Last time they did that – they: big shots from the Beirut Chambers of Commerce, the Beirut Traders Association, and the whole who’s who of Lebanese business – was to urge reluctant members of parliament to immediately elect a president. Failing to do so, they warned, Lebanon’s economy will surely melt down, the whole country will be bankrupt, the gates of hell will open and our eternal souls will be forever damned.
Strangely, between these two media appearances: nothing. The big business finest elite didn’t see fit to throw a tantrum while garbage was piling up, while the country was transformed into an open dumpster, while everything from our air, water and land was getting poisoned.
Perhaps their fine perfume didn’t match the stench of trash, perhaps they didn’t see the urgency, perhaps they don’t understand ecology, perhaps the people responsible for this catastrophe are their best pals, and, you know, it’s not very polite to point fingers at your friends.
Lebanese are such drama queens! What are a few piles of trash in comparison with hundreds of angry hairy protesters? What’s an ecological disaster in comparison with a Marxist menace? Tourists didn’t run away because the whole country stinks, because there’s no water or electricity. Of course not. They obviously run away because sleazy communists, shamelessly disguised as honest citizen, are trying to takeover the republic.
On top of that, they were kind enough to remind us that Downtown Beirut didn’t belong to us, Lebanese. Just in case we were foolish enough to believe that Beirut, being the capital of Lebanon and all, its heart logically belongs to its citizen.
They were kind enough to remind us that Downtown Beirut belongs to rich Arab tourists. Imagine, these desperate souls can’t shop in open air in their own country, which is causing a wide spread of depression in the entire Arabian Gulf. Downtown Beirut is the only way they can breathe fresh air and spend money at the same time. It’s a bit a like a holistic treatment. Without it the whole Arab world will surely collapse.
And, you know, poor people roaming around, wearing cheap clothes and no perfume, are a distressing sight for rich tourists. Even more so if they’re holding signs asking for a better life.
Poor people should stay in poor areas. What business do they have in Downtown? Can they afford to buy clothes there, or jewelry, or even the smallest scarf? No, they do not. So what the hell do they want to go there for? Poor people, you see, need to be taught some manners. And need to keep their place.
Imagine, if one day, they manage to seize power... What would happen to Lebanon? What would happen to the good business of thieving? What would the future look like if decent people can’t get rich by cunning their fellow citizen? If one can’t indulge in a bit of corruption every once in a while? What kind of a jungle would that be? A Bolshevik hell for sure!
So no, good people of Lebanon, Downtown Beirut doesn’t belong to you. And Lebanon would be better off dying from garbage related diseases than becoming a Marxist state. Better dead than red, right?
As soon as the press conference of these fine gentlemen ended, I couldn’t help but think that, in today’s Lebanon, hooligans don’t wear “You Stink” t-shirts but rather Armani suits.
© Claude El Khal, 2015