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Lebanon: 128 Dictators or More to Revolt Against?

While the Arab world has been and is still revolting against its dictators, the situation in Lebanon is a bit different and more complex. According to activists Imad Bazzi and Ali Fakhry, the Lebanese people are suffering from 128 dictators, who make up the Lebanese Parliament, and a sectarian regime. They both decided on the 16th of February to practice their right as Lebanese citizens and speak out loud against this situation. Here's how it went and how the Lebanese on line community reacted to this move.

The Lebanese parliament building in downtown Beirut. Image by Flickr user nathanm (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The Lebanese parliament building in downtown Beirut. Image by Flickr user nathanm (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Before announcing what the two activists intended to do, Imad posted a statement where he talked about the Lebanese situation and his dreams of change since Lebanon is not different from its neighbours, Egypt or Tunisia. He explained it by stating the problems in the country like corruption and the lack of freedom of speech, fair elections, social justice and medical insurance, among other grievances. He blamed the politicians for all of those issues saying:

سؤال بديهي، من هو المسبب؟ وهل هناك حاجة الى تحليل السبب والمسبب؟ اليس الأمر واضحاً؟ اليست الطبقة السياسية اللبنانية من اغنياء الحرب وامراءها والمتاجرين بالموتى مسؤولة عما عصف بالبلاد منذ ما قبل 1975 الى اليوم؟ اليسوا هم ذاتهم من قضم حقوقنا وباعها، وإن لم يفعلوا ذلك بالمال فعلوه بتعطيل اي اساس لأي حراك ديمقراطي في البلاد بالتهديد بالويل والثبور وعظائم الأمور؟

Here's a question, whose fault is it? Is there a need to analyse what was done and who did it? Isn't it obvious? Isn't it the Lebanese political layer of rich warlords and those who trade in blood who are behind what plagued the country from 1975 till today? Aren't they the same people who took our rights, either by money or threatening any democratic movement?

On the 16th of February, Imad, who describes himself as a full time blogger, and his activist friend Ali Fakhry decided to announce their rejection to the sectarian regime by sneaking into the Parliament building in down town Beirut and holding two banners which read: “Egypt had one dictator, we have 128″ and “The people want the sectarian regime down” in Arabic. In no time they were faced by the police who threatened them, ripped their banners off and deleted the images on a digital camera they had with them.

The Lebanese twitosphere's reaction was torn between supporting and making fun of what they called a foolish stunt that was more entertaining than useful.

Below are some of the supporting tweets:

@Emiliehasrouty:@TrellaLB wut u did was fab, most of us were behind their laptops with a cup of coffee, warm & safe… Respect… & #Saba7o :)

@maheriskandar: #feb16 its not foolish! if you cant find a job, buy a house, think that electricity must be 24/24, and against secterianism: REVOLT

@LebaneseVoices: #feb16 didn't need to be a big-bang but it showed the metal of many. those that rant about change but really never care enough to try.

Other tweeps had different opinions:

@footnem: I guess #Feb16 is just an attempt by @TrellaLB to be the new @ghonim

@FadyRoumieh: For all those considering burning themselves in Martyr Square today – Think again. It's Raining, u will NOT, I repeat, will NOT catch fire!

@footnem: it's a no man revolution since howe mich 3erif RT @sam_lb: It appears to be a one man revolution… As in only one man knows about it #Feb16

The following day, Imad wrote a post[Ar] at his blog Trella about what happened, which he concluded saying:

كلمة اخيرة ، ردود الفعل حول الموضوع لا تهم ، تأييدكم ام إعتراضكم ليس المغزى، واشكركم جزيل الشكر لانكم انتم من حقق هدف التحرك، إن اطلقتم النكات الغبية او ابديتم التأييد، لا يهم، فالمهم انكم حاورتم وناقشتم، وهذا هو المطلوب، Mission Accomplished

One last word, the reactions to what happened don't matter. Your support or objection is not the point. And I thank you very much because you have achieved what this movement targeted. If you told stupid jokes or showed your support, it doesn't matter. What matters is that you discussed it and that's the goal. Mission Accomplished

What would it take for the Lebanese people to revolt? You can check the hashtag #UniteLB on Twitter for examples of what today's Lebanese people want.

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