money from banks (if they had any), and would buy enough bread for a month. Now, that euphory you observe in the crowd protesting these days is not about people having fun. That is called HOPE.
Now, people realized that they do have a choice and it is in their hands and that there is hope in better living conditions. Hope in youth, hope in unity, and hope in Lebanon!