Beirut, Lebanon’s capital city and the epicenter of recent protests

The most intense pain one can experience in life isn’t physical; it’s emotional. Emotional pain that does not leave you alone, doesn’t let you think, doesn’t let you feel anything but its numbing effect. My ongoing emotional pain is caused by my country, Lebanon. It is a pain I share with every individual that shares my citizenship, no matter where they are in the world. Lebanon has been an unstable country since as long as our grandparents remember; has it ever been this bad though? After the 15 year long civil war, the Lebanese imagined the country’s rebirth; a country full of life and stability. That could not be further away from reality. Today, at the hands of our political regime, we are suffering from an economic collapse and an extreme emigration rate, taking the country a few decades back.

The economic crisis did not happen in a day: it is an accumulation of 30 years of politicians, who do not represent me, robbing their citizens indiscreetly. The first red flag, featured in my previous sentence, is the fact that the same politicians have been in power for 30 years. Does this qualify Lebanon as a dictatorship or democracy? Despite Lebanon constitutionally established as a “democratic republic”, when citizens are manipulated at every parliamentary election, it becomes a simple task to discover just how free our elections are and how legitimate our state is. The second red flag is that our politicians rob us. It sounds crazy that those who are supposed to build the country are the ones destroying it. There isn’t a single economic sector that is not corrupt in Lebanon. The money that the Ministry of Interior Affairs must use to build roads? Stolen. The money that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs should use to expand our relations with the international community? Stolen. The money that the Ministry of Education was supposed to use to better the quality of public schools? Stolen. It became such a routine that the Lebanese people got used to it.

With the corrupt class stealing from every sector in Lebanon, and due to the fact that we import almost everything and export almost nothing, we have been left at the brink of an economic collapse. The Lebanese lira is losing its value, and as always, it’s the people that are suffering greatly. It has become unbearable to live in such a country, painful to have to deal with hopelessness on a daily basis. The hopelessness has led to a great emigration to flee the country, especially among young adults who are seeking a better life somewhere else. While we cannot place blame on anyone who decides to leave, it is extremely saddening that the country is losing its brilliant minds, its hardworking people, and perhaps its future.

The blame for the current horrific state of the country cannot be placed on anyone but its regime and political parties. They are neither feared nor loved; they are hated. As long as they are in power, Lebanon will never flourish. They are a group of individuals who place their interests above their citizens, rendering them unfit for any position of power. When will they leave? The next general elections should (supposedly) take place during May of 2022, but they will likely postpone them under claims that the country is in an “emergency situation”, or simply because they can and will get away with it.

When will they be held accountable? What my people are going through pains me deeply; the people who celebrate every little joyful moment are filled with sorrow and there’s nothing we can do about it. But there will come a time when Lebanon flourishes to its usual self, when Lebanon becomes hope for its expats again, when Lebanon regains its long-lived glory.

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