First Person

Lebanon’s Arab Spring?


apple google spotify overcast stitcher
Lebanese demonstrators wave national flags on a highway linking Beirut to northern Lebanon in Zouk Mosbeh on Oct. 19.
Lebanese demonstrators wave national flags on a highway linking Beirut to northern Lebanon in Zouk Mosbeh on Oct. 19. JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

Protesters are directing their anger at the political elite for years of corruption and mismanagement.

Hundreds of thousands of Lebanese have been demonstrating in recent weeks over government corruption and the high cost of living, in what is shaping up as one of the largest protest movements in the country’s history.

The demonstrations were triggered by a proposed bill to tax calls made via WhatsApp and other free messaging services. Though the government quickly backed off, the protests continued.

Maha Yahya, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center, is in Beirut, monitoring the events and considering what they mean for Lebanon’s future. She’s our guest this week on First Person.

About First Person:  Each week on First Person, we conduct a narrative-driven conversation with one person whose experience illuminates something timely and important about our world. Our guests tend to be people who have participated directly in events, either as protagonists or eyewitnesses. We get them to tell their story, not just offer analysis. First Person is hosted by FP deputy editor Sarah Wildman. Sarah is an award-winning journalist whose stories have appeared in the New York TimesSlate, Vox and the New Yorker online. She is the author of Paper Love: Searching for the Girl My Grandfather Left Behind.  See All Episodes


apple google spotify overcast stitcher

More First Person episodes:

A Fateful Decision That Led to the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis

The journalist David Kirkpatrick on how President Jimmy Carter was pressured into letting the Shah of Iran into the United States.

The Persian Puzzle—Iran, Iraq, and the United States

What a trove of leaked Iranian cables tells us about Iran’s influence in Iraq.

The Truth About the U.S. War in Afghanistan

Former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani on how the Taliban won.

Other Foreign Policy podcasts:

and now the hard part

And Now the Hard Part

From Foreign Policy and the Brookings Institution: Each week we look at one of the world’s toughest problems and suggest a way forward—all in under 30 minutes.


apple google spotify
I Spy

I Spy

Spies don’t talk—it’s the cardinal rule of the business. But here at Foreign Policy, we get them to open up. On I Spy, we hear from the operations people: the spies who steal secrets, who kill adversaries, who turn agents into double agents. Each episode features one spy telling the story of one operation.


apple spotify tunein

Interested in sponsoring First Person? Connect with Foreign Policy’s influential, global audience. Click here to become a sponsor.

To learn more about creating a podcast with us, contact Andrew Sollinger at