While just about every Arab nation appears to want the same kind of results that Egypt and Tunisia have had from their protests organized on Facebook, a page based in Lebanon boasting almost 11,000 likes demands change but doesn’t expect a revolution.
The main page calling for change in Lebanon has a couple of copycats, and all appear to have gone up in the past week. These pages call for an end to the nation’s so called confessional system of government, in which representatives of religious communities hold the highest political offices.
However, AFP reports that the nation’s government maintains a balance between the 18 different religious orders present in the country — both Muslim and Christian — and that Lebanon differs from other nations in the region as a result of a 1943 power-sharing agreement adopted after the country won its independence from France.
AFP’s assertion about this difference has some substantiation by quotes from folks in Lebanon. A 24-year-old computer analyst who favors change told the French news service, “The Lebanese are always boasting about their freedom and democracy as compared to other Arab countries… But Arab countries each have one dictator whereas we have at least seven or eight.”
And Antoine Messarra, a member of the Lebanon’s Constitutional Council, told AFP he believes that a revolution won’t bring about change, but that it could happen through education and improved ties between the state and the people will. He said to the news service, “We shouldn’t settle for promises but must address the problem methodically.”
Even some of the Lebanese posts on Facebook talk about finding a common ground, like the organizer of a page called “the Lebanese people want to bring down the confessional system” wrote: “The lesson to be drawn from the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia is that we must put aside all our differences in favor of a common objective. Nothing’s impossible, even if it’s a long road ahead.”
Lebanese activists’ demands seem pretty mild compared to what their counterparts in other Arab nations have called for amid their protests, boding well for possible compromises. Only time will tell how things pan out in this part of the world.
Do you think the intensity of Middle Eastern political change organized via Facebook might begin to lessen, or will some countries have more fervent uprisings than others? How might more moderate evolutions in Arab nations potentially help the social network’s image in the region and globally?