Disaster looms. The natural beauty of our country is under attack by the criminally negligent handling of our trash. The damages already done to our environment and health are terrible, and the consequences will remain obvious and visible for years to come.
Our economy is circling the drain. The most generous estimate sees it growing by only a fraction of a percentage point for the current year, but the more realistic expectation is one of contraction. Unemployment is systemic, our youth see few opportunities in their futures, and those who can are preparing to leave if they haven’t done so already. The disparity between rich and poor has never been greater – poverty is at an all time high and the middle class is shrinking, all while the rich get richer.
We can no longer protest peacefully without fear of police brutality. There is inequality in the provision and standards of public services to our poorest neighborhoods and to the Palestinian and Syrian refugee camps. Our border areas are not secure, leaving local residents vulnerable to kidnapping or worse, all while we’re pulled further into someone else’s civil war.
We are teetering on the brink. The chasm between our political factions is terribly vast – one side boycotts the cabinet while the other passes decrees – a paralysis that will be disrupted one way or the other. It is not sustainable. The crisis triggered by our trash emergency demonstrates what Executive has been saying for a long time – namely that our political parties and elites lack foresight.
There are civil servants and politicians that take their jobs seriously. They are potential allies and we should remember that change can also come from within. But the leaders of our popular political parties are devoid of conscience, value, and moral ethics. They use Lebanon as their personal playground financed by us, the taxpayers, whom they see as piggy-banks. They blast through traffic in their armored convoys protected by bodyguards above the law on their way to extravagant properties we’ve indirectly subsidized.
We’ve written for years about the seedy underbellies of our public institutions, made ineffective by our corrupt leaders. It is unmistakeable that we have been living this charade, unhappily confused, either with our heads in the sand or playing along as the loveable fool – all while our leaders manipulate us along sectarian lines through politically captured media outlets, robbing our country blind in the process.
But no longer. The process of a smart revolution is not a knee jerk reaction nor achievable by only chanting slogans. Take to the streets, but do so with purpose. It was a good start for people to gather and demonstrate irrespective of community and religion, but there is now a need to return to the drawing board and strategize. For years we’ve been researching and investigating Lebanon’s many social and economic problems (see Executive manifesto). By doing so, we’ve also identified practical and reasonable solutions. This is where Executive can add value in building a functional and prosperous Lebanon – we know what we need to demand of our government, particularly if we are to have leadership change. Let us unite for a smart future.