Sunday, 3 January 2010

Lebanon


What's wrong with this country? Ask a Lebanese and he'd say "nothing, this is the most beautiful country in the world". Sure he would acknowledge the most obvious problems, but it still is the best place on Earth according to him.

I like the Lebanese optimism because it focuses more on the fact that we have a nice weather, good food, nice beaches, great mountains, Gemmayzé and Solidere rather than on the lack of water, electricity and public transportation or on the corruption, poverty, pollution, etc.


There are many great blogs out there talking about the issues in Lebanon. It is my first time because I was out of the country. Now that I am here I will not shut up, I will not use drawings, pictures, irony or sarcasm, I will be blunt. So my dear Lebanese, I will tell you exactly what is eating up your country: religion and politics.

1) Religion: I will only talk about Christianity in Lebanon because this is the only religion I know well enough. Religion is one of the most toxic concepts ever invented. Initially, it was invented to help Man in his struggle against nature, to explain the unexplainable and to give people hope. Today, religion has become an industry, and a profitable one. It has a logo (the cross), a headquarter (the Vatican), employees (priests), secretaries (nuns), and a product (the message of the bible). Religion has evolved into a cultural identity that people can't seem to dissociate from. I am considered a Maronite despite my hate for religion.

Religion in Lebanon is very present, and there is no denying it. People seem to be blinded by the Church and by the Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Spheir, probably the person I hate the most in the entire universe and all galaxies. The Church and its employees in Lebanon are involved in business and politics, it's a very diversified company - personally, if it were listed on the stock market, I wouldn't hesitate to invest in it. They own all the best pieces of lands in the country and control the Christian politicians by, for example forbidding civil marriage in order to keep getting money from each wedding. And so on. So my advice to you my dear Lebanese is to believe in God in your own home and do whatever you like with your own life; but don't give the Lebanese Church any more importance. Fight for your independence and let the Church limit its activities to being a spiritual companion to your life.



2) Politics: If you ask me, Lebanon is not a Republic, it is a Kingdom. Look at the political scene in 1980: Gemayel, Jaajaa, Aoun, Frangiyeh, Mouawad, Hariri, Jemblat, etc. And look at the political scene today...oh my God, they're the same people!!! Well if not them, then their siblings, kids, wives, cousins, etc. I hate it when the son/daughter of a martyr becomes a politician, it seems the only requirement to become a politician in Lebanon is to be related to a dead guy. I'm pretty sure some kids even killed their own father so that they can be politicians themselves.


We have the same people, fighting over the same shit since the civil war - how dumb are they to not have resolved the issues yet?! Things haven't changed a bit, and we keep electing them. Every new face that tries to make it to the government has to be linked to either political parties otherwise no one would vote for him/her. Students found a way to make their university elections based on politics in order to divide the people from their youngest age instead of unifying them for the future of the country. These politicians play with us, they try to make us depend on them. They all have their TV network, their flag, their colour, their zammour (honk music) etc. They don't want an efficient government in Lebanon otherwise they will lose their regional power, so they just steal from the government, turn it into an extremely underperforming entity and make sure the country is always in trouble so that when a citizen needs something, s/he would go straight to the politicians themselves and ask for a favour.


Look at Lebanese TV for one day, it's 80% about politics (no exaggeration at all), it's like watching a Big Brother show with the politicians in the role of the contestants. Even my 12 year old cousin talks about politics; that's what they want!! I wish LBC or MTV would, for ONLY ONE DAY, not talk at all whatsoever about politics - and you'll see that the politicians would die, this is what keeps them alive. So my advice here, dear Lebanese is to stop giving the politicians so much importance, don't go and wear orange, or hang the picture of Hariri in your car or honking the Hakim tone. Stop this absurd behaviour that will kill Lebanon on the long run. Lebanon is small, and probably an easy country to manage if there is some political will. It will NOT come from the politicians, it should come from you.


Strong Religion and politics is what seems to be dividing the people in Lebanon since the civil war. It's time to acknowledge that, face the facts and act on them. If you have a virus in your body, you fight it - Politics and strong Religion are the viruses of this country, so you know what to do.


Remove these two viruses from the society and then...only then you'll have the nicest place on earth.

16 comments:

  1. Im gonna remain anonymous because i agree...but man you're gonna make urself some ennemies!

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  2. Just like the most of Lebanese, I prefer looking at the good side (Weather, Gemmayze...) since I don't think it's easy, or even possible to just erase all the factors you're talking about. They are just too intergrated in the Lebanese society and will always have influence.
    Be optimistic and you will learn to enjoy Lebanon as it is ;)

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  3. I cant be optimistic because these factors will not allow Lebanon to develop and to unleash its full potential!

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  4. I Agree And Disagree ..

