BEIRUT, LEBANON – October 24, 2019 – A million Lebanese from across the spectrum of religious groups and ethnic communities continue the week-long protests across Lebanon. Christian television network SAT-7 is tackling the development through a series of live episodes airing on SAT-7 ARABIC. The channel has invited various leaders from the Lebanese Christian community to share their perspectives and debate on a way forward.
Many roads in the country have been cut off with schools and universities shut down. Protesters cite a list of grievances, including a heightened economic crisis, the depreciation of the Lebanese lira in the international market, hours-long lines at fuel stations, a rise in the price of bread, the handling of a wildfire crisis earlier this month, and the final straw being a tax on the social media platform WhatsApp. The WhatsApp tax was quickly rescinded and top-ranking officials’ salaries professed to be reduced, but protesters are still calling for top leaders to step down.
Space for Debate
“We are expecting a lot of viewers for tonight’s program, Lebanon – A Cry for the Nation. The aim is to offer space to debate how this situation is affecting the Christians in Lebanon and to hear the perspective of the Church in Lebanon,” shares Maroun Bou Rached, Executive Director of the SAT-7 Lebanon office.
The first episode included reports from the streets of Lebanon, as well as discussions with Lebanese Pastor MP Edgar Traboulsi and Maggie Aoun, a broadcast journalist known for her focus on social impact issues. The guests debated the future of the Lebanese government, with Aoun advocating for a secular state and Rev. MP Traboulsi asserting that this would diffuse Lebanon, negatively impacting Christians. Presenter Milad Hadjiti asked Rev. MP Traboulsi what is the role of a Christian in this situation, to which he responded that a Christian should first go to God in prayer seeking His guidance.
The channel is continuing its operations from Lebanon but is operating with a skeleton staff in the interests of staff safety, as no one is sure what will happen or how the situation could change.
Prayers for a Way Forward
“We ask that people across the world keep the people of Lebanon in their prayers; that they would pray specifically for a way forward – a vision for the country – a peaceful road map for our future that will show the way for tomorrow, and the future. Please pray that He will give us a vision, as people are worried about how the situation will unfold,” continues Bou Rached.
Sects Protest Side-by-Side
He further comments, “The demonstrations have unified Lebanon’s various sects, with Shia, Sunni, Christians and Druze protesting side-by-side as they are faced with an economic collapse. Children in Lebanon are dreaming of a brighter future, as are millions of others who are living in refugee camps, who rely on our educational programs to change their lives. It is this generation that is inspiring all of us to join as one voice so we can offer them a brighter future.”
SAT-7 Lebanon produces nonpartisan, nonpolitical Arabic language Christian programming, which is broadcast across the Middle East and North Africa. Its ACADEMY brand of programming specializes in education and development aiming to inspire and educate millions of children across the region, as well as equip and encourage parents and teachers. The ministry’s vision is to see a growing Church in the Middle East and North Africa, confident in Christian faith and witness, serving the community and contributing to the good of society and culture.
Lebanon, A Cry for the Nation tonight at 3pm EST / 10pm Lebanon time. Watch live on SAT-7 ARABIC.
Image Credit: Reuters