Amidst the instability of the Middle East, a new movement is taking shape in Lebanon. The country, which has been unable to elect a president since 2014, has been overrun with large amounts of garbage, a result of the closure of Lebanon’s largest landfill in mid-July. The people began by appealing for a sustainable solution to the trash crisis but they have since then began demanding total government reform.
Protests in the Middle East are often a reason for concern. These protests, on the other hand, seem to be having a positive effect on the people. The governing body of Lebanon is traditionally split between Christians, Sunni Muslims, and Shiite Muslims, and divisions between the people are not uncommon. However, the “You Stink” protests are non-partisan and represent a positive shift in how the people demand change.
You Stink organizer Lucien Bourjeily said, “They are coming together to attempt to mobilize the government to make the changes they want. Politicians always use the excuse that ‘the people are sectarian.”
“Yesterday we showed them that the people aren’t sectarian and that you can rise up against the political class. A door has been opened that cannot be shut,” Bourjeily said.
One Lebanese newspaper detailed the feeling of the “certainty of change” that accompanied these protests while another called it, “the Saturday of the people.” The people’s demands have not yet received a response from the government so Bourjeily plans an escalation of the movement but is not giving any further information.
Written by Rowida Zatar
Image: Z News