Some “politics traders” are preoccupied with the Lebanese parliamentary elections that are basically expected to take place during this spring, at a time when everyone knows that the elections are not the most important matter in Lebanon since the winning team will neither be able to rule the country alone nor radically change things. This is because stability is related to the regional changes and the balances of power with their local and foreign alliances, in addition to the prevailing mentalities and the rules of the game based on sectarianism, religion, quotas, clienteles, loyalty to foreign countries, corruption, influence exchange, and illicit enrichment.
More importantly, the winning team will not be able to change anything because the real power is neither within the constitutional institutions nor the outcome of the ballot box; the real power lies in fact, in the illegal “weapons state” and in its influence and control over political and developmental parts of the country. There is no need to repeat that the country and its institutions are not working properly, and that the productive sectors and reconstruction, trade and development projects, are enduring recession and anticipation; furthermore, the economic cycle is in its minimal capacity, based on the expatriates’ remittances of foreign currency, bank deposits, and real estate investments.
Return of the war specter
Perhaps the most serious issue in Lebanon, after the loss of the country's image, prestige, hierarchy, role and the institutions’ effectiveness, is the return of the specter of war and fighting, the sectarian congestion, the sharp division, the accumulation of debt, humanitarian tragedies and substantial losses, widespread unemployment, poverty and migration, the citizens’ lack of confidence in their future, and falling confidence levels among young people.
What is more dangerous too is that institutions and the individuals are forced to reduce their expectations to the lowest level and cope with various types of surprises and dangers, realizing that the Lebanese are way behind the process of building the future, since they have missed the opportunity of progress and development, and the opportunity to be in line with the future challenges and keep up with the changes. It is worth mentioning that one visit to Dubai for example is enough to illustrate the decline, absence of role, receding horizon and changes in the quality of life in Lebanon. He who does not believe his eyes and prefers to live away from reality, can ask Lebanese “new immigrants” living abroad.
All the “politics traders” in Lebanon are invited today to travel and see how their people have missed the train during their reign, especially that those traders have mastered the game of missing opportunities and disappointments over the generations, as they have also witnessed how the Lebanese abroad have taken over top executive positions in the business world and management, free professions, trade and industry, media and advertising, education, and the cultural and creative industries. They are, most importantly, invited to know in advance that there is no way, under any pretext, to “tryout whom who has already been tried”, and to re-elect them in the forthcoming elections, and then accept to reappointment them again in the new government.
Let us recognize that we missed the train so we do not miss the next station too, while we stand waiting for that train’s return.
*This article was first published in Lebanon’s An-Nahar on Jan. 4, 2012. Link: http://newspaper.annahar.com/article.php?t=makalat&p=26&d=24953
Mazen Hayek is a MarComms & Media practitioner in MENA; weekly op-ed columnist in "An-Nahar" Lebanon, he can be followed on Twitter: @HayekMG