tv Generation Change Beirut Al Jazeera May 31, 2022 6:30am-7:01am AST
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we're going to be what we said as well. they didn't put this idea of the media me i'm a lot of the focus when i know how i was giving me shooting off the edge of the on counting the cost of vital launches. his plan for u. s. economic engagement in asia will at pounds are china's in the region western capital, ledger billions of dollars to ukraine's economy. but is it enough and will africa see a boom from the global scramble from metal?
counting the costs out of a welcome to generation change a global series that attempts to understand and challenge the ideas that are mobilizing you around the world. i'm new enough, one, an independent journalist. they said lebanon, where jonesy, campaigners are fighting for radical change. ah battalion did they face couldn't be more daunting economic collapse political stalemate, social unrest, and the devastation caused by august 2020 explorers in here. and they live in this episode, we need to young people using their skills to convert to decades of corruption and fix ariana's. they believe the total reason is the only way forward.
oh oh, can you, can you tell me a little bit about your childhood and be route? were there any specific moments or events that saved your political activism? the early part of my childhood was not really influenced by politics, but oh, i grew older. gradually, i came into in the boonies my number. however, of course lots of the ideas and concepts that were created by the abuse running class in terms of the sectarian connotations of the crisis. so at the end of the day, we're all currently products of the society and the general a yahoo or jeez, and soon by the regime. but i got exposed to various other ideas, movements,
groups that tried to deliver an alternative vision for what the country may be, as opposed to what i learned to be as a child. or why do you seeing that the settler club is and pointing and will it have some kind of effect outside the cult of living? these universities, the secular, besides the, as a socio cultural, political space for students to know more about politics and the various developments happening. it meant the students as a social group and this group had to have economic interests which had to be protected. whether it's leaning on who dition battles against the administration to protect student freedom or, and needing long tuition strikes, which protected students' rights. there is 1019 that was basically the youth student component
of your former 17 opposing. but it also transformed into a force which was able to impose a certain dis, sports under lebanese landscape or you optimistic that their mother network will emerge as a political movement and lebanon. now the way i see the president briggs already a political movement, the notary housing expensive social base and then has taken the grassroots as a strategy. it has, they can be the idea that it should be creating a counselor, had your money and challenge most that they're in parties, miniature is based on the various other forces which of these places and as are re forward. and i, that's all thanks to the political movement. them as that you will for the generation that was born and p site, but in 2006,
this changed for you. yeah. can you tell me a little bit about dots, o, as in lebanon during the 2006, florida, during the summer, i was about to head for the clique, but also i took it in and i understood. even when i was taught, that's narratives impact the public opinion but it was really and during the 2014 goes away, when i was interning at the major news organization look, i understood the weights and the importance of accountability, journalism and independent journalism. so that towards the road that i took in my career oh, them on, on witness a suze of protests and the past years from 2011, 2015 and then the big 2019 for with that. what was the role of the media? and lebanon, the media are owned by prices and groups, and political parties, which are the political class that
a lot of people and the protest movement throws up against at the hearts of corruption. i enabled ers, which are the mainstream media. this information is the illustration of corruption in narrative and ideas. so it's really important for me to focus on the media narrative and also counted it through investigative work. so with the independent media organization i worked for, i took on the daily news reporting and covering her violations against poor testers . the process that were happening all over the country. there were media black out, so we were the ones who said lights on what was going on in a way that most he needs it means to me, did them there has been an increase in attacks on journalists and our needs. our workers is freedom of speech and danger, and lebanon in your opinion. i think freedom of speech right now as going through
a specific kind of challenge because of social media and the government's use of social media to intimidate people into self censorship. we need to speak against that, whether or not the intimidation is there. and i think a lot of independence means that workers understand the stress. and they understand that now is the time to continue with the accountability. journalism continues with open source investigations in order to uncover the status quo and to dismantle it completely. cut him as that. thank you so much for being with us since day. your generation did not really witness the civil war in lebanon. however, every one husband's card in the country may be through our parents or through stories that we hear. now i want to start with euclidean. how did this shape your political activism in the country?
