The donkey strategy

Illustration by: Ivan Debs
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A scantily clad singer belts out another frivolous song, and not only does her video clip get banned, she has her travel privileges revoked. A university blogger dares to criticize the system only to find himself officially ostracized and harassed.

As this is taking place, a former head of Lebanon’s telecommunications company, himself under investigation for corruption, can be found in an expensive downtown restaurant publicly relishing his surroundings without a care in the world. Can this possibly be real? Is it acceptable by any standards?

For years, the Lebanese have been clamoring for faster internet services – their right. Practically immediately after the disgraced telecoms chief was fired, the company he was heading proved that fast download speeds were achievable with the flip of a switch. The word suspicious is too weak here. This could not have been a coincidence. The refusal to deliver optimum internet speed was obviously a deliberate choice by corrupt individuals to sabotage the delivery of fast internet service to the country to suit their twisted personal interests. All this at the expense of millions of resigned Lebanese who are guiltless bystanders.

In a democracy, the government is assumed to work for the people. Its purpose is to serve its citizens and facilitate their transition between stages of their personal and professional lives. This is what a horse does. A horse responds to its rider. A horse meets needs with speed and loyalty.

In our beloved Lebanon, does our system of governance remotely resemble the values embodied in a horse? The answer is a resounding NO! Instead, it is a donkey, moving at its own pace, stopping, drifting aimlessly through life, taking inane steps along the way, with only its own interests in mind, oblivious to the world around him.

Our donkey delayed oil and gas exploration for no justifiable reason – giving our neighbors a head start. Our donkey could neither manage waste management in the country nor pass a much-needed electoral law, even though it had ample time and no shortage of reasonable proposals for both. Our donkey simply waits. And eats. And waits. Our donkey does not care where we need to go. It is completely self-absorbed, self-centered, self-indulgent. Pure and simple.   

Don’t be fooled! Our donkey is not foolish. It knows exactly what it is doing. It is playing the waiting game and it knows that time is on its side. As for us, the riders, we sit defenseless, watching the race pass us by, despite being reconciled not to win. We have been denied participation, let alone victory. Wherever I look, I find that the Lebanese have abandoned their rightful aspirations and no longer attempt to even nudge the donkey. We all know that stubbornness is the donkey’s strength. Once again, the creature has outwitted us.

I, for one, refuse to be cowed. I no longer expect anything of the donkey. It is time to find a horse.


  1. Fuad Jawad said:

    Hello Yasser,
    Chapeau-bas… Your description on Lebanon’s status-quo is accurate;
    The LPA represents the donkey on Lebanon’s Oil & Gas;
    The National Oil Company is the horse; no buts about it!
    Keep it up. All the best

  2. myrna said:

    I join the horse ride! Unacceptable if not for me at least for my children.