March 14, 2005 – March 14, 2022: It has been seventeen years since the Cedar Revolution, which sparked the independence uprising. What happened on that day is unprecedented in Lebanese history. Exhausted from thirty years of guardianships and occupations, the people decided to take to the streets, specifically Martyrs’ Square, to say no to Syrian guardianship, which ended its dark reign in Lebanon by covering Rafik Hariri’s assassination. The human wave was raging, popular will was present, and regional and international support was not hidden.
But also, most importantly, popular outrage following the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the symbol of the republic’s rebuilding. Thus, the event of March 14 resulted in the liberation of Lebanon from the Syrians, but it did not result in the complete liberation of Lebanon.
The Iranian was present to seize the moment, and Lebanon gradually transitioned from Syrian to Iranian control. Hezbollah served as the Trojan Horse. It did not turn over its weapons to the government. It monopolized war and peace decisions and attempted to exert as much control over all Lebanese decision-making as possible. And here we are, seventeen years later, in the same mortgage cycle.
Only the guardian’s name changed. But the most dangerous thing is that this time the tool is Lebanese, not Syrian, Israeli or Palestinian. Therefore, there is no solution except through democracy. And the first date for democracy is on the fifteenth of May.
Will the upcoming parliamentary elections constitute a turning point to achieve the required change? Will salvation be this time through the ballot boxes and not through the popular demonstrations? More specifically, does May 15, 2022, achieve what March 14, 2005 did not?