Nov 13th, 2019, 10:57 PM

The Lebanese Awakening

By Ariane Petit
Lebanese Protest in Paris. Image Credit: Muriel Pichon
Lebanese Citizens Protest Worldwide Against Corrupt Government

During the war, thousands of Lebanese immigrated to countries around the world. This is probably why everyone has that one Lebanese friend in their entourage. Even if they love to talk about their country and how proud they are of being Lebanese, they are also currently involved in a deeper political discussion regarding their  government.

Uniting in protests around the world, the Lebanese population is fed up. Not only do they have a slow economy but the country also has corruption at all levels. The current movement is an accumulation of social, political and economic factors, but first started on October 17th when the government announced that they would add a tax to WhatsApp calls. With a population that still does not have proper access to electricity, clean water or even an actual recycling system, the tax seemed absurd. 

Image of the protest, Image Credit: Muriel Pichon

Claims on gender equality concerning women’s rights is another issue that has gained momentum in the current movement. In Lebanon, if a woman is married to a foreigner, she can not give her citizenship to her children or husband. This inability to pass on citizenship on the basis of being a woman has resulted in increased discrimination which families are finally demonstrating resistance to.

As the movement grows, the politicians are beginning to be impacted by the population-wide resistance. Cities all around the world with a significant Lebanese populations have gathered in the hundreds and even thousands to show their support for their country. These cities include San Francisco, Washington, New York City, Sydney, Montréal, London and, of course, Paris where more than 2,000 peoples gathered on October 20 in the rain at Trocadéro.

Image of the protest. Image Credit: Muriel Pichon


The protests have caused the current Prime Minister to resign. In response, Namir, a French-Lebanese student studying in London says, “he probably quit for his image but I don’t believe this will change anything, he wasn’t the problem. However, this showed that the revolution is actually doing something.” When asked, another French-Lebanese student, who prefer to remain anonymous also showed optimism about the protest and believed that they could bring about positive change. Specifically, she would like to see "a government that will provide its nation with its basic needs, whether adequate public schools, public hospitals, electricity and clean water. We want political figures that will place their people and nation, above their personal interest."

Hopeful that their efforts will disband government corruption, students, workers and entire families have taken to the streets to demonstrate their resistance to the current government. Yet, as the country approaches its fifth week of protest, it seems that social change in Lebanon is still moving slowly.