Lebanon (MNN) — Protests in Lebanon are finishing their seventh week with no end in sight. The unrest shut down the capital city of Beirut. Although the prime minister resigned at the end of October, little has changed.
“I think that it’s become painfully clear to Lebanese people, and they’ve had an awakening, that really the main economic problem in the country for the past 30, 40 years has been the ruling officials, because of their corruption,” says Pierre Houssney, executive director of Horizons International.
“When someone has cancer, they need to undergo poison; they need to undergo chemotherapy in order to kill the poison that is damaging their body… I think the Lebanese public is ready to put the entire country on the line in order to get rid of these politicians and their stealing and their corruption and their embezzlement of government funds.”
The Lebanese want a remedy, even if it comes at a personal cost.
“They know if they’re able to clear out that ruling hegemonic elite, then they will be able to have a chance to rebuild their country and rebuild their country’s economy. So, the poor people and the middle class throughout Lebanon are making big economic sacrifices right now to shut down the country just in order to smoke out these political elites because they feel that there’s no other way. And if they fail right now, then their hopes will be dashed for the future,” Houssney says.
Actions and Reactions
On an international scale, the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister paints a picture of change, an illusion portraying a toppled government. However, Houssney breaks down the reality of the current government structure in Lebanon.
The same establishment the Lebanese people are protesting is still firmly in place. Houssney says the prime minister is a representative of the weaker branch of the government. This branch is considered weaker due to the fact the ruling party is a collaboration of the Shiite Muslims and the Christian Lebanese, while the weaker branch is made up of Sunni Muslims. (Learn more about the governmental structure in Lebanon here.)
Until both the president of Lebanon (Christian) and the speaker of parliament resign (Shiite Muslim), the government corruption the Lebanese people are protesting remains intact.
“The big powers of the government are still in place, and they are not listening to the people, and they are not budging at all, which is really igniting a new wave of anger,” Houssney says.
Impact on Work
The congestion brought on from the protests is impacting the work of organizations like Horizons International. It is difficult to get in and out of the city. This has decreased the frequency of outreach across the country for Horizons International, forcing the group to shift its focus to more local work. On a limited basis, Horizons International has opened up its ministry centers for activities.
But even amid massive protests, encouraging things are happening in Lebanon. Houssney’s prayer is for the Lebanese people to become more open to accepting Christ.
“As recently as last week, we’ve been getting reports from our church partners here in Lebanon that a lot of new families of Lebanese people have come into the Evangelical churches as a result of the turmoil,” Houssney says.
“We’ve seen people that are showing renewed interest in the Gospel. That’s exactly what we’ve been praying for, so it’s incredibly encouraging to see that God is actually doing that.”
Pray for Lebanon
Pray for these families and individuals who have a renewed interest in the Gospel to find Christ and community through the local Church. Ask God to bring about a wave of spiritual openness to the Gospel in Lebanon.
“God doesn’t let one single prayer go to waste. So, we need every single believer around the world to be praying that God would be glorified in the Middle East through these events,” Houssney says.
Image courtesy of Kaufdex via Pixabay.