On revolution

Dear Revolutionary

Wherever you are, you would be glad to know that Revolution today is a word on everyone’s lips in a small country on the verge of oblivion in the middle east.

Photo by Joe Kassis

According to your fellow Lebanese revolutionaries, revolution is the only way forward, the last chance for their homeland. I can hear that. For many of those, “religion and religious affiliation are the mothers of all disasters happening to this country”. Not a very surprising point of view for a country where 18 sects representing a little north of 4 million people are trying to cohabit for better or worse, without too much bloodshed.

For many others, “we need to burn everything at the stake and rebuild the country from scratch”. 

So what’s the plan? How will you pull it off? With what would you rebuild it? With revolutionary ideals or whatever that is you had been daydreaming about in your long and boring calculus classes back when a US dollar was still worth 1507 Lebanese liras, and which you think you can put to action now that the country is ready for them? 

No my friend, you need resources to rebuild a country. Dollars that is.  And fresh. Don’t go burning these…

You also need people on your side and guess what, most people in Lebanon still define themselves by the religion or sect to which they are affiliated, and this reality cannot just be canceled by slogans like “religion is evil”. Besides, regardless of your own opinion, dismissing religious affiliation in the political arena and the people who hold on to it is a complete disregard to a majority of Lebanese who, like you and me, want the best for their kids, their families, their communities and yes, their country, believe it or not. They just have not read Marx yet, or whoever got you and me on the revolution track in the first place, and probably never will. Irreconcilable differences you could say, except divorce is not an option if you want to rebuild the country. 

I guess what I am trying to say is that building a country on the premise of religious affiliation is probably not a good idea but disposing of a country because it is built on such premises sounds a bit over the edge. Yes, some things must go, but some things are good enough to stay. And some just cannot go, because people are not ready to let them go, or because it would be too high a price to pay.

So how about finding common ground, a common project for the Lebanese and their country which transcends religion affiliation? I am sure that if we brainstorm for 15 minutes, we can come up with a couple of ideas worth starting with. They can be around Lebanese international influence through the expatriates network. Imagine what could lie behind such an idea with regards to the current sclerotic citizenship law, the expatriates voting rights and the Lebanese diplomacy in general. They can be around the environment and becoming an energy independent country. We have sun, we have water, we have brains. They can be around becoming an education and research regional hub once again. Or about becoming a health regional hub again. More than a regional hub actually, and why not. Any or all of these. Ideas which have nothing to do with pointing fingers and finding scapegoats. Stuff around which people can gather.

We need new blood to uphold these ideas of course, not the old guard currently in place and in this sense, I cannot agree more to a revolution. However,

Dear Revolutionary

One last thing, before the board sounds. I can hear frustration in you. I can hear it in me. I might even hear hate. And there is but a tiny step between frustration and hating your country and many of your fellow Lebanese which you hold responsible for the great collapse. It is easy to blame those you deem to be bigots or extremists or immoral vicious scum or whatever you want to call them when the real enemy is lurking behind. You know it, you’ve known it all your life. It transcends race, sex and religion, bigots, extremists and scum. 

Dear Revolutionary

Corruption is the opium of the people. Corruption is the enemy.

Fight corruption. 

Heal people.

Let the board sound

Rabih

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Rabih

Lebanese, French, writing mostly in Frenglish and hoping to make a difference.

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