After eight days of consecutive anti-governmental protests that erupted in Lebanon after announcing increase of taxes, Lebanese President Michel Aoun broke his silence on Thursday, 24th October in a recorded short speech.
President Aoun addressed the current revolution of the nation briefly, calling the Lebanese people “live, capable of rising up, and able to convey their voice.” He urged for a compromised solution by a constructive dialogue with a committee chosen by the protestors that can represent their concerns and demands.
However, he made it clear that neither he nor the governmental system is intending on stepping down from office. Instead, he promised to amend to corruption within.
The speech was met with great negative feedback from the protestors flooding the streets of Lebanon. They are disappointed by the brief speech and angry that President Aoun was not even live to deliver his speech. Protestors are deeming the speech as ink on paper, similar to the reform paper that Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri delivered on Monday.
Disappointed people led to angry people who are now more convinced than ever about the importance of the protests. The number of protestors in the streets of Lebanon has increased in different areas after the speech, with protestors feeling like the president did not take them seriously enough and that the speech does not live up to the intensity of the whole revolution.
A man in Nabatieh said, “The president should have given a decisive solution, especially because the country is on the verge of breaking down.”
Another man working in Downtown Beirut said to AFP, “The people in the streets were waiting for some hope, but President Aoun only talked about generalities, things we have been hearing for the past three years (ever since President Aoun got elected as president).”
The people are still protesting all around Lebanon, but now with a clearer vision of what they want and need out of the protest and strategic planning has started. After the president has made his clear stance, revealing that 'the father of the nation" is not listening to his people nor does he intend to, nor has he absorbed the magnitude of the uprise of the nation, they are moving into more concrete and focus actions.
Currently, they are in the process of writing the demands most needed for the time being, and have started raising awareness about the importance of the protests and the results that they should get out of it.
The revolution in Lebanon, which started as a spontaneous eruption of desperation and anger, has quickly evolved into an unprecedented manifestation of national unity of all Lebanese communities and religions, with many even parting from their political parties.
At this stage of the evolution of the revolution, the people are trying to make sense of their own responsibilities and the responsibilities of the government; an important matter they were never able to do before.
Lebanon's constitution clearly outlines the rights of the Lebanese people in that regard, and that includes how the Lebanese people can effectively, legally, and constitutionally win their revolution.