In 2015, many of the reasons behind Lebanon’s built-in logjam came to the surface. The garbage crisis is the case in point that best illustrates how the whole system is rotten to the core. Beyond our government’s inability to preemptively devise solutions to imminent perils, we watched as priorities were often confused and demands articulated in an incoherent manner. Everyone wants a solution to the garbage problem but no one wants a sanitary landfill anywhere near them. Many believe in private enterprise but dislike the private sector. Our beautiful nation is tired of being unremittingly abused and turned into a vulgar yet frail land for politicians to continue taking advantage of. It’s of little surprise that citizens no longer wish to associate themselves with it.
Meanwhile, 60 kilometers away, the Syrian crisis keeps getting even more complicated as new players continue to join the ‘game’. Discovering water on Mars would be easier than finding Abou Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Western alliances use $1 million Tomahawk missiles paid for by the KSA to target $20,000 Toyota pickup trucks bought with Gulf money, and all the while oil tankers driven by ISIS militiamen pass through Mosul before being targeted by Russian fighter jets on their way to Turkey. We’ll spare you the rest.
Amid all this madness we are reminded again that our sovereignty is pegged to a geopolitical equation that has not yet reached equilibrium. En attendant un president, businesses still painfully survive with an outdated set of laws resonant of the 1960s. Our central bank preserves its independence to defend and keep up the pace, free to issue circulars compliant with new international regulations – an existing luxury that promising new industries, like oil and gas, do not possess.
It is out of this narrow margin of maneuver that Circular 331 was born. Regardless of all its deficiencies, it kick-started the entrepreneurship ecosystem, now flourishing with talent, innovation and creativity. Above all, it gave hope to entrepreneurs and investors alike to make and prosper.
Knowledge, coupled with freedom, always prevails in Lebanon. Both are safe from all the brutality surrounding our nation. What keeps us thirsty for more is the eternal renaissance of culture and private enterprise that is always ahead of our inherited political stagnation.