Out of all the defunct governments in the MENA region, Lebanon’s is definitely not the worst, but it’s particular problems are unique within the world, and that uniqueness makes them much more difficult to solve. Trash isn’t a problem only in Lebanon, but the extent of the trash buildup in the streets there has possible never been encountered before in our history. This has, predictably, caused a major health crisis and lead to much public protest, usually in the form of non-violent or violent demonstrations, which are called riots regardless.
The primary organizers of these demonstrations don’t intend for them to be violent, but “infiltrators” who may or may not be part of the core group, but go act against the core ideal, cause violence in the mass body of protesters in the streets, usually towards the police or civilians and not the protestors themselves. These “infiltrators” are the second of Lebanon’s problems, because it effectively bars the populace from effective protests. Protests, of course can not be effective if the protestors don’t practice what they preach. The general populace won’t take them seriously because they believe the protestors are anarchists who incite violence, and the oppressive government and media will do their best to paint the peaceful protestors as violent riot-inducing maniacs. All this happens because of these infiltrators, who metaphorically become the bad apples who spoil the whole bunch.
This is exactly what has happened with the #YouStink movement, and I’m not sure it’s fair to pin it on the movement organizers to keep their thralls in line. That seems to be ignoring the larger problem. Infiltrators in peaceful protests could capriciously take to the streets to loot during the protest, they need not even be a part of the regulated movement to begin with. Is it the protest organizer’s job then, to prepare or quickly formulate counters against these enemies whose quantity and identities are unknown? The protestors have come to demonstrate nonviolently. They mean to create an uproar – that’s the point of the protest – but not one that causes damages or violence. If we are to hold them responsible for those that loot and pillage, whether they’re involved or not, then what alternative do we offer the protestors? Keep quiet and submit to the oppressive government’s regime? It should be clear that isn’t an adequate alternative.