Economic crisis, Covid-19 and certain sectarian attitudes threaten unity in Lebanon

Standtogether has been following the crisis affecting Lebanon. It’s a situation that continues to worsen, according to Asia News. On June 6, a demonstration took place. It was promoted by various civil society associations, which sought to revive the protest movement that had emerged in October 2019, and that had led to the fall of the government in power at the time. Nevertheless, this second demonstration became a clash that left dozens wounded and that would have had even more serious consequences had the military not intervened.

The clashes reflect a division between Christians and Muslims and, at the same time, between Shiites and Sunnis. Thus, the president of the republic made an appeal inviting the Lebanese people to rethink the dramatic years of civil war and work together for peace among different religious confessions. He said “attacking a religious symbol, whatever the Lebanese community it belongs to, means attacking the Lebanese family as a whole.”

Besides the different appeals, Asia News highlights recommendations to preserve civil liberty and peace promoted by Fr. Fadi Daou, from the Adyan foundation, and his complaints, on the one hand, of political and financial corruption, and on the other, of the situation of poverty and unemployment affecting a growing number of Lebanese due to the COVID-19 crisis. Fr. Daou directs his appeal to the people and to all state institutions. He says “the weakening of state power increases the chances of a civil war.” He also calls the media to avoid fomenting sectarian distinctions. Finally, he asks religious leaders “to openly delegitimize those who exploit religion or faiths to offend the religious symbols of others.

According to a second report by Asia News, a group of Shiite intellectuals published a press release last June 9 titled, “Shiite culture opposes injustice and corruption, and calls for a civilized, democratic and just state.” In it, they denounce the sectarian slogans launched by Hezbollah and Amal during the clashes with the demonstrators in Martyr Square. Regarding the protest in October, the document says “the Lebaense took to the streets, guided only by their common belonging to the nation,” and refusing “to be confined in confessional chains and united in the face of a power that has always invested in its community influence to consolidate corruption and patronage and weaken the state.” At the same time, the document stigmatizes “sectarian and petty policies that feed on divisions and discord and appeal to the Lebanese to remain committed to change to create a rule of law based on citizenship and the Constitution.”

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