Re­course to re­form

Executive Magazine - - Editorial -

I can re­mem­ber hid­ing from the bul­lets and bombs in the bath­room with my mom

and brother. My fa­ther was out try­ing to earn a liv­ing, and the worry that he would not make it home made me sick to my stom­ach on a daily ba­sis. We lived in hell as mili­tias de­stroyed this coun­try and its once-strong econ­omy and cur­rency. When we fi­nally es­caped, we headed for Canada. Ar­riv­ing as im­mi­grants, we were gra­ciously wel­comed and pro­vided with ev­ery right the de­vel­oped coun­try had to of­fer. Ex­cept one. The most pre­cious right. The right to vote. We were told that only af­ter we proved worthy would that right be granted to us.

The men who lit­er­ally de­stroyed this coun­try were some­how en­trusted with re­build­ing it. They have un­equiv­o­cally failed. This coun­try is a crum­bling mess, when it has the po­ten­tial to be a re­gional eco­nomic pow­er­house. The gross mis­man­age­ment is shame­ful. We have the drive and the ta­lent, what we need now are elected of­fi­cials who will take im­me­di­ate ac­tion to im­prove Le­banon’s phys­i­cal and le­gal in­fra­struc­ture.

Take the na­tional ap­proach to cy­ber­se­cu­rity, for ex­am­ple. We don’t have laws to pro­tect cit­i­zens on­line, much less laws to en­able and nur­ture busi­ness de­vel­op­ment on the web. Hell, we don’t even have the in­fra­struc­ture for mod­ern in­ter­net con­nec­tions. Pass­ing laws and in­vest­ing in in­fra­struc­ture are low-hang­ing fruit the peo­ple have been beg­ging for over the last ten years. This is sim­ple, but our politi­cians are deaf. In­stead of a boom­ing dig­i­tal econ­omy, we have bro­ken prom­ises and draft laws ig­nored by an ar­guably un­con­sti­tu­tional Par­lia­ment.

The fail­ure to find a fair and rep­re­sen­ta­tive elec­toral law is un­ac­cept­able. I’m sick to death and an­gry, but sadly, not sur­prised. In the 1980s, our politi­cians were com­bat­ants who did not re­spect our right to live. Why would they re­spect our right to vote 30 years later?

Let’s not lie to our­selves, there is no real op­po­si­tion to the rul­ing class in this coun­try. We call our­selves a democ­racy, but our elec­tion re­sults are no dif­fer­ent than those in dic­ta­tor­ships. Peo­ple took to the streets to protest dur­ing the garbage cri­sis in mid2015. To­day, as our most pre­cious right is be­ing stolen AGAIN, the streets are silent.

We must be­gin to fight back. We de­serve a stan­dard of liv­ing that is very eas­ily within reach. It will not take a gen­er­a­tion to pull us out of the mess we are in, if we take the work se­ri­ously. Our prob­lems are very well un­der­stood. So­lu­tions are lit­er­ally on the ta­ble. We need par­lia­men­tar­i­ans will­ing to work for Le­banon, and no mat­ter which elec­toral law our princes de­cide on, we must stand against them.

Steal­ing back just a few par­lia­men­tary seats at a time would be a win. We need unity and fo­cus. We have the ideas as well as the so­lu­tions. Let’s make sure our grand­chil­dren do not end up hid­ing in a bath­room or queu­ing in an im­mi­gra­tion line. Yasser Akkaoui Edi­tor-in-chief

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