no, although we live experienced the civil war, we were thought or heard that the narrative about no sector inclinations, even forms of heroism in all the people that we were supposed to think of very highly of the end of the day. we also formulated the counter narrative, the idea that you are trans, something this move and trans, something the sector and connotations which exist alongside of it. and this is something we're currently working on. what about you eyes? so i also have a kind of unique, a bringing as my parents are both from secular background. so i had this angle that i got from my parents while understanding the trauma that they live through during the civil war. since that said, inherited intergenerational trauma and wanting never to have this happen again. so this was basically my viewpoint going into politics going into activism and going into journalism as well. so is your generation more radical?
katie, more uncompromising in a way we were thought for a long way, the lebanon, that this is the country. these are the relationships that exist between the ruling class and the people between the people themselves. between the various with decal factions which exist in the country. and we're suggesting that there's nothing static about lebanon, lebanon is always in the binomial transformation. and we're here, you know, experiencing another dynamic respiration which go about after october 17, which going about after the oldest for exclusion. we do thing that we have the agency to create the vibe of the turn of as a what are the ways in which you can implement such change in your opinion. i think that we learned a lot from what's happening around us since they're so called arab spring and what people are h, as when we're able to achieve not only in 2011, but also in 2019 with us across iraq, algeria, sudan, and, and swear, and we learned from each other about tactics and futures and his cities that we want to work together towards getting your,
the chair of the political working group of the madden network, which connect secondary clubs across universities in lebanon, canada transform the student activism into any, some lights, political movement in your opinion. well, i think the florida could already be case in the sense that the network is established and more than 12 to 13 universities. this suggests that there is potential for genuine competition between secondary progressive components in the mini society against the more sectarian reactionary components which have existed. historically, the secondary clubs are the mother network and not only calling for secretaries and they're also calling for a wider progressive package. and also views with social justice, more democratic inclusion, ideas pertaining to being deliberated from the norms which have destroyed their society. so we're not an distant ideological group. we are part of the society,
you're speaking to them with their basic needs. how can you actually convince people who might be even older than this generation to vote outside the scope of their sects, when you have 18 facts and lebanon. when you have political parties that are based on their sex and that are not based on merit or even deep politics, the problem was tackling such a question is that we need to tackle it switches. client eliza can someone, though it's for a political fact, they're also voting for the ability to get a job. 4 to be able to get, to get in a school, to be able to get social welfare and all of these things that are tied to sectarian political parties. so really thinking about getting people to vote outside of their sectarian loyalty is we need to also be cognizant that we are telling them to make themselves vulnerable to a reality without their so should protections. and the put it could protections of
a mainstream political party would offer them. so this opposition movement should have a certain i'll turn it is and realistic solutions to the sectarian plans in the 6 system that has been ingrained in every institution. and every parts in person of our life. so what you're saying basically is that nonsectarian opposition groups need to compete with these long last thing and political parties by proving that this is not the way. so actually, and this was a very interesting phenomenon that's happened after the august 4 albedo blast people came together from across lebanon and forums, networks of solidarity and financial and collaborative. certainly there is in networks that don't mimic the same authoritarian client in this thick structure that we're so used to getting the government would say that
they are attempting to tackle corruption in lebanon with establishing an anti corruption committee. and, and you law, tackling corruption in the country. what's your opinion on that in lebanon, particularly the term corruption is basically, and potentially immune, particularly when it's anti corruption. because the issue in lebanon was not just corruption in the sense that, you know, we have some interest being distributed within state sectors. it's a very structured and systemic issue. we have and has been amplified as the ninety's. we have a run based economy that is completely based on monopolies, the banking sector plus the re, the state sector. we have a sectarian system which completely distributes all ministries, all as for use that have come across after the war. we have enlarged that we have a lot of the social and economic inequality. no productive sexes, which would use anything and were simply living the remnants of an extremely amelia brewed and unfair economy. so people that are saying we want to fix corruption,