    Simply By Developing Lebanon We Will Have Obliterated Who We Are As Lebanese . It Might Be Hard To Admit . But It Is All The Problems That Make Us Grow Up To Bo So Knowledgeable . I And Many Others Completely Agree With This Struggle With Politics And Religion . But I Personally Admire It . It Makes The Conversations Around The Table . And The Wars In Our Backyard . And I C It That Us Lebanese Are So Used To It That It Doesn't Annoy Us . I Understand How Annoying It Is And How People Argue All The Time About It . But The Most Amazing Part Of Being Lebanese . And This Might Just Be A Christian/Teenage Statement . But No Matter What Political Or Religious Groups We Abide To At The End Of The Day We Sit And Laugh Together . I Must Mention That I Am Aware That This Is Not The Case For The People In Lower Living Standards And Conditions . I Mean I Understand That They Are Getting *** By All These Problems . And There Are A Few Extremists Whom Wouldn't Talk To You If You Were On The Opposite Side . But From My 22 Years Of Lebanonisim I Have Friends , Close Friends , From All The Religions And Political Standpoints And Things Do Get Elevated In Discussion / Debate / Arguments . But As I Said . It Is All Brushed Away And Things Calm Down . We Are An Unbelievable Kind Of People ! And I Truly Believe That Fixing Lebanon Will Subsequently Destroy The Lebanese Identity .

    I Mean Look At The Numbers . There Are About 4mil Lebanese In Lebanon And Between 12 to 24mil Around The World . Now Im Just Gonna Focus On Those 4mil . I Swear The Water And Electric Problems . We Have Been Raised To Live With It . Im Not Saying It Isnt Annoying . But Like I Have Some Experience In America . And I Can Tell You No Electricity Is A State Of Mass Panic . I Mean In Lebanon The People That Have Generators Are Making Money . So It Technically Isnt A Complete Lost, Every Neighberhood Has Its Own Generators . That To Me Is Buisness Opportunity . I Have No Explanation For The Waterworks But Im Sure Everyone Drinks Bottled Water These Days . Even In America With Filtered Sink Water . People Drink Bottled Water . Hala2 As Far As Higene Is Concerned . I Cant Say Much . It Does Suck .

    Another Point I Want To Point Out Is That If . All Is Reset . And There Is Perfect Peace And Prosperity In Lebanon . We Are Going To Become Just Like Any Other Country . We Will No Longer Be This Powerful Lebanese Race . The Influx Of "Foreign" Tourists That Decide To Live In Lebanon And Invest In It . Will Ultimatly Lead To SkyScrappers And Big Buisnesses . Which Is Already Happening .. I Mean While Growing Up The Place To Go Was ABC . And All Shopping Was Small Time Stores Then There Was Spinneys With Massive Shopping And Oblitirating The Small Shops . And Now Giant And ABC Achrafieh . And Bla Bla Bla . Now Offcourse I Am Not Saying We Should Be A Backwards Race And Stay Put As The World Advances . But We Should Advance With Caution And Not Let Our Country Turn Into A "Commodity" As You Mentioned .

    I Dont Want A Spinneys Every 10 minutes Of highway . in Every City A Spinneys Or In Every City A Mall . Now Beirut Is An Exception Since It Is Greatly Over Populated . Which I Must Also Mention Is BAD For Lebanon . Too Many People Actually Is Bad As I C It . We Are Gonna Be Killing Off Our Natural Beauty . I Mean The Cost Line Has Barely And Scenic Areas Left . From The Casino Southwards Is All Human And Zero Nature (Driving On The Highways) . All You C Is This Amazing Mountain View And Amazing Ocean And Between Is A Huge Citi . Hala2 Again . I Know Im Contadicting Myself Somewhat . La2ano Obviously Lebanon Has To Grow Somehow . Im Just Against The Competition In Lebanon . The Choices If You Will . Every Place Should Be / Remain Known For One Thing . I Mean Honestly There Are So Many Choices That People Are Becoming Even More Divided Not Knowing What To Do .

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  5. We Used To Have A Few Choices Like We Do This Or That Tonight , now There Are A Million Things Where Half Of Them We Cant Do But We Want To . This Fills Our Minds With Greed And Envy . Which Further Breaks The Bonds Of Society .

    Bottom Line . I C That Lebanon Needs Its Problems . But Not Its Corruption .. Stealing Money Is A NoNONO . That Is Using All The Hardworking Lebanese . BUT ! In This Problematic State ,. People , Have MORE Freedom . A Simple Example That I Love Is Driving . Akeed You Can Say All The Accidents And Bla Bla . But Imagine You Were Restricted From All The CRAZY Things You Do . Imagine I Would Say More Than 75 % Of The Fun You Have That Is Illegal In Any Other Country But Lebanon ! Can You Imagine . I Mean . Look At Your Day . And Think Of How Many Illegal Things Did You Do Where In America For Example If You Did The Exact Same Thing You Would Be Sentenced To Death 3a Shway !..

