During the past few months, the young people of Lebanon have been leading a protest movement. The main objective is to change the political system of Lebanon. The political structure is based on sectarian divisions, which were created by the French at the end of their colonialist rule of Lebanon during the later part of the 1940s. It was an arrangement that was referred to at the time as a “gentlemanly agreement”. It specifies that the position of the president of Lebanon will be given to a Christian Maronite, the position of the prime minister will be given to a Muslim Sunni, and the position of the speaker of parliament will be given to a Muslim Shiaa. Such an arrangement did not consider the demographic composition of the Lebanese population, nor did it consider the basic principles of democracy.
For example, each sectarian group was given a certain number of seats in parliament, irrespective of their population size. The history of Western colonialism in the Arab world, both French and British, is negative. Both western powers created negative obstacles in the way of positive development politically, economically and educationally in order to serve their own colonialist strategy.
Nevertheless, the political sectarianism that the French instituted in Lebanon, has contributed to its instability during the past four decades. Political friction and competition was a common phenomenon, which has been part of the daily political events in Lebanon.
During the 1970s, a civil war began among the competing political parties that lasted nearly 10 years and led to the killing of more than 100,000 people in addition to an equal number of injuries.
The civil war caused both physical and human destruction and no political reform. One of the major reasons behind this is also foreign interference from within the region and from outside the region.
The Lebanese political stage even opened the doors for Israel’s invasion, the Syrian military domination as well as the landing of American troops in Lebanon. All of these foreign troops have left Lebanon, but the sectarian political conflict still dominates daily life there. The younger generations of Lebanon have understood the nation’s problems and difficulties much better than their parents and are asking for reforms. They want to abolish political sectarianism and replace it with a secular political system that disregards religious and/or ethnic affiliation, based on the free democratic system. The proposed reforms, if implemented, will minimize different sectarian groups that have been manipulating to continue dominating the political stage in Lebanon. Such a system not only contributes to political and social instabilities, but also to the stagnation of the country as a whole. I hope that the Lebanese younger generation’s protest movement will end up creating more support that will lead to genuine