Friday, October 16, 2015

Citizen Roukoz

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Yesterday, general Chamel Roukoz, the now former commander of the Rangers regiment – the famous Maghawir – retired from the Lebanese army. To a large crowd of supporters, he said: “today I was promoted to citizen.”

Lebanon is a country where most people strive to elevate themselves from the status of normal citizens to become “someone important”, someone who can proudly look down on others and build a teeny-tiny kingdom for his overinflated ego.

A country where so many schmoes attach titles to their names to show how different, how superior they are from the rest of us, and are insulted if you ever forget to call them “doctor”. Where the smallest most mediocre politician has one main ambition: to be called ma3ali or some other pompous nonsense.

In a country like that, a true Lebanese hero, a soldier whose military record is beyond impeccable, a man who could easily play Big Kahuna, prides himself to have become a normal citizen. He sees it as a promotion. And as he says, he intends to honor that promotion and do his very best to equal the new tasks that come with it.

Citizen Roukoz, welcome to civilian life. And maybe, hopefully, welcome to the citizens’ movement.

© Claude El Khal, 2015

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