181 people Killed, Loss of $15,000,000,000, Starvation to Death and 300,000 people Homeless is only a Trailer in a country “Lebanon.”
181 people were killed in the dangerous blast in Lebanon,
The entire government of Lebanon has resigned, including its prime minister, health minister, the Finance minister, and the whole cabinet.
The resignation is superficial news.
The story behind is more dangerous and unique. The blast is only the symptom of
Lebanon’s fallen political system.
Today, Lebanon is suffering from one of the worst economic crises globally, not only an economic crisis but health crises, garbage crises, and rampant unemployment in their country.
What is the reason behind it? What is their political system which has devastated their country?
The exact reason behind the blast is unknown yet. Still, Lebanon media is sharing a logic that someone has stored more than 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate in the Beirut port.
Beirut is the capital of Lebanon, but the government does not directly control this port. The customs authority and the Beirut port authority jointly manage it.
The fact is that the loyal supporters of the president control the customs authority and the former prime minister’s supporter control the Beirut port authority.
It leads to various conflicts between them.
You might wonder how the president supporters are doing something else, and the supporters of their former prime minister are doing something else?
For this, we must understand the political system of Lebanon.
It is a unique system and the way it works.
Politics of Lebanon
The country Lebanon shares borders with Syria, Israel and Cyprus.
It has a very interesting religious demography, It has 27% Shia Muslims, 27% Sunni Muslims, 21% Maronite Christians (Maronite is a sect in Christian similar to Catholics and protestants), and the others are some communities of a different religion.
There are almost 18+ religious communities that comprise the Lebanon.
Sunnis, Shias, and Christians are the main ones. The interesting fact is that in 1943 when the country got independence from the French colonizers. The new government said, they would provide equal representation to every religious community and no community will be left out.
They would provide equal opportunities to every religious community and would give equal representation in the parliament.
They made a rule that the prime minister would always be a Sunni Muslim, the president would be Maronite Christian, and the parliament speaker would ever be Shia Muslim.
So the president will always be a Maronite Christian, and no one from other communities can become president, and similar goes to both other posts.
The system theoretically sounds good because every religious community will get a position of power and an equal chance to happily work together.
But in reality, nothing like that happened.
What happened is, every religious group made its own political party which worked only for the future and interests of their particular group, it resulted in increasing conflicts among the communities.
Whenever there was a problem in the country, these parties would blame other religious groups,
ultimately resulted in a civil war (1975–90) in Lebanon.
The chaos of the system
Various reasons are states for civil war from 1975–1990, for instance, many refugees came from Palestine which triggered many more conflicts.
In 1990 after the end of the civil war, a second republic was established within Lebanon.
Earlier president a Maronite Christian had much more powers as compared to the prime minister and the parliament; the power of the president was reduced, and a little more equal representation was granted to the Christians and Muslims in the parliament.
You would assume that things would get simpler after 1990, but like I previously said, the political parties kept blaming each other.
The country could not function appropriately as religion was so involved in politics that every community would vote for their own community’s political party and work only for their community.
This led to the external forces (foreign countries) putting their influence on Lebanon.
For example, Iran is a Shia Muslim country, and Saudi Arabia is a Sunni Muslim country.
Both the countries started their influence over Lebanon, The political parties of Shia Muslim and Sunni Muslims were externally supported by the Iran and Saudi Arabia, similar thing happened with the Maronite Christians.
Israel also get involved in the Lebanon politics. Hence the condition did not improve even after the second republic.
Parties bribed each other, negotiated each other, and corrupted the whole political system.
Today the conditions are so terrible that Lebanon has the world’s 3rd worst debt to GDP ratio at 150%, the youth unemployment rate is 37%, and the overall unemployment rate is 25%.
Economic crises 2019
More than 1/3 population of Lebanon is below the poverty line. After the civil war, the infrastructure was never rebuilt due to no funds with the government.
The politicians were busy filling their pockets and making people fight in the name of religion. It made the government completely hollow, and the government had no funds at their disposal.
What would the government do if it had no funds and such a huge debt?
The government would increase the tax on the public to get more funds for itself, and the same happened. By late September, the problem was of such a magnitude that people could not take out their money from ATM.
On 17th October, the government announced a new tax on WhatsApp calls ($6 a month), it was the tipping point for the people. They refused to endure anymore and thus began the October revolution in 2019.
Although the government immediately took back the decision to impose a tax on WhatsApp, but it already triggered the new revolution.
The protest started, and thousands came out on the streets. People of all religious communities came together to protest against the government.
Many Lebanese has the same statements “These ministers and legislators should be in jail, they are thieves. They beg money from other countries on behalf of Lebanese and then they fill their pockets”
A new prime minister was elected, he announced that Lebanon must take strict economic actions to improve the situation.
People get confidence because of him, but then comes the crisis of COVID-19, which further degraded the economic conditions. And top of that, on 13th August 2020, the blast happened, after which the new prime minister also resigned.
It is estimated that more than 300,000 people became homeless because of the blast on Beirut port, and the damage amount is more than $15,000,000,000 (15 billion dollars).
During his resignation, the Prime minister said that the country is now at the mercy of God, no government can save the country.
Now the protesters and people of Lebanon demand more than changing government.
They want a new political system with no significant influence of religion over politics.
Coming time will not be more comfortable for Lebanese as overthrowing political parties is more than a difficult task. One of the most dominant political party
“the Hezbollah party” is Shia dominated party and termed as a terrorist organization
by many countries like the USA and European Union.
What do you think, should religion influence politics or politics must be independent of religion?
Think and comment your views in the comment section.