Nonresident Senior Fellow Rola el-Husseini: “Lebanon’s massive garbage crisis isn’t its first.”
In an article for the Washington Post‘s Monkey Cage, POMED Nonresident Senior Fellow Rola el-Husseini and Nora Stel write on the history of Lebanon’s political dysfunction.
Heaps of garbage that rot in the summer heat pockmarking crowded residential areas—poisoning the air and polluting the soil, causing respiratory diseases and fueling fears of cholera. A woman unable to ventilate her tiny, sweltering apartment, angrily lamenting that the waste now piling up to the veranda brings pests, smells and infections.
Beirut, 2015? No: south Lebanon, 2012.
While the scale of the current garbage crisis scourging Beirut is unprecedented, the phenomenon of protracted waste management problems is certainly not—a fact that seems to have escaped the abundant commentaries on the present crisis. Yet, commentators and protesters alike have much to learn from the lessons of previous crises. In particular, the demonstrators that now rightfully link Beirut’s trash management problems to the erosion of state and citizenship would do well to take into account the experiences of non-citizens dealing with the governance dynamics of waste predicaments.
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