Banking on our self-reliance

The Lebanese will always adapt and carry on, no matter the circumstances

Illustration by Ivan Debs

The first rule of business ethics is: if you’re not proud enough of your work to talk publicly about it, something must be wrong. That the government once again cancelled a waste management contract without even naming the winner proves something dirty is going on. Worse than the implementation, of course, is the actual plan. We’re going to landfill our garbage in the sea. Waste is poisoning and disfiguring this country, whose natural beauty and rich history should instead be drawing tourists from around the world.

Of course, foreign tourists are no longer coming in large numbers for more reasons than just uncontrolled garbage dumps. Our tourism industry is now relying on the increasing number of locals who choose to leave the beach to discover the wide variety of picturesque landscapes and new hospitality venues this country has to offer. The private sector is fighting tooth and nail to spur growth in this country. And more and more municipalities are waking up to the fact that they too have a role to play in developing their local economies. This self-reliance is empowering and should be encouraged. Yet with summer set to kick off in earnest after the end of Ramadan, another reminder of the cyclical risks facing this country awaits.

Back in the 1970s and 80s, my father loved weekend road trips, no matter the security situation at the time. I can still hear him telling anyone willing to listen how we watched the news in the morning, knew bombs were falling and bullets flying, but hit the road anyway. He would end every tale with a smile from another fond memory: “We took the risk and had a great weekend. It was worth it.”

This is how the Lebanese think. We always aim to defy the odds.

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