Not too long ago a Facebook friend of mine shared an e-comic strip about the situation in Turkey and juxtaposing it to here. For those still living under a rock, Turkey’s experiencing a series of protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his (apparently) increasing despotic tendencies. Now, I don’t know much about Turkish politics or how people really feel about him, but I can tell you this: he overall did a good job in stabilizing his country and forming it into an economic and military powerhouse, but at the same time, he’s (apparently) the world’s highest paid politician (outside of Lebanon) and, from what I gather, has some rather religious tendencies based on his rather Islamist (not Muslim) background, so that to me makes him a suspicious character. But I’m not here to rail on Erdogan and what’s going on in Istanbul and the other 67 regions currently in protest-instead, I’m here to join every other Lebanese person with a functioning brain in complaining about the lack of activity and protests in this paradox of a country.
You see, Lebanon’s a messed-up place-there are so many things going on here that would spark widespread protests in other countries: the lack of a stable electricity supply to homes and even hospitals; the lack of decent, high-paying jobs; the sickening amounts of poverty in certain parts of the country; the lack of a proper government; soldiers getting killed and humiliated in their own backyard by a bunch of dumb yokel militants from who-knows-where; the widespread corruption in damn-near every sector of this country; the obscene amounts of traffic we have to experience day by day couple with pollution; the rising secterian tensions-the list goes on and on. Point is, there are so many problems here in Lebanon that one would expect the place to have been flipped inside-out three times over.
Funnily enough, that isn’t that case. The last time an actual protest of worth happened it was some time in the 1970’s: I don’t remember the whole story, but it all started with tuition prices being raised, and it ended with the government being brought to its knees. There were also the 2005 protests following former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assasination, in which a series of massive protests ended with Syrian troops ending their occupation of the country. Why don’t we have that going on today? We have all the necessary ingredients for a little chaos! I’ll give you a reason why: it’s because we’ve gotten lazy and further divided amongst each other-the 1975-1991 civil war made sure of that. It’s because we’re still unable to move on from that time and before to accepting a national identity. It’s because we’ve become materialistic and obsessed with trying to outdo the world (look at Downtown-it’s nothing like it was in Beirut’s golden age, and it looked so much better then!). I’m no leftist, but I think it’s time people here get their shit together and get collectively angry at everything wrong with this country, a country that has so much potential going to waste and that constantly witnesses its intellects departing, leading to exacerbated rates of national decay. I’ll admit, I’m not the most politically active person on the planet and I’m very cynical of protests and uprisings, but places like Lebanon really, really need people to get up off their asses and do something of worth for a change; if there’s a decent and well-meaning protest that’s not organized by a political party but by the people themselves, then I’m game.
To make a long story short: if people in Turkey managed to start getting mad over the closing of a green space for a shopping mall (I think. Also, this is a growing trend here, the building of malls), then why don’t we get madder over the lack of a decent public transportation system or a stable electricity flow? One of these days, and I hope I’m still here for this, it will happen. The question is, when?
Y’all take care now