Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Today I  feel like discussing something I don’t think anyone can ignore; the attitude of our country.

Lebanon, we have become angrier than ever before. It shows in our every day life. How we drive, nearly blindsighting nearby cars and flipping them off for being so inconsiderate as to being on the road. Interrupting each other when we speak without really listening to what the other person has to say. How we firmly believe that rules and laws do not apply to us, but are rather playful puzzles and enjoy figuring out how to circumvent them. How we are blatantly rude, inconsiderate, and act surprised when anyone expects us to behave otherwise. How we treat others of a different sect as creatures that are not to be trusted, as opposed to fellow Lebanese who share our land. How we postpone our work or try to get someone else to do it for us, making a simple trip to the bank or trip to the insurance company absolute hell for any client. One could even argue that state of hygiene among the restaurants mentioned in Marcel Ghanem’s “Kalam el-Nas” show is a sign of demoralization; would these people dare keep their kitchens in such a condition if they feared accountability?

It also shows in our government institutions. The amount of corruptions that goes on has reached a degree where it is not only accepted as the norm, but is no longer viewed as immoral; rather, it is viewed as “how the system works.” It is almost assumed that a government official has the right to expect a bribe, and that you would be foolish to assume that any complaint or paperwork you need to get done would be completeled without oiling a few moustaches. Lebanon, we are angry and tired, and our civility has eroded.

These characteristics are not new, but have become more salient than ever before. This is perhaps unsurprising, considering how much we have endured. Years of domestic and regional conflict, constant ethno-religious tension, a weak economy, going for five months without a government, and now the regional upheaval has our energy spent. We’ve had it.  How do we invigorate our country with a new spirit? How do we re-energize ourselves and try to rebuild our country? How do we bring it back, better, happier, and more profitable than ever before?

We invest in it. Not our sect, not our political leaders, but IT. We as Lebanese claim to be nationalists, but if we listen closely, we aren’t really talking about the country. We are talking about what we perceive to be our communal rights; the rights of the Christians, the rights of the Sunnis, the rights of the Shi’ites, the rights of the Druze. Never about the country itself.

My fellow Lebanese, please answer me this. When have the people we have in government, regardless of its coalition dominance, EVER improved the nation? We have elections, but our political system is almost assumed by way of heredity and group affiliation…we already know who is going to get in before we even go to vote! What rights of yours do you think these people will protect? Are they protecting your right to clean air? Are they protecting your right to clean drinking water? Are they protecting your right to a clean sea? Are they protecting your right to enjoy your forests, to clean agricultural systems, to proper waste management, to steady electricity? Even on a non-environmental level, have they invested in improving public health and a better economy?  No, they have not, and at least for the time being anyway, are not.  Far from it.

Newsflash, Lebanon: After all these years, we still have to rely on generators for electricity 16 hours a day. 90% of our waste goes into the sea, 57% of which is untreated. Is that fair to you? Is that fair to us? Tell me, what are we fighting for when we express our enthusiasm for politics?

Lebanon, if we want to rejuvenate ourselves, it is time to invest in the country for a change. In LEBANON. Invest in rehabilitating the environment, in developing sustainable eco-friendly solutions for many of our problems, like inconsistent electricity. Investing in renewable energy alone would lead us to more political independence, an improved economic situation, better health, a cleaner environment, and of course, more electricity. That goes for waste treatment too; that would lead to better health, and a cleaner country.

My  fellow Lebanese, our country deserves to be rehabilitated and taken care of. WE deserve it, too. Now is our time. To rebuild our nation, to rebuild our spirit, to improve it. Even the act of participating in activities that would rebuild our country would lift the mood of the nation, knowing we are working for the greater good. We can do it if we want to!

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