Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lebanon and The Slow Change Process

Lebanon is a special country, indeed it is. If you look back at its history, it seems that its intrinsic problems will never be dealt with. Time passes, yet they cling there, gazing at you with a defiant and threatening look.

Even before the creation of modern day Lebanon, wars erupted in its mountains between the Druze and Maronites. 

Since the first day of independence Lebanese politics was obsessed with balancing the often conflicting interests of the country's major confessional communities. Balance is a difficult thing to master, one misstep and you are out of grace.

In 1958 a mini-war erupted paving the way for the mother of all wars, the 1975 civil wars which lasted a full fat 15 years. Fast forward to 2008;  yet another mini-war erupted. The latest chapter of violence we  witnessed in Tripoli and Beirut are somber reminders of days we thought were behind us. 

So from the days of the Moutasirifyat Jabal Loubnan to the modern day Lebanon, have we really changed?

Surely, we should know better by now. How can we not? Our ancestors were poor ignorant peasants battling to scrape a living in Mount Lebanon's unforgiving landscape. We are more educated and enlightened. But as it turns out, we still share  much of our ancestors mentalities, fears and hatred.

Why is change slow to come to the Land of the Cedar and the Pearl of the East (thank you Miss Liban for teaching me a thing or two)?

I don't claim to have the answer. But several factors come into play:
  • No clear and united vision of Lebanon's identity and role in its natural geographical setting
  • Strong tribal and confessional allegiances that undermine national unity
  • The unnatural acceptance of foreign meddling in the country's internal affairs
  • The I don't care attitude of many Lebanese, who are ready to leave everything behind in their homeland should anything happen. (اخر همي وبلاد الله واسعة)
Of course this is not an exhaustive list and it has a fair bit of generalization. But is there any way out? There should be, it's not like we're destined to live on the edge, always fearing for our life.

There are thousands of Lebanese who want to enjoy life in a free and secular nation. They have great obstacles ahead that are met with few tweets and facebook status updates. Okay, to be fair they are doing more, but it is simply not enough. They need to do more, I need to do more. 

We need to join forces. We need to create a viable alternative to counter all these backward and confessional forces, to force a change, otherwise, we will remain trapped in the cycle of wars and the wait  in between.

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