Analysis, Middle East, Side Feature

Protests Everywhere

Cries of celebration went up across Lebanon on Tuesday as protesters demanding the fall of the government celebrated Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s resignation – though most said this was merely an initial victory in a long-term battle.

“It’s a good first step but we’re still going to stay in the streets,” Pierre Mouzannar, a 21-year old filmmaker told Al Jazeera in central Beirut. “Hariri is part of the problem but he’s not all of the problem … I don’t think anyone thinks we’re done.” (Source: Al Jazeera, 30th October 2019)


The protests in Lebanon, Iraq, Chile and Pakistan, all taking place this week have a common theme – people are not happy and want change.

The comment in the article above states one clear point that particular leaders or governments are not the only problem and reforms need to be radical.  All of these particular protests have been triggered by economic woes of the average person. Unfair taxation, price hikes on basic foods or transport, high unemployment and difficulty for local businesses to thrive are some of the reasons the backs of people are breaking and they can’t take it anymore. Basic needs for human beings to live and thrive are not being met.

While opposition parties may celebrate street protests that could tip the balance in their favor, the standing government’s may well concede to some demands as in the case of the resignation of Hariri. This can serve to placate protestors, as has happened in the past and give some further breath to the dying Capitalist system.

There are global economic policies designed to strangle developing countries. At times the same lands are rich with resources, yet cannot meet the needs due to corruption, lack of infrastructure and inability to manage the resources. These failures are really rooted in a colonial past and current direct interference by global intuitions that support the Capitalist system and countries.

The voices of the disgruntled are surely not going to quieten down forever, but lasting and real ease will not come until the death of the Capitalist ideology is seen. Despite sincerity, bravery and sacrifice, protests alone cannot bring change or the downfall of the system until the system is uprooted and replaced. Prior to this, Capitalism has to be recognized as the culprit that allows government’s and leader’s to use their positions not to assist the subjects they serve, but to give them more and more daily woes and strains on how to survive.

This is reminiscent of the Seerah, when the Prophet ﷺ and others could see the corruption of the system in Makkah and worked diligently to firstly, expose the system and people in power and then to destroy the system and replace it completely with the Islamic system.

Today, as voices are raised and protests carry on, it is equally important to evaluate what the root causes of problems are, why the system is failing and to recognize the superiority of Islam and it being the only and correct solution.

Once we see Islam as the only ideological alternative, protests will result from a clear objective linked to a clear vision and a radical change the world is in desperate need of.


Nazia Rehman