EPISODE 5: LEBANON PROTESTS
Oppression breeds resistance. Now, those who are exploited and persecuted, and oppressed in Lebanon are in an independence resistance!
On 4 August 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored in the Lebanese capital port of Beirut exploded, causing approximately 204 deaths, 6,500 injuries, and damage of $ 15 billion. The explosives were held in a warehouse in the port without proper security measures for six years after the abandoned vessel MV Rhosus was seized by Lebanese authorities. The exact cause of the explosion is still under investigation as of November 2020, although people thought it’s because of the fire in the warehouse where the explosives were located. The earthquake of this terrible event even felt from Turkey, Syria, Israel, Palestine, and some parts of Europe, it was considered one of the most powerful non-nuclear explosions in history. Even days after the explosion, because no minister and government official apologize to the public, visit the wounded in the hospital, and did nothing about the damage at the port, it caused the public to organize anti-government protests. These protests combined with the protests against government corruption that started in 2019 and turned into a massive movement.
The Lebanese economy was in a crisis before the explosion, with the government’s external debt, the fall of the Lebanese pound, and the poverty rate rising to over 50%. Also, during the COVID-19 outbreak in Lebanon, many hospitals closed in the country since the hospitals couldn’t pay the staffs’ wages due to the financial crisis.
Following the explosion, the public expressed their anger against the government on social media. They shared, “Today we mourn, tomorrow we clean and the next day, we hang them.” Port authorities, judiciary, and possibly other top officials knew about this time bomb dropped in the middle of a city of 2 million population. Understanding this, the protesters filled the social media with pictures of guillotines and knots and sent a very clear and determined message to the oppressive government they lived under for 40 years!
A year after the WhatsApp tax protests that started in 2019, Lebanon self-organized using the resources of social community organizations since the government didn’t provide. However, these resources are also limited. The Lebanese government must provide more to its citizens for the country as a whole to function in peace and unity. Lebanese politicians and political parties must put aside their differences. Instead, they should focus on bridging the gap between socioeconomic classes, rebuilding Beirut, and providing financial and housing assistance to all those affected by this economic collapse. This is exactly what the protesters want: to exist under normal conditions and the state they pay taxes to serve them.
The age of Aquarius showed what we can expect from it before it arrives, through the brave revolts of the oppressed peoples. We can’t expect for the stars in the sky to magically fix all the world’s problems, yes. However, collectively, we are on the verge of awakening, and we are the ones who will magically heal the world with the energy this age will bring! Stay tuned for Episode 6.