Two Years After the Lebanese Revolution: A Potential Civil War and a Historic Economic Collapse

Published October 17th, 2021 - 06:32 GMT
Lebanese protesters October 2019
Thousands of Lebanese people took to streets in October 2019 demanding reforms. (Shutterstock: Hiba Al Kallas)

Two years ago today, thousands of Lebanese people took to the streets demanding major reforms and attacking the political elite they say have taken advantage of their country since the end of the civil war in 1990 to gain more power and wealth at the people's expense.

While the 17 October revolution as it was termed back then slowly came to an end several months later, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak that forced people to leave the streets for good, Lebanon has since been struggling with the most severe economic crisis.

Translation: "Every year, we have to remember the Oct 17 uprising which gave birth to Lebanon's longest revolution, when we were united for one goal. What happened, though? We have to remember it because we were able to achieve very few accomplishments that made a difference. Now, after going through the hardest of days, we've lost the power and became numb."

According to the World Bank, the Lebanese financial crisis is the worst in the world in 150 years, especially that it was aggravated by the massive blast that destroyed huge parts of the capital city on the 4th of August 2020, ending every hope of an end to the national calamity.

The financial crisis that has driven the local currency to historic lows has pushed out thousands of Lebanese people out of the country, seeking immigration to western countries in the hope of a better future. Yet, the growing political polarization has been described as "the most intense since the 15 year-long civil war," leading to violent clashes in Beirut last Thursday, ones that lasted for several hours and resulted in at least 7 deaths.

Translation: "Until the season of toxic sectarian divisions is over, until the Lebanese people wake up again, and until hope is restored in my country, I'll keep repeating that I'm proud of being among the generation of Oct 17."

As Lebanese people watched Thursday's bloody events in horror, social media users remembered scenes from the civil war and expressed their fear that the collapsing country might experience a new one soon.

Moreover, social media users are now tweeting using the hashtag #ثورة_١٧_تشرين (Arabic for Oct 17 revolution) in memory of the protests, saying they wish they can continue the call for an end to political corruption so Lebanon can survive the current tensions and start building a better future.

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