    Imagine A Civilized Lebanon With LAW !! Lawyers Would Sew For Anything . And Ma3on 7a2 100% . But We Dont Have That Now . You Can Be Free And NOT Worry About That . You Can BE FREE !! Do You Understand That Concept . Do You Know Lebanese People ARe The Smartest People ! We Are SO Diverse In Our Upbringing . And We Are Sophisticated . True Mnistila All The Time . But Unlike Americans We Can Adapt To New Things . We Can Solve Problems . It Is Funny For Us . And The Solution Never Lasts . But It Saves You Paying 1000 $ !!

    im just Gonna Say . We Are FREE .. These Problems keep us free . the government as corrupt as it is . looks at those big problems to fix . and leaves us being alive . i dont want to have to worry about police and lawyers and insurance and rights and laws and i dunno what . i want to be able to park my car bi niss 2il sou2 and everybody comes to yell and bitch at me . and when the cop comes hell move traffic around my car and mni23od mni7keh .. obviously that wont happen :p ill move my car then mni7keh . but . the point is . u CAN do that ,. no one does . we are a fairly respectful race . but . we can do that . i think its part of our identity .

    im serious . i mean look at ur local diken . and look at the people running it .. do u possibly think those people can survive anywhere else .. with the condition there store is in .. oMG imagine fi FDA ! and food is checked to be bad and the store should be spotless clean ! . hala2 i know this sounds appealing . but trust me . there is more to gain . we are above all else healthier than everyone else ..

    did you know that lebanon ranks as number 4 in the world to eat vegetables .. i mean kousa batenjen hummus baba ghanouj . ok hummus doesnt count . but we are very healthy people . everyone is raised on their moms cookign and thinks that his mom is the best cook in the world .. no fast food and junk .. now we have mc donalds and i dunno what .. at first it was just one store .. 2eh bassita once a year byetsalo liwled mnekhidon 3a mc donald .. now there are 4 5 of them .. and they are growing .. this in ur argument above .. is a good thing for the country ! i think it isnt !! this is foreign buisness it should be dammed or controlled .. i dont want my kids to eat fast food .. i dont want them to want to east fast food .. i want them to want to eat my moms food well my wifes food :p ..

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  6. another lebanese fact is tawouk and shawarma .. im sure u know we are number one clubbing people .. and we are number one drinking .. i guess apart from russians who substitute water for vodka .. (btw "voda" means water in russian . thats where vodka got its name).. as i was saying . we have an insanely high tolerence as lebanese. . i mean in america a beer or 2 and a person is tipsy .. a few more hes drunk .. a six pack .. khalas hes passed out .. i mean i know people bi3i2o 24 packs . relativcely .. and still be "talkable" .. apparantly our diet .. our high intake of food like tawouk and shawarma which absorbs alcohol helps .. plus our genes offcourse .:P ..
    our food are also very oily . killo fi zeit . but that isnt so bad .. i mean u read reports and get scared . but olive oil is full of good things for the body .. true over time u will have a belly .. from all the oil and all teh beer .. but as i c it .. that is what all elder lebanese people look like .. and most of us kamen have incredible metabolisims .. we can digest food so fast and never get fat ..

    one more thing i dont want to talk about alot .. but .. bacteria and germs and all that nasty stuff that u want to get rid of is GOOD for YOU !! it builds up ur immuse system .. it makes u vulnerable to 100 times more things .. in america medicine is adictive .and everyone needs it .. it is sold more than water .. because people are so problematic . and i blame being too clean .. kiss ikhta people raise theyre kids in zero bacteria houses ..with all the disinfectants .. i guarantee u that kid is gonna grow up with a million health problems .. and his kids are gonna have less imunity in there genes . and theyre both gonna be addicted to medicine. that they could have avoided by simply not being that clean :p ..

    ok im not gonna argue for a million hours .. lebanon is amazing .and i think that it is being ruined without people knowing it . we are free right now .. admire that while it lasts ..

    ciao

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  7. Dude, thanks for your comment(s). I get what you say, and I am not suggesting that we become like Europeans or Americans, b3id el char - I am just saying that the country today is going in the wrong direction and that we need to fix it.

    I always said that Beirut is an organised mess, and I love it. It's my favourite city. But when I hear that families are starving whereas others are enjoying a night out at 5'000$, I wonder what went wrong in this very warm and helpful society yalli el 3alam ma fi a7ssan mennon.

