Lebanon gov’t hastily builds concrete wall, then tears it down

As previously explained, Beirut, Lebanon is in the midst of a series of protests against the dysfunctional national government for failing to arrange for trash collection in the capital. The government began panicking and backtracking after riot police violently assaulted protesters. But that didn’t mean they were actually planning to fix anything. They just didn’t want to have another crackdown.

This might be the weirdest possible solution:

The protests turned violent over the weekend, prompting the government to erect a concrete wall outside its main building to prevent protesters from reaching it.

Within hours, the wall was filled with anti-government graffiti.

“State of Shabiha,” one young man scrawled, an Arabic term for thugs. Another drawing showed a man’s body wrapped in a black cloth below a caption that read: “The shroud of the state.”

On Tuesday, authorities began removing the wall, just 24 hours after it was installed.

“They won’t fool us by removing the wall,” said Sarhan, the You Stink supporter. “Remove it or not, we don’t care. We want… an end to sectarianism. We want to build a state,” he said.

Popping a concrete wall into place — I assume they used pre-fab barriers rather than pouring it on-site — definitely sends a pretty specific message: “We are ‘fraidy-cats.” That’s in line with the rather pathetic, frantic pinwheeling of the Prime Minister after the crackdown.

“I was never in this for a position in government, I am one of you. I am with the people. Do not pit this conflict [as] one camp against the other. Target all the politicians.”

Delusional, tone-deaf speechifying to try to placate protesters is usually a pretty good sign of the impending fall of a government.

Also a nice touch, in building the wall, to give everyone at the protests a media-friendly canvas on which to paint their frustrations. Have Lebanon’s leaders never heard of all the political graffiti on the West Bank security barrier or the West Berlin wall?

Bill Humphrey

About Bill Humphrey

Bill Humphrey is the primary host of WVUD's Arsenal For Democracy talk radio show and a local elected official.
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