To Dr Andrew Arsan, Lebanon is “a microcosm of the contemporary world. His book “Lebanon: A Country in Fragments” deals with the events of 2005 to 2018. In those thirteen years, Lebanon had thirty-four months without a president; a war which left over a thousand killed in 30 days and displaced a quarter of its population; forty-eight separate bombings and twenty-one assassinations or assassination attempts, mainly targeting anti-Assad figures; a potential civil war; conflicts between religious sects, the army, Hezbollah, and/or Syria-based groups; and over a million refugees fleeing the violence in Syria. These are the thirteen years that have followed the Cedar Revolution of 2005 which forced the other invading army, the Syrian one, out of the country.
The episode was scheduled to happen before Lebanon’s October 17th Revolution but, by a happy coincidence, we ended up doing it on November 4th. So, naturally, we discussed the significance of the protests.
How are protesters trying to reclaim space, and why does that matter? Can they pave the path forward for a truly non-sectarian Lebanon? What kind of future is possible if the past is contested and the present endlessly postponed?
Joey’s review of the book, published a week before the revolution.