As dawn broke today, five days of talks between Lebanon's leading politicians on the country's internal crisis finally came to a head, just in time to stop the country from sliding into civil war.
More divided than ever after Hezbollah's military campaign of early May, Lebanon's leading figures — except for the Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah — began negotiations in Doha, Qatar, on May 16. Today they finally came to an agreement, promising the country a president and a new government by Sunday. While the country's leaders talked, the people of Lebanon protested on the streets, exasperated with the situation. Today, they can finally put down their banners.
Omar Abdel Samad is a member of the association Towards Citizenship and the collective Khallas. He took part in protests while the talks were going on.
But what a disgrace to have to leave the country to negotiate a solution anyway! Are we unable to negotiate on our own ground? However, despite these things, I'm satisfied that the agreement was signed and we can finally get back to rebuilding our institutions after a breakdown of over a month. We'll have a president, a new government and a parliament that can open its doors again. All that is positive, except for one thing: Our political leaders redrew the electoral map without asking anyone and without taking in the findings of the Boutros commission, which worked on the subject. Don't think that we're going to forget the clashes that happened at the beginning of the month — the wounds are still fresh. Just because this agreement's been signed doesn't mean we'll forget what's happened in the past few weeks.
Chadi Bou Habib is a Lebanese economist from Beirut.
Lebanese people marched the streets for the past week to express their frustration at what they call the "political incompetence" of their leaders. One group ran a banner on the bus to Beirut airport reading: "If you don't agree, don't come back!" The slogan soon became popular among the protesters and was spread via groups on Facebook.
An ad by Lowe Mena has caused a stir after being shown on various TV channels in Lebanon. The end reads: "More than 200,000 victims. More than 3,700 car bombs. More than a million emigrated. And we still haven't understood. That's enough."