0 weeks ago
Counterpoint News Network ( @counterpointnews )
Lebanon: At the heart of Lebanon's demonstrations is general government corruption. It all began last Thursday when the government announced a series of new taxes, including a $6 monthly fee on calls on free messaging apps like WhatsApp, which was met with immediate backlash. And, though the proposed tax was quickly disposed of, the protests continued on.
At first, citizens drove around on scooters, damaging shops and lighting fires. Since then, the demonstrations have grown into the hundreds of thousands, with people gathering regardless of class, gender, and creed to sing the same songs of resistance.
The target of the action is the leadership, politicians who, according to the Lebanese people, have for too long used their positions of power to benefit their own financial standing. On top of this, the economy has suffered. Lebanon has one of the highest levels of public debt worldwide, and its currency continues to fall in value.
In addition to scrapping the proposed tax, the Lebanese government passed a series of measures (similar to Chile) which it hoped would settle grievances. Included in the legislation are steps to cut Lebanon's deficit, cutting politicians' salaries in half and providing financial aid to families in poverty.
In an address on the topic of the reforms, Prime Minister Saad Hariri said that while the protesters’ grievances had been heard, "These decisions are not designed as a trade-off... They are not to ask you to stop expressing your anger. That is your decision to make."
Whether this is a threat or an acknowledgment of the people’s right to speech, only time, as it seems in the case of Chile and Hong Kong as well, can tell.
Image: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters
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