Over the past few days, I placed a few comments on my Facebook account which were mostly critical of the Lebanese elections. For the first time in a while, I had an influx of comments, some of which agreed while others disagreed; moreover, some disagreed before and changed their minds after the elections.
In short, my personal opinion of the Lebanese Elections is that the system itself is completely and utterly flawed for the following reasons:
- We all know that the majority of the Lebanese parliament and government is corrupt.
- This same majority is the one that voted and agreed upon the new electoral law which was implemented.
- Now, why would a corrupt group of people who want to remain in power create a law which may be against their own interests? You got it: they won’t!
- A group of people argue that now that we have a president who’s supposedly straightforward would insure that this election would be more honest. However, the premise of this argument is false to begin with, thereby making the argument itself false. The president and his political party kept refusing to participate in the election of a new president until they were able to guarantee that he would be elected (I mean appointed). This is a clear breach of constitution and also a sign of corruption.
So, we have a corrupt parliament and government creating a corrupt electoral law whose honesty is insured by a corrupt leader… Yet, we expected honest elections.
Less than 24 hours later, after the results of the elections were out, it appeared that only 47% of the population voted and most of the parliament remained the same. The disappointed people looking for change blamed this failure on the 53% who didn’t vote and the others who sold their votes. However, if we analyze this, we find that it’s clear proof that most of the Lebanese don’t want change to begin with.
Think about it: most of the 53% who didn’t vote didn’t care about change one way or another, so we can just ignore them because their votes wouldn’t have made a difference anyway. As for the 47% who did vote – assuming that there was no tampering with the voting system whatsoever (yeah, right!) – almost all those hungry for change are included in this 47%. In addition to that, the results of the elections showed that the vast majority of parliament remained the same; this means that the people who truly wanted change were only among the minority of this 47%. This leads us to conclude that the vast majority (53% + a large percentage of the 47%) really want things to stay the same (again assuming that there was no tampering).
“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it,” are the famous words of Mark Twain, and it is proven over and over again in Lebanon. They wouldn’t let us do anything against their own interests. Why would they since no one cares anyway, and those who do are very few in comparison with the majority. Another famous saying goes as follows: “As you are, so you shall be ruled,” which means that the leaders are only a reflection of the people. This is why I never blamed the politicians for the predicament of Lebanon, they are only a reflection of the population which refuses to change in even the small things. Examples abound of this and they include:
- Bribery: if everyone just for once refused to resort to bribery and called it out when witnessed, we could end it in a day… but we won’t because it’s made convenient.
- Driving violations: When I was in Lebanon, not a day passed that I didn’t see at least 10 different driving violations such as stopping on the pedestrian crossing, red light running, turning without signaling, driving in the opposite direction, overtaking on the wrong side, parking in illegal spots, etc… And we refuse to correct these things, because if we do, we think that we’ll never get to where we should.
- Education: We still allow people who are not qualified to teach our children using curricula which haven’t been updated in decades and then make our kids sit for half-cooked exams. We’re too used to this system to change it, and if we do, many ancient and affordable teachers (and some of the new ones too) who are still paid according to an old system would be out of work because they won’t update.
- Electricity generators: perhaps one of the most appalling things in Lebanon is the vicious cycle of generators. Generators are there because there is no electricity by the government in a country with abundant water, wind and sun. And they are mainly owned by people who have political support one way or another. If we get electricity in Lebanon 24/7, these generators would be out of work. And yet, when municipalities (like in the case of Zahle) did something, the owners of the generators sabotaged the project blatantly… and they were never persecuted. If the people took a stand against this, it would also change in a day… but they won’t because no one is willing to survive without electricity long enough to frighten generator owners.
In conclusion, I’m not being negative about the situation in Lebanon, I am only describing it as objectively as possible from my own point of view. I firmly believe that such a situation cannot change slowly as some people expect by having a few good people in the parliament. Far from it, I am worried that we are losing these good people to corruption as well. The only way for things to truly change for the better in Lebanon is by completely refusing to participate in the charade of the current politicians. The whole country has to rally behind one banner and completely refuse to even allow anyone who has ever been in the parliament to run for the elections again… but they won’t. After all, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me;” Lebanon, you’ve been fooled so much it’s become the norm… so shame on you! #laheik_falleit