- Protests: Lebanon delves into its political crisis at the end of a month since the beginning of the WhatsApp revolution
The History of Lebanon books stopped the clocks at the end of the French mandate. The withdrawal of the Gallic troops in 1946 , after France admitted the independence of the 'country of the cedars' on November 22, 1943, after 23 years of mandate, is the last historical milestone recorded by the teaching manuals. Students do not study the contemporary era. Neither the Arab-Israeli conflict nor the Lebanese civil war appears in his books for lack of consensus on his narrative.
Today, a wave of civic response is shaking the foundations of the confessional system that the French left in inheritance and that faced the Lebanese. Indignation has united citizens, regardless of their identity, to demand a change of political paradigm and end the niches that divide citizenship into 18 religious confessions with hardly any crossroads. "Exactly a century later, the Lebanese are updating their model: jumping over what divides them by sects towards what unites them as citizens," wrote Jack Tohme, a Beiruti endocrine physician emigrated to the US, a few days ago in the newspaper 'An Nahar '.
Lebanon has marked on Friday the 76th anniversary of its independence from France with the hope that the protests against the political class will be the starting point towards a "new independence". The traditional military parade has not been able to be held in its usual location , the Plaza de los Mártires de Beirut, displaced by the sit-ins and camps of activists. The popular version of the military parade has been reflected in the dozens of "civil parades" that have converged on the imposing square, epicenter of the revolution that has been putting the authorities in check for 37 days.
The president, Michel Aoun; Acting Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament President Nabih Berri presided over the official acts. Hariri, with a serious expression, a little separated from Aoun and Berri, who talked amicably and exchanged smiles. For half an hour they watched the soldiers march. This time there was no deployment of armored cars or helicopter display flights . Nor foreign dignitaries. Berri and Aoun left hastily as soon as the parade ended.
In parallel, the civic marches took the street in a more colorful and cheerful parade, singing the anthem, displaying national flags and calling peacefully to the formation of a new government and the holding of elections outside the power-sharing system based on religious confessions that, according to protesters, leave hands free to sectarian leaders to plunder the state. "This is a popular Independence Day. Independence from corrupt authorities. November 22 is a day with a different flavor," read a banner.
76 years ago, the Lebanese Chamber of Deputies elected Bechara el Khoury as president and appointed Riad al Solh as prime minister, reformed the constitution and abolished articles referring to the French mandate. France responded with the arrest of the president, prime minister and several deputies. Christians and Muslims united against the French mandate and took to the streets to protest against the gala presence, which finally caused France to release the detainees on the morning of November 22, 1943. The day that the Lebanese celebrate as their Independence Day.
"The most important message today is that Lebanon is united again," Jilnar Mujaiber said yesterday, according to the Afp agency. "It is the first time that the Lebanese, with all their communities confused in one , demonstrate massively without responding to the call of any party. This is true independence," said Tamara, a 21-year-old student who, in the absence of books, receive history lessons in the streets.
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