Ronnie Chatah: March 14 and October 17 crashed into the wall collectively

March 18, 2024



Naqd Team sits down with podcaster and commentator Ronnie Shatah on the 19th anniversary of the March 14th Revolution.

Ronnie, the son of Mohammed Chatah, the former Lebanese Minister of Economy who was tragically assassinated in 2013 in Beirut, shares his unique insights.

Together, we delve into the significance of March 14, the October 17 protest, and the impact of Hezb*llah on both Lebanese and regional politics.

What happened with the investigation file of Mohammad Chatah?

I get asked this question all the time and I’ll answer it in a way that hopefully makes sense for the memory of March 14 there is a report a document the special Tribunal for Lebanon published there is a political explanation for why hezbollah was involved in the assassination of Rafic al hariri, also the attempted and successful assassinations from 2004 until 2005, I Rely heavily on that report because that’s the only report I can think of that actually determined the criminals behind a political assassination in a political Camp my father belonged to. I count on that report more than any attempt in this country to even begin an investigation and to any political opponent to Hezbollah that includes my father.

What were three reasonable steps Mohammad Shatah could have taken to pull Lebanon out of its economic crisis?

Well I looked at that question and then I thought I don’t know if there’s any magic wand or three-step trajectory to resolve one of the worst crises in modern history. I’ll maybe explain it in a different way, I think the story of reform is married to March 14 even though too many opponents of March 14 pretend otherwise, and some of these opponents emerge and they pretend to be revolutionary, some of them I think are mediocre analysts and they pretend to be October 17, I don’t think that’s true either what I would look at it as in the story of Reform begins with sovereignty, the story of Reform begins with Independence, and the story of Reform begins with implementing the Taif. I don’t think we’re there 34 years after the Civil Wars end, 19 years after March 14 the basic starting point we haven’t gotten there that’s what March 14 was about, and I think once you start there you can actually experiment with better governance. The story of Reform to me also requires a reflection of reality and the reason I said Taif it is because basic things, like sectarian reform, the Senate they’re in the Taif, basic things like Monopoly of violence, something so foundational to a country that’s the aspiration of March 14 that’s why all of us were screaming and shouting to get the Syrian Army out, Independence we haven’t had what feels like Independence for over five decades Independence 2005 I remember that on the streets of Beirut I think the starting point for reform begins there it doesn’t begin in my opinion with populism it doesn’t begin with anti-establishment convenient voices it doesn’t begin with the most repugnant Pro Hezbollah voices today that would rather see Lebanon a battlefield than a stable functioning country.

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