Geo-politics and Revolutionary Change: The Case of Lebanon (In Conversation with Hicham Safieddine)

Season 2, Episode 49,  Oct 20, 2021, 02:30 PM

For the last two years, Lebanon has been witnessing an acute multi-dimensional crisis that has left more than half the population living below the poverty line. Many families are struggling to survive. Some say that the massive economic crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, the August 2020 Beirut explosions and instability have all combined to create conditions even  worse than they were during the 1975-1990 civil war.  

In October 2019, Lebanon also saw a mass uprising, rejecting corruption and sectarian politics, and demanding change. However, the uprising short-lived for various reasons, including the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 that halted mobilisations and protests. 

To add to all these huge difficulties and challenges, the Lebanese people find themselves in the midst of a thorny and complex geopolitical situation that has significant bearings on their internal politics. The actions of players such as Hezbollah, Iran, Israel, the Gulf monarchies, Western imperialist powers and Russia have had and continue to have considerable consequences on political developments, not just in Lebanon but in the entire Arab region.

To help us understand the situation in Lebanon, the Coordinator of TNI’s North Africa Program, Hamza Hamouchene,  sat down to have a chat with Hicham Safieddine.

Hicham is an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia. He is a scholar of political economy and intellectual history (19th and 20th centuries) with a particular emphasis on the MENA region. He is currently researching financial (de)colonization on a global scale, the history of economic thought, as well as modern Arab and Islamic thought, with an emphasis on the age of anti-colonial national liberation in the mid-20th century.

In addition to his academic research and teaching, he is the co-founder of e-zines Al-Akhbar English and The Legal Agenda’s English Edition. His press writings have appeared in The Toronto Star, Al-Jazeera English, The Monthly Review, Le Monde Diplomatique, and Middle East Eye, among others.

Image source: NicolasGaron/Wikimedia
Keywords: 
Lebanon, Crisis, Economic Crisis, Debt, Middle East, Arab Uprisings