    Having a proper government separated from the religion doesn't mean we'll become like Dubai - au contraire, we are becoming like Dubai now! Look at greater Beirut: ABC dbayeh/achrafieh, Spinneys, City Mall, Boulevard Mall, Dune Verdun, Le Mall, Boutique Mall, etc. why do we want to bottle ourselves up in malls if we have great weather 300 days a year? We need a decent government to regulate the economy and control this absurd consumption society that we have become. A decent governemnt can encourage street life and small businesses, because it's not happening today. Why? Because our economy is dominated by the private sector only (mostly owned by our dear politicians), and private sector means greed and profit.

    We need to change this and become a decent country because we deserve it. These assholes are taking advantage of us. We have to stand up to them and kick them out - and that doesn't mean driving decently or closing up Gemmayzé, it means that everybody can benefit from our great heritage and not only this meaningless elite.

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  8. Highly provocative. And New Zealand is the most beautiful country in the world. We don't have the religion or politics issue that you guys have, so ...nz wins.

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  9. Mr Fadi . Excellent Counter Argument . We Agree On The Same Topics . But 2eh We Need A Government To Regulate Everything . Yet Someone Did Mention Inno All This Diversity Is A Part Of Our Culture . Now Most Of The Arguing These Days Is For The Outside Influences Of Israel, Iran, Syria, Palestine . Bla Bla . And Much Less On The Problems In Lebanon . (sara7atan i dont follow up alot on whats going on politically . and i got no knowledge of religion except that im Orthodox :p And Proud . bass ma tis2alni y :p .) . anyways .. so ya .. we need a government that can regulate our economy at the very least .
    i dont think the middle east issues will ever be solved . so there will always be that type of division . but .. as all the big bosses say and i suppose as everyone agrees on .. bidna a better lebanon a better government . :)

    As far as the dubai comparision . kamen i agree :p . its crazy what theyre doing there . insane plans billions of dollars . oh btw (i heard they are going bankrupt) :p .. but still amazing touristic attractions .. but .. the people if u go there .. are mostly from india or china (or other asian areas) .. where are all teh damn saudi people hiding !! .. ye3ni throw money into leb . but let there be lebs in leb .. not syrians and palestines and armenians and asians and europeans and bla bla .. thats about all :p

    hmm .. another point .. the rich vs poor .. it is true .. having no civil rights shall i say makes the poor poorer and the rich richer .. and it does suck for the lower end . very much so . i feel for them . but kamen . i must say our poor are much better at handling themselves :( but 3anjad 7aram and 7aram the people that dont do anything about it .. (those who can at least) . (another btw > the leb gdp increased by 6 % last year . so thats good news )..

    so ana min 2il batroun . and i dont go too often to beirut . so i dont know the inner workings but all those who reside in the area see it and appretiate it more than i do .. the place is awsome ! this summer ill be going there ALOT more . ! wainak 2a fadi ! :p leik . im on facebook at > http://www.facebook.com/david.zakharia

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  10. 1) Yes, NZ rocks Sarah

    2) David, I never said anything about losing our cultural identity which is an incredible melting pot - but there needs to be a stronger government to help its people. You seem to be from a well-off family, and what you say is based on this wealthy (or at least "not poor") background and on your probably "not poor" friends as well. But many people can't afford to live in Lebanon.

    The GDP grew 6%, but who got the most of it? My friends here still struggle to make 1000$ a month and considering that one night out in Beirut can easily reach 100$, the salaries are clearly not indexed to the prices. A drink (vodka and...) in Gemmayzé is about 8$, whereas a drink in NYC on the rooftop of a huge building view on the Empire state building is also 8$ (http://www.230-fifth.com/) and the salaries of the New Yorkers certainly exceed the Lebanese ones. Something is not right.

    There is a clear unequal allocation of the wealth, i am not a communist, but when the elite benefiting from everything is part of the government, I wonder if these guys manage the country well. We need new people who's interests are the country's and not just theirs.

    You seem to be blinded by your Lebanese pride, and you shouldn't. We are all pride of our cultural heritage but we need to be skeptical about how the country is managed and not just look at the bright side.

    Anyway thanks for your comments, I don't have any facebook (i'm an anti-facebook guy), but you can still comment on here or send me e-mails. I am leaving the country on Thursday and won't be back until summer to see how has the country evolved.

    Happy New Year! See ya

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  11. what a fag...

    look at your profile photo too...

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  12. Yeah, it's a pretty horrible picture - you motivated me to change it, thanks! I certainly don't want to look like a fag, it's anti-God, Jesus & Co.

    Now that I look straight, Anonymous, tell me why do you hide your identity online?

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  13. Thank you for this contribution Julian.

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  14. It's a good country and I've been there twice but they are so quit and ignorant with their politics. I don't know why ,I am just a tourist but they need a lot of help to improve the country.

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  15. Lebanon is a beautiful country!

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