In what is being hailed as a victory for democracy, Lebanon’s Syria-backed puppet government resigned yesterday in the face of massive public pressure:
Tens of thousands of jubilant demonstrators sang the Lebanese national anthem in downtown Beirut Monday afternoon after hearing over loudspeakers that the pro-Syrian government had stepped down. Prime Minister Omar Karameh announced his government’s resignation during a stormy parliamentary session in which opposition legislators accused him and his government of culpability in the assassination of his predecessor, Rafik Hariri.
The demise of the pro-Syrian government is only the beginning for the opposition, which said its next goal was to force pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud to resign and the Syrians to withdraw from Lebanon, a source close to the opposition told The Jerusalem Post. “We’re determined to raise the roof,” he said.
But while everyone rejoices, the more important question of “what now” is bound to come up. Syria needs to get out. But will democracy truly come in? Or will another bloody struggle, of the sort that Lebanon is so famous for, erupt?
So far the protests have been non-violent, which is a good sign. But Lebanon has a very messy history. There’s somewhat of a power vacuum being created, and we all know that these things rarely end nicely.
Despite that, I have to admit I’m encouraged. The Lebanese people seem to have been recharged in their wish for democracy, and it’s looking more and more like they might succeed in achieving their goal – with implications for the rest of the region as well.