Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Worldwide, there have been grassroots movements in the past year without leadership going on in Lebanon, Iraq, Chile, and Ecuador that are calling out government corruption and calling for economic reform*.
On October 20, 2019, protests on the streets took place in Lebanon. The last straw before Lebanon’s united call for change was a tax on Whatsapp*. Whatsapp is a free messenger app that many use to communicate with people all around the world. The tax is twice as significant when you take into account the fact that the economic situation is driving people out of the country to look for jobs, when Whatsapp may be the main form of communication for divided families, as it relies on the internet and works well across countries.
“Above 30% of unemployment” -Dana Dazahreddina
Broadcast journalist Cal Perry interviews Lebanese university student Dana Dazahreddina for NBC News. She is concerned about inflation and government scandals where politicians have been hiding money in other countries. She wants to stay in Lebanon but finds it difficult considering how hard it is to acquire jobs in the country; and the fact that if they are acquired, they’re minimum wage*.
To update on the situation in Lebanon, as protests have continued into 2020, American Freelance Journalist Nicholas Frakes was arrested for taking photographs of the scene**. A new government was formed, but protests continued, as it was believed to be too little too late. Yet, the government is taking steps to get them out of their worst financial crisis since their 15-year civil war while trying to stay out of a proxy between the United States and Iran while it tries to get back on its feet and work towards bettering the economic situation in Lebanon. Still, it is believed that protests will become more intense as the government was formed after the promise of violence in protests called the “Week of Rage”***.
These economic protests have affected millions, solely in the aforementioned countries that have taken action, yet many more are looking for economic reform. Check out the NBC News video for more interviews and to learn a bit about the protests that coincided this past October:
*(2019, October 29). Retrieved November 18, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e-E5l2ouxeA.
**McGarry, M. (2020, January 20). Protests in Lebanon reach new intensity, dozens taken to hospital: Analysis. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from https://abcnews.go.com/International/protests-lebanon-reach-intensity-dozens-hospital-analysis/story?id=68404196.
***Qiblawi, T. (2020, January 24). After 100 days of rage, Lebanon has a new government - and a deepening crisis. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/24/middleeast/lebanon-100-days-new-government-intl/index.html.
Figure 1. Retrieved November 17, 2019. (https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2019/10/protests-lebanon-anger-over-years-economic-crisis/600670/)