Originally aiming for peaceful demonstrations, the #YouStink protests turned into violent ones, resulting in riot police responding with water cannons and tear gas. The photos from the protest are hard to look at, making it hard to believe this issue would start riots – unless it is from years of anger built up against the government. Which is what happened in Lebanon: the people were not happy about the corruption in their government and how little they care about public accountability. This is reflected by them not collecting trash for a month because they never came up with a long-term plan for after the temporary landfill has filled up.
The Lebanese government needed the pressure from its people to start making change. At the time of the movement, Lebanon had been without a president for a year. Like what Paul Amar discussed about uprisings in the Arab world, its a battle between different kinds of sovereignty, and the people usually want democracy – we saw this in the movements in Egypt, even though they did not succeed. Lebanon on the other hand, has a parliamentary government system that is divided amongst religious groups and they have an electoral system. However, in the comments of Alan Taylor’s article, the common question is “wow, Lebanon has a government?” Some people are just ignorant when they ask that, but seeing #YouStink does make you question what can the people do for the government to reform and turn into a better one.
The Lebanon’s #YouStink Anti-Government Protest got way out of hand, and the pictures are very disturbing. From a devil’s advocate point of view, I believe that the organization was not structured well and the group members were unaware that such intense protesting would cause so much violence. It is the organization’s job to promote peaceful protesting. “Organizers of the #YouStink campaign expressed frustration with the violent protesters, blaming “infiltrators” for the escalation of a peaceful demonstration” (Taylor 2015). Infiltrators could have escalated the protests, but it the organizations responsibility to take the blame for the uproar. Through social media organizations can express the importance of peaceful protesting. Many of us our angry with our government but there are boundaries that we all must be aware of. Due to the lack of communication and the disorganization of #YouStink “dozens of police and citizens were hurt in the clashes, and #YouStink organizers have now postponed further demonstrations planned for Monday” (Taylor 2015). I believe that the protestors are fighting for a good cause, the amount of trash and corruption in the country is unheard of but there are better ways of expressing anger. In some of the photos it does look like the government is unrightfully attacking the citizens of Lebanon by spraying water, using water cannons and beating civilians… this is a part of the corruption and why #YouStink continues to fight and protest. We are lucky to live in a country, that although is not perfect, is less corrupt and clean because of our government. Above I state that the organization might have no been structured well enough and that is why riots broke out, but I believe (not being devil’s advocate) people are rightfully angry and I am disgusted by Lebanon’s government, human should be living in such disgusting circumstances. I wonder if this anti-trash violence will spark change? I also wonder if the violence will continue until there is chance? Hopefully people come up with alternative ways of expressing anger.