While the saying goes that “you can’t please all the people all the time,” it seems in our Lebanese politico-economic scene, that many ‘leaders’ and ‘leaders-to-be’ keep wishing to challenge that proverb. Is it that they are attempting to become the exception that confirms the rule in gaining a growing recognition? Or is it that they are relying on the abnormality of our system to justify their endeavors to climb the ladder of popularity?
One thing is for sure, these individuals are constantly seeking the easy way out. They are relying on the comfort of adopting the most obvious broad headlines and embracing generally accepted titles, as the basis of their ‘Program for the future’. As such they are hoping that we the people, in our entirety, will find their approach pleasing and consequently accept their proposed leadership on the basis that they unequivocally understand our views and can unmistakably solve our concerns. Of course, another common attitude to gain popular support is to constantly attack any ideas suggested by political opponents regardless of the correctness of their content. Consequently, the people are encouraged to automatically judge such programs based solely on their political loyalties or rivalries.
But do the hypotheses behind these tactics still hold true… for are the people of the new era in Lebanon whether consciously or reluctantly still willing to be so naive? Obviously not!
The time has come for leaders to adopt full transparency in presenting issues to the public in their entire complex nature, and to clearly debate the proposed solutions in their probable compounded results. Thus, being truthful with the public involves that they stop making future promises based only on reminding us of their past successes, or on recalling the past mistakes of their opponents.
It is now clear that the public expects from our leaders much less history lessons and theoretical proposals, in return for much more practical undertakings and measurable actions. Certainly the country cannot continue to pay the cost of political non-collaboration nor the resulting waste of valuable time, and definitely the people will not tolerate further squandering of limited resources on tasks lacking the benefits of cooperation.
Maybe now the concept of moving from theory to practice and from expansive promises to specific activities would finally be applied by those future leaders who are seeking to gain our confidence and support. Surely, if they succeed in adopting a functional model and in joining forces while targeting a unified national vision and strategy, then our votes of confidence will certainly go to validate the principle that “… you can please most of the people most of the time”.
TOOLS NEEDED FOR LEBANON’S ADVANCEMENT
1) “National Agenda” for the Future
• Blend the different approaches and agendas for Lebanon’s development into ONE
• Unify the Lebanese people around a single comprehensive ‘National Agenda’
• Allocate required resources to assure swift and successful execution in its entirety
• Fend-off attempts to claim individual political authorship or personal benefits
• Emphasize the importance of immediate actions & the opportunity cost of delays
• Implement a dynamic approach for active progress evaluation and review of goals
2) “Think Tank” Group
• Up to 10 people with related academic credentials & different backgrounds/views
• Shadow the Government on policy decisions and impact assessment evaluations
• Hold round-tables setting action priorities on all social/financial/economic issues
• Produce diverse position papers with updated reliable indicators & statistical data
• Liaise with the various Economic Associations/Syndicates on a proactive basis
• lobby for a valid cause-effect relationship linking politics, the economy & society
3) “Horizon 2010/2015/2020” Program
• Publish a detailed socio-economic ‘White Paper’ by end summer 2005
• Produce a series of reports on major economic/financial/social issues of concern
• Draw-up on input from the ‘Think Tank’ and the various economic associations
• Propose a short/medium/long term vision, with identifiable goals & objectives
• Offer a databank of accurate statistics on current and projected prime indicators
• Provide a yard-stick to measure the performance of politico-economic policies
4) “Confidence Restoration” Activities
• Prepare a detailed crisp presentation on the economy and its future potential
• Organize business trips to main international cities & hold networking sessions
• Seek the assistance of the Lebanese Diaspora in connecting with major investors
• Fund a broad public relations and advertising campaign on an international scale
• Invite prominent businessmen/investors to conferences/workshops in Lebanon
• Produce specialized business-economic image building programs on satellite TV
5) “Institutional” Framework
• Protect the various socio-economic associations from any political interference
• Apply proper governance to all associations & ensure regular leadership rotation
• Encourage effective working methodology/coordination among such associations
• Unify the different governmental agencies responsible for economic policies
• Establish a formal structure to maintain public-private sector expert collaboration
• Seek input from all professional groups prior to taking positions on related issues
6) “Socio-Economic” Awareness
• Expand the priority of socio-economic issues beyond specific political agendas
• Encourage local and satellite TV’s to air more specialized roundtables/talk shows
• Persuade prominent Newspapers to maintain regular socio-economic sections
• Launch Civic awareness programs to educate the population about proper actions
• Organize a series of specialized lectures/seminars open to the general public
• Distribute briefings and recommendations relating to socio-economic programs