In this timely and important two-part interview, VOMENA's Shahram Aghamir sat down with Jadaliyya co-editor Ziad Abu-Rish to discuss the broad trajectory of the Lebanese uprising since October 2019, its political and economic contexts, and where things stand today. In Part 1, which aired on Friday, March 13, the conversation centers around the relationship of the protest movement to the political system and economic crisis—including its demands, social composition, and relationship to other protests movements across the region. In Part 2, which aired on Friday, March 20, the discussion addresses some of the specifities of protester strategies, the question of state violence, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Lebanon in general and the protest movent in particular.
Contents of Part 1 (timestamp = minute:second):
02:16 — Main characteristics of the Lebanese economic crisis.
06:25 — Lebanon's decision to not pay its March 2020 eurobond maturity.
09:02 — The government's long-term strategy vis-a-vis the economic crisis
13:08 — Triggers and roots of discontent in Lebanon
16:55 — Assessing the status of the uprising today
20:00 — Understanding the demands of the Lebanese uprising
30:30 — The social composition of the Lebanese uprising
43:45 — The question of revolution vs. uprising vs. protest movement
49:16 — Pillars of Lebanese ruling bloc
52:53 — The strategies of the Lebanese uprising
Contents of Part 2 (timestamp = minute:second)
1:20 — Efficiacy of protests tactics and strategies in the Lebanese uprising
9:15 — Responses by the government and political class to the uprising
25:25 — The role of regional and global powers
34:00 — The COVID-19 pandemic in Lebanon
41:54 — Lebanon's public health care system
49:43 — Refugees and migrant workers in Lebanon and the COVID-19 pandemic
Ziad Abu-Rish is Assistant Professor of History at Ohio University, where he is founding director of the Middle East and North Africa Studies Certificate Program. His research explores state formation, economic development, and popular mobilizations in the Middle East, with a particular focus on Lebanon and Jordan. He is co-editor of The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? (2012) and Critical Voices: Interviews From and On the Middle East (2014). Abu-Rish serves on the editorial team of the Arab Studies Journal and is co-editor Jadaliyya e-zine.
Shahram Aghamir is a political commentator on issues related to the Middle East for public and alternative media. He is the co-founder and senior producer of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (VOMENA) on KPFA Radio in Berkeley, California.
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