Tag Archives: Lebanon

Lebanon’s Gray Society: breaking the traditional fault lines of Lebanese politics?

Commentary by Tamer Mallat – 6 September 2015

Image courtesy N. Mabsout

Image courtesy N. Mabsout

Lebanon’s micro-uprising has been remarkable in many ways. At first, the “You Stink” movement began as one of modest proportions, interested in the resolution of the extant waste management impasse. Unreasonable repression and governmental indifference, however, unearthed a shared sense of contempt towards a political class deemed by many as corrupt and unable to lead. The movement grew, and with it a debate resounded in Lebanon and abroad. Discussions quickly turned to the workings of our political system and of its sinister dynamics. For some, these protests represent the birth of a Lebanese third way, led by a generation that no longer identifies with the March 14 or March 8 coalitions. The momentum appears to be growing, and yet, the fortress of Lebanese gerontocracy holds steadfast. Notwithstanding institutional resistance, something has changed. This new societal dynamic, while remaining intrinsically rooted in the idiosyncratic nature of the Lebanese political system, may represent a shift of systemic dimensions. Continue reading

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Beirut Protests: This Is Not a Class Struggle

Commentary by Muhannad Hariri – 28 August 2015

You Stink Beirut Trash ProtestsLast weekend Beirut witnessed one of its largest independent protests over two consecutive days. These came at the end of a string of steadily growing demonstrations‎ organized by the #YouStink movement, an independent collective that began by demanding an ecologically responsible solution to the current Lebanese trash crisis. Centering on the issue of garbage disposal ensured that the group received widespread support and legitimacy, eventually ensuring massive participation at their first major rally last Saturday August 22nd. To be sure, by that point many other, predominantly left-wing groups had joined in and the stage was set for widespread civil intervention. But with the inclusion of so disparate a collection of Lebanese citizens, it was only a matter of time before garbage took its place beside many other pressing issues that naturally came to the fore. Continue reading

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Hariri and I, February 14, 2005 and the memories of a Beiruti adolescent

Tamer Mallat – 14 February 2015

Beirut_cornicheThere I was, the odd and insufferable teenager, waltzing my way – rather awkwardly, and certainly with no sense of elegance – through life, and more precisely, through the seemingly oppressive routine of every child’s inevitable trajectory: school. I was ugly and emaciated. My hair was long, and I believed myself to be some sort of messiah on his way of fulfilling an obscure and prophetic destiny. The future was predictably prosperous, meaningful. Of course, an ominous atmosphere in Beirut remained prevalent, even for me. Even so, an insufferable teenager – that was what I still was. Certainly aloof, chasing girls. But never entirely so. For I grew up in post-war Beirut. It was February 14, the year 2005. Valentine’s day, and I had no date. I was sitting in history class, in a room with a beautiful view of the Mediterranean.  Continue reading

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The EU’s Blacklisting of Hezbollah: Grandstanding or Game-changer?

Commentary by Bart Hesseling – 25 July 2013

hezbOn 22 July, the European Union’s 28 foreign ministers unanimously decided to place the ‘military wing’ of the Lebanese Hezbollah on a list of what it considers terrorist organizations, to loud cheers from Washington and Tel Aviv. It is a classic case of coherent policy giving way to political expediency. Beyond the political posturing, it doesn’t help to improve the situation in the countries directly affected, Syria and Lebanon. Continue reading

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Killing Mr. Lebanon II: Wissam al-Hassan

Commentary by Tamer Mallat – 21 October 2012

Ashraf Rifi and Wissam al-Hassan

Brigadier General Wissam al-Hassan, former Intelligence Chief of the Internal Security Forces (ISF), was one of those rare Lebanese civil servants who did his job, and this ultimately cost him his life. The greatest way to recognize his work and sacrifice lies in the acceptance of this reality. Unfortunately, analyses and reactions alike have so far undermined and overshadowed the accomplishments of General al-Hassan and ISF endeavors over the years, and do little to honor the battles that he has fought to defend Lebanon’s sovereignty. Continue reading

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Lebanon’s Government and the Assault on the Country’s Remaining Independent Institutions

 Commentary by Tamer Mallat – 27 June 2012

Source: al-akhbar.com

Much has been written in recent weeks concerning the spike in violence and criminality  in Lebanon since the start of the new year, and yet, most accounts have gone to great length to avoid pinpointing blame on one faction or another. The recent attempts to jump-start a new round of national reconciliation sessions, known as Lebanon’s infamous “National Dialogue”, has increased pressure on the belligerents of this seemingly cursed country to tone down their rhetoric. Worse, it has become symptomatic for different factions, neutral and partisan alike, to downplay the severity of recent calamities, all in the name of National Dialogue and illusionary stability. However, the majority of those represented in Lebanon’s executive arm of government are to blame for the deterioration of the ailing country’s situation. Continue reading

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The Special Tribunal for Lebanon: Justice Starts Somewhere…

Commentary by John Simon – 6 May 2012

A culture of impunity has suffocated the Lebanese political system since its inception. Since the assassination of the country’s first Prime Minister, Riad al-Solh, in 1951, Lebanon has witnessed countless political assassinations, a violent civil war that claimed the lives of tens of thousands, and countless other internal and external conflicts. And yet, there has been no justice for the bereaved or accountability for the transgressors. In fact, Lebanon has yet to undergo any real process of reconciliation, leaving it in a climate of perpetual instability. The current status quo is unacceptable and deprives many Lebanese of any hope of normality; justice must begin somewhere. Continue reading

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