Dear ACSS community,
We are writing to you from our offices in Beirut as all corners of the country erupt in massive, spontaneous and peaceful demonstrations demanding immediate political and economic change. Lebanon joins other countries in the region in a renewed wave of protests and uprisings. The specific drivers of the protests, the issues and demands, the social composition of the societies and the political structures of the regimes differ from country to country. However, echoing across these different contexts is a common outcry against corruption, inequality, discrimination, impoverishment and exclusion. As in the first wave of protests and uprisings in 2010-2011, these movements reference others in the region and the world. Messages and slogans chanted and flashed on screens across Beirut and the rest of the country express solidarity with other uprisings in the region and the world.They also take up the cause of all marginalized groups including refugees, migrant workers, sexual and gender minorities and all those who experience structural discrimination and violence.
The ACSS is proud to stand alongside such struggles for social justice and meaningful structural change. Our offices will stay open and functioning to the best of our abilities. This week we hold our first African-Arab school on “Theory from the Global South” in collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand and the American University of Beirut. We are pleased to report that all the participants from 12 African and Arab countries have arrived and are looking forward to our readings and discussions. This meeting focuses on histories and contemporary expressions of intellectual and political solidarity between Africa and the Arab region. It is a moment when the past and the present come together powerfully to presage what we hope is a better future for all.