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Lebanon’s elite turns terror backlash against refugees

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The editorial committee of Al Manshour (Socialist Forum) in Lebanon report from Beirut in the aftermath of last week’s deadly suicide bomb attack
Issue 2480
One of the You Stink protests over waste disposal in Beirut in August this year
One of the ‘You Stink’ protests over waste disposal in Beirut in August this year (Pic: Joelle Hatem/flickr)

Suicide bombings rocked the Burj El-Barajneh suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, on Thursday of last week, causing the deaths of 43 people and injuring hundreds.

Isis claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Before the martyr’s blood had dried, the political powers raced to exploit this crime and the people’s feelings of grief, fear and terror.

These explosions come as a blow to the popular movement that has been occurring in Lebanon.

People protested against the state’s failure to find an environmental solution for waste disposal and the consequent build-up of rubbish in the streets.

The demonstrations reached their peak on 29 August. Tens of thousands of people converged to protest against both poles of Lebanon’s divided ruling class. They contested the unprecedented state violence at a previous demonstration.

This protest movement, despite limitations, has been capable of raising social and economic issues that concern everyone in Lebanon.

This terrorist act pushes these unifying demands behind “security concerns”. It has helped the political powers reach compromises.

Another cause for concern is the danger that the current regime will further raise its racism towards refugees. There are more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, in addition to a longstanding Palestinian refugee population.

Militarisation

There is no hope for progressive politics in the shadow of demands of militarisation, surveillance and police violence.

This security system will first and foremost target those who are most marginalised and deprived—such as refugees, the poor and the unemployed.

These terrorist explosions also serve the dictatorships in the region. This includes the Assad regime in Syria which claims it is waging its own war on terror.

And so all the regimes, from the east to the West, have enlisted themselves into a single camp to fight the monster they created.

Shamefully, Lebanese resistance organisation Hizbollah had already joined Assad’s forces in fighting the Syrian revolution.

We must not confront terrorism through more security and martial law, but through putting an end to the militarily reinforced foundations of terrorism. This means an end to the absence of freedoms and social justice, an end to confessional, sectarian and racist incitements.

We call for Hezbollah’s immediate withdrawal from Syria, and an end to the continued political, economic and legal exclusion of Palestinian refugees. All refugees must be granted their rights, including Syrian refugees.

And we call on all people to keep expanding the popular movement that is opposed to the current regime.

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