Before I left Lebanon around 3 years ago, and as I announced it to my family, friends, and students, I was met back with a lot of indignation. I clearly told people that I had given up as soon as Aoun was appointed (not elected) president. I wrote many articles and posts expressing my indignation in the years that followed and on many significant occasions such as the Lebanese election. I know I have sounded quite negative throughout, but that had never been my intention. I just needed to point out the veracity of the old adage: Fool me once, shame on you; but fool me twice, shame on me. The Lebanese had tried Aoun during the civil war, and we all know the result, yet here’s history repeating itself with devastating consequences. As the other proverb says: those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Repeat it we have.
When the revolution started a few months ago, I had some very close friends in Lebanon and I warned them: if you start this, you cannot stop, you cannot accept concessions, you need to take it to the very end, or the result will be much worse than the trigger. Unfortunately, the revolution was aborted when the naivety of the Lebanese people accepted Diab, a clear puppet of the current regime to ascend and form a government with yet more puppets. I understand that the Lebanese were afraid of chaos, but I had always said that there can be no order without a prelude of chaos. What happened on August 4, in addition to the humiliation that preceeded it, was the result of the aborted revolution. In effect, the revolution had never started; it was conceived but was never allowed to come to full term. Before its conception, economy was virtually stable, although I had also warned that it was fickle. The revolution followed by the coronavirus epidemic augmented the disease which is at the core of the Lebanese society and literally exploded it. Every Lebanese person, not just the politicians, should be ashamed because you have effectively and systematically been shamed not twice, but a hudredfold.
Another proverb I constantly repeated was “As you are, so you shall be ruled”. The negligence of the Lebanese politicians and their lack of accountability is the mirror image of the negligence and carelessness of the population. The Lebanese society has to start taking responsibility for its actions; it has to stop blamethrowing and start taking decisive and clear actions and responsibilities. However, if the people are still afraid of chaos, August 4 will be the least of your worries.
There are only two choices left now: either you make the revolution come to full term and you get rid of all those responsible once and for all and by any means necessary, or this will be the end of Lebanon. If you care about saving the Lebanese Republic, you need the revolution; however, if you don’t care, then we are looking at the United States of Lebanon… no, we are just looking at the States of Lebanon; better yet, we are just looking at fragmented states… just forget about Lebanon.
We do not need a French mandate to fix the problems we have created; all we need is a Lebanese mandate. Ever since Lebanon got its so called independence, it was never truly independent. It was always a pendulum swinging between Europe, the USA, the Gulf, Iran, and hell knows what other forces were in play. And I repeat what I said before the beginning of the previous revolution: for the revolution to succeed, a strong and fearless leader must emerge: a leader who is not politically correct and who is not looking to please all sides and sects: a leader chosen by the people, not through an election, but through “inspiration”. The Lebanese people must look inside themselves now and decide who they will follow in their small circles. It could be a sibling or a neighbour. Lend that person your loyalty and support, and empower them to make the right choices for you, so that they can find the leaders they would follow, and then those leaders have to do the same, and so on. Eventually, the brain of the Lebanese Phoenix will be found and will close the borders against any interference until the country is cleansed. Democracy, in its current form, will not solve Lebanon’s problems. Only a true and supported leadership will.
Lebanon as we have known it is dead. Face it. It has been in a coma since the 70s, but 2020 took its toll on it and made it draw its last breaths. August’s explosion, regardless of how it was caused, is the defibrilator’s shock. It will either bring it back to life with a shot at living a better life, or it will pronounce it well and truly dead. But right now, Lebanon is dead until each and every cell in its body – each and every person who still consider themselves Lebanese – decides that it wants to live, and it wants to change. The cancer will still be there, namely the lackeys of the current regime, but they can be ostracised without prejudice: their loyalty has never been to Lebanon, and their voices should not be heard.
This is Lebanon’s last chance: either you are for Lebanon or you are not. If you don’t make a clear and decisive choice now, it will be made for you.