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09 January 2007

Al Jazeera - Lebanon opposition protests tax

Dear readers,

I noticed a piece of news on Lebanon on Al Jazeera in English (no, I still can't speak or read Arabic, sorry). Unfortunately, as too often, it wasn't mentionned in most Western media. The Lebanese opposition (composed of mostly Hezbollah, Amal and some smaller pro-Syrian parties) has decided to support the union protests against the government's tax plan. They have staged new demonstrations and marches, on top of the permanent sit in they have in front of Prime Minister Fuad Siniora's offices. The government has of course denounced it as an attitude aimed at breaking its efforts to save the Lebanese economy and its fight against corruption, ultimately weakening the country to benefit Syria. The opposition claims the government is overtaxing the people. Fair fight, I'd say, and I would even add that these are pretty mild accusation in a Lebanon more used to exchanges of bullets than of political debates. So, no news here?

Well, maybe not. Isn't there some bit of hope here? After all, and unless I am terribly mistaken, nobody has been killed in this process yet. Would it be that both the government and the opposition have begun to behave as in a normal democratic country? That is probably too much wishfull thinking from my part. But, fair enough, since the assassination of Pierre Gemayel, Lebanon is living a kind of political stand off. And this may have forced some of the parties opposed in this conflict to consider that the blood spilled in the process is not after all worth the results. And maybe they are beginning to consider the value of democracy. Which is after all nothing else than a transfer of the physical fight in a more civilized way...

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