but don't even want to fight back the interests of the oligarchy and the banks. then we can't really trust whether they're actually fighting corruption. so as long as this is at stake, there is no such thing as anti corruption. i sat on august, 4th, 2020 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded, embattled, causing damage to the whole city. can you tell me what happened on that day? so i wasn't the office, i had their work call in the middle of it, and then 6, so 8th happened and then i felt a tremor that took me back and forth. and i hadn't realized what had happened. but i heard the noise of the huge explosion, and i saw that everything was destroyed around us. our colleagues were really close to the windows, and we were trying to figure out if anyone was injured. and because my apartments in my office were right beside each other, and i could see complete destruction of my apartment because this was an office for an independent media organization. some of our videographers took their gear and
they went down to found the carnage. it was a complete massacre. it was something that i think no one wants to live through again or ever. went on to kennedy once i heard the explosion and i felt that everything was shaking the 1st thought the handle on mine as of this it's, i also was quite frightened in the position i was in because i felt maybe the building could collapse at any moment so it was extreme uncertainty about the next 30 minutes after i was out and took my car. i notice that people are injured everywhere. so it was a huge catastrophic, a moment in which everything normal in our lives was host. i say you mentioned that you are in an office working with an independent media
organization. did you manage after that to resume your work direct? he, i think what fueled us to continue and to actually double down on our reporting and on our coverage was our anger towards whatever happened and whoever were responsible. so this could be seen with our investigations with our daily news coverage and trying to piece together what's happened. why was there a fire? what's blew up before the ammonium nitrate? where was it exactly and which warehouse i was able to look at. ok. this video a 2nd on the roof of this building. and this time, this enables me to actually piece together something so that i can know what's happened because the anxiety of not knowing was worse than their anxiety as what's happened after. $15000000000.00 is the number estimated when we talk about the damages that were caused by this explosion. there are so many alleged
accusations that corruption reached aids where thus corruption and carrying the aid as thus have them of the answer to corruption. because thieving this regime with more funds or theory by the international community, with only me into its reproduction and safeguarding its own basis, the solution is in us, is in the hundreds of thousands of people from various social groups among rows and sex. who believe if they mobilize and create the differences of solidarity this goods potentially create an elegant resistance in the regime. but there is no certainty in sites, but there is always hope. can you, can i just jump in here when i look at, are i understand corruption? it isn't just american institutional governmental perspective, but if there is corruption, one place,
it's probably tied to corruption elsewhere. when a megaphone used it an investigation about the origins of the ship that brought them on united states to the bay to its poor. there were tied to syrian russian firms with addresses in london. so corruption is the globin. now i think when we want to understand and to fight corruption, we need to think about it as a system of solidarity that is borderless at the same time and collaborate with independent media organizations. just like the panama papers have done to uncover money laundering scandals across the world. i think there's only really important when she said, but there's also something a term for size on based on this that i mean is regime is tied to international and global interests which sustain it. now that is something to critique, but it's also something to look at and slightly so be inspired from that. if we do
break these links or if we do create alternative links across borders that goods. a, multiply the strength of our movement. and potentially, we could benefit from a, an alternative international network of people who think this way. and that's how we can create alternative power in the country and ultimately replace the current regime in site. i mean, cream. just looking at the protest starting tactics from the 20 october 2019 protest movement. we learned from hong kong we learned from turkey, we learned from sudan. and then again in may 2021, the george floyd protest. i said lebanese activists helped or created a guide for a black lives matter activists in minnesota in order to help them in terms of distance see, help with tear gas. so this solidarity doesn't just transcend our fight against
corruption, but also our fight against an authoritarian regimes and oppressors. one of the so many challenges that the country is facing an integration or brain drain, many of the young generation are leaving for good. i mean, you mentioned that you're a part of the meadow network, which is connecting different secretary clubs that the protests are kind of on hold right now. how do you motivate people? how do you revive these events and this chiefs? not many people have the luxury to go out. a lot of people are stuck here in the sense and they have no choice but to fight back for these after the august 4 explosion, when the people basically occupied martyrs where they were and saying, you know, let's make some calculations and see if we can afford this or that they just went sometimes we assume that if people emigrate, then they don't have our own. but this is a huge fantasy at times, the lebanese regime benefits from the bay as flora. they benefits from the fact
