OUR NA­TIONAL MAL­ADY

Executive Magazine - - Editorial -

We need our heads checked. Hon­estly, I think we Le­banese are suf­fer­ing from what can only be de­scribed as Stock­holm Syn­drome. Why is it that peo­ple are sud­denly so in love with our min­is­ters? What ex­actly is Wael Abou Faour do­ing? “He’s mak­ing sure our food is safe to eat and push­ing through health­care re­forms,” you might re­ply. As min­is­ter of public health, that’s his job. I can’t fathom why our re­sponse to a min­is­ter who is do­ing his job for a change is to ap­plaud him. What about all of the oth­ers who don’t? Why are we not an­gry? Why are we not de­mand­ing more? There has been a food safety draft law writ­ten for 12 years. We should be fu­ri­ous that no min­is­ter of public health has raised this is­sue be­fore, not smit­ten with one who fi­nally both­ers to do some­thing. On health­care re­form, Abou Faour’s sim­ply ap­ply­ing a law first passed in 1994.

The same is true for Ali Has­san Khalil. He’s weed­ing out cor­rup­tion at the Min­istry of Fi­nance? This is the bare god­damn min­i­mum. We should be re­volt­ing, not heap­ing praise on public ser­vants for serv­ing.

What is dis­tort­ing re­al­ity is their re­liance on pro­fes­sional me­dia and public re­la­tions ad­vi­sors who are ob­vi­ously in a fierce com­pe­ti­tion to get the most cov­er­age for their re­spec­tive clients. If ego stroking is what it takes to get our public ser­vants go­ing, so be it — let’s get each one a PR ad­vi­sor!

But sadly, it seems we’ve all just given up. I didn’t want to be­lieve that, but it’s true, and I saw proof of it first­hand dur­ing this year’s ArabNet con­fer­ence at a panel I mod­er­ated. On this panel were two for­mer min­is­ters and two pri­vate sec­tor heavy­weights. When the speed of Le­banon’s in­ter­net came up, none dared truth­fully dis­cuss the prob­lems. In­stead, they pointed to what­ever tiny back­wa­ter man­aged to have even slower in­ter­net than us, and praised our fail­ing state for pro­vid­ing any­thing at all. Four months ear­lier, at Ac­cel­er­ate, peo­ple were an­gry and de­mand­ing an­swers. The name Ab­del Moneim Youssef was on ev­ery­one’s lips. How did we all just give up in four short months?

We’re sick, and all of the generic phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals in the world won’t cure us.

Yasser Akkaoui Edi­tor-in-chief

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