The formidable creativity of the Lebanese protest

Posted by Jennifer on December 15th, 2020

The groundswell that denounces the denominational regime in Lebanon, since October 17, 2019, was marked last weekend by an unprecedented surge of violence, with some five hundred injured, mostly in the ranks of the demonstrators. Such a worrying escalation is fueled by popular frustration at the bankruptcy of the political class, unable for weeks to form a government of technocrats, finally announced on January 21. This paralysis at the top is coupled with a very significant worsening of the vulnerability, even the precariousness of the greatest number, against a background of banking restrictions perceived as so many injustices.

Such a general tension does not however hamper the impressive creativity of this mobilization that the militants themselves qualify as a "revolution" (thawra). The Instagram accounts Thawra Artists and Art of Thawra, with their multiple daily publications, credited to their creators, constitute, along with many others, a " virtual museum of revolutionary art" , according to the profession of faith of the second of these sites . The selection below is only intended to give an overview of the diversity of this artistic expression. The first three works are inspired by the campaign of solidarity with the demonstrators who were recently struck by rubber bullets from the security forces. 

 The unity of the Lebanese people, in all its social and religious diversity, is also the theme of many creations, including the four below, posted online by Art of Thawra, each time with the artist's signature.

In this “Currency of the revolution, currency of the people”, by Dan Osman, the last two banknotes take up two of the icons of the revolution: on the 

one hand, the young Malak, who had, at the very beginning of the protest, neutralized, with a kick in the lower abdomen, the bodyguard armed with a minister; on the other hand, the unknown one-legged man who sweeps after a demonstration, in demonstration of good citizenship. Below, two of the variations of these icons.

Popular mobilization in Lebanon, like comparable movements in Sudan, Algeria and Iraq, relies on significant female participation, which in turn guarantees its non-violent dimension. But Lebanon is undoubtedly the Arab country where the feminist dimension of such a protest is the most claimed, with the slogan "The revolution is woman" (revolution, in Arabic as in French, is of the feminine gender). The femininity of this revolution is embodied below in the singer Aline Lahoud, one of the “voices” of the Lebanese protest.

Finally, the Lebanese protest is displayed less and less in French, to which it prefers Arabic, the national language, and English, in order to spread its message beyond the borders. She wants to be determined to dismantle the confessional system, instituted almost a century ago by French colonialism. And she hammers out below her will to go "to the end" (in English), because "the revolution continues" (in Arabic).

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