One of the instructions provided by flight attendants on each flight is that if the pressure inside the cabin decreases for one reason or another, the oxygen masks will hang from the ceiling. At that moment, as a passenger with his children, put that mask on your nose first, then on the noses of your children. But does it make sense to save myself before my children? Yes, this is about a logical solution, because if you do not save yourself you will not be able to save your children.
This fact is true for people, and for states too. A state cannot flourish if it does not put its national interest first. Citizens must not sacrifice the interests of their state to achieve the interests of other countries.
“Individualism” is the password upon which modern civilisation is built, and indeed it says: Me first then my family, after my family then my street, then my city, then my country, and then my humanity. I cannot think of major humanitarian issues such as climate change or racism while I am starving and have nothing to give my children to eat.
Syrian poet and playwright Mamdouh Adwan said he joined the Communist Party only because the party’s headquarters in his city was closer to his home and had a fireplace to resort to during the long cold nights.
Today, Lebanon must consider using the same logic; and the Lebanese should think of the interest of their country before any other country east, west, north or south. Every human being who puts the interests of another country before the interests of his own country must be rejected. The fundamental problem occurs when politicians place the interests of other countries ahead of theirs. In this case, they are sacrificing their homeland and their people for the interests of other countries. Relations with other countries from this perspective may sometimes be useful, but those relations will be harmful to everyone.
The Lebanese have long been patient in tolerating their deteriorating living, political and economic conditions. Frustration has become a common feature in this country, and the periods of relative calm and caution that have prevailed since the 1950s until today are very limited. As soon as Lebanon emerges from war, it enters another, and once there is an assassination here, other assassinations will follow.
There was a time when it wasn’t conceivable that Lebanon would reach this state of misery! Once it was the “Paris of the Middle East”, “Switzerland of the Middle East”, and the “Dora of the Mediterranean!” Does it make sense that Beirut, a city of light, civilisation, sea and freedom, is piling up garbage in its streets?
Lebanon has been plunged into sedition and corruption for many years, and the more difficulties we pass, we think that the worst is behind us. But we are discovering that the situation is getting worse and worse. The poor in Lebanon are getting poorer and hungry, the corrupt are getting more corrupt, and every party, stream and faction has its media channels and trumpets, able to rally its supporters on the street to shout his name and curse the rest.
There are many who speak of politics in Lebanon, but few speak of development, health, education and employment. So, when you find a flustered person on the street who runs the risk of injury, arrest and possibly death, you should know that he has nothing left to lose. He has lost faith in politics, promises and the future.
Lebanon is a country of leaders, and each so-called leader needs money to spend on followers. With few internal resources versus high spending demand, the leaders are looking beyond their borders for political money that is abundant in our region. But it is subject to obtaining loyalty and obedience, and therefore fluctuates with the interests and tendencies and orientations of this leader or that; the volatility of the interests and moods of financiers, and the interest of Lebanon has become secondary, not a priority.
The disadvantage in Lebanon is that its leaders do not have a national plan agreed for the benefit of Lebanon and financed from within Lebanon. So the contradiction of regional interests is reflected in Lebanon, which is becoming a country where all that’s happening is a settling of accounts.
Lebanon is not a poor country, it has a lot of natural resources; it is a tourist country par excellence, and there are more than 10 million Lebanese around the world who are transferring money from countries of expatriation to Lebanon. But Lebanon is a poor country in management and will, unfortunately remain so.
The sectarian division of Lebanon has kept it a hotbed of foreign powers and the centre for intrigues of the international intelligence services. When colonial powers established boundaries for sectarianism in Lebanon, they were aware that they were making a failed state, a state of sects, not a national state. The balance of interests between various forces in Lebanon can only be “balances of terror” on the crater of a volcano that only subsides until it erupts again.
Successive governments in Lebanon have not been able to improve the state and living condition of the people or develop resources.
I hope the popular movement in Lebanon now is not a mere “ creation of outrage” with more anger born from anger. The aim should not be to overthrow or preserve the government, because all Lebanese governments are overwhelmed. Whenever a government falls, another alternative is formed, no better than – if not worse – the previous one. I hope that a conscious Lebanese national leadership will be formed from within this movement bearing the thought of social justice and a vision of Arab unity. And I hope it will benefit from the fact that the army and security services in Lebanon are civilised institutions.
Let us think of the interest of Lebanon first, because our past, our present, our future, and the future of our children are linked to this spot of the earth, with all its contradictions and troubles, the rise of its cedars and the firmness of its rock.