International media have mocked the Lebanese revolution, labeling it as “leaderless” – as CNN put it.
Locally, people have been asking for someone or a group of people to step up and take the lead. Even the political leaders, ironically, are demanding for leaders and representatives of the revolution. That alone should be a red flag.
The Lebanese revolution is special in that it is completely grassroots. No one convinced people to take to the streets and to continue to take to the streets every day. It was a natural ultimate reaction to the harsh situation Lebanese people have been put in, and enduring for decades.
The revolution in Lebanon doesn’t need a leader for now. It shouldn’t have one. We can come together to do what “a leader” would. The parties demanding a leader are doing so because they can then easily attack the revolution. They will find ways to discredit, kick out, and even kill anyone who stands up to lead.
This is the tactic that has been used for decades in Lebanon: Kill the people who stand up as leaders to speak up against a ruling regime, imprison the ones who think against them, and instil fear among the population to “send a message.” That’s to ensure no one emerges as a leader, and that they stay in power with no competition rising to take them down. This is how they have played the ‘game.’
They need someone to “kill.” The revolution is an idea, a dream, a vision -not a person. They can’t kill the idea, and the dream and vision will go on. It’s the idea and dream that have united the people of Tripoli with the people of Nabatieh and the people of Beirut with the people of Baalbek, and the people of Baalbak with the people of Tripoli.
It’s the idea that has killed the fear-mongering instilled by the leaders making us fear our fellow Lebanese brothers and sisters of other faiths and sects. Today, we have turned that around. Let them have fear for once.
For the people of the revolution demanding for leaders, all I tell you is that we don’t need one right now. Something very beautiful is happening and we’re not paying attention to it. Lebanon has historically been very tribal and this is one of the things we need to push to overcome during our revolution.
We felt like we’ve needed someone to follow and someone to lead us otherwise we can’t take care of ourselves. It’s this tribalism embedded into our mindset for centuries that has put us in the situation we are in today. This blind obsession to follow these leaders off cliffs and overlook their faults.. turning them almost god-like.