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Here’s what you need to know about the situation in Lebanon

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Here’s what you need to know about the situation in Lebanon

Photo by Christelle Hayek on Unsplash

On August 4th, a devastating double explosion took place in Beirut, capital of Lebanon, killing more than 200 civilians and wounding 6000 persons. In the hope to help the people of Lebanon recover from this tragedy, the Trudeau government has announced a contribution of $30 million to the international aid effort. A few Canadian and international companies have also contributed financially to help repair damages caused by the explosions. Since the incident, the civil protests that started in October 2019 have multiplied, but why are the people of Lebanon protesting? 

How the revolution started
At first, what triggered the protests in October 2019, was the government’s taxes on tobacco, gasoline, and calls made on the WhatsApp application. Down the line, the protests ended up expanding and contesting the corrupted system in place. 

Lebanon has a unique religious-political system that is simply not working. Even though there are more than fifteen religious’ groups in Lebanon such as the Druze and Jews, this system is based on the division of power between only the Christian community, the Sunni Muslim community and the Shiite Muslim community. In general, the president is Christian, the government’s chief is Sunni Muslim and the Parliament’s president is Shiite Muslim. This sect-based system is, according to The economist, the source of Lebanon’s mismanagement. In fact, due to the current confessional system, the government lacks funds and keeps taking more and more money from taxpayers. Considering all the taxes that the Lebanese people are paying, having 24-hour long electricity should be more accessible, yet it is considered a privilege as electricity is rationed.

Furthermore, right before the beginning of the “October revolution“, many wildfires were ravaging Lebanon, yet the government mismanaged the situation and did not try to salvage it, instead it relied solely on international help. 

The last straw 
The tragic explosion that is believed to have been caused by negligence and corruption seemed to be the last straw, as protestors multiplied. According to CBC/Radio-Canada, the government in question was aware of the danger that the Ammonium nitrate preserved in Beirut could cause an explosion, yet it chose to ignore the warning. This tragedy that killed more than 200 people could have been prevented if the government was managed properly. 

Although the Hassan Diab government resigned as a result of this tragedy, the protestors don’t intend on stopping there. As explained earlier, it is the system that is flawed, therefore it is only logical that Lebanon’s civilians are still protesting. The situation will not change until the sect-based corrupted system is changed.

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