Hi I want to send a message of solidarity and support to my Lebanese compatriots. We are living through some of the most inspiring modern historical moments in the world. Maybe you are following up on the news in Lebanon. Lebanon is witnessing a civil uprising and perhaps the forming of its 3rd republic. Today marked the 10th day of a peaceful revolution to force the government to step down.
A bit of background. Lebanon is a small country with about 4 million citizens and more than 1.5m Syrian refugees. The country went through 25 years of civil war. Lebanon was also the playground for Syrian Israeli war games. Today Lebanon plays out the Saudi, Iranian, Turkish geopolitics and at a bigger scale, the Russian American tensions. Lebanon is hosting the largest ratio of refugees to its population in the world. Close to 1/3 of the people are Syrian refugees. Hosting the refugees depleted the infrastructure. The effect on the healthcare and education system is monumental. The impact on the environment by the camps will be long-lasting.
Today’s revolution is a result of a steady stream of corruption in governance With a 152% debt to GDP ratio, Lebanon is the third most indebted country in the world after Japan and Greece. The swindling of money had cost the country a soaring 100 billion debt bill. The debt has been slowly building up from the 1990s. On the 17th of October, the government imposed a series of New taxes to include one on Watsup, a free messaging platform as you know. That a group of people started to protest voluntarily, and the wave snowballed the second day, the third and all the way to today’s tipping point.
The government tried to offer some concessions by reversing its arbitrary tax hikes after that first day of protests. But it was too late. The Lebanese people were already fed up with the myriad of false promises by the government. Of course, those events weren’t the only reason that led to this tipping point. The Lebanese uprising was caused by a series of lousy governance, scandals, corruption, and tax hikes that caused a 35% decrease in consumer purchasing power. This was exasperated by a disconnected leadership that grew away from the daily struggles of its citizens. A government that grew more authoritarian, squashing freedom of speech. A leadership that spoke down from its pinnacle of nepotism and engulfment. This protracted carelessness had stirred the tide of the people. This is not an Arabic spring, nor is it a populist movement. This is a civil uprising. This is Lebanon; we write our history. We decide our destiny.
To everyone in the Lebanese government, we demand that you resign now. Everyone means Everton. We stand united by our Lebanese Flag.