The virus within

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The situation has become even more surreal. We have a government that is totally disconnected from reality. No matter how many American passports the cabinet collectively has, this government is still undeniably perceived by the international community as a Hezbollah, Amal, and Aounist government, backed by Iran, Syria, and Russia.

Meanwhile, this government’s attempts to create committees, hold consultative sessions, and form economic rescue plans have unfortunately been overshadowed by the backseat driving of the usual political players. These old hands are still trying to exert their control. The appointments at the Banking Control Commission, among other key positions within government, are testament to that.

The people are still calling for early parliamentary elections, while they wait in vain for any sign that corruption has been given the importance it deserves. For all the lip service, since the Lebanese took to the streets to demand accountability from all their politicians over four months ago, by now there has not been a single indictment nor any investigation by our judiciary into any person involved in corrupt practices.

As the economic crisis deepens, people’s worries have turned inward. The productivity and the purchasing power of the Lebanese are being eroded. This will only generate a more anxious, more vulnerable, and more easily manipulated populace. Coupled with the panic around the first wave of coronavirus cases in Lebanon, the atmosphere in the country is tense.

No matter how much human nature is constrained, at some point our fears, our anger, our desperation will come bursting out of us. This can be devastating on an individual level, nationwide the consequences are unthinkable. The economic pressures, the collective anxiety, the job losses, the pay cuts, the price hikes, the food and medicine shortages, the fear of a pandemic—people can only take so much.

In October we danced in the streets, we celebrated our new-found voice, our solidarity in the face of a system that worked for the few at the expense of the many. If things do not change, if we continue on the path of self-destruction, people will once again take to the streets—and this time there will be no dancing.

Time for change is running out. To those still playing the same old political game I say this: Beware the revolution of the hungry.

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