Beirut Speaks Graffiti as Lebanese Reminder Not to Lose Hope

Published November 17th, 2019 - 07:21 GMT

As Lebanon's uprising enters its second month, graffiti has enveloped the capital's posh downtown.

Lebanon's uprising -- like protests elsewhere in the Middle East and Latin America -- is both political and social. It's also about personal liberation, which is the foundation of a revolution.

Since October 17, there is chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite. Political leaders are lampooned in caricature, including outgoing Prime Minister Saad Hariri, longstanding parliament speaker Nabih Berri, and central bank governor Riad Salameh.

But the unprecedented protests also offered the first experience with street art.

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Anti-government protesters sit under graffiti depicting Lebanese politicians with joker faces sprayed on a wall in downtown Beirut on November 12, 2019. Banks and schools in Lebanon were closed today as protesters tried to prevent employees from clocking in at state institutions nearly one month into an anti-graft street movement. Unprecedented protests erupted across Lebanon on October 17, demanding the ouster of a generation of politicians seen by demonstrators as inefficient and corrupt.  JOSEPH EID / AF

Anti-government protesters sit under graffiti depicting Lebanese politicians with joker faces sprayed on a wall in downtown Beirut on November 12, 2019. Banks and schools in Lebanon were closed today as protesters tried to prevent employees from clocking in at state institutions nearly one month into an anti-graft street movement. Unprecedented protests erupted across Lebanon on October 17, demanding the ouster of a generation of politicians seen by demonstrators as inefficient and corrupt. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti reading "Revolution...even if you try to silence us" is sprayed on a wall in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti reading "Revolution...even if you try to silence us" is sprayed on a wall in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A woman walks past graffitis sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 6, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A woman walks past graffitis sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 6, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A woman walks past a graffiti drawn on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' portraits from c

A woman walks past a graffiti drawn on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' portraits from city buildings and replaced them with the Lebanese flag. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti by street artist Ashekman is sprayed inside "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti by street artist Ashekman is sprayed inside "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

Graffitis are sprayed on a wall in front of "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

Graffitis are sprayed on a wall in front of "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

Lebanese anti-government protesters paint a graffiti on the ground in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

Lebanese anti-government protesters paint a graffiti on the ground in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP

Graffiti artist Mohammad Abrashh draws a graffiti on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' po

Graffiti artist Mohammad Abrashh draws a graffiti on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' portraits from city buildings and replaced them with the Lebanese flag. JOSEPH EID / AFP

Anti-government protesters sit under graffiti depicting Lebanese politicians with joker faces sprayed on a wall in downtown Beirut on November 12, 2019. Banks and schools in Lebanon were closed today as protesters tried to prevent employees from clocking in at state institutions nearly one month into an anti-graft street movement. Unprecedented protests erupted across Lebanon on October 17, demanding the ouster of a generation of politicians seen by demonstrators as inefficient and corrupt.  JOSEPH EID / AF
A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti reading "Revolution...even if you try to silence us" is sprayed on a wall in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A woman walks past graffitis sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 6, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A woman walks past a graffiti drawn on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' portraits from c
A graffiti by street artist Ashekman is sprayed inside "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Graffitis are sprayed on a wall in front of "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Lebanese anti-government protesters paint a graffiti on the ground in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Graffiti artist Mohammad Abrashh draws a graffiti on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' po
Anti-government protesters sit under graffiti depicting Lebanese politicians with joker faces sprayed on a wall in downtown Beirut on November 12, 2019. Banks and schools in Lebanon were closed today as protesters tried to prevent employees from clocking in at state institutions nearly one month into an anti-graft street movement. Unprecedented protests erupted across Lebanon on October 17, demanding the ouster of a generation of politicians seen by demonstrators as inefficient and corrupt.  JOSEPH EID / AF
Anti-government protesters sit under graffiti depicting Lebanese politicians with joker faces sprayed on a wall in downtown Beirut on November 12, 2019. Banks and schools in Lebanon were closed today as protesters tried to prevent employees from clocking in at state institutions nearly one month into an anti-graft street movement. Unprecedented protests erupted across Lebanon on October 17, demanding the ouster of a generation of politicians seen by demonstrators as inefficient and corrupt. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti reading "Revolution...even if you try to silence us" is sprayed on a wall in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti reading "Revolution...even if you try to silence us" is sprayed on a wall in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A woman walks past graffitis sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 6, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A woman walks past graffitis sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 6, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A woman walks past a graffiti drawn on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' portraits from c
A woman walks past a graffiti drawn on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' portraits from city buildings and replaced them with the Lebanese flag. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti by street artist Ashekman is sprayed inside "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti by street artist Ashekman is sprayed inside "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Graffitis are sprayed on a wall in front of "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Graffitis are sprayed on a wall in front of "the Egg" building in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 11, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Lebanese anti-government protesters paint a graffiti on the ground in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Lebanese anti-government protesters paint a graffiti on the ground in central Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
A graffiti is sprayed on a wall in Lebanon's capital Beirut on November 5, 2019. Since October 17, the chanting of tens of thousands of Lebanese denouncing the political elite have shaken the normally staid district around two Beirut squares, Martyrs' and Riad Al Solh. JOSEPH EID / AFP
Graffiti artist Mohammad Abrashh draws a graffiti on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' po
Graffiti artist Mohammad Abrashh draws a graffiti on the wall of a building at the al-Nour Square in the northern port city of Tripoli on November 7, 2019. An unprecedented protest movement has gripped Lebanon since October 17, demanding an overhaul of a political class that has remained largely unchanged since the end of the country's 1975-1990 civil war. In the northern city of Tripoli, where mobilisation has been relentless since the protests erupted on October 17, demonstrators took down politicians' portraits from city buildings and replaced them with the Lebanese flag. JOSEPH EID / AFP