that we're gonna export every one. and then they'll give us the money so we can sustain ourselves. the opposition has a reality. the reality is that people are outside. how can they benefit us? well, most of organization that i can i can the mechanisms are becoming online as dressers, movements. so people can take part in meetings and sharing ideas and talking to people and getting heaps of people to vote. so that's all about raising alternative networks by using the diaspora that was exported by the regime itself. but also kareem, i think as opposition groups or as students or union organizers, we need to learn to radicalize our hope for the future, which we saw on the streets in the beginning of the 17 october 2019 protest movements. people were coming together and dancing cooking together, singing together trading things with each other. and these are in form of systems, relationships and trades that had never been seen in at his downtown bay roads
until before itself. a civil war. as that, we do know how media is monopolized in lebanon, how it site to private businesses, to politicians. how can you change that? so 1st, i think we need to recognize that 12 political family own, at least half of the mainstream media in lebanon. the other half is either owned by businessman, by individuals politically affiliated or by specific political parties. so the control over one, the media, but 2 and most importantly, the discourse in the sources of information is squarely in the hands of those and powered but independence. visa organizations have found ways mobilizing the just broader and becoming important sources of information from the ground. since they are the only ones that film from the ground, from the point of view of the protestors from the point of view of the oppressed.
but again, the independent media needs to work together with a grassroots movement with some of site organizations to bridge together all these things in order to have a sustainable future. when you talk about all of these hopes and dreams, there's a certain component that we need to talk about, and that is challenging. a secular state has been law as a dominant political shade fightin lebanon. now some argue that they are est with an estate. how do you build a secular government with the presence of such parties? i don't think it's even possible to look for genuine the radical reform of the country with the state of the state like husband law, which is not just a party that distributes it's an infrastructure of us. they know that south of parts, the babes and other conflicts in the region, and it also tokenize is on the causes. now the question remains,
how do we resist this? and i knew also have an issue with those who proclaimed to fight against has below . and in fact, they only tackled as of allah from their own sectarian point of view. it was never a progressive starting point. and that's something that's extremely necessary. they want to go a step forward, but isn't that challenging because has been less as that they are present to defend bill of in 4 days. the only way to tackle such a permeated leap state as well as to recreate a new narrative. it does not mean we have to concede, has been that all. in fact, that's a big mistake. many opposition parties are doing. we need to continue creating this counter hedge money from a starting point, which is secular, progressive and insularity with all of those oppressed by his mama and by not has model. yeah. so, is there is face for optimism and a country so complex,
like lebanon that awaits for the 2022 election or some kind of change. there's never pessimism or optimism. there is a complex reality, as you said. and this complexity in of itself gives us hope, because what's happening this year may not happen 3 years later. but the 2022 elections cannot be seen as a break, so it can only be seen as of today. however, many other breakthroughs await, because at the end of the day saddle had eat in october 29, 2019 was not taken out in the elections. it was taken out by the streets and the street could reinvent itself as does the dom and his regime. so i agree completely with cream and saying that elections is a. ringback it's not a means to an end, i think, organizing through syndicates, through clubs,
through students unions and across identities and sick that in loyalties is really important. so are you going to be the exoneration that finds a solution for this ongoing crisis and lebanon? i don't know that's a lot of responsibility for a generation because i think our parents thought there would be that generation. and i think their parents thought they would be the generation. so maybe i will listen. i actually think there is no such thing as this. you know, one time change in the country, lebanon, 200 years ago, was the, from the lebanon today. and social movements always existed and pressured in a certain direction. so i think it's generation maintenance contribution. and we're here to make our modest contribution and to see what comes ahead of us. that's it for this episode of generation change from lebanon. katie mazda,
thank you so much for taking part. it's been a very enlightening conversation. thank you. thanks for the cross to well young activation organizes are on the move. okay. we do the work i heard in the 1st of a new series to people in new york city use different tools and means to fight institutional racism and police brutality. this is indeed a nation wide problem. network wires, a systemic solution. generally he change on al jazeera mm. a l g 0 with.