Saturday, September 24, 2016

The silent war against Lebanon

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A silent, insidious war is being waged against Lebanon. A war that’s destroying the very fabric of Lebanese society, throwing a staggering number of families into poverty, driving the economy to the ground, destroying the already fragile political system and poisoning the air, the water and the land.

Over a million Lebanese live under poverty line, unemployment fluctuates between 25 and 30%, 13,000 people lost their jobs in the past few months; Lebanon’s is going through an unprecedented economical crisis without any solution in sight. If we add the refugee, the garbage and the political crisis, we realize that what’s happening is nothing else than a war waged against Lebanon, aimed at destroying it from the inside.

Lebanese are fierce fighters. Anytime anyone has threatened their land, they fought like lions to defend it, ultimately defeating the invaders, whomever they were, foreign armies or local militias. But when it comes to defend their basic citizens rights, the lions become sheep, and their fighting spirit changes into obedience and acceptance.

If anyone wanted to wage war against Lebanon, he’d know by experience that the price of military action would be huge: soldiers killed, fortunes spent on bombs and missiles, not the mention the PR nightmare trying to sway international public opinion. So why go through all this trouble when you can wait and watch the whole country, all regions and religions included, destroy itself?

Think about it, garbage rotting and burning everywhere are not so different from a biological attack on the Lebanese people. The air, the water and the soil are being poisoned. Breathing, eating and drinking in Lebanon can seriously harm your health and cause fatal diseases. It’s just more insidious than a bomb, but equally efficient.

The seashore is so polluted and private beaches so expensive, more and more Lebanese are avoiding them. When they can afford it, they travel to Cyprus, Turkey or Egypt. That’s a serious blow to the Tourism industry – one of the country’s last profitable sectors.

Instead of fixing the problem, the remaining public beaches are going to be privatized – Kfaradiba is a screaming example – while garbage dumps are being set up on different parts of Lebanon’s cost line – in Bourj Hammoud and Costa Brava, to only name these two.

The Costa Brava dump will not only dramatically increase the seashore pollution but, because of its proximity to Beirut’s international airport, will threaten air traffic safety, and perhaps isolate Lebanon from the world.

The economy is such a mess, every day dozens of Lebanese lose their jobs while companies and businesses are downsizing if not closing down altogether. Real estate prices are so high most Lebanese can’t afford to buy the tiniest apartment. The overall cost of living has constantly increased but wages were kept as low as possible, thus driving the majority of the population into poverty.

Today, 30% of the population lives under the poverty line. In other words, more than a million Lebanese don’t have enough money to feed their families. Let alone send their children to school or provide them with basic healthcare.

All the while a tiny minority is making and spending obscene amounts of money. The multi-million dollars weddings everyone talks about are only a fraction of that obscenity, the glittering tip of an outrageous iceberg.

This tiny minority, along with the political and economical establishment are the officers and soldiers of the silent war waged against Lebanon.

They are the ones driving the country to self-destruct. They are the ones responsible of the political deadlock; they are the ones keeping the garbage crisis going and turning it into a weapon of mass health and ecological destruction; they are the ones raising the cost of living and refusing to increase wages accordingly; they are the ones impoverishing the vast majority of the Lebanese population and forcing so many of us to pack and leave.

Make no mistake, the refugee crisis is a blessing for these people. Cheap labor, precarious living situation, no legal rights, that’s exactly what they need to continue striving. Educated and free Lebanese citizens could endanger their never-ending theft of Lebanon’s riches. It’s better to force them to leave and replace them with a more obedient and fearful population.

Are they doing all this on their own or are they controlled by one or several foreign powers following some obscure agenda? The answer to that question is at this point irrelevant. One can endlessly speculate and throw hypothesis around, but the situation is too dire to waste time indulging in conspiracy theories.

Lebanese, regardless of their religion, sect or political affiliations, are losing the war. Have they surrendered or are they willing to resist as they did so many times in the past? That’s the only question worth answering today.

© Claude El Khal, 2016


Hekmat Jaber said...

Well said Claude. I would like to add on it, it is an external conspiracy - as you precisely described it as silent war- and the tools are the lebanese politicians hands. It is the time now for internal revolution, else Lebanon will be a nice historical name in the books.

Unknown said...

Indeed great writting however the war is waged against the Lebanese but by whom . And who are the Lebanese in Lebanon? Just saying

Unknown said...

Excellent text and very lucid citizen analysis of the Lebanese situation.

Tatiana Skaf said...

I would say it is 'Stockholm Syndrome' at its best... the question remains : How to get out of of this??? I personally did not surrender yet and know many others like me....

Anonymous said...

We were and are still in war... We shall stay in war if we keep our eastern border open. We survived all the wars even when the Baathi army was in Lebanon...They left from the door...and entered from the window... Let us kick their ugly asses out and then see how to disarm the iranian militia. Otherwise the war in all shapes will not see an end.

Anonymous said...

Analyzing the situation the way you did helps clarify it definitely, even if it is from one point of view. I would have liked to read your solution to this problem you just described so well. Is their a way other than religion that can help transform those sheep back into lions? What can awaken their inner instincts?

Diak said...

Well while the fact might be true, the approach is very wrong. Beside ennak 3am ten3e only, What is destroying lebanon is Lebanese people. They live above their means and that's what making the country poor and weak. If you want things to change for you, you need to change. Unless we change in philosophy of managing our lives, our finances and our habits and behavior nothing is going to change for us. Eza Haifa is our motto what do you expect? While all the shisha cafe are full, the libraries are shutting down. That's not a war? Ignorance is the name of game

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Bravo ! very well said and written, too bad politics was not created to find solutions, only to control and trade people's lives! as a 24 yo I am really starting to lose hope in this country. Already made the decision not to invest in an apartment in Lebanon, because I might leave soon. As educated young people we feel the responsibility to stay and fight this but this is just getting too much ! Although this rich/poor powerful/weak scenario is present in a lot of corrupt places around the world, but lately it seems that just about anywhere is getting better than staying here.

tango said...

the problem is withe the Lebanese themselves (and Not anybody else!)

Claudius said...

Loving Lebanon is love, love is an act, we need act, nothing else

Claudius said...

Loving Lebanon is love, love is an act, we need act, nothing else