Why the Lebanese Revolution Doesn’t Need Leaders… Yet.

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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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We are not used to leading ourselves and not having someone to tell us what to do. Let’s enjoy it. We are all the leaders here today.

The student leaving class to hit the streets, the mother taking her child to protest, the people creating a Human Chain from South to North, and the red-cross team healing the injured, and our expats booking their flights back home to join the revolution...

The people picking up the trash every morning after the protest, the waste-management team recycling and doing what the government hasn’t for decades, and the diaspora mobilizing and holding solidarity protests in their cities

 

The influencers, celebrities, and media redirecting their platforms and audience to the protest, the artists drawing and producing songs for the protest, and the photographers capturing every moment…

The teachers holding classes in the heart of the protests, the Lebanese army soldiers and ISF refusing to follow orders against the protesters and protecting them, and the lawyers offering their legal counsel to protesters for free

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The mothers making sandwiches to feed the people on the streets, the businesses giving out food for free, and the protestors standing up to thugs -taking beatings then returning to the streets the next morning

 

The religious leaders taking a stand to support the people, the Lebanese women taking to the frontlines, and the martyrs who have already fallen … 

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Ladies and gentlemen, these are the leaders of the Revolution.

You are the leaders of the Revolution!

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You can follow Anthony Kantara, the founder of The961, on Instagram and Twitter. Follow The961 on Instagram to get by the minute updates on everything going on in Lebanon and with the diaspora