'October's Meeting': Together to Get Back The Abducted State

Thursday, 27 February, 2020 - 13:00 Issue Number [15066]

A hundred years since Greater Lebanon was announced. 76 years since the Lebanese Republic gained its independence. 45 years of civil wars, occupations, and lack of social stability.

135 days have passed since the start of the revolution to restore dignity and end decades of violations. Citizens are now facing a challenge: Either the corrupt confessional system remains or the abducted state is retrieved and the constitution is respected, achieving the October 17 Revolution’s most pertinent aim to establish a state of human rights, rule of law, transparency, accountability, and protection of freedom.

The political class that is clinging onto the traditions of power and is dependent on the axis of resistance has put the Lebanese infront of a dangerous sample of mafia-like behavior, putting the citizen at risk of death, either by starvation after the country was looted and impoverished, or by the Coronavirus! Maintaining flights between Beirut and Tehran has political reasons according to the Hezbollah-affiliated Minister of Health, making dependency more important than the state's priority of the general health of citizens.

On the other hand, the revolution is ongoing and every day it recruits new damaged groups of people who have an interest in change. Even if they have not said their final word yet, they have at least confirmed that after October 17 it is impossible for the sectarian system to continue. The revolution has provided a foundational moment for the establishment of a modern state that would bring back the republic and its values and allow citizens to build a democratic regime that's immune from fear, racism, and sectarianism, on the dead remains of a confessional system condemned to them under illegitimate arms.

The citizenship-oriented public opinion that has risen to prominence was expressed by the courage of the squares to strip naked the sectarian alliance and shed light on confusions and atrocities, affirming the need for political change. This is the alternative that the revolutionary public opinion has expressed, on one hand, as a passageway to retrieve rights, and on the other, to remove Lebanon from the regional conflict that has disturbed it in defense of the Iranian Mullah-regime, burdening it with policies that serve none of Lebanon’s interests.

The revolution is here. Let us all remember that what motivated it is actually a rightful demand, triggered by the notorious decision to impose a monthly 6 US dollars tax on Whatsapp. This was the tipping point that revealed the impact of the chronic accumulation of violations of human rights and dignities for thirty long years. From the start, Hezbollah’s response was to accuse people of treason and claim that the revolution is targeting its weapons. The movement expanded alongside an ignorance of the real reasons behind people taking to the street, with the accelerated collapse of the Lebanese Pound against the US dollar, with the former losing around 75% of its value, drastically reducing purchasing power, leading to the collapse of institutions, spread of unemployment and the exposure of the banking cartels that smuggled money and humiliated depositors.

The regime did not show any sign of concern for people’s interests. Until today, it has not held a single meeting with those who were damaged by the disaster that has struck Lebanon. All meetings held under the headline of confronting the crisis were held with those who caused the crisis, to begin with, showing the foolishness of those in power and their undermining of people’s suffering.

The means to confront the situation revealed that it was impossible to achieve the bare minimum of the demands. It was therefore natural for the revolution to escalate in demanding the inevitable reformation of the regime. It became apparent that the revolutionary movement insisted on real change and that gateway to this change is a government independent of the sectarian parties that caused the crisis, with a conviction that the persistence of this sectarian confessional system will allow the mafias in power to continue looting and making profitable deals.

In parallel, activists, and groups involved in the revolution from diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences held discussions on directions that would solidify the revolutionary course and the developments in the choices of confrontation. This necessitates that they enter a new organizational stage that conforms with what October 17 stands for as an end to the confessional system and a step toward an alternative model that births a new republic. This culminated in establishing the “October Meeting” as a political group that has put before it the task to “contribute to the process of radical and comprehensive change that would allow for a better life demanded by the Lebanese, especially the new generation”.

The “October Meeting” that was announced on Sunday, February 23, with wide-based trans-sectarian and trans-regional national participation, affirmed that it saw its role at the heart of the groups who want to invest the capacities of the Lebanese society in order to achieve political change and a “new social contract between the Lebanese that unites them in moving toward a modern civil and democratic state that is based on human rights”.

In this context, a unified law for personal status is of particular importance, as well as the implementation of Article 95 of the Constitution that stipulates the elimination of sectarianism paving the way for a new class of independent politicians that represent the spirit of revolution and its principles.

The “October Meeting” that was born in the squares of confrontation and from the womb of the revolution, will be put under a microscope, followed, critiqued and held accountable. If it really did represent a surplus of diversity, expertise, and national inclusiveness, then it will face a challenge to unite efforts and to contribute to coordinating and innovating the forms of confrontation. It needs to urge the rebels to highlight what they have in common, and indeed they have much, during the foundational stage- set at 6 months, toward the establishment of a political front that has no place for the orphans of the axis of resistance, to retrieve the abducted state.