This is the question several party loyalists and even some pro-Thawra people are asking, as Saad Hariri was tasked with forming a new government one year after he resigned following the October 17 uprising. This was a huge disappointment to a lot of Lebanese, but an expected outcome following the course of events in the past year.
One of the key factors that kept protests alive for weeks and even months last year was the responsiveness of protesters, but then Diab’s government came with a ruthless thuggish Interior Minister in charge, and the pandemic was the best thing they could have asked for to keep people away from the streets. Afterwards, police brutality followed at every occasion, as well as tens of arrests, lawsuits, intimidations, assaults to try and silence every activist out there. Then came the August 4 explosion which crushed people’s morale and the authorities grabbed the opportunity to put in place an unjustified state of emergency to suppress resurgent protests.
Add to that the economic crisis, the fuel & food shortages, the dollar shortage, the shortage of medical supplies, the increasing unemployment & crime rates, the school & university fees, and tons of other factors that led people to focus on how to provide for their families rather than hit the streets.
Many still took the streets on any occasion they got, and the revolution is still here for those questioning it. Everyone knows it will takes years to bring down this ruling class, and that what happened last year proved to the world how incompetent and criminal these leaders are, which is a HUGE achievement no matter what anyone says.
The system is failing, politicians are fighting to keep their positions and their wealth while people are suffering and paying the price. The Revolution is still here, and it will keep going as long as there are people fighting for accountability & justice, whether through protests, online activism, in the upcoming ballots, and more importantly within their own traditional parties.
So if you’re still asking wen el Thawra, ask yourself why you stayed home when everyone was down, or why you stopped going down after few weeks or months. Many people lost hope, many preferred to work harder to provide for their families, or leave the country all together. The last time we almost started a revolution some five years ago, it barely lasted few weeks but it helped considerably in building up for the October 17 one.
Hariri’s comeback is a slap in the face, and it’s not because the Thawra failed, it’s simply because those in power are that much in control, and they were able to keep most of their partisans loyal because they control the resources or whatever is left of them. They may have won this round, but last year event’s forced them to adopt a new methodology, still flawed, in appointing ministers. They’re proving by the day how incompetent they are and they will eventually fall when the system crumbles, and it’s gonna happen one day or the other.
All in all, Lebanon’s youth is the only one really capable of swift change, the kind of change we were hoping for in the early weeks of the revolution, and such protests can very easily be triggered again given the incompetence of our politicians. Until then, we have to stay hopeful and keep fighting the Sulta, in any way we find it suitable.