Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘#YouStink

A few of my posts on Facebook related to current Lebanon Youth Movements

Since August 22, 2015 over 11 youth are detained and tortured in the security services. 5 of them are under age juvenile.

The youth movements has acquired the name Movement of Aug 29, following the monster gathering of over 75,000 citizens who converged from all corners of Lebanon to Downtown Beirut. They were all raising the Lebanese flags. No political parties flags were present in this joyful and chanting gathering.

In context:

The garbage crisis has been dragging on for a month and the waste accumulated in mountain of trash, and the stench was suffocating the citizens in every district and street in Lebanon.

The Youth movement #YouStink (referring to the politicians and political system) gathered in front of the government Serai in Riad Solh Square on August 22, 2015 demanding a quick resolution to the garbage.

The security forces (internal, the guards of the Parliament and the army supporting the parliament guards) opened fire (live and rubber bullets) as well as gas canisters on the peaceful demonstration. The activities were shown live on local media and Lebanese started to flock from everywhere to join the marches and express their horrors.

The Internal forces retreated and the youth advanced back to the Square and set up their tents for a sleep over.

The movement gathered winds and more youth movements joined in with new slogans and goals. They occupied the ministry of the environment and a dozen started a hunger strike in front of the ministry.

The gathering on Aug 29 was a monster mass popular demonstration for the determination to weight on significant change in this rotten political system.

The Godfather of the militia leaders during the civil war and who has been Chairman of the Parliament in the last 30 years convened the party leaders in the Parliament to meet on Sept. 9 around the Table of Conversation (Tawelat 7ewar) in order to figure out a way out of this unpredicted dilemma and retain their standing power.

The youth movements, including #badnaN7asseb (We want to judge you), gathered en mass (over 75,000) around the Martyr Square and Riad Sol7. They expressed their total lack of confidence in the political system and highway robberies and felonies of the politicians.

And the movements got stronger and scheduled activities almost every day to recapture state lands that were illegally confiscated by the Real Estates Developers on the seashore of Beirut.

Note 1: Many posts are written in Arabic/Lebanese slang using Latin alphabet. Particular numbers are used by internet users to correspond to Arabic vocals not existing in Latin languages.

Note 2: You have to start from the bottom of this article in order to read chronologically this timeline

Today, Sept.15, the movement gathered in front of the ministry of finance demanding that no pay-checks be sent to the deputies for Job Not done. The employees had to be evacuated through the roof top to an adjacent building. Thus this post.

The President of Uruguay transfer all his pay-checks to the needy families in his home town and agreed to let 200 Syrian refugees to stay in his home.
In Lebanon, we have a Parliament of 128 deputies who extended their tenure for 4 more years.
Worse, they voted to increase their stipend to over $20,000. For doing absolutely nothing. They never met in the last 2 years and failed to perform on their promises: Mainly to reform the election law.
Do you know that any deputy who was elected twice will be paid for life? And his wife and children after his death?

80% of the deputies didn’t win with their own popular forces, but supported by the militia leaders.
About 20 deputies didn’t vote for the extension of their tenure, but they are still in the parliament.
How come it never occurred to those honest deputies to transfer their pay-check to the poorer families in their district, those who voted them in?
On August 22, after the internal forces shot at the youth movements with live and rubber bullets, deputy Nabil Ncoulas was so furious that he stated live to the medias that he resigns from the Parliament.
We didn’t hear any follow up on that statement and his pay-check is still being pocketed by the deputy who did graduate studies +++ years as he likes to say.
Only 4 of the 24 ministers still are functional. The remaining minister barely pay a visit to their ministries. Once there, they lock their door to play with their balls at leisure.

