The story behind it is very serious and unique. The blast is only the symptom of their fallen political system. Today , Lebanon is suffering from one of the worst economic crisis. in the world Not only an economic crisis but also a health crisis, garbage crisis and there’s rampant unemployment in their country What’s the reason behind it? What’s their political system which has totally devastated their country? Let us find that out in this blog
Now you will ask how is it possible that the President supporters are doing something and the supporters of their former Prime Minister are doing something else. For this, we must understand the political system of Lebanon. It is a very unique system and the way it works. The country of Lebanon shares border with Syria. It has a very interesting religious demography. It has 27% of SHIA MUSLIM population, 27% of SUNNI MUSLIM, 21% of MARONITE CHRISTIANS (Maronite is a sect in Christians similar to Catholics and Protestants) and the others are the small and different religious communities. In total, more than 18 religious communities comprise the country of Lebanon. while Sunnis , Shias and Christians are the main ones.
The interesting fact is the country got independence from the French colonizers in 1943, their new government said that they would provide equal representation to every religious community. They did not want that any religious community to feel left out. Not would they provide equal opportunities to every religious community, But they would also be given equal representation in the parliament. They made a rule that the Prime Minister of their country would always be a Sunni Muslim; their President would always be a Maronite Christian and the Speaker of the Parliament would always be a Shia Muslim and the rule itself says that President will always be a Maronite Christian and no one from any other religious community can become President and similar provisions hold true for Prime Minister and the Speaker.
The system sounds good theoretically that every religious community is provided position of power and a equal chance. And everyone will work with togetherness. But in reality , nothing of that sort happened In reality, every religious community made its own political party and it only worked for the future and interests of that religious community, which led to increasing conflicts among the communities. Whenever there was a problem in the country, these parties would put blame on the other religious communities. This in earlier times, led to a Civil War In Lebanon there are various reasons that are states for the Civil War from 1975 to 1990 For instance, many refugees came from Palestine which triggered many more conflicts.
After the end of the civil war, a second republic was established within Lebanon Earlier, their President who was a Maronite Christian, had much more powers as compared to Prime Minister and Parliament, then the powers of the President were reduced and a little more equal representation was granted And it lead to equal representation of Christians and Muslim in the Parliament. You would assume that things would get simpler after 1990s But, like I previously said, the political parties kept blaming each other. The country could not function properly as religion was so involved in politics that every community would vote their own community’s political party and they would only further work for the interests of their community. This led to the external forces also exerting their influence on Lebanon; external forces mean the foreign countries for example, Iran is a Shia Muslim country and Saudi Arabia is a Suni Muslim country both the countries started exerting their influence over Lebanon and the political parties of of Shia Muslims and Sunni Muslims were externally supported by the Shia and Sunni Muslim Countries.
Similar things happened with the Maronite Christians as external forces started influencing and there was the involvement of the country Israel in the Lebanon politics and basically, various external forces started interfering in the Lebanon politics. Hence conditions could not improve even after the establishment of Second Republic.
Firstly, all the political parties of the religious communities were interested in their own community. They were not interested in working together with other religious communities and on the other hand, if so many religious communities would make political parties, it would lead to business, they would negotiate and bribe one another.
Questions like who should be given powers and what should be done led to rampant corruption in the country. The conditions are so terrible today that Lebanon has the world’s 3rd worst debt to GDP ratio.
Today, the youth unemployment rate here is 37% and overall unemployment is rate is at 25%. More than 1/3rd population of Lebanon is below the Poverty Line and after the Civil War, the infrastructure was never rebuilt due to lack of funds with the government. As the Lebanon politicians were busy in filling their own pockets and making people fight in the name of religion which made the government completely hollow and the government had no funds at their disposal , what would the new government do if it had no funds and such a huge debt? The government would increase the taxation on the public. It would increase the taxation on the public to increase funds for the government and the same was done by their government as well By Sept-October, the problem was of such a magnitude that people were not able to take out money from ATM.
And on 17 October, government announced a new tax on WhatsApp calls 6$ per month. It was the tipping point for the people. The people refused to endure anymore and thus began the October Revolution in 2019, although government immediately took back the decision to impose tax on WhatsApp but this triggered the New Revolution.
Protests started and thousands came out on streets. People of different religious communities came together to protest against the government. These protests were named as October Revolution as they started in Oct-2019. After the protests their Prime Minister resigned. A new Prime Minister was elected whose name was Hassan Diab. And he announced that Lebanon must take strict economic actions to improve the situation. Lebanese people had a lot of expectations from their new Prime Minister but then came the crisis of Covid-19 which further degraded the economic conditions and then the blast happened after which the new Prime Minister also resigned. It is estimated that more than 3 lakh people became homeless after the blast and the damage amounted to more than 15 billion dollars it could also be called as a trigger point.
Due to which, people became even more infuriated and protests increased and finally government has to resign. During resignation, Prime Minister said that the country is now at the mercy of God and the corruption is so rampant that even the government could not do anything but the demand of the protesters does not end here they ultimately want to completely change the political system of the country.
To put an end to the Sectarian political system- which has divided the people as into different sects and communities, on the basis of which politicians win and the system sets to work it should be done away with and a normal system should be put into place similar to those used in other countries and religion should not be so much involved in politics and the corruption and the taxes should also be set straight these are other demands of the protesters.
The coming times would not be easy for the people of Lebanon establishing a new system is going to be a tough nut to crack It would not be easy to oust the political elites in the government.
As per experts, the ideal solution would be the protesters negotiating with the existing political parties to conduct new elections on non-sectarian basis and the religious divisions between communities must be completely removed. Rule of anyone could become a Prime Minister and a President, and the elections and the transition of the powers must be overseen by the independent groups which could be International Peace Keeping Organizations, NGOs or technocrats of Lebanon
That’s all for today. I hope you would have found this blog to be informative Share this article If you want to read more informative and knowledgeable things.