Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I’m sure we can all testify to the pain of the civil war, be it through personal experience, those of our parents, extended relatives, our loved ones, and others. We’ve all been touched by it. At least 150,000 people were killed in our war (yes, it was our war, let’s not blame it all on foreign forces who were also here at the time), roughly 250,000-300,000 displaced,  and an unknown number kidnapped whose whereabouts are still unaccounted for. Our politicians called for national unity and for steps in the “right direction”…whatever that means. In our atmosphere of political bullying, chronic socio-political sectarianism, and crumbling social services, the substantive meaning of these words is questionable.  Face the facts, we’ve dealt with political near-paralysis for roughly 37 years. What are we supposed to unite around?

Our country. Our environment. At first it sounds outlandish, but it makes sense when you think about it. As a Lebanese I live the political malaise, anger, frustration, and sectarianism that plagues our country. But regardless of your political affiliations or your religious sect…don’t you need clean air? Don’t you need clean water? Don’t you need a clean country? Think about it. This is one thing that we can all agree on…we need a better environment.

I’m not asking for anyone to be best friends with people they do not like. What I’m asking for is to consider our environmental crisis as the basis of national reconciliation. The need for a clean and liveable habitat surpasses our identities as Christians, Muslims, Druze, or whatever you’d like to call yourself. We all need a place where we can live healthily in a sustainable environment. Let’s think about what it means to literally work together to rebuild our country…”Lebanon the Green”, as it was once called. Rehabilitating our country could even mean rehabilitating ourselves. Just think about it. That’s all I ask.

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