A Revolution that has a pause? Seriously?

Taken by Michael Maalouf

yes, this is another article that is complaining about the situation and probably this and all the voices raised will have low chances of changing anything in this country such negative times we live in. This sounds very pessimistic and would make revolution activists angry while they themselves have given up and gone down on the streets occasionally and not frequently. As a person who believed that this would change anything for a while now, I do not believe in it at all and think of the revolution in a different way. My sincere opinion does not matter but what matters are the things that the people are not looking into and aren’t really aware of. From how I see it the Politicians are happy now they are finishing up the foreign agendas they are working for and the resistance against them doesn’t scare them and never will as the people are held hostage economically, socially, psychologically, and politically. The people are dead almost everyone gave up and are being abused daily by our government however no one is going down in the streets even though conditions are much worse and harsh. Hate to break it to you but everyone including me has been manipulated and were not able to transfer our sincere requests for change properly and here is the reason why. Before I continue there are some things that should be clarified if there are big remarks on the revolution from my side that doesn’t mean that I’m with the ruling parties as a matter of fact if they where in the opposition they would have done the same things also whoever was in the revolution and I was one of them it doesn’t mean they are people who want to harm their country or are directly controlled by foreign powers and countries it is all the in the game of politics in the way I understand it.

If the Lebanese people really wanted to do a revolution against the corrupted ruling class, it should have been right after the war when the Taef agreement and the Syrian occupation has put the same war criminals that destroyed their properties, displaced thousands of people, killed many innocent lives, crippled many people, and destroyed our once-thriving economy both militarily and policy-wise. After the war maybe it was a sensitive time where a protest can lead to a whole new chaotic state, however, why did it start on October 17, 2019, after a long wait to go down on our full-scale force to fight for our rights. It was nothing like the Cedar revolution or any protest that happened before it as the economic situation has begun to worsen and started its lowest stage in Lebanon’s modern history. As harsh as it sounds there were initiators on the ground that sprung the feeling of thousands of Lebanese to go down the streets and protest.

The initiators we all know- Taken By Michael Maalouf

Initiators the few that start the whole thing.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a great book by Professor Robert Cialdini that had a point that has stayed in my mind for a while now which is “Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer” In this book, he talks about how most of us wait for someone to do an action and follow him the most noticeable example was an experiment in which someone was lying down on the street and feeling severely sick while people are passing and not doing anything once they sent someone to help others came to help also as they were afraid and wanted someone to do something, that’s why the successful always take action as they say. On the night of the protests, I wanted to experience this historical moment so I went down to the streets to check it out what I saw was loyal political party partisans heading the street closures which I saw later on in different protests in different areas as if they are going to work and they weren’t the regular street activists are well known they were partisan thugs that can be spotted from afar. These 5% initiators closed the roads with their trucks, burnt tires, and crowding tactics in all areas across the country and made the 95% follow them into the streets as everyone at that time had a deep desire for change. Whether it was pre-planned or intended the shock was widespread as the number of the people that went down the street exceeded the ones expected to go down.

Dunbar’s Social Hypothesis (The 150 Rule) and maintaining social order.

It was like a dream to many Lebanese people from all sects, areas, and parties went down to the streets for change that has long been waited for. However, enthusiasm and power was short-lived and was taken over by the parties after they lost control. After a month of the revolution, many sides appeared with each side having a whole different subjective ideal for the revolution and the groups were widely diverse and somehow met in the tents in the martyrs square a combination that is very unlikely. Some want a decentralized form of governance while others want a centralized form also some want Hezbollah’s weapons to remains while others do not. There was a widespread irony in the revolution and hypocrisy at its best. I personally believe that large groups with the same ideals are rare to be formed but need to be organized well. The rule of 150 or what is known as Dunbar's social hypothesis states that to maintain a healthy social relationship a group must not exceed 150. For examples in housing projects throughout the world where one building hosts more than a 100 building itself or anyplace with huge crowds of people have a lot of conflicts in them and I’m sure so many areas came into your mind as there is personal space involved and an influence limit this comes as a hardline rule. This shows that these thousands of people can’t naturally come to the same mission unless there are small group coordinating through heads to make it clear imagine 150 people who completely agree which is kind of the number of heads of a large organization each one can have influence over another 150 and this is how the snowball effect happens however there will always be an influencer a provider regardless if he has good intentions or not.

As a matter of fact, the ruling class did not look worried at all and was well relaxed compared to the hatred it got in the street or maybe because the hatred was directed mostly to

Media covering a protest in front of the Lebanese Parliament Taken by Michael Maalouf

Media and Subversion

Media a tool that turns into the ultimate force of manipulation and subversion that has been used throughout history and has been the main fuel for both World wars were the word propaganda was raised as a common term for manipulation and driving the masses. The people’s demands are justified however misleading this passion and energy is very easy whether it was through changing some details in the subject or simply giving the space for mass manipulators to take the stage through using intelligent and sneaky methods.