Not a single jobless minister volunteered to give his money to the needed people or caritative institutions.
The minister of the environment (Mu7ammad The Hanged One) has no responsibilities any more: He relinquished the garbage crisis to the minister of agriculture.
A dozen youth have been on hunger strike for 10 days in front of the ministry of the environment, and the Hanged One is unperturbed.
The media showed the miserable dwelling of the parents of these hunger strikers, but the minister would not think of improving the life-style of these people.
What kind of people are we?
Shi bi farre7 al 2alb: (it sooth my heart) a new hero allowed al 7erak (movement) to use his truck to transport the waste that obstructed the entrance of Jisr al moushat to the entrance of Sukleen: A citizen was run over because he couldn’t use the bridge that was totally obstructed by garbage bags.
Shi bi farre7 al 2alb: the media have started showing all the factories for farz al nifayat all over Lebanon. And Sukleen 3ala tiza wa ma shaghalet ma3mal al farz
Shi bi farre7 al 2alb: Al 7erak al shababi 3am tnaddef al nifayat fi madkhal Trablos. Baladiyat Jounieh kabbetton 3indon
Shi bi kharreh: (It sucks) Michel Suleiman wa 7arb ba3don bye3zmo 7alon le kel mnasabeh bil Yarzeh
Shi bi kharreh: ehl behl bi hanno ba3don wa moush daryeen enno al 7erak bye3tebrouhon 3ala tizon
Wa bokra shou? 7arb bado yenteze3 (recapture) haybet al dawleh wa yotabbek kararat al 7oukoumet. Fi karar wa7ed tanfizi, wa albakiya khalt bi khalt
ra7 tedroj akel al nifa. ‪#‎NifaForHangedOne‬ The two of them shaklon bi 7ebbo batnon
to open a new matmar (top in line in specifications), the Sandou2 al 2e3mar bi7ajeh la at least one month. So when the 7 days is over ( and not a single day over) in Na3emeh, where the garbage will be dispatched? To nahr Beirut one more time?
wa meen ra7 yenoub 3an wazir al zira3a? (The minister of agriculture Shohayyeb was appointed to handle the garbage crisis)
In addition to pressing for full transparency in the garbage crisis and any other project that the government is attempting to pass surreptitiously, the youth movements should try a democratic election of the President.
The process is as follow:
1. The youth movements agree on a unified electronic site to conduct the election (as done in many countries) and they have the means and skills to conduct it.
2. All the candidates have to agree on a transitory period (one year) until an election  with a reformed law is done.
3.The candidate must submit his CV with full disclosure of his financial status
4. The candidate who obtains 40% of the votes of those who participated in the election will be selected unanimously as the candidate of the youth movements and submitted to this defunct parliament to vote him in.
All the current candidates who refuse to take the youth movements seriously (refuse to submit their candidacy) will be dropped from the list of potential candidates.
The various Black Boxes in which that militia leaders hoarded the public funds
Sondou2 Al E3mar wa Al Tanmiyat: Black Box for Hariri clan, Seniora, Mikati and funds Moustakbal candidates
Sondou2 Al Janoub: Black Box of Nabih Berry and AMAL candidates
Sondou2 Al Mohajjareen: Black Box for Walid Jumblat and funds his candidates
Sondou2 Majless Nouwab for its maintenance and security: Black Box for Nabih Berry
Sondou2 wizart al 3amal: Black Box for Kataeb, 2azzi and 7arb
Sondou2 al Kahraba2 (electricity): every leader in a district gets his share from the private providers
Sondou2 al zeft: Black Box for the deputies to asphalt their roads
Sondou2 al Autostrad al 3arabi
Sondou2 mashrou3 al Litany
Solidair: Black Box for the Hariri clan and Senior to invest for The Gulf Emirs in prime Beirut Real Estates
Sukleen: Garbage collection Black Box for the Hariri, Fouad Seniora (former PM) and Jumblat
Every cultural event is headed by the wives of the militia leaders
Keep adding to this list
Sontou2 Al Inma2 wa Al 2e3mar (Al Moustakbal Black Box) is supposedly out of the picture in selecting al matamers or getting involved with the environment.
Lejnat al bi2at fi al wizarat tajtame3 wa tou7awer (negotiate) al 7erak al sha3bi for the short term and sustainable resolution of the garbage crisis.
