The economic, social and institutional collapse that we have been witnessing since late 2019 has naturally made many of us disillusioned about the future prospects of our country. It has also forced many of us to leave Lebanon, some for a second or third time, in search of a more stable and prosperous life for ourselves and our families.
We rightly feel angry, deceived and violated by one of most corrupt and incompetent political classes on the planet which has led our country into total and utter ruin.
Today, we are at a crossroad. We can simply say that all hope is lost, that the Lebanese experiment has failed, that maybe it is about time that we accepted what many ideologues have been propagating and polluting our ears with for decades, that our Lebanese identity is a manufactured construct by foreign and imperialist powers, that even the country itself should not exist as an independent unified entity, that we are a failed state that has no hope of ruling itself effectively and autonomously.
But then, there is the other more difficult and narrower road that could be taken, the road towards building the elusive strong state that has one ultimate goal, to provide sustainable prosperity for its people and their progeny.
Let me be clear. This won’t be an easy task. It will require commitment, patience and a strong will. There will be many bumps and hurdles along the way.
Foremostly, the burden will be on us to seek the building of an indispensable credit of trust with our voting compatriots. We need to allay their suspicions and misgivings about us and at times our novel ideas.
This will undoubtedly require more humbleness and understanding on the part of the political “change vanguard,” and a much reduced sense of elitism.
Furthermore, it is about time that this politically and socially diverse “change vanguard” had identified what it believes are the inherent strengths of Lebanon’s society, economy and culture –and thus, what would constitute a Lebanese economic and cultural added value in the globalized world of the 21st century.
Such a tough exercise is a prerequisite that would pave the way for this vanguard to agree on a minimum coherent set of policies and programs that would address the complex financial, economic, social, political and constitutional challenges facing our country today.
The “change vanguard” must also acknowledge that Lebanon is not an island in the Pacific Ocean and does not exist in a vacuum isolated from the geopolitical realities and constraints of the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Hence, and while continuing to insist on achieving the “strong state” and “sustainable prosperity” as our supreme national goals, there is a need to construct national foreign and defence policies which do not ignore these geopolitical realities, but which would simultaneously seek to preserve Lebanon’s national interests and supreme national goals rather than those of the competing powers in our region and beyond.