Adèle Surprenant

Sour, November 3rd, 2019: On a Sunday afternoon, Zahra, a 30-year-old accountant, drives from Jal el-Dib to Sour, a city in the South of Lebanon to stand in solidarity with the protesters: "I’ve never been prouder to be an Arab woman fighting for my rights."

Why did you join the protests?

I went to the streets today because I believe that now that we’ve successfully brought down the government, we need to keep fighting for the people. I hope that we’ll soon have a cabinet advocating for our needs. For that to happen, we need to continue mobilizing, stay alert, and remind them of our power.

We’re tired of the politicians, of the same kind of people in power. What we want and what the country needs right now, is strong politicians, able to take on the economic crisis without creating new problems1 .

Were you already invested in politics before the “thawra”2  started?

Yes, I’ve been working with other activists to raise political awareness in Jal el-Dib. We’ve been doing grassroots-work, trying to educate young people about the Lebanese economy, how our banking system works. […] Today I can see direct results from our initiatives when I go down to the protests and see teenagers debating Lebanon’s debt situation!

What do you think about the protest movement’s future?

I think so far, it’s been going very well, and I can’t see why that would change. I am aware that my personal situation is privileged and that others can’t afford to miss work and join the protests. However, even the poorest people, those working in construction or small shops, even these people are supporting us. […] Believe me, I’ve never had much hope for this country, but what I’m witnessing now is proving me wrong.

Today we are dancing in the streets, while the politicians are scared to death! After three weeks, people are still on the streets everywhere in Lebanon, united and full of hope. I honestly believe that we will keep fighting until all politicians are gone. Just like we said: killon ya3ne killon - All of them means all of them!3

*Translated from Arabic

  • 1Referring to the new taxes announced by the government on October 17th, notably on oil and the messenger- application WhatsApp, which contributed to provoking the current social movement.
  • 2"Revolution" : In Lebanon, the current protest movement is referred to as a revolution.
  • 3"Killon ya3ne killon": One of the most popular chants heard in the streets of Lebanon.