Apparently, the government is keeping Sondou2 al e3mar as the prime contractor for the preparation of the matamers. A move that is illegal since it is the municipality that is responsible for contracting out these public works.
The strategy of the various youth movements is developing and starting to take form:
1. The Garbage crisis is the first and primary demand. Because the waste touches the 5 senses and does not require abstract concepts to make sense. And because the garbage is the primary item that the government is unable to find a sustainable resolution.
2. Each movement adds another demands to the list of urgent deficiencies in this militia highway robber system.
3. The details of the alternative proportional election law is being fine-tuned and will be presented as the youth alternative in any official discussions
4. The youth of districts outside Beirut are earnestly getting involved to present their own specific worries and problems, such as lack of public hospital, public schools, public universities, public institutions to facilitate the daily life of the remote areas.
Shou bek Shehayyeb, enta wa khoubara2ak? Ba3dak n3annad tostolha 3aleina?
Elnelak ma fi fate7 lel matamer, wala le nhar wa7ed
Ma badna matamer. La bi 3akkar, la bi Nabatiyeh, la Bil Masna3, la bil jabal…
Shou bek Shehayyeb, enta wa khoubara2ak ma 2abideen al 7erak?
Leish moush 3am tetssamma3ou 3ala mataleb al 7erak?
Al 7erak has started expressing his alternative election law: Charbel Nahas (former minister) is handling the political education process, and the people are catching up fast and steadily
It is feasible. If Tawelat 7ewar agreed on:
1. Electing a President for a single year in order to care for the “smooth” application of the procedures and protocols for running legitimately this rotten system
2. Agreeing on a proportional election law and voting on one of the alternatives that have been discussed at length for over 3 years
3. Agreeing during the Hewar on a reduced government and the potential ministers to get to work right after the President is chosen. It is all ter2e3 bi ter2e3.
Wa al 7erak moustamer
Yesterday I learned the name of another hunger striker: Hassan Kotaich? We get to know them as they are carried away to hospital. La men 2edon wa la men ejron
I think my mother will support me for hunger strike, if I include quitting smoking. Till death…
The militia leaders are Not afraid of the new heros: They dread the young masses who will defy them at election time.
Now that the militia leaders stuffed enough money in their bank accounts, Berry is contemplating contracting out a larger Table (tawelat). Not to feed the famished Lebanese.
Other minor players, like the Hanged One of the Interior, are erecting taller fences and in iron.
I already sent the message: Occupy the ministry of public work. Just for reminding the minister of the incoming catastrophe
The dignity of an entire generation will be trampled if the youth failed to gather on Sept.9 (date of the meeting of militia leaders).
Tawelat al Hewar is to gain more time in order to disband the youth movements.
Most probably, the meeting of the militia leaders with their Godfather Berry might decide to designate a President for One year with the job of preparing for an election of the deputies.
A major new reformed election law is Not contemplated by this clan of militia leaders.
Like in Guatemala and Thailand
Waref Suleiman. Al Jurdi. And what are the name of the other 10 hunger strikers? Already 100 hours without eating.
The Red Cross was ordered not to visit and care for the hunger strikers.
The Hanged Environmental never stopped to say “Good morning” to the strikers.
How come not many paid a visit to these strikers in this weekend?
Just waiting for Sept. 9 for them to come down?
Note: Waref Suleiman was hit on his head by the security forces and detained this Sept 16, during the second Tawelat al 7ewar.
7amlat al tahweel fi al makalat wa intakadateha al laze3at dod tel3et ri7etkom wa kitabet 2ijabiyat akthar li badna ni7asebkom mouhematoha, ta7ta zaherat al mawdou3iyat, mouhematouha er3ab al sha3b liky la yanzal fi Sept 9.
Innaha wakfat hasemat.
al woukouf dod al toghmat al jabbara wa militiatouha lan tarba7 kol marrat, laken soumoud ta7adi la bodda menha wa mouwasalat al ta7addi mefta7 al 3ezzat lel shabab al makhour

