Can Coronavirus kill Lebanon's Revolution? | Foreign Correspondent

Can Coronavirus kill Lebanon's Revolution? | Foreign Correspondent

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This is not your typical revolution. It’s not just a group of young idealists pushing for the stars.The revolution that has filled Lebanon’s streets for months on end has broad-based support.

Young and old, rich and poor, Muslim, Christian and Druze are united in their desire to overthrow their corrupt and incompetent leaders and save their country and themselves from economic collapse.

After decades of neglect, the country is on its knees. There’s hyperinflation, currency collapse, high unemployment, constant power cuts and people going hungry like never before. And now the country is dealing with the new coronavirus.

In a rollercoaster ride, Beirut-based correspondent Adam Harvey lived through months of protest and weeks of lockdown and has documented it for Foreign Correspondent.

Adam meets ordinary and extraordinary Lebanese who are struggling to survive and desperately trying to save the country they love.

There’s Rima, the owner of a once-grand now crumbling hotel in the country’s east, a former haunt of kings, queens and presidents.

Today tourism has dried up and the hotel is struggling. Rima spends her time organising food handouts for hungry neighbours.

“The corruption…has eaten up the Lebanon we’ve known and we’re all trying to save it”, she tells us.

He meets Tarek, the star of Revolution TV who’s live-streaming the protestors’ every move for his popular YouTube channel.

“It’s very sad what’s happening but Beirut will never die. Beirut will get sick but Beirut will survive.”

There’s Tala, a young DJ and part owner of Beirut’s biggest nightclub. Instead of spinning discs, she’s in lockdown, worried about her country’s future.

“Right now, our country has sunk so low…and it will be very, very hard to come back from that.”

And we meet unemployed Imad Awad, who doesn’t have enough money to pay for heating or his wife’s medicine.

The coronavirus is putting more pressure on a country already in strife. But it can’t kill the revolution. As the lockdown lifts, the protestors are coming back.

“We want action now. We want to see a result immediately on the streets for the people – otherwise there is no country”, warns Tarek.

In a visually arresting story, we meet four Lebanese from different walks of life, all united in their desire to bring their country back from the brink.

About Foreign Correspondent:
Foreign Correspondent is the prime-time international public affairs program on Australia's national broadcaster, ABC-TV. We produce half-hour duration in-depth reports for broadcast across the ABC's television channels and digital platforms. Since 1992, our teams have journeyed to more than 170 countries to report on war, natural calamity and social and political upheaval – through the eyes of the people at the heart of it all.

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