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Lebanon’s Arab Spring?

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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

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