WW2 Propaganda used by the U.S. military against the Japanese Army in aim of getting funding.

While having a conversation with a political activist he made me realize something big he told me “ Macron saved Lebanon’s political class after the Beirut explosion” and I told him how come? he just said imagine if he didn’t come what would have happened. Then I started imagining Lebanon without any direct political interference from abroad, that humiliated our politicians and no one who has higher authority than us all in Lebanon including the politicians embarrassed the politicians and bashed them. The people would have filled up the streets and took the politicians directly to execution after all they did to lead to a grand catastrophe unlike any other in history. Macron gave the people a sense of anger release after he humiliated the political class however he and other nations maintained their proxy puppets in the country. An unfair deal if you want to ask me, therefore manipulation is done by everyone from the smallest politician to a world-class politician. This is a broad example however it is occurring daily though telling you the news but driving your attention away from the real solution. The media today has reached a level in which it started to take over your thinking and make it easier for you not to think. If the media says that the Port explosion is an accident most people believe it as so. Not everyone is easily manipulated by the media however it has a great effect on us especially when the issue is serious and overflown with triggering language it would be later when you realize it is all fake.

The Actor-Religious figures which were later exposed as fake — Taken by Michael Maalouf

The factor of surviving

Protesting daily and frequently isn’t only about motive and control however it is also about survival as the majority of the Lebanese people needed to go to their work eventually after the closure of most streets in the country for weeks, people need to provide for themselves at the end of the day. However, some famous revolutionaries somehow were living out of the protests as they stayed on the ground around the clock which makes us wonder where their funding came from. Other than that it has been proven that after several months of protesting people have lost hope and as conditions have hardened they were stressed from the situation and couldn’t handle any more pressure after what they had gone through. It is the numbness that people felt after all this chaotic year, however, there was always those who motivated them to go and gave them hope and a push where are they today? And why?

Revolutionaries as a tool for negotiations.

This might sound like pro-government propaganda however the protest tool is used by strategists of all sides whether they were in the ruling class or not. Since the times of the formation of the Sykes-Picot agreement, the region has witnessed the so-called “Revolutions” or sudden protests. While the British and French were fighting over the region for control there was a time that the British were still persistent to take control of Syria and Lebanon even though that wasn’t part of the agreement however they kept on pushing forward in order to gain control. One of the most noticeable incidents is the Druze Revolution in Sweida, Syria which caused a lot of trouble to the French and was headed by the Wise Sultan al-Atrash however after time they realized that the Druze have been receiving aid from the British though Jordan. A righteous revolution against French influence was taken over by British interests.

Sultan Al-Atrash who lead the Druze Revoltuion

What about our beloved revolution? Well, there is a huge possibility It can be directed by a side or by different sides and it's probable since the protests have become occasional and come in interesting times and came against specific people at certain times when they had disagreements under the table. You want to get to know how this might be related you have to be focused on the organizations that are supporting or organizing the protests would not go more into details after this. This is a possibility however not a fact so just think about it and try to correlate it.

Where to go from there and how to create change:

It would be unfair to say that this revolution didn’t change anything to the better as a matter of fact it got many people more into understanding politics, realize how political parties are manipulating them closely, gathered people from different backgrounds, educated people on many things through discussions and projects, major independent wins in Lebanese universities, and finally, it created a major societal change based on knowing your rights. Even though I don’t agree with many solutions proposed but I think a person who is searching for something will eventually find it no matter the way it is done. For now, the only way to create change is supporting your community through your own expertise and educating yourself and others on Economics, Politics, Geo-Politics, and Financial literacy as all these things make up responsible and confident citizens that know who play them. Entering the political life is encouraged however while having realistic expectations which is a thing much needed in order to reach your goals.

A poster declaring the victory of independent candidates regardless if you support such ideals or not it is considered a break from the traditional setting.

Finally, I would like to say that this revolution opened my eyes to a lot of aspects and the Lebanese people have proved to be intelligent in many areas as the people have prevented things from going worse due to our unity and support for each other, especially after the explosion. There is hope for change, however not in the short term, it takes time like anything of quality. Hope this article opened your eyes to some factors and always remember that there is someone who wants to profit from your struggle.

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Writing about Geo-politics, Society, Culture, History, and Economics.

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Michael Maalouf

Michael Maalouf

Writing about Geo-politics, Society, Culture, History, and Economics.

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