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Starting from Scratch
Posted on Sep 16, 2020 |
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As if the economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic were not enough, the double explosion at the port of Beirut poured more salt on the wound of the Lebanese people, already in distress. And as long as political division keeps on eroding the country, there is not even the slightest glimmer of hope that the reconstruction of the devastated areas will take place any time soon.
the Author
Managing Editor - L’Orient-Le Jour supplements
Starting from Scratch

As if the economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic were not enough, the double explosion at the port of Beirut poured more salt on the wound of the Lebanese people, already in distress. And as long as political division keeps on eroding the country, there is not even the slightest glimmer of hope that the reconstruction of the devastated areas will take place any time soon. 

It should be made clear that almost everything in Lebanon must be redone from scratch. Before we even think of setting up construction sites, restructuring the economy, and developing plans for structural reform ... it is the entire education system and the entire system of thinking that need to be reshaped.

The port disaster has revealed, in the most striking way, the amount of carelessness and incompetence that went as far as having no public utility capable of assisting the population in times of crisis. A fact evidenced by the wonderful form of solidarity among residents of neighboring quarters and civil society associations who rushed to provide first aid assistance to the inhabitants of the destroyed neighborhoods, and who were then actively involved in the clearing of rubble and broken glass.

Long before this series of misfortunes that has been afflicting Lebanon, the successive governments were never able to come up with credible solutions for basic needs, such as electricity, water, phone, waste management, and of course, security. So many questions that constitute the very definition of a State.

Political debates have always topped the list of priorities. Certainly, freedom of debate is a sign of good democratic practice. But, debating cannot constitute an end in itself. At a given moment, it becomes necessary to proceed to action. Yet, Lebanon, a country run by perpetual consensus, a practice exaggerated to the point of nonsense, is doomed to inaction.

Having to deal with an absent State of which only remains the constitutional skeleton, the Lebanese people became used to relying on themselves. The reaction to the carelessness of the State can, in fact, generate great initiatives based on the know-how, mutual aid, and solidarity. However, it also has its downsides, very often synonymous with a lack of seriousness, selfishness, incivility, and for some people, an excessive appetite for trickery and scams.

How can we be surprised, since we have examples at a high level?

How can we hope for anything else, when the State had practically resigned more than 50 years ago, and the population has been released into the wild?

Of course, nothing will ever look the same since the 4th of August. All that remains is to wish that what is next might give rise to a shudder of hope...
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Sep 2020
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