Earlier this week, there was a massive explosion at a shipping port in Beirut, leaving an estimated 150 dead, 80 missing, 5,000 injured, and 300,000 homeless. “To say we’re going through a catastrophe would be an understatement,” says Rania Masri, a university lecturer and political activist living in Beirut.
Today, she joins us to put the explosion in the context of Lebanon’s recent history and politics with other guests Ziad Suidan and Juan Cole. They discuss the major crisis of governance in Lebanon, the country’s sectarian system and the problem of clientelism, the influence of international actors like France, the U.S., and Israel, and the conditions that would make a revolution possible.
Rania Masri is a lecturer at the Lebanese American University and an elected representative of the political party Citizens in a State.
Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan, where he has written extensively on the social and intellectual history of the Middle East and South Asia.