Not a long time ago, but a few years back, I forced my eyes to open and start looking around me. That was when I realized that I was nothing but a consumer and happiness was only brought to me through things, by materials; material wealth, I noticed, became what I was striving for. This process started when I was living in the United States, land of the thief, home of the slave. I decided to come back to Lebanon and the emancipatory process started but it was only boosted and kick-started by the events of the Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, the 5th year anniversary of which was 5 days ago. Back then, the more I opened my eyes the more I realized how ignorant I had been to the way our life is formed for us.
I decided to come back to Lebanon because it’s home, it’s where I was born and grew up. I came back for purely emotional reasons and because I felt me and my life in the United States were both meaningless. Now, and after 5 years of self emancipation from mental slavery I’m able to sit and write and express what my eyes have been witnessing and its not a nice scene. In Lebanon, recently, I have been feeling less and less able to relate to the reality that its taking place out side my apartment. I don’t know if being able to notice every dysfunctional aspect of the state and the society is a blessing or a curse. Things are getting clearer everyday and it seems to me that every aspect of this state is defective. I find myself always talking about this dysfunctional place and can’t escape it; to me it seems that the Lebanese are living in denial at all times or wanting to stay ignorant on purpose. It’s like the Lebanese people don’t want to open their eyes because they will feel they will have to do something about it that will end up in to benefit of all: to work for the benefit of all is something that doesn’t exist in the Lebanese mind, it’s always personal benefit that the Lebanese seeks, or the benefit of the family/clan, and trust me that is not done out of good will/love or spontaneously but because of family obligations. Take for example the delusion that most of the Lebanese people buy into: the delusion of state security. The Lebanese people know for a fact that the police and the army in Lebanon are not there to protect the public or be there to make sure crime is controlled. The Lebanese security system only functions for politicians and the rich, who are either a politicians or best friends with the politicians. They get all the security they want and more. Everyone in Lebanon knows this and yet they ignore this fact just because no one is willing or wanting to do anything about it. The Lebanese people are busy shopping, please do not bother them with things like security or a functional state. But keep in mind we are champions of complaining about life at all times. I just can’t believe no one is saying any thing about the growing level of crime in this so called country. Every day I hear stories from friends on how so-and-so got mugged and how so-and-so got raped and the list goes on.
I’m outraged by an incident that happened to my brother last week. It was Friday night 9:00 PM when I get a phone call from an 05 number, my brother, telling me that he just got mugged while taking the mini-van (public transportation) to Saida . The driver (!) and another man on the mini-van pulled a gun and a knife on my brother, they did the cleaning up and dumped him on the side of the road. I told him do the right thing and go to the police station in the area and report it. The police told him “oh well, too bad. We are glad they did not hurt you. Khalas, go home”. When he insisted (you have to insist with the police in Lebanon for them to protect you or do their job) that they start an investigation they were not happy and to punish him or make him give up they told him that in this case he would have to wait while they went out on patrol: it took 4 hours!. I mean this crime is easily investigated if some commonsense was just applied to it, just simple police work. Police work is not why these people decided to do this job. In Lebanon after a person fails at school, or can’t emigrate and can’t find a job then the police or army are the place to end up. So no, no police work or protection for the citizens is gonna happen any time soon or ever. Back to my brother’s story after 10 days the police ignored it, and now my brother is trying to do it the Lebanese way, Wasta (connections and favoritism). Take for example the story of the 7 missing Estonians that just got released 3 days ago. Of course the Lebanese security system had nothing to do with their finding and release it was the French who did the whole fact finding and mediation with the kidnappers.
Finally, being in Lebanon is like being in an unsure state of mind at all times: you can never be reassured about the near future (the next week or the end of the month). I mean you can be sure that a tub of labneh will last till the end of the month but you can never be sure if you can make plans and survive till the end of the month. Its kind of a hopeless situation when politicians/statesmen are busy improving their own businesses and the Lebanese people are too busy with their appearances. As a result this failed state is always on the verge of collapse.