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Lebanon’s youth lead the popular movement and want a better future in their country

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Younger girl Mariam Sidani dreams of a better future in her country Lebanon, like thousands of students who led protests during unprecedented popular protests in the country, demanding their right to a decent life.

Mariam, 16, has been taking part in demonstrations in Lebanon since October 17 against the political class, accusing her of ignoring the future of her generation, reluctant to find solutions to crises and ending the exodus of young people abroad.

“No one cares about my future,” she said. “I fear for my future that there are reactionary people who only think about their interests and their pockets.”

After the first weeks of unprecedented popular demonstrations against the political class, which has continued since 17 October, students and students joined the street. They took the initiative for several days, refusing to join their schools and universities and joining demonstrators in all of Lebanon.

They demonstrated, most of whom did not turn 20, in school uniforms, carrying their bags on their backs. They shouted slogans calling for a better future, including “We study for a future we don’t have”, “We lose a better school day than we lose our future” and “We missed our lessons to teach you a lesson.”

“In the whole world, you find students demanding environmental justice … but here we have no sea to go to,” she explained.

Sidani wants to study political science at the university, and the reason is simple, she says, “to reform my country.”

– “Our simplest rights” –

During a demonstration near the government headquarters in downtown Beirut, students swayed to rap music. One of them carried a large banner reading “You are so bad that it made me forget how bad the eighth season” of the famous series “Game of Thrones”.

Like thousands of protesters, students and students are demanding repair of saggy infrastructure, clean water and electricity, a solution to the waste crisis, and accountability for corrupt people in power.

But their most important demand is to find jobs once they graduate in a country where the World Bank estimates youth unemployment at more than 30 percent.

“We want to study here alongside our parents and find jobs without ‘Wasita’,” Tina, 17, a high school student, told AFP.

“We want to write our history in our own hands,” said the young woman, who drew a Lebanese flag on her cheek.

Nearby, 19-year-old Sandra Rizk is dancing among the crowds, delighted to return to Lebanon to join the popular movement after he left to study in Italy.

“We demand our most basic human rights. We demand electricity, water and public places. We want them to stop theft,” she told AFP.

“We have a lot of qualified people who are leaving the country to work on improving another country,” said Rizk, a fashion design student.

Many were surprised by the movement of students or the “Internet generation” as some call them, and were welcomed by demonstrators everywhere, leaving them to hold the initiative for a week.

Nadim Houry, executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative, a think-tank proposing programs that contribute to democratic change in the Arab region, told AFP: “Many expected to be dull enough to sit for hours on YouTube and social networking sites,” but the new generation surprised everyone. .

– “Revolution Time” –

According to Houri, the new generation did not experience the civil war (1975-1990) and did not experience the politicians of war traders as their parents did. So memories of war do not give rise to the same fear that is rooted in their families.

Thus, they “care less about sectarianism and more on social justice” in a country whose system is based on sectarian quotas, Houry said.

Houri explained that the students have come out of traditional party affiliations, and all they want today is to “deal with them as citizens, not members of sects.”

“The fingerprint of the new generation is clear: they are more interconnected and democratic in their practices.”

This is not the first time that Lebanon has witnessed moves against the Authority on the basis of economic or political issues, but what distinguishes the movement is that it is cross-sectarian and regions, does not exclude a leader or leader, has broken many taboos demanding the departure of the entire political class without exception.

George, a 26-year-old engineering student, has been taking part in demonstrations since its inception more than a month ago as “the true revolution that represents us.”

“We represent the new generation that has been liberated from the traditional ‘political mentality’,” he excitedly told AFP. “Even if we have political parties, we have priorities, Lebanon first.”

Within a year, George finishes his university studies and was planning to go abroad to pursue higher studies, but he could change his mind and choose to stay if the situation improves by the “October 17 Revolution,” he said.

George, carrying his bag on his back and the Lebanese flag over his shoulder, showed pride in the student movement.

“We are the ones who keep the revolution alive,” he said.

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