The year 2021 left a bitter aftertaste. And believe it or not, this horrible flavor of systemic failure keeps getting worse. The government’s inaction increasingly exasperates people’s frustrations, as they maneuver around daily threats, uncertainty, and desperation. This reality promises the worst behavior from both the establishment and the citizen; arrogant incompetence from the first and misinformed confusion from the latter.
The proposed budget’s lack of alignment to a clear and detailed strategy that draws an elaborate plan to revive the economy and returns people’s rights defies all expectations and economic principles. We are worried about the damage that might be caused by passing, before elections, another amateurish plan similar to that of 2020. A non-reformist budget full of haphazard spending and unjust revenues will only serve the political class. It will reinforce a failed extractive economic model that will deplete remaining resources and capital.
As we bleed, we recognize that we need to immediately adopt a plan that distributes the losses fairly before more funds are drained, yet, the fear is that what is being concocted behind closed doors is nothing but another treachery that will allow the government to escape punishment and responsibility for their mismanagement and corruption, and worse, throw most of the burden on the citizen. The asymmetry of information is alarming; the people deserve to be involved in formulating a plan that promotes an inclusive economic model which advances equitable opportunities for financial participants in economic growth, while benefitting every section of society.
On the other hand, we are still awaiting a promising, constructive, and ambitious counterargument from reformist groups or individuals. So far, we only come across reactive, vindictive, and aggressive statements in the form of letters and responses that do not add up to even an introductory discourse on a political reform doctrine that would mirror people’s urgencies and support realistic expectations.
Unfortunately, the international community has also caught on to this lack of vision. None among local or international advocates is amused by our society’s failure to even propose a solid alternative to the corrupt reality, which more and more is resembling sectarian fascism practiced by those few who loudly declare themselves to represent the best interests of the Lebanese but are constantly violating the people’s rights and are willing to use lies and any means at their disposal to achieve their violent goals.
No democracy has ever been entirely immune against violence from the outside, or radical and brutal takeover attempts from within. Thus, while we are busy pegging our hopes to the much-anticipated elections and make our bets that the fragility of democracy does not fail our illusions, it is high time for reformists and opposition to put forward a comprehensive and viable vision that can invalidate the establishment’s attempts to undermine our rights.
Yes, we want to take vengeance for the corrupt past but by building a viable, diverse, and just economy. We cannot invest our hopes into voting for another political fantasy, as we need more than just a good plan or agreement.