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.