|Photo credit - Tarek Chemaly|
Great, because they were taken in 2005. When the first manifestations happened following the assassination of Rafik Hariri.
I keep hearing how these new ones are "different", how these ones work because they are leaderless, how politicians did not hijack these (yet? who knows!), how these are purer because they express what "all" the "Lebanese" (as a vague entity!) want, how these can bring "real" change, how those in 2005 actually worked because they did manage to get the Syrians out (as if it was their sole purpose! which it was not!).... And the list goes on and on....
I speculated prior that perhaps people on the streets do not know what they want but know what they do not want, and that their demands verge towards the absurd (there are newer lists of demands at this stage though, with more or less the same ideas), and I was said to be "devoid of hope", "fatidic", "negative" and a "pessimist".
There is a change.org petition circulating about "removing banking secrecy from the accounts of all the Lebanese in Swiss banks" - yep, that should bring the "optimist" in me considering how 1) some Lebanese happen to live and work in Switzerland 2) some Lebanese have legitimate businesses there 3) it is practically impossible to do it as it needs to be approved by banks, and by the Swiss state. This should tell you the level of seriousness we are dealing with - actually, the fact that tens of thousands of people already signed should be an even bigger and scarier indicator.
I keep hearing talks about a "technocrat" government (which I previously called technocrap), but all these talks seem to happen in the void or - again - as I said earlier they imply all politicians except the one people follow which would bring us to the same vicious circle logic, although there is a slogan #كلن_يعني_كلن - everyone means everyone - I got serious doubts this applies to the mind of people who really have a liking to a specific party/politician.
I tend to think people really underestimate the void that would happen should the government resign, the effect this would have on the frail economy as it is. How easy it is do you think to get another govenment formed? How fast? How efficient it would be? Already the "famous" economic paper issued by the government seems not to have pleased people protesting who seem - to quote the Queen song - that "(they) want it all, and (they) want it now".
Which bring us back to what they want, to begin with.
So this is exactly the kind of damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.
But hey, I decided, after speaking to several people, some incredibly connected, some less so, that basically, I am not going to stand in anyone's way. A big change is coming? A new government? A new system? A whole new shebang? Super! Call me when you're finished.