It has been almost 3 months since the nation-wide uprising in Lebanon commenced, and there (still) seems to be no end in sight.
Towards the end of December, and after the consideration (and the failure to consider) multiple possible candidates for the position of prime minister, a candidate by the name of Hassan Diab was elected by the President. On December the 19th, president Aoun held negotiations with members of parliament and named Diab. A vote was held and Diab became the prime minister after he acquired 69 votes (out of 122). The votes he acquired represent mainly the parties who wish to remain in government – i.e, the Aoun party, Hezbollah and Amal. The Phalanges, Lebanese Forces and Future Movement refrained from voting in Diab’s favour.
Since then, much has been written and speculated about Diab. Diab has been accused of being a pro-hezbollah and pro-Assad candidate by protestors and have rejected his candidacy. Others have speculated that he will be able to overcome the sectarian and partisan tensions of the nation (even though he came into power because of those very tensions). His history as an academic has been put into question, as well as his performance as Minister for Education (which he served as between 2011 and 2014).
On paper, he seems very impressive. His CV is more than glowing (it’s over 30 pages). However, he has yet to form a government. With the recent killing of Qassem Suleimani, an Iranian General, on Friday 3rd of January, the formation of government will be stalled as pro-Iranian factions of the Lebanese government will likely need to recuperate. In addition to that, and, more importantly, he is a mere continuation of the old, stale, mouldy ilk that the protests are fighting to dismantle.
In essence, it does not matter if he will be able to overcome the sectarian tensions of the nation. It does not matter if and when he will form a government. It does not matter if he can see the nation through the economic crisis it is undergoing. It doesn’t even matter that he can make Lebanon a semi-bearable country because, he has been chosen by the existing political class. And he has been chosen to protect their interests. Whether he (or any candidate) was picked by the Hezbollah-Aoun side or the Hariri side, the adequate response (at least from the uprising audience) is a resounding rejection because a candidate picked by these people can only be there to maintain the status quo.
The politicians (for and against) have been harping on about the delicate sectarian balance that must be maintained and protected in Lebanon, in order to ensure that everyone’s rights and needs are met. To the ears of the revolution, this conversation is moot. The uprising is concerned with weeding out sectarianism from Lebanon – from it’s very roots. When the uprising succeeds, the delicate political balance that the ruling class are ‘worried about’ will no longer exist.
As the threat of violence looms over the Middle East and the Lebanese media fawns over Carlos Ghosn – the disgraced former chairman of Nissan – instead of covering the protests, the Lebanese protesters persevere.