Today so many Lebanese seem so inquisitive about politics and political commentary. It is almost adorable, the fact that they’ve just woken up and realized the concept of politics. That such a practice exists to govern our lives, and forces onto us our own decisions. It seemed like, for the longest time Lebanese were content with wining and dining, that they never stopped to consider the politics, policy, and where the country was headed. Those that did, found it easier to abandon ship than to steer it back on course.
Now that many Lebanese have woken up from their slumber, they’re doing their best to catch up to the latest in the world of politics, and world politics, by speed reading and skimming through mainstream news headlines, and pseudo-political activist platforms who spew racist rhetoric under the guise of “independence” and “free-thinking”, when -in reality- they’re just masquerading as free thinkers, and are actually entranced and entrenched with Lebanese political parties themselves.
Speaking of which, the Lebanese political parties have stumbled on to a realization of their own. They’ve now just realized that public office is actually a bilateral agreement, and not just a one way ticket. For a while now, Lebanese politicians believed that their election into office ended there, and they don’t owe their electors anything past that. When in fact, these politicians have been elected by the people, from the people. And so they owe them everything. But for the longest time, Lebanese political “zo3ama” enforced the the Mafioso practice of “never bite the hand that feeds you”. And for a while that mantra worked, until it didn’t. That’s when these same “zo3ama” learned that -yes- followers won’t bite the hand that feeds them, but once that hand stops feeding, they’ll bite the whole hand off.
And it doesn’t require a degree in economics or politics to know that in a world of clientelism, those favors better keep flowing, or you risk collapsing the whole house of cards. It’s more true for Lebanon, whose entire economy was propped up on impossible amounts of debt. Debt that you and I and everyone else, always wondered how we were ever going to pay off. Until we laughed at that notion altogether. But we’re not laughing anymore, because today, we very much are paying off that debt. Except now you realize that debt was given to us with the purpose -not by coincidence- that it would’ve been impossible to reimburse through financial means alone. Instead, our payback would be with obedience, compliance, and acceptance. We will forever be indebted to our debtors -the orchestrators of the past donor conferences, and future ones to be held in our favor.
The knife is twisted deeper once you consider the amount of money we blew back them, when we could’ve built. Even until today we are still crawling to countries for cash. The land of Cedar is still banking on CEDRE to cover the hole leaking water onto the boat. But consider that, between years 2008-2012, Lebanon’s foreign inflows (money sent from outside) amounted to almost $28 billion, more than twice the amount pledged at CEDRE. Had we taken those remittances back then, and invested into infrastructure projects like the ones promoted at CEDRE, we would have avoided a banking collapse and a deposit deterioration, our economy would be thriving, and we’d have modern infrastructure. But that’s not how the story played out.
It is unfortunate that Lebanon’s problem are being made minuscule, and simplified. When the truth is, the state Lebanon is in today, has been so calculated, so prepared for, so well-timed, that those who have been keeping on eye on the events this entire time saw it coming. Those who just had their light bulb light-up say, “how can I have not seen this coming?” A well orchestrated demise of a banana republic carried out by diplomatic monkeys who get paid a pay check at the end of every month to keep quiet, do as they’re told, and look the other way. And then you have the current quasi-political brilliants of Lebanon. The Churchill minded, minus the word CHURCH. These are the people who have no idea what’s going on, and may never know what happened. Yet they will continue to masquerade as buffoons in scholar’s clothing, silencing anyone who disagrees with their opinion, canceling anyone who disproves them altogether.
All the while, and for a while, we remain stuck in our spot, both feet firmly planted in the quick sand, going nowhere fast. Not moving forward but rather looking back to commentate on our past. An image of a people that suggests degenerates, not intelligence.
Countries are much more than their economy and GDP. There are also the intangibles. In the midst of all the wreckage and underneath all the rubble, I frantically search for our country’s intangibles. Our values, and what made us great as a country. Our co-existence with one another, and if that co-existence is still alive and well, or if that too was another fallacy fed to us. I search for our place in the region, and in the world. Are we still of use to anyone? To ourselves? I search for our respect, if we are still respected.
Through conversations with Lebanese like me, I try to find answers to these questions. But sadly, I myself realized I am unlike other Lebanese. Because they have succumbed to the narrative, and are now filled with racism, frustration, submission, idiocy, and complacency. When asked, they provide hollow answers with no true insight. You can almost see the result of the destructive propaganda campaign in their eyes, and how effective it was. So I try to repress the fear I have of my country being torn apart. And instead, I do what all Lebanese have done for the longest time -think that things will be ok in the end.
And to those banking on miracle I say, one night out of the year where the numbers of a calendar change isn’t going to do anything to change the agenda. This isn’t a Cinderella story. There is no princess ball, no magic wand, or a Genie with 3 wishes. There is a reason why it’s called a narrative, because it has a beginning, middle, and end. And for those of who have not yet stumbled upon the final realization of 2020 then here it is served to you in plain English: the narrative that we are in isn’t over, it’s just begun.