The changing culture of election campaigns in Lebanon

Even if independent candidates don’t win big on election day, they are already having an impact on Lebanese political culture. They have introduced new styles of campaigning that come as a sharp contrast to how politics is commonly practiced in Lebanon. While establishment politicians deploy …

Lebanon’s first expatriate voters show true colors

There is a fantasy among many in Lebanon- liberals in particular– that a silent majority of Lebanese do not support the country’s political establishment. That most Lebanese would prefer a life free from the political parties of today, which had largely been former militias established …

The ugly face of the kafala system

When I exited the plane in Beirut last night, I noticed an Ethiopia Airlines plane parked next to ours and thought little of it. But as we walked through the skywalk and then into a long corridor, this sight confronted all arriving passengers: Hundreds of …

New and old ways of practicing Lebanese politics

In a space of a few hours, one can witness two radically different visions for Beirut’s future. On a recent afternoon, under the shade of ficus trees, a town hall meeting was held by Beirut Madinati, the new political collective comprised of activists and urban …

Tripoli residents: ‘It’s poverty, stupid’

Local channel LBC ran this brilliant five minute interview with an unidentified man on the street in Tripoli. His language and delivery is powerful in Arabic, but I thought I would do a rush translation into English, particularly for a lot of the foreign press …

Who needs change? Lebanon’s youth parties waive off reform

For decades, Lebanese politics has been ruled by a small group of men. So why not get some fresh faces in government? This seemed to be the underlying subtext of a United Nations report on youth in politics, released earlier this week to a small …