Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Matt Nash

Death of Ideology? Beirut’s #YouStink Protests

Death of abstract social and political concepts that political parties numb people, replicating the various religious sects?

Patsy Z  and Fadi Ghandour shared a link

Protesters from Lebanon’s #YouStink | طلعت_ريحتكم# movement staged a sit-in at the Ministry of the Environment today and vowed not to leave until Minister Mohammad Machnouk resigned from his post. The day ended with the police storming the building and forcing the protesters out.

I’m not in Beirut at the moment, so I’ve spent the past few days following the events on television, Twitter, Facebook, and the blogosphere.

I’m struck by how readily the movement has ripped up the familiar categories of Lebanese political partisanship (March 14, March 8, Sunni, Shiite, Christian, FPM, LF, etc.) and replaced them with a call for knowledge-based solutions to universal problems.

Perhaps the picture on the ground is different, but the reverberations online conjure up a great wave of disgust directed at the whole political stratum.

For example, when the FPM (Free Patriotic Movement or Al Tayyar) recently tried to smear one of the movement’s organizers, Assaad Thebian, as a cross-burning infidel, the move backfired badly (see Elie Fares and Emilie Hasrouty’s responses, in particular).

Earlier today, when the M14 journalist Charles Jabbour wondered aloud why the Sunnis of Lebanon were not coming to a Sunni minister’s defense as he was “besieged” by protesters, his Facebook thread was trashed by disgusted readers.

Lebanon may not be witnessing the birth of a post-sectarian civil state but something unprecedented is taking place.

The language of protest chants, placards, tweets, and media interviews is unlike anything we’ve heard in the past ten years.

The Arabic speakers might be interested in listening to some of the protest rap that is coming out of the movement. My favorite is this tune by El-Rass and MC Nasserdyn (of the famous Touffar crew). The lyrics are brilliant and shocking in their audacity, even by Beirut’s cacophonous standards.

Over the past few days, almost every party leader has given a press conference pledging his support for the protesters while warning them not to be co-opted by one side or another.

So far, these warnings have sounded more like cries from the wilderness and pleas for relevance. I worry, though, about how much longer the protesters can hold their ranks before the inevitable infiltrations begin.

To follow the events online, I recommend Mustapha’s excellent #YouStink News page.

For the best account of how Lebanon got into this mess in the first place, there’s this report by the indispensable Matt Nash.

Ray  posted| September 2, 2015

This movement has the whole political class in the country shitting bricks.

Politicians from both 8 and 14 are united (for the first time!) in refusing the Minister of Environment to resign under pressure simply because they are scared shitless that if he does, the movement will move on to the next Ministry and Minister.

The bitterness and disgust is swelling by the day and what could have been calmed down with the resignation of a 71 year old incompetent and utterly useless Minister has grown to encompass the whole spectrum of Politicians.

What the garbage crises so poignantly has proven is the total neglect by Ministers of tending to and resolving the most basic of issues in the country for decades and that their appointment to Ministries is akin to them joining a Country Club.

qusu posted| September 2, 2015

What I am hoping is that the movement has enough stamina to effect some real changes. I don’t think the ‘system’ in Lebanon is the problem, I don’t even think the rivalry between parties is the problem….

The real problem has been the increasing and now almost total disregard by the government for the citizens of this country. (And how can this happen if the problem is Not in the system?)

No matter whether one is wealthy or struggling, Lebanon is a decreasingly pleasant place to live.

At the forefront, an ever expanding environmental disaster that now encompasses the sea, the forests (regularly exploited for making charcoal, destroyed for buildings or the site of unregulated waste dumping)…

The mountains, cut up for quarry, the air, the water, the earth are all being damaged to the point where life becomes unsustainable.

The trash issue has really rubbed peoples faces in it.

Once, you could see warnings of this in the previous times Naameh was temporarily shut and huge pikes of garbage instantly developed all over Beirut.

I am glad that something has finally woken my somnolent countrymen up.

I live in Beirut and am certainly happy that the garbage is being collected, even if only to be moved to Karantina, but I think it weakens peoples resolve and therefore makes me wonder if this movement has stamina. (The stamina is increasing greatly and proven every day at different institutions)

The bottom line is also that the various sectarian leaderships have had very different approaches to their citizens.

The Shia are generally better provided for by Hezbollah than others and have historically been ignored by the government and expect little from it. (That is an illusion and a myth conveyed by the opposition medias)

The Christians have long had a ‘fend for yourself’ setup, although Hariri used to spread some largesse their way.  (Like what largesse? They lack public schools)

The Sunni are probably feeling the biggest brunt of change because Saad Hariri seems to be unable to secure sizeable financial contributions from the Saudis and so entire swathes of the sunni population are not being paid, even his direct employees and they have fewer and fewer reasons to support him.

So those who should be the supporters of what is a primarilyMarch 14 administration are no longer supporters, the Christians are all sick of the moribund economy and inability of the government to make even the slightest improvement to services, and the shia, I suppose, have no real reason to want these guys to stick around.

Hard to see who still wants any of these people around anymore.






August 2022

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