Lebanon: You get what you vote for
The recent events witnessed across the Lebanese territories are a rude awakening to the Lebanese population. The country built on the principles of coexistence, or so we have been told growing up in our civic classes, has overnight shifted back to the sectarianism witnessed for decades in this nation. Analysts and politicians blame the situation in Syria for the recent surge in instability in Lebanon; some blame “foreign” powers for attempting to destabilize Lebanon after the Syrian revolution failed to achieve its goals as they claim.The reality is, the real people to blame are the Lebanese themselves.
There is an old saying “You get what you vote for” and that’s exactly what describes the situation in Lebanon today. The Lebanese population constantly nags, protests and expresses dissatisfaction with the current leadership of the nation, be it governments, ministers or MPs. Democracy was built on the principles that the constituents can choose its leadership and elects those they believe would provide the best outcomes for a nation. Elections are the mechanism by which said constituents have the ability to hold accountable those politicians by voting them off and replacing them with a capable one. In the case of Lebanon this rational seems to be lost for the Lebanese. Over the past decades the Lebanese have voted in the same politicians; more disturbingly the Lebanese, in masses, to this day, support politicians that have consciously fueled the civil war, cost the nation tens of billions of dollars, killed tens of thousands of civilians, forced the migration and emigration of hundreds of thousands of others and, destroyed the country’s entire infrastructure. The sad part is that a majority of Lebanese, if not all, are aware of this but continue in their support for groups such as Amal, Lebanese Forces, Free Patriotic Movement, Hezbollah, Future, The Phalanges, The Social Progressive and many more.
In a country where Lebanese constantly brag about their intellectual superiority, one can only be saddened that many don’t realize that groups which fueled 15 years of war, 40 years of corruption, greed, hatred and sectarianism will never build a nation that promotes human rights, spur growth, development, improve the infrastructure; One must wonder if this theory of Lebanese intellectual supremacy still holds after simply viewing the facts. The Lebanese who have constantly voted in the same leaders and politicians have only themselves to blame for the lack of security and stability in the nation; moreover, they only have themselves to blame for the sectarian rift that is ever present and sadly growing on an everyday basis as their vote fuels it.
The Lebanese joie-de vivre within the population is remarkable; however it has driven the Lebanese away from their civic duty: participate in the building of their nation. Lebanese have become too passive, in the author’s opinion, in their participation in the political life (by political life, I mean the active engagement as a civilian to improve the nation, actions which goes beyond participation/belonging in a political group/movement/party.) Lebanese need to understand that the current state of Lebanon will only continue if they continue on passively voting for the same politicians. Lebanon needs its youth to challenge the current foundations that have been forcefully built since the 1975, foundations of a nation built on sectarianism, greed, manipulation, corruption and hatred. The time has come for the youth to revolt for the sake of the nation. The events that occurred on the 14th of March 2005, before it became a politicized matter, were an important step that the population failed to capture and let slip in the hands of the politicians after having developed organically and as a grass-root movement. The Lebanese that demand change must realize that it requires effort and a commitment that results will not develop overnight. Moreover, the Lebanese that continuously complain must understand that complaints are only that; burning tires and closing down streets are not an effective, nor for that matter a real democratic way to express their discontent and that taking to the weapons will only aggravate matter, making their lives at the end of the day worse.
I challenge my fellow Lebanese to utilize their right and power as voters to actively seek to shake and destroy the foundations that this nation was forced upon by the civil war and the current political parties. The elections of 2013 are right around the corner, the time to vote for independent groups has never been any better or more justified as both the 8th and 14th march so called alliances have led to only worsen the situation of the everyday average Lebanese instead of benefiting them. My fellow everyday citizens, I urge you to not be persuaded by the paving of the roads, the sudden return to electricity and water, all of which will be temporarily, right before elections occur for these basic utilities were supposed to have been provided years and decades ago. Lastly, always remember that the “bribes” that politicians will give to sway your vote is the money they have stolen from you and your taxes, money which was meant to develop your country instead of their villas and businesses.