In less than a month, the world saw how the governments of Iraq and Lebanon fell after thousands of their citizens went to the streets most in murderous rage over corruption charges against political elites of both countries. People are not protesting against dictatorships or autocracy. They are finding their voices, and braving attacks by security forces against what these peoples perceive as kleptocracies that have kept their countries under states of uncertainty and economic instability.
Lebanese prime Minister Hariri and Iraq Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi both resigned from their posts but were immediately replaced by their political allies, in what most analysts say as a revolving chair tactic which led to nowhere.
Hariri and Abdul Mahdi both suffered from humiliation and agreed to serve as convenient escape goats for political elites whose only concern, many believe, is to enrich themselves while in power.
In Lebanon, the political elites have entrenched themselves for almost 30 years, without significant accomplishments to speak of, only images of these people living the posh life, and getting rich due to corruption. Thousands of young Lebanese professionals are without job securities and most work under 15 dollars a day. Many Lebanese women supplement their income thru prostitution, a crime punishable by death.
It is the same thing in Iraq where people live in squalid conditions while their leaders are seen hobnobbing with royalty and spending millions in casinos in Asia and Europe. Many Iraqis are trying to wrest free from Western influences which are perceived as root causes of many of contemporary Iraq’s problems.
Most people expect their government to be responsive to their demands, such as higher standards of living, better work conditions and improved public services. They’re not asking for an ideologically induced political change– these are simple people with simple needs which, unfortunately, their respective states cannot simply satisfy.