How Culture has been Utilized as a Movement for Change in Lebanon


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By: Ala Abed-Rabbo/Arab America Contributing Writer

Lebanon’s Protest 

Lebanon’s Protest: During the first days of Lebanon’s protest that took place on October 17, 2019, protesters laughed as they sang cheerfully in the excitement of the massive crowd urging change. The day of the revolution, held in Beirut, Lebanon, was warm and bright. The people joined in sending a message against government corruption and economy measures.

Despite the contests that will face the political progress born from this uprising, many are optimistic that it will yield a constructive shift in the long run.

Moreover, the assumption that the direct cause of the protests was due to the intended obligatory taxes on online phone calls, like What’s App, gas, and tobacco. Protesters from across the country broke out right after Cabinet talks of the taxes due to be endorsed by October 22, 2019.

The request came when many residents were worried about a forthcoming currency catastrophe. They spoke and are tired of a political system based on favoritism and sectarian identity that is unsuccessful in providing essential services. The nation deteriorates from long-running absences in government-providing electricity and water. The government also failed to take care of the waste collection.

Besides, the government did not prepare to manage enormous forest fires that erupted around the country. Civil defense helpers lacked the necessary equipment. Also, in 2009, three firefighting helicopters that were donated did not work because of the lack of maintenance.

Dancing at the Lebanese Revolution for Change

The Lebanese people have handled conflict by utilizing comedy, humor, satire, and lots of dancing. This Thawra or revolution, as opposing-government activists in Lebanon call it, is no different. Such accompanied by skillful handwritten posters, expletive-laced songs, and even some singing “Baby Shark.”

The Humor of the Lebanese Protesters 

How Culture has been Utilized as a Movement for Change in Lebanon
Middle East Eye

Furthermore, for weeks now, protesters have required better public services, economic improvements, and a new government. Many people have done so while carrying a Lebanese flag in one hand and a beer in the other.

Also, the people’s concerns: “We have fundings but they are disappearing into bank accounts somewhere in the world that we don’t know about,” Shlelah said.”

The population demands the country’s funds need to go into schooling, health care, and retirement arrangements for the citizens. They ask that the money not go into the private bank accounts for particular people in administrative control.

The Lebanese Way for Change

How Culture has been Utilized as a Movement for Change in Lebanon

People came to the marches on foot, conversing and laughing, with flags flapping. However, before the protest rally, most seemed anxious. Due to economic and political conditions, people could dispute in the streets. As they arrived at the squares, it was like a balloon erupted, and the stress levels disappeared.

Among the chaos, the Lebanese people made sure to ease up the atmosphere with inspiring speeches and a great sense of humor through music, dance, and hookah.

2019 is the year for many protests across the globe — such countries, like Hong Kong, Iraq, Spain, Lebanon, and Egypt. However, none of those have been a contest for the Lebanese demonstrations that utilized culture and different approaches to reform.

Dabke at the Protest

Moreover, Dabke or Debka is an Arab folk dance. It started in the mountainous provinces above the Mediterranean shoreline and the Tigris River. Lebanese society is the product of a varied population of faith, racial groups, and people that have lived there for many decades.

Dabke is a dance performed by people, holding hands, stomping feet in a large circle, and often included at blissful events, like weddings and other festive occasions. Lebanon’s latest protest has been marked by replicate performances of the dabke folk dance as a significant moment in the country’s modern history.

Comedy in the Protest

How Culture has been Utilized as a Movement for Change in Lebanon

In the early days of the revolutionary movement, comic relief played a large part in joining Lebanese together primarily through chants. Hundreds of Lebanese stood together, joking, smoking cigarettes, and playing music. They blocked a central road in Beirut.

DJ Time Through the Protest!

The people of Aley City saw a change to the traditional wedding as a bride and groom joined in the protest. Also, with much of Beirut’s current history, this time the people saw fireworks exploding above them as they celebrated. In Tripoli, a viral video demonstrated a local DJ playing to the crowd.

Overall, in comparison to the other countries that have driven out leaders with street rallies. The Lebanese protesters are trying to get rid of an entire system. They are striving to do so through celebrations, joy, and humor. The downtown activists sang against the country’s president and the political establishment saying “all of them” should go. Many of the demands and cultural activities in the protests were echoed around the world, and in particular, in America.