Lebanon’s election season has begun. With it comes hatred, spite, segregation, animosity, and the most vicious deception imaginable. Desperate to sway votes in their favor, our narrow-minded politicians have one strategy in their playbook: isolate and manipulate. Playing on ignorance and fear, they further divide our already fraught communities. Last month we witnessed just how low these politicians are willing to go.
Blind clientelism rules each political reshuffle in this country, while ordinary Lebanese are trapped in constant fear over their security and livelihood.
Their concerns are left unheard, and if heard, ignored. The only concern of our politicians is power and maintaining it at any cost.
Meanwhile, Lebanese citizens are increasingly removed from the reality of the street, living instead in a virtual world behind their tablets and smartphones. On the one hand, these serve as gateways to new ways of thinking and new technologies that are now embedded in how we are governed, live, and interact. On the other hand, we must be careful not to lose ourselves in a digital world while our self-serving politicians govern the real one.
This digital realm is packed with new technologies and we’ve taken the opportunity to investigate one: cryptocurrencies. We’re uncertain which cryptocurrency will prevail, and we have not fathomed the limitless boundaries of their utility nor how they will affect the way we trade. We don’t know how to regulate them, and we should. All we know is we need to embrace them, understand them, and learn how to integrate them in our ever-changing digital realm.
But we cannot let this new order of things distract us from the reality on the ground. Lebanon is on the brink of two future-shifting events: elections and the possibility of becoming an oil and gas producing nation. We need to be careful. We need decent, talented Lebanese on the boards and management of our state-owned enterprises that can preserve and grow our wealth. We deserve a well-governed sovereign wealth fund to protect, reinvest, and grow our potential wealth, to create a safety-net for future generations. We need it for a rainy day. God knows how many we’ve had. If our political class was able to squander $80 billion, how can we trust them with this?
These coming elections promise to be different. An increasing number of reformists are finally sticking their necks out for all of us. Let us reconnect to reality, vote differently, and do our utmost so that the 2018 elections do not turn into fool’s gold.
Let us save our country while we still have the opportunity to be a part of both worlds.