Promoting reform has long been the self-examination and consensus of all walks of life in Lebanon. The Beirut explosion is an unbearable pain for the country, which may give birth to a turning point for the crisis.
at least 158 people have been killed and 6000 injured in Beirut, which shocked the world. It has also destroyed an important grain depot. In addition to the rising number of casualties and the possible food crisis, the dissatisfaction of the people of Lebanon is also accumulating. After fear and confusion at the beginning of the incident, some people also broke through the “emotional critical point”, and large-scale demonstrations after the disaster poured in.
on August 8, thousands of protestors gathered in the center of Beirut, shouting “the people want to overthrow the regime”, claiming that “the explosion that destroyed the whole city and shocked the world was the direct result of Lebanon and corruption”. The demonstration quickly turned into a violent conflict between the people and the military police, initially leading to one death and 238 injured.
at the same time that the military and police of Lebanon made full efforts to deal with the violent demonstration, several retired military officers and several protestors rushed into the building of the Ministry of foreign affairs of Lebanon, which was seriously damaged in the explosion, to “take over”, and announced the establishment of a “revolutionary headquarters”.
facing the surging Street movement, Hassan diab, the Prime Minister of Lebanon who was “ordered to be in danger” and completed the cabinet formation in late January this year, said, “only by holding parliamentary elections in advance can we get out of the crisis”. It is not difficult to see that there is a huge cognitive gap between the radical demands of the protestors and the rescue measures of the prime minister. In fact, there is a “self talk” zero communication state between the two.
the big bang in Beirut is the biggest crisis that the government and the people of Lebanon are experiencing at present. Especially for the government of Lebanon, its fragile political ecology with sectarian decentralization politics as the background has been greatly tested.
how to find the “focus” in order to turn “crisis” into “opportunity” is the top priority that it has to actively face and seek effective response, which is related to the ruling legitimacy of the government of Lebanon and the economic reconstruction after the crisis in Lebanon.
in fact, it is not easy to alleviate the national crisis in Lebanon, whether it is emotional slogans to protest against the people’s “overthrow of the regime”, the “behavioral art” of establishing “revolutionary headquarters”, or the helpless expectation of “early parliamentary election” proposed by the Prime Minister.
specifically, although the current crisis in Lebanon has deep-seated political and economic reasons, and the current violent demonstration is also a continuation of last year’s demonstrations, the crisis, after all, has a strong color of public security crisis. In other words, if Lebanon wants to get out of the crisis, it must distinguish between the urgent and the long-term strategies.
first of all, from the point of urgency, how to improve the level of emergency management in Lebanon is the key to quelling public anger and street movements. If Lebanon wants to get out of the current crisis, emergency rescue, accident accountability, disaster compensation and international assistance are indispensable.
for the large explosion, which is said to have reached 250000 homeless people, which is comparable to a small nuclear bomb attack, it is imperative to do a good job in the aftermath of the victims and their families, minimize the number of casualties, resettle large-scale homeless people, and prevent secondary disasters such as epidemics after the disaster.
the truth is a powerful weapon to refute rumors. While carrying out emergency rescue work, it is urgent to investigate the cause and effect of the accident. The “house arrest” of the relevant officials in the port area by the government of Lebanon is a positive signal. In order to eliminate the double interference of conspiracy theory and anti intellectualism, the nature of the accident and the determination of responsibility will provide the basis for disaster compensation in the next step.
in addition, international understanding and assistance are crucial. Lebanon, hit by street movements, economic recession and the outbreak of the new crown, can be said to be “helpless” after the big bang. However, international understanding is the prerequisite for promoting international assistance. After all, UN peacekeepers were injured in the explosion, and the wife of the Dutch ambassador to Lebanon was also seriously injured.
secondly, from a long-term perspective, political change in Lebanon is the fundamental guarantee to minimize such major security incidents. Prime Minister diab’s call for early parliamentary elections is also a solution to the crisis. In history, the term of office of the parliament of Lebanon has been extremely irregular due to the influence of war and political struggle. The last term of Parliament lasted from 2009 to 2018. In fact, under the background of the increasingly solidified mosaic style sectarian decentralization politics, even if the parliament is re elected, it can only produce the effect of “curing the symptoms rather than the root causes”. Therefore, the fundamental political reform may be the fundamental solution to help Lebanon out of its predicament.
France has maintained close ties with Lebanon for a long time. This time, President Marco ó n went to Beirut in person to appeal for “urgent reform” to the political elites of Lebanon. Otherwise, Lebanon “will continue to sink”, and on the other hand, he assured Lebanon’s protestors that “aid will not fall into the hands of corrupt people.”.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day.” promoting reform has long been the self reflection and consensus of all walks of life in Lebanon. The Beirut explosion is also an unbearable pain for the country, which will give birth to a turning point for the crisis.