#YouStink rallying cry: Recycling ‘cornerstone’ solution to Lebanon garbage woes

By: Karim Traboulsi posted on 24 August, 2015

The ongoing garbage crisis has forced Lebanese to take to the streets

Pushing for a recycling-based solution, not calling for revolution, is the only way forward.

There are many different views on how to tackle Lebanon’s one-month-old garbage crisis.

Yet everyone agrees that the usual sweep-it-under-the-rug approach of the Lebanese government can no longer work.Indeed, the current problem is a turning point for an issue that many believe has been 40 years in the making

.Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990) put a freeze on any progress on waste management in the country.

After the end of the civil war, due to a combination of factors – arguably led by incompetence and corruption – the Lebanese government failed to develop a modern solution to manage the country’s waste, and resorted to burying it in landfills with little to no downstream processing.

The Lebanese government and the private contractor Sukleen, which was paid hundreds of millions of dollars to collect rubbish from Beirut and Mount Lebanon, acted little more than a “garbage taxi,” in the words of Ziad Abi Chaker, one of Lebanon’s leading environmental entrepreneurs.

Up to 80 percent of waste is buried, if we go with a 2014 report by the Regional Solid Waste Exchange of Information and Expertise network in Mashreq and Maghreb countries, and little of the remaining 20 percent is recycled or composted.

Lebanon waste in brief Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Generation: – 2.04 million tonnes per year (2013)

Final destination of MSW:- Composted 15 % – Recycled 8 %- Landfilled 48 %- Openly Dumped 29 %Waste composition:- Organic 52.5 % – Paper/cardboard 16% – Plastics 11.5 % – Metal 5.5 % – Glass 3.5 % – Others 11 %

Cost of waste management:- Collection and transportation: $10-$31/tonne- Total cost including disposal: $20-$143/tonne (Source: SWEEPNet (2014)

It was only a matter of time for Lebanon, a tiny mountainous country, to run out of space for its waste. This is exactly what precipitated the current, mother of all garbage crises, when the government shut down the overfilled landfill in Naahmeh, the main dumping ground for the capital’s rubbish, under pressure from frustrated locals.

They had had enough with the smell and worrying reports of higher cancer rates near landfill sites. The Lebanese government was stumped.

Already in paralysis, and structurally incapable of thinking outside the box of traditional solutions, it could do little to resolve the problem as no other Lebanese region accepted to absorb the waste of the capital.

The Lebanese government scrambled to find an easy, quick-and-dirty solution. It even considered selling waste to Sweden, which incinerates garbage to produce hot water, but that quickly failed as Sweden requires rubbish to be sorted first.

The next-best solution was to try and bribe neglected Lebanese regions in the periphery to become the capital’s dumping grounds (for example the neglected province of Akkar up north), in return for development projects.

Experts have spoken to local television stations about the prospect of acid rain over Lebanon. When emissions from uncollected garbage merge with oxygen and moisture, they warned, they could turn into acid that will combine with water droplets during the fast-approaching wet season.

The Lebanese government’s mishandling of the issue eventually prompted protests by civil campaigners and activists, who have launched the #YouStink campaign.

The first few protests were small in scale but the continuation of the crisis and violent police reaction has rallied more and more Lebanese around the cause and against government incompetence in general.

YouStink anti-government protests drew thousands over the weekend  forcing the government to deploy hundreds of police. The police clashed with the peaceful protesters, using water cannons and even tear gas. Hundreds were reportedly wounded, triggering a new political crisis and calls for the government to step down.

But protesters have been criticised for raising maximalist demands and expecting too much from a government that has no popular mandate and whose main function has been to prevent Lebanon from exploding under pressure from the Syrian conflict.

A few during the protests called for “revolution” against the system, but many believe the protests should have a more specific, achievable goal.

Predictably, some in the Lebanese left have accused YouStink of not being radical enough.

Ziad Abi Chaker believes that not only there is a feasible solution to the garbage problem, but also that it would be simple to implement a sustainable, profitable and eco-friendly plan.

Recycling and composting, or as environmentalists put it the 3Rs – Recycle, Reuse, Reduce – would be at the heart of such a plan.

The solution starts at the level of individual citizens. If the Lebanese government is unrepresentative and works for the service of a corrupt political class as it is alleged, then it is only logical that ordinary people should take the initiative and not wait for their unelected rulers to act.

The simplest two things people can do is to sort their rubbish and reduce their consumption to produce less organic and solid waste.

Ziad Abi Chaker and a number of NGOs have been trying to raise awareness about this for some years now, and the latest crisis has helped their cause dramatically.

Back in January, Abi Chaker and activist Sobhiya Najjar launched a viral video campaign to persuade Lebanese households to sort organic and solid waste using separate black and blue bags. Existing recycling plants in Lebanon could already absorb a lot of solid waste, including glass and plastics Existing scavenger networks would then pick the blue bags and sort their contents further, and sell recyclable items to private-sector recycling businesses.

