It hurts

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It hurts to see our politicians ignorant of the history and evolution of this great country that they are supposed to lead. It hurts that because of this ignorance we have lost opportunities.

It hurts to remember that in 1973, the first oil boom was about to explode just as Lebanon was beginning its slide into civil war. We would have been the natural beneficiary of this sudden wealth, but instead the money, potential and human capital went elsewhere.

It hurts to know that if we had been clever then, no Lebanese today would be starving and Lebanon would be a jewel, not just in the Middle East, but in the world.

It hurts to see that instead we are a bankrupt nation, living on our past and paying our way as the cut-price fleshpot of the Middle East.

It hurts that we should rely on, and fawn over, tourists rather than develop our ailing industries.

It hurts that we didn’t learn from our first mistake and that in 2005 our politicians, intoxicated by the heady fumes of megalomania, were duped into dragging the country into political deadlock, ensuring we missed out on the second oil boom.

It hurts that Gulf States are increasing their quota of Lebanese workers while we let in more maids. It hurts to know that had we been smart, we could have kept our valuable human resources and in all likelihood wooed back other Lebanese, lost to foreign job markets.

It hurts to know that the Hariri vision for economic prosperity – the vision that its detractors like to blame for the current crisis – was predicated on the inevitability of at least one, possibly two booms: peace and oil. The latter came but we had already been raped at gunpoint.

It hurts today to see the return of sectarianism, flag-waving mediocrity and the politics of segregation and self-interest.

It hurts to see our economic reform plan sabotaged for political gains, scaring away Beirut I donors and making Prime Minister Seniora politically impotent. It hurts that Lebanon is weak when it should be strong; it hurts that we are destructive when we should be creators and it hurts that we are ignorant when we should have foresight.

It just hurts.