Abi Chaker told al-Araby al-Jadeed that existing recycling plants in Lebanon could already absorb a lot of solid waste, including glass and plastics. He says there are other types of waste that Lebanon’s existing infrastructure cannot handle, such as green glass, but points out that the main challenge is organic waste

But even this would not be too difficult for Lebanon to deal with.

Abi Chaker stresses it would not take more than a few years for plants to be built, during which part of the waste could be safely stored for later processing.

Naturally, a comprehensive national waste management plan would improve sorting at home and not rely on scavengers, but rudimentary sorting is a good start to reduce the volume of waste, Abi Chaker argues.

Lebanese citizens could also do a lot more by way of reducing their consumption. Abi Chaker and NGOs advocating the 3Rs have been asking Lebanese people and restaurants, notorious for wasting food, to reduce organic waste by both consuming less and trying to compost when possible.

People can also reduce their solid waste by reusing and repurposing instead of disposing of items like glass or using reusable items instead of disposable ones. Part of the problem has been giving too much power to one company such as Sukleen Bypassing ‘centralised corruption’ Part of the problem has been giving too much power to one company such as Sukleen to handle the waste of metropolitan Beirut and Mount Lebanon, where the bulk of Lebanon’s population is concentrated.

Ziad Abi Chaker and others have instead proposed decentralising rubbish collection and downstream processing by working with local municipalities.Municipalities, together with citizens and environmental NGOs, can handle the sorting and collection of waste and then sell it to private recycling businesses for some revenue that goes back into improving infrastructure.

Municipalities are more answerable to local constituencies, and comprehensive decentralisation has been a constant demand after the civil war as one way to achieve fairer and more balanced development and reduce corruption at the level of the central government.

Enter the state gargantuan task of waste management in Lebanon in a way that meets modern international standards cannot be handled by civil society and the private sector alone, though these must take the lead and waste management must have a solid grassroots bedrock. Waste management must have a solid grassroots bedrock Lebanon’s Ministry of Environment and the Council for Development and Reconstrution, a quasi-state body, have already developed studies and supposedly drafted national waste management plants.

But these join similar plans for public transport, energy and water resource management plans on the forgotten shelves of Lebanese bureaucracy.The Lebanese state’s role, according go Ziad Abi Chaker, is primarily to develop tax incentives, draft legal frameworks and act as a facilitator for waste management stakeholders. It is also hoped that the Lebanese state would help finance and build large recycling plants, especially to handle organic waste.

The problem here is that it is hard to expect politicians to greenlight a radical recycling-based approach to waste management.

Many of those in power and their direct associates allegedly have links to waste management businesses and see no direct benefit for their pockets to go the sustainable way.In fact, politicians now seem to be taking advantage of the snowballing YouStink movement not to heed their citizens’ demands, but to settle scores among themselves and promote half-baked solutions favouring their cronies.Eyes on the prize #YouStink must learn from the mistakes of previous protest movements in the country

The YouStink campaign offers some hope by way of putting public pressure on the government to change its usual approach. But the campaign must learn from the mistakes of previous protest movements in the country, most recently the struggle of the Unions Coordination Committee (UCC) to end a 10-year-old freeze on pay rises amid a cost of living crisis, if it wants to avoid failure and losing public support.

The UCC protest movement expanded its goals so broadly that it eventually lost focus on its main objective.Worryingly, some in YouStink are going on tangents about changing the entire system and replacing the entire political class. While few in Lebanon disagree with these demands, the struggle to resolve the garbage crisis in a sustainable way must remain focused on the issue at hand.

The protesters must sustain pressure on politicians collectively and refuse any solution they propose other than the recipe environmentalists have put forward: No dumping, no landfills and no incinerators. The objective must be kept specific, technical and apolitical, at least until a nationwide recycling-based waste management system is up and running, where the citizens – not the state – take the lead.

Otherwise, the outcome will be more chaos and no solution to the country’s garbage woes.As the saying in Lebanon goes, we want to eat grapes, not kill the vineyard guard.Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff. – See more